Category Archives: Gadgets

We broke up

My boyfriend and I broke up. You remember him, don’t you?  My ruffler/gathering foot.  I don’t know what I did wrong, but suddenly he gave me the cold shoulder.  He didn’t want to gather or ruffle for me anymore. 

When I was making my niece Katie’s Xmas nightgown (a monument to gathers and ruffles), I couldn’t get him to gather for the life of me.  I looked up his directions in the manual (wouldn’t it be great if men did come with manuals???), I did an internet search on how to get better gathers, I changed thread tension, I changed stitch length.  In short, I tried everything.

My boyfriend wouldn’t gather.

My last ditch effort to save the relationship?  I thought to crowd the fabric from behind the needle and the fabric started to gather in a more acceptable fashion.  I don’t know why this idea occurred to me.  I don’t know if I had read about it in someone’s blog post or in one of my sewing books, but the idea just popped into my head.  I just smushed the fabric against the needle plate as I stitched and it helped the foot to gather the fabric as it fed through.  It wasn’t as consistent as it had been in the past, but what man is consistent?

I’m not sure if we’re going to get back together or not.  The pain is still too fresh.  But you can be sure, I will let you know if there are any further developments.



Meet my new boyfriend

Here he is, my new boyfriend, the gathering foot.  Isn’t he cute?  So sleek and metallic.  He doesn’t argue with you or tell you to go make dinner.  He doesn’t stand you up at a fancy restaurant looking and feeling forlorn.  He just makes beautiful, elegant, evenly placed, sweet, little gathers.  Like these…

Aren’t those the cutest little gathers you ever saw?  Those were my two lines of test gathers.  Thea did show me how to use the gathering foot slit to attach a second piece of fabric to the gathered piece, but it’s a technique I will have to practice for quite a while before I trust my talents on a real garment right now.  But basically the key to using that function of the gathering foot (aka, my boyfriend), is holding both of pieces of fabric firmly, stitching slowly AND, most importantly, every two or three stitches, straighten out the fabric in the slit (as it has a tendency to move to the left).  Do you want to see my boyfriend in action?

I have no idea how my boyfriend works his magic.  None!  All I know is that I love the results and the fact that I don’t have to do two rows of stitching and then gather it evenly myself.  How cool is this????

So I bet you were all holding your breath until I told you which zipper I went with for the dress.  Thank you for all your opinions.  The overwhelming majority of you thought the beige zipper was the best.  A couple chose the pink and one chose the purple.  Most agreed that the bluish purple one was too blue.  And most agreed that as it was an invisible zipper, that the color didn’t really matter.  Thea thought the beige would be best.  I have to note, that Carolyn’s rule of thumb for choosing zippers is to choose a darker color and she thought the purple was the best.  I will admit to doubting Carolyn’s advice as I was worried the purple was too dark for the print part of the bodice and that you would see its shadow.  Well, I sewed the beige zipper in last night and….

I don’t like it.  Also my zipper insertion is not quite perfect.  So I think I will rip it out (not literally of course) and put in the purple one and hopefully the insertion this time will be perfect.  I just didn’t like how the beige would peek out occasional from the field of purple on the skirt section which runs the majority of the length of the zipper.

So before I leave you for the day, here’s a sneak peek of the dress ruffles with beautiful little gathers.  Did I mention my boyfriend made this?  😉  

I am almost done.  Just need to reinsert the magenta/purple zipper, hem the bottom ruffle, serge the seam allowances and finish the lining on the bodice.  I actually think that’s all doable in an evening, but I am known for having unreasonable expectations, so who knows if it will be finished tonight or not.  I hope so though — I have more SFO (Sewing For Others) to do. 

Happy sewing and gathering everyone!

I’m in love!

Yes, you heard it here first.  I am officially in love.  With whom you ask?  With what is the more a propos question actually. 

I have just discovered the gathering foot which came with my sewing machine.  How awesome is the gathering foot people?!?!?!  OMG.  I love it!!!!!!!!  No need to baste two lines of stitching in order to gather.  No uneven gathering when you’re finished.  Just beautiful dainty little gathers (sorry no pictures).


This particular gathering foot allows you to sew the gathered fabric onto another piece of fabric at the same time through a slit in the foot, but I was not able to get that function working very well.  I have a lesson with Thea tonight, so hopefully she can help me out with that.  If I were able to use that function, it would speed up the construction of this dress tenfold. 

On another note, as you know, I am working on a different variation of the New Look 6821 pattern this time.  Reading the instructions this time around is definitely easier.  However, I am still stumped by one step, as I was when I made that first top for my niece.  For each tier of the dress skirt, you’re instructed to make a hem.  Why?  Putting a hem on each tier makes the tier stiff in that area, it destroys the drape of the skirt.  Is it because they assume you only have a sewing machine and no serger so they’re giving you an alternative for a clean finish on the inside?  Do they want that section of the skirt stiffer? I don’t get it?  Another question for Thea I guess.  Last time, I slavishly followed the directions and added the hem, but I didn’t like how it interfered with the drape of the top.  This time, I am questioning it.  This time my dress will have drape AND look just as pretty inside as it does outside.

Happy gathering to you all!


FOZ or Fear of Zippers has gripped me, my friends.  All I have left to do on my niece’s halter top, is to sew on a little 8-inch invisible zipper.  How can that be what’s keeping me from finishing this now late birthday present?  How can I be brought to my knees by a small thing like that? 

Easy.  A zipper can make or break this piece.  

To be honest, there’s one other aspect that’s holding me back.  I can’t recall if my humble Singer (and n0 I don’t know the model number off hand) has a zipper foot or a piping foot.  Most likely it’s a zipper foot which can pinch hit as a piping foot, but it most definitely is NOT an invisible zipper foot.  So last week, when I was purchasing the fear inducing zipper, I picked up a doodad.  That’s an Elizabethism for doohickey.  Apparently, I am the only person on this planet that says doodad, but I swear I heard it from someone else before.  Anyway… I bought this doodad that fits most sewing machines and becomes (from the two pieces) an invisible zipper foot.  Seriously.  Here’s a pic and the link (just scroll all the way down). zipperfootattachment

Has anyone used this before?  Is it a piece of junk?  Let me know please before I ruin my first garment!!! 

Hopefully, putting in this zipper will be just as easy peasy as the pintucks were.  Although I have to say my FOP (Fear of Pintucks) isn’t nearly as paralytic as FOZ. 

Wish me luck and happy sewing!