Edgestitch foot demystified.53
A few people in the ice cream social wrote to ask me to explain my edgestitching foot in a little more detail. Nothing beats a lesson from your sewing machine dealer, but some of you live in the country and can't get to your rep. So I thought I'd show you the different ways I use my edgestitch foot. You might be suprised by it's versatility. It's sort of an all-purpose foot for me.
My machine is a Bernina Activa 230 PE and the foot I'm showing today is a #10 foot.
About the foot
The number #10 foot has a blade in the dead center of the foot. This is exactly aligned with the center needle position on your machine. This blade is a fabric guide which you will use to control the position of your fabric. If you are familiar with a 1/4" foot, this is the same concept except it's in the center of your sewing chassis bit.
The needle slot of the #10 foot is wide open which means you are free to use any needle position on your machine. My Activa has 9 positions. 4 to the left, 4 to the right and one in the center. Not only can you work with any position, you are free to use stitches that move the needle back and forth like a zigzag or a decorative stitch.
In it's most basic use, you want to stitch a line just inside the edge of something. This is also called topstitching.
Align your edge to the left side fabric blade. Select a needle position towards the left. I usually use 2 or 3, but it depends on how tight of an edge I would like. Begin to straight stitch and you will get a nice crisp edge around your project. (see picture of bib above)
It also works on the right side as well.
Tidy Seam, Stitch in the Ditch
Sometimes you want to press your seam allowance to one side and ensure they stay on that side of your fabric. To do this, you simply press your seams in one direction. Then align your edgestitch foot blade exactly on the ditch of the seam. Move the needle position to the side of the seam where you've pressed your seam allowance. Stitch away and it will stay put and you will have an even tidy finish on top.
By just moving your needle fractionally or leaving it centered, you can achieve several stitch in the ditch techniques useful in all sorts of projects.
Pleats and Tucks
I'll confess that I'm not versed on the technical terms for pleats and tucks. But you can achieve lots of interesting texture with your edgestitch foot. You can repeatedly fold your fabric, stitch along the edge and then open up the seam. Doing so with the same needle position and even spaces results in tiny little pintucks or pleats (is that the right term?) My example is actually a scrap of fabric where I experiemented with needle positions and a failure in terms of nice pintucks! Ineffective as pintucks, but hopefully a good enough picture that you can see the potential.
Attaching Something With a Clean Edge
One of the more common ways that I used my foot is to attach something with a clean edge on top of something else. This is quite easy because you can use the center blade as a guide. Here I've attached linen trim to webbing to create a keychain.
I've also used it to slap my dresden on top of the base fabric for my quilts.
On these pockets, I used the edgestitch foot first with needle position 2, then needle position 4. The result is a faux twin tip needle effect and has vaguely parallel lines attaching my pocket to my bodice.
The center blade makes a wonderful guide while doing applique. It works with straight, zigzag and decorative stitches so it gives you more veratility. For this example, I didn't bother with fusible heat-n-bond and I opted for a wide zigzag. The result centers your stitch across the edge of the applique object. You could also choose an internal needle position and a straight stitch, if you'd like a raw edge applique look.
Attaching Fabrics Together and Lace
During my demo from my Bernina dealer last year, she said "and you know when you're adding fine lace too..." and at that point, I glazed over. I missed a bit of the funcitonality. Lace isn't really something I use, but apparently you can do something wonderful with it using this foot.
You can also use it to join things with folded or finished edges by using both sides of the guide and a very narrow zigzag stitch. I used this to tack the center back of my yoke together for the ice cream social at the bottom bit.
Raw Edge Treatments
Of course, you can use the edgestitch foot as a guide for treating raw edges too. If you want to do a straight stitch or zigzag on the raw edge to prevent fraying, the #10 foot can help you with a tidy result.
So those are just a few of the ways I used my #10 foot edgestitch foot. Far more versatile than I anticipated when I bought it. I'm so pleased my dealer suggested it. I went in for a bias binding attachment and they thought this would suit me better. They were right.