Friday, March 11, 2011

Smackdown Test #4: Feet and Stitches


The Gauge Foot

This foot did not work on any of the four straight-stitch sewing sewing machines being tested in this smackdown.  The presser foot screw interfered with the gauge.  There is an indentation on the side of the gauge foot that looks as if it was meant for a smaller screw.  All of my presser foot screws are the same size, however, so I had no way to test this theory.

I adore presser feet and attachments, and plenty of them come my way and in my price range.  I may not see well enough to follow a cross-stitch chart anymore, but I can still spot a green Singer box across a crowded thrift store.  This is a cute foot and a keeper.  Perhaps it will be bait for some mysterious small presser foot screw.

Flat 1/4" Foot

This is an absolutely flat foot which is 1/4" wide on the right hand side.  Quilters mostly use a 1/4" seam.  The foot obviously has other uses (all those markings!) but I have never bothered to learn what they are.  So many presser feet, so little time.

As far as I remember this is just a cheapo generic snap-on low shank foot.

This foot worked fine on all of the machines.

1/4" Foot with Guide

This snap-on foot came with my Janome Memory Craft 4900, but other companies also make/sell them.  The right hand side is 1/4" with a vertical guide at the edge. I prefer this foot to the plain flat foot because it's easy to keep the fabric shoved against the guide.  This takes less skill than keeping the edge of the fabric aligned with the flat foot.

This foot worked on the Dressmaker 132, the ModernAge 250, and the Singer 15-91
and did not work on the Singer 99.  On the 99 it would take 3-4 stitches and then make a bobbin thread nest. 

Straight Stitch Walking Foot
This foot sat straight and aligned with the feed dogs on two of the four machines, and on the other two it sat at a slight angle and therefore didn't line up exactly with one of the feed dogs.  If it mattered to me I would check back with Jenny about it, but since I knew I was going to keep it I didn't bother.  (Sigh)  So many presser feet... 

It worked just fine on the Singer 15-91 and the ModernAge 250, a line-for-line 15 clone.  It didn't sit as straight on the Singer 99 and the Dressmaker 132.


I tried each foot on each machine, and stitched together five blocks per foot.  I wanted to check the quality of stitches from one machine to the next, and the accuracy of my seam widths from one foot to the next.

There was minor variability from block to block but not so much foot to foot and none at all machine to machine.  The walking foot did produce the best results overall on the two machines that it fit.  BUT

Here's the real story:
  • All of the machines made a nice stitch, once I played around with both the thread tension and the bobbin tension and got them set correctly for my thread and fabric.  Since all I will be doing with these machines is piecing two layers of 100% cotton, they are now set for life.
  • The accuracy of the seam depends almost entirely on how much the machine operator is paying attention to what she is doing.  Skill is more important than the toys in this case.  

The moral of the story:  Toys are fun.  Fun is good.  Have fun, but don't expect it to make you a better seamstress.  or seamster.  (I'm boycotting the trendy word "sewist".)

and the answer to this question: 
What two statements are guaranteed to make a sewing machine bulletin board burst into flames? 
The word "leather" is sort of, but not entirely, a clue to one of them.


  1. I love my special presser feet too. The one that has helped make me better - a little - is the simple 1/4 inch foot. It makes being accurate with small seam allowances much easier. I have no idea why I waited so long to get one.
    Very odd about the gauge presser foot screw. If you were closer we could test out why it won't fit. I use one on my Pfaff 131 and Singer 15-91.

  2. @yarndiva: I took a look at your blog and found your post about the gauge foot. (Hangs head in embarrassment) duh, I think I put the gauge on the wrong part of the foot! or, as we say around here, "operator stupidity". this is why I love the web, btw. a picture is worth a thousand words. I will retest the gauge foot on the next round of smackdown testing. thanks!


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