Toys! Wonderful toys!

by Erin on March 17, 2010

The Sewing Machine Attachment Handbook

On Anna's recommendation, I bought a copy of The Sewing Machine Attachment Handbook, which turns out to have been the book I've been looking for all my sewing life. Did your sewing machine come with a box of tiny, weirdly-shaped feet? Then you need this book. There are clear instructions for guides, hemmers, rufflers, binding and cording feet, sequin feet, walking feet … and on and on. If you can screw, bolt, strap or clip it to your sewing machine, I think this book covers it.

My favorite guideline for judging sewing books is by whether or not they make you want to sew — and this book makes me really, really want to sew. I think the hemming foot instructions alone are going to make my sewing life better.

It's also kindled in me a deep and painful longing for something called a "bias cutting guide" — a doodad that clips to the end of your scissors so that you can cut bias tape without all that painful marking. I wants one, I do. Couldn't turn one up on eBay, though; does anyone have any leads?

(Also, if you buy it from the link above, the author, Charlene Phillips, will sign your copy. That's always nice!)

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Nikki March 17, 2010 at 8:33 am

Pssst. I think youre looking for this: Bias Gauge


Anonymous March 17, 2010 at 8:42 am

And this blog post has a link for a bias gauge and also how to make one, if you are the spit-and- baling-wire type:


dulcet March 17, 2010 at 8:52 am

Bias cutting guide made me groan!


Sheila March 17, 2010 at 10:05 am

Looks like a great book! Thanks for the review.


Sarah @ ColorKitten March 17, 2010 at 10:26 am

That book looks like a must have! Thanks!I have one of those bias gauges, I like it but it has two problems – first, it doesnt fit well on a lot of scissors, and second, at the widest setting it still only makes narrow strips (1 is the max on mine, I think, so 1/4 after double folding). I love the DIY one at that link – it would be great to have a set in all your favorite widths!!


Karen Minturn Brown March 17, 2010 at 11:01 am

They show up fairly often in sets of vintage sewing machine attachments. You would not only get the gauge, but other feet you can use as well!


Hillary March 17, 2010 at 11:14 am

For strip cutting, try a slotted ruler like and a rotary cutter. A while ago I cut a jelly roll of strips (light contrast against a jelly roll for a flying geese quilt) in about 15 minutes.


Dawn March 17, 2010 at 5:51 pm

So THATs what that thing is! Id better read this book so I can identify all this sewing stuff that Ive inherited from different people in my life. There might be things I need and already have.


Beth March 17, 2010 at 6:29 pm

I have a (plastic) cutting pad with bias marking on it. Line up a ruler with the width I want run a rotary cutter along it — works like a charm.Beth


MrsPost March 17, 2010 at 7:19 pm

Actually I think I have 2 of these. They work well on older styles of scissors but dont fit well on my Fiskars.I do better cutting bias tape using my rotary cutter but its a nifty doo-dad to have.


Cel Petro March 17, 2010 at 8:42 pm

The title of the book gave me the willies–I could only think of my moms 1947 Singer with the giy-normous buttonhole attachment and how many frustrating hours she spent trying to get it to work, not to mention the ruffler . But when you say it gives instructions–now youre talkin.


Solo March 18, 2010 at 1:35 am

My sister have been in sewing training. So i think im quite familiar with these. ;DSoloTravel and LivingJob Hunter


Anonymous March 18, 2010 at 12:56 pm

Re: Bias Tape. The best instructions Ive found for making continuous bias tape are the Dread Pirate Rodgers Continuous Bias web page: Rodgers explains it all and even provides the math formulas to figure out how much bias tape you can get from a given sized piece of fabric; I used her formulas in a spreadsheet.CMC


evalyn March 18, 2010 at 1:36 pm

Hemming foot. My mother had a portable sewing machine with a hemming foot when I was in high school. I loved it so much I didnt want to leave home for college until Mom said I could take the sewing machine with me. Imagine my disappointment when I bought my first machine and it did not have a hemming foot! Ive never quite go over it.


Patty March 18, 2010 at 3:51 pm

Great book recommendation, sewing machines have always confused me 😉 I think this book will help, thanks for posting!


bucktick March 21, 2010 at 10:57 am

i borrowed the book from the library. I wish the description stated how it was centered on old machine feet instead of modern machines.


Anonymous March 27, 2010 at 9:37 pm

If you like your rotary cutter over your scissors, Olfa makes a rotary cutter guide arm that does the same thing(its the last thing on the page)


Karl Kristi April 2, 2010 at 9:41 pm
Amy June 10, 2010 at 11:00 pm

Thanks for the link for the “Sewing Machine Attachment Handbook”, its very very useful to me since I have a shop of “Sewing Machines”.


Carrie June 24, 2010 at 2:16 am

Thanks for the link I borrowed the book from the library. I wish the description stated how it was centered on old machine feet instead of modern machines.


Sadie October 18, 2010 at 11:45 pm

I cut a jelly roll of strips (light contrast against a jelly roll for a flying geese quilt) in about 15 minutes.


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