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

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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: http://www.random-charm.com/?p=747Amy

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dulcet March 17, 2010 at 8:52 am

Bias cutting guide made me groan!

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Sheila March 17, 2010 at 10:05 am

Looks like a great book! Thanks for the review.

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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!!

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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!

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Hillary March 17, 2010 at 11:14 am

For strip cutting, try a slotted ruler like http://www.joann.com/joann/catalog/productdetail.jsp?CATID=cat3546PRODID=prd2856 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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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

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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:http://pir8.freeservers.com/quilting/CBT/Shelly 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

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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)http://www.olfadeals.com/rotary-cutters.html

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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”.

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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.

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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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