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  • i need a sewing machine that can

    do free style machine embroidery. ive seen kirsty do it on tv but when i took my little sewing machine to a sewing machine shop to get the foot needed he said the machine didnt have the thing needed to do it so i couldnt attach the foot. he said it would gather and get mangled , so i need a new sewing machine but dont want to spend a fourtune. so how do i know when looking a machines online what one will do this free style embroidery? or what it the best machine that can do about 25 ish stitches and also do this embroidery.

  • #2
    Well you don't actually need a foot, all you need to do is slip the feed dogs or cover them (the feed dogs are the little teeth that help move fabric past your foot) remove the foot and let rip. Poppy Treffrey often works without a foot and she uses ancient Singer machines.

    Sit and practice on spare fabric, calico worked well for me... you know that you have got it when you can write your own name



    • #3
      Roslet is quite right; you are able to do free-motion embroidery on almost any machine in good working order.

      If you can drop the feed dogs, that may help; alternatively you could get a feed-dog cover plate if you think you need it. Many people do fme with the feed dogs raised, though, and just turn the stitch length to zero.

      You may find that a 'bouncing needle' helps if you don't want to use, or can't find, a darning foot; placing your fabric in a (perfectly ordinary, cheap) embroidery hoop and tensioning it well saves wear and tear on your wrists and helps keep your fingers away from that possibly-unguarded needle.

      What sort of foot does your machine take - is it a snap-on or a screw-on foot? I do find that a darning foot helps me on all my machines when I do fme, and feet aren't terribly expensive things.

      Whether you use a foot, or a needle on a spring, or no foot and a normal needle, don't forget that you MUST lower the presser foot lever as that ensures tension on the top thread; if you forget to lower it you will just get tangles.

      There are lots of good videos on you-tube and tutorials on the net. I bet your local library has books about it, too.


      • #4
        hi ladies
        thanks so much for the replies. you are a wealth of knowledge. i have a great little sweing machine by new home which i think is janome. i bought it second hand for £10 last year and although it only does 15 stitches it runs like a dream. its a snap on foot. i wanted to add the attachment the bounces around and the man in the sewing shop said i didnt have some part that took this attachment when he opened it up where the bobbin goes to have a look. do you think missunderstood what i wanted to do? he said i needed a janome and the cheapest he had that did what i wanted was £169. i have to admit when i saw kirsty allsop doing it on tv she did have a janome machine. so do you think i need to try another sewing machine shop? eena do you know of any good sewing machine shops in the north of england?


        • #5
          He misunderstood or wanted a sale!

          Try setting your stitch length to 0. This means that whilst the teeth will still work they won't move the fabric, leaving you in control. Many of the quilters and fabric artists do that as on some machines it may help keep the stitching neat and the belt running true (techie bit probably not necessary to have typed that, sorry). Many also don't bother with any foot at all.

          Using a hoop to add tension on thinner materials will make the stitching much prettier and avoid lots of snagging, it will also save your fingers, as eena said. If you move on to thicker stuff then you won't always need the hoop. Apparently after practice you just 'know' this stuff!

          I am brand new to free motion and just lept in at it - after reading a book or two

          It makes much more sense when sat at the machine doing it! The worst that can happen is that you will sew up a mares nest or snap a needle.

          If you want a book try Poppy Treffry's Free and Easy Stitch Style - she is very reassuring.

          Alternatively Nell's Embroidery has a nice beginners guide - it really is all you need to get started link

          Have fun!
          Do not watch this space


          • #6
            The bloke who told you you didn't have the right bit in the bobbin area was talking through his - I'll be polite - his back bottom orifice.

            Or he knows nothing at all about freehand embroidery. I have an elderly New Home (among several others!) and it is an absolute tank of a machine, it will go anywhere and do anything.

            The only thing with fme is that it takes practice. Practice, practice, practice. It's great fun, though; just set up your machine somewhere that's not in the way and have a wee practice whenever you have ten or fifteen minutes to spare.


            • #7
              well i just cant thank you all enough. i feel so inspired and not to mention reassured. i was starting to panic as i have paid to do a one day free style machine embroidery course in march and was thinking id not be able to do it as my machine wouldnt work.
              i still think ill save for a new machine as id like one that does different stitches and one i can "grow into". id like one that does at least 40 different stitches and one step button holes. can you craft experts recommend a particular make and model. also is it worth a risk buying second hand. is there anywhere in the north of england selling sewing machines that know what they are talking about and dont just want a sale.


              • #8
                There are certainly lots and lots of places in and around Manchester and Lancashire which sell both new and 2nd hand machines and which are concerned that you the customer is entirely happy with their purchase, and if you are unsure they would rather you go away to think about it.

                I know of shops selling both top of the range new and refurbished machines, and ones which sell older machines at around £50 (with 3 or 6 months shop guarantees), AND ones which sell good basic machines, BUT no-one who really knows machines will recommend a specific one, as you need to 'test drive' whatever is on offer to see how you feel with it. You wouldn't buy a car - new or 2nd hand - without taking it on a rest-drive first, would you?

                I have several machines, from a TOL computerised embroidery/sewing machine to a very elderly hand-crank machine. They all have their place in my armoury.

                With the type of machine you have, you could use a bouncing needle, if you like, ir a snap-on darning foot if you felt the need to use a foot (I use a foot largely to prevent my putting my fingers under the needle!) but you don't need to ...
                Spring needle
                Freehand/darning foot
                Last edited by eena; 31-12-2012, 07:15 PM.


                • #9
                  Hi, just thought i would add my bit as i have wanted to try FME for ages, so yesterday after hunting for the new frame i bought to do it, i gave up and just lowered the dogs on my machine and went ahead, i've got a lot to learn and am going to enjoy every minute of it as i am already hooked. I have bought the Poppy Treffy book and i am slowly working my way though it. Just whip off your machine foot, lower your dogs and give it a go.........good luck x
                  Life is too short to wonder "what if"



                  • #10
                    Ive been trying to to fme for the last few days too.After seeing Kirsty doing it Ive wanted to try.I finally worked out how to drop the feed dog teethy things and gave it a try with a hoop.
                    But it doesnt work.I do a stitch to get the bobbin thread to the top but after that it just doesnt pick up the bottom thread. What am I doing wrong!!


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