Dear Sewing Friends, we know that quilts are not the only sewing projects you love. We’ve devoted time and space to quilters and machine embroiderers, but what about you awesome garment makers? We have not forgotten you! The Bernina Babes know that you’re out there, sewing an adorable dress for a daughter or granddaughter, finishing that quick-and-easy jacket that all your friends will admire, or carefully adding the details to your latest cosplay creation.
There are many steps to creating a garment: choosing patterns, altering patterns, finding the right fabric and thread, cutting, pinning, sewing, pressing, and sometimes un-sewing and re-sewing and hair-pulling-out. But before you even begin, you will have a greater chance for success and satisfaction if you have the right tools in your garment sewing kit, and the most important ones, Ann feels, are the presser feet for your sewing machine.
Ann’s Favorite Feet for Garment Sewing
You can count on Bernina to have the right presser feet and accessories for sewing any project. Garment sewing is no exception, and choosing the right tool as you sew each part of a garment offers the easiest way to get the best results.
Lets’s begin by setting up your machine for basic sewing, which means straight seam stitching. Just like piecing a quilt, most garment sewing requires straight seam lines. For this task, the first thing I do is put on a Straight Stitch stitch plate.
This plate has an opening that is only large enough for a needle. Unlike a Standard Plate with its 5.5mm or 9mm wide opening, this small hole helps to keep the fabric from being pushed down into the stitch opening, and helps your fabric to stay under the presser foot and ride smoothly.
When you need to use a stitch that requires sideways movement, like a zigzag stitch, you must change back to a Standard Stitch Plate.
If your machine has a security feature, please use it to designate which stitch plate is installed–it will keep those needles from breaking! If you don’t have a security feature, a post-it note on the front of your machine is a good reminder, so that you won’t try to do a zigzag stitch with the Straight Stitch Plate installed.
Most garment patterns are sewn with 5/8” seams, and the 1/8” engraved marks on the stitch plate are a perfect guideline, regardless of which stitch plate you are using.
Bernina users have two basic general sewing presser feet, the Zigzag foot #0 or the Reverse Pattern foot #1/1C/1D .
For those sewists who have the Dual Feed feature on their machine, the #1D foot works like a #50 Walking foot. These help to control the movement of your top and bottom fabric as it feeds under the presser foot so the grain of the fabric stays true as you sew.
A favorite foot of mine for straight seam sewing, as well as sewing perfect darts, is the Reverse Pattern foot with clear sole #34/34C/34D . The red line markings and the clear plastic see-through sole of this foot lets you follow marked construction lines effortlessly.
But all garment sewing is not straight line stitching, so here are the special feature feet that I love. The Overlock foot #2/2A will give you a finished edge in places where matching thread color or sewing curved edges help you stabilize raw edges.
The Edgestitch foot #10/10C/10D is the perfect foot for finishing placket, collar, or cuffs with a close-to-the-edge stitch that echos Ready-to-Wear fashions, for a professional edge finish. It also stitches-in-the-ditch and follows a line for decorative embellishments.
Buttons and zippers are a couple of “stoppers” for a lot of garment sewers.
- The automatic buttonhole feature using the Buttonhole foot #3A has solved the button hole dilemma. Measure your button, set the machine, and sew buttonholes all day, or as many as you need.
- For zippers, I absolutely love the Invisible Zipper foot #35 . And the technique for finishing the zipper uses our old friend Zipper foot #4/4D . Two good tools working together for a faster, professional zipper application.
Maybe it’s time to add a little bit of excitement to a garment you make from a tried-and-true pattern. How about adding pintucks and some of those beautiful decorative stitches on your machine?
- Using Pintuck and Decorative Stitch foot #46C, you sew perfect pintucks, spaced evenly apart so a row of decorative stitches can be added between the tucks. For this I recommend that you cut your pattern piece wider and longer than the printed pattern, do your pintucks and stitches, then cut the piece from the original pattern.
You have it all sewn together, and embellished as you dreamed, but now you have to sew on those buttons and put in the hems. Two more feet make these last minute finishes quick and easy:
- Button Sew-On foot #18 make sewing flat buttons a cinch. Just find the button sew-on icon with the buttonhole icons, lower your feed dogs and let the machine work its magic.
- For hems, the Blindstitch foot #5 makes an invisible stitched hem, if you use matching thread in needle and bobbin. The utility stitches are the place to look for the machine setting of the blindhem stitch, and the width and length can be set appropriately for your fabric.
Bernina gives you the tools to make your garment sewing easier, and you will have the satisfaction of knowing you have an “I made it myself” that looks professionally done!
For more information on presser feet and sewing accessories, please visit Bernina USA!