Wednesday, October 31, 2007

I Heart Gadgets …

… especially gadgets that work! (Blogger's photo uploading over the last few days, on the other hand, not so much. Grrrr.)

This is one of Babylock's single downturn fellers. The 1/4" version, to be exact. I have all three — 1/4", 5/8", and 1". I bought these from my Babylock dealer before I ever stumbled on "the Ebay guy" and his industrial generics. (And those of you with coverstitch machines know what an enabler I've been for him ever since!)

Every so often I consider selling these fellers on Ebay or the PR Classifieds because I really don't use them. But I always stop myself and start thinking, "What if …?" Yesterday, I was very glad I've held onto them.

I was helping DS' girlfriend with some costume sewing (which explains the pink and the pacifier fabric you'll see below). We needed to make ruffles. Miles of ruffles. OK, not miles, but almost 10 yards and the thought of hemming nearly 10 yards of strips made it seem like miles. Usually I take the easy way out when making ruffles and just fold over the strip so it's doubled and no hemming is necessary. But GF had a limited amount of fabric and to get all the ruffles we needed meant we had to cut single layers of strips. And then finish the raw edge. Urgh.

Enter 1/4" downturn feller (with a chorus of Hallelujah in the background). Now I know some of you probably own and have tried various hemmer feet for your sewing machines. And most of you have cursed the day you ever bought it/them. They do work, but they are fiddly and then in the middle of a long hem, you blink, and it goes off track. I feel your pain. ;-) Not so with these fellers. They just plain work and you can blink all you want.

The feller is attached to the bed of the coverstitch machine (here, it's just laying on my sewing table, but you get the idea). The fabric is fed into the turning-under-thingie and the feed dogs move the folded edge under the needles where it gets stitched.

This is the back side, where you can see the turning under happening. (And if you look closely, you can also see the reflection of the vent on my sewing room ceiling!)

This is what the finished ruffle looks like from the top. Yes, there are two rows of stitching at the hem and it's probably not something you'd want on your finest silk blouse, but this is cheap cotton and a costume so I think it looks just fab! And really, it's not like the hem police will ever stop me to issue a citation.

And this is the underside. The raw edge is perfectly and evenly covered by the (ahem) coverstitch. 'Tis a thing o' beauty, ain't she?

After the long strip was hemmed, I ran it through my serger with its gathering foot (another gadget I love) and voila! Perfectly gathered and hemmed ruffles. Minimal effort. And one happy GF.


  1. Do you have any tips for using a hemmer on a regular sewing machine? I should hem a bandana for my son and I've never used the hemmer before. Right now it is on the machine with the needle stuck in the material (my machine likes to do this) waiting for me to try again.

  2. I have those hemmers too and I wouldn't want to do 10 yards with them either. I have the Janome coverstitch and I too am a gadget girl. What would I look for from the ebay gadget guy in generic fellers for my Janome cs? Of course, you realize that I still haven't figured out how to use my binders yet. I don't make as many knit tops as you do and I have made tops with alternate neck finishes.

  3. Oh, by the way I am so glad that you are back to posting sewing stuff.

  4. Oh I like that gadget! I can definitely see a use for that in my sewing room. I hope you are planning on posting photos of the costumes, hint, hint. :) I bet you had fun with all that pink frilly fabric. :)

  5. OK, gotta get me a coverstich machine. Way to helpful!!

  6. Clever use of the downturn feller. And you're right, you're definitely enabler. I have two Babylock binders to prove it. But I'm wondering what the costume looked like. I mean, a pink thing with ruffles with pacifiers on it isn't exactly common. A baby maybe?

  7. Thanks for that but we have to see the costume now that you teased us!
    Love your blog

  8. I too love gadgets. . . that work! and my first thought was, do they make something like that for a serger?, sewing machine (yes, come to think of it, I DO have a couple of fellars/rolled hem feet/ whatever they elect to call them, and I agree about the sneezing) then I saw the underside and thought, well I'd want it be turned twice, or have the edge finished somehow!!! Then I realized that this was a coverstitch you're using - I don't have one, and am still a little foggy on how they work. I definitely want to be enabled however, I must have missed the post about the ebay guy. Please post the link!!! The end result looks great, and I, like you, would feel uneasy with the underside of the ruffle NOT being finished. What if that child wore the garment for dress-up on a regular basis? It would surely fray!!!


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