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Overcast stitch question

cycler1729 | Posted in General Discussion on

I never know if it’s called overcast or overedge stitching (to look like a serged edge) but is it possible to do this type of stitch using the right foot and a zig-zag stitch if your machine hasn’t got a specific overcast stitch included?

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My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything. The perfect day: Riding a bike to the library. —Peter Golkin

Replies

  1. starzoe | | #1

    Zig-zag is your overcast stitch. With some machines there is a foot for this, but you can use the ordinary presser foot. Try out various widths and lengths of all your zigzag stitches, results vary with the fabric used.

    Also some decorative stitches can be used to work a finished edge. Try some of the specific feet and stitches, play with your machine.

    1. cycler1729 | | #2

      Thanks! The choices are very limited on my machine (which is why I've been asking all of those questions about a new one!)

      1. starzoe | | #3

        If you have only one zigzag stitch there are still a number of options using variations of stitch length and width. There is an article in today's newspaper (written by a 20-something). She is interviewing the owners of a store that sells sewing machines. Early in her article she says "in the early days the machines they sold were iron clunkers with wheels and pedals". I'll bet the owners didn't say that and I'd like to put her straight with the information that the iron clunkers are still viable, reliable workhorses, not temperamental and that a lot of them are used by professionals just for that reason. I would think that she hasn't ever been in the vicinity of any sewing machine.....she's wearing a locally produced number produced by a so-called "designer" and it makes her look like a sausage tied in the middle.BTW, apparently the quilt fad is fading and the shop's clothing and home decorating sewing classes are filled to overflowing.

        1. cycler1729 | | #4

          I think that Project Runway has created a lot or new interest in sewing.  I don't get cable but I've seen some episodes online and watching them I feel the desire to grab a bolt of fabric and create! 

          Although for many of those who sew, as you mentioned, just because it's by a designer and even if it was done for you, there's no guarantee that it will be flattering!  (It ought to be but it often isn't.)

  2. Palady | | #5

    If I may ask, are you wanting to do this because your fabric frays?  Or, is your interest more to making a sege-like seam?

    As was mentioned, might you have an overcast foot?  Your manual should have a photo of the presser feet that came with your machine.

    I'm on an unfamiliar system and am unable ot search a URL for you.  If time permits try doing one to get an idea of what this presser foot looks like on the off chance your machine is w/o one.

    It is possible to do a modified overcast with a zigzag stitch.  It will look a bit less than a true serged sttich but will work.   To my knowing any machine able to do a zz has the method to adjust the stitching. 

    It might help if you do a straight stitch line as near to the cut edge as you can manage   Then do the close together zz.  The important step in this doing is to keep the fabric moving as one piece to avoid distorting the cut edge.

    You can accomlish the moving by being certain all the material to the left of the foot is going forward as the feed dogs catch.  On a console machine, this is more readily done.  On a portable set up on a table top, or such, the drop between the machine's left edge and the surface supporting the machine can cause some dragging.

    nepa

     

    1. cycler1729 | | #6

      Definitely a sege-like seam.

      There were no extra feet available when I bought this machine but I've gotten several since I've had it but no overcast foot yet.  I'd definitely buy one if it gives me the seam that I want.  They are available on Ebay and they are about $12-$15 but if it won't work if there isn't the stitch on my machine then I don't know if it is necessary.

      I'd be using it on stretch fabrics for leotards and sweaters.  Using just the zig-zag is too wavy.

       

      1. MaryinColorado | | #7

        Some machines just don't sew knits well.  Are you using a stretch needle made for sewing knits? Some machines have specific stretch stitches, some more than others.  On a sewing machine, the "overcast stitch" often looks like a hand blanket stitch and when it swings or zigs to the side it can be at an angle or straight across.  Try adjusting the pressure foot preassure, increase the stitch length, and you may have to adjust the needle tension on manual machines.

        A serger stitch is kind of like knitting.  The needle stitches go forward, but the loopers wrap the thread from side to side like in knitting.  A serger also has a "differential" feed which is adjustable for different fabrics making the 2 sets of "feed dogs" move or feed the fabric in different ways depending on your fabric.  If the fabrics stretches or curls it can be adjusted for that.  Thus the sewing machine stitch cannot be adjusted to look like a serger stitch. 

        Some of the websites for the sewing machine companies have a guide for all the stitches available for a specific machine.  You might try looking at those if you don't have a manual. 

        The problem with buying feet that aren't specifically for your machine brand and MODEL is that they may cause problems.  The needle might hit the foot because they aren't compatible.  You could end up with broken needles or throw off the timing on your machine. 

        Hope this is helpful.  Mary

         

        1. cycler1729 | | #10

          Hi Mary!

          The overcast foot that I was looking at is for my current machine.  (There are a couple of different feet that are being sold online for my current machine that I'm considering buying.)

          My machine does sew knits well when I get everything exactly right but it's so much trouble changing the settings every time I want to sew something.  I did finally buy stretch needles - I never knew that there was such a thing!

          I guess that I keep thinking that if I've got the right tools my sewing will be better but I really think that I need a machine that does all of the adjustments for me and has all of those extra stitches.

           

          1. MaryinColorado | | #11

            I didn't think I wanted a computerized machine when I got the Viking Rose, but treated myself  because it was "gently used" and a good price.  The embroidery thing was a bonus because the machine cost about the same as a computerized one without it.  I fell in love with the computerized sewing.  It is different, hard to explain the advantages I felt. 

            If you love sewing knits it probably is worth your while to look into them.  Take a real variety of your own fabrics with you.  I think the store sample fabrics are spray starched or all firmer fabrics at the dealerships. 

            I took sheer, fleece, cotton knit, a quilted piece, velvet, silky, etc. and was so impressed that the machine adjusted itself.  It really saves time when you can tell the machine "light, heavy, woven, knit, etc." and it actually responds to that.  Kind of like magic to me.  You can over ride the settings easily too once you practice a bit using the manual.  I always buy the manuals that come with my machines.

            Now I have 3 computerized machines.  I rarely use the old manual one, poor thing is neglected and lives in the garage now.  I want to donate it to a home for unwed mothers. 

            Mary

          2. MaryinColorado | | #12

            I got a bicycle this year!  Haven't ridden since I was a child!

            I need to ride it more often, still learning to use the gears.  The weather is finally "just right" for riding. 

          3. cycler1729 | | #14

            I am so jealous of those of you who've got several machines (and the space to keep them!) Back when I was sewing a lot of leather I had a second machine (very old, heavy duty) but now I've barely got room for my 1.I rode over the Williamsburg Bridge to Brooklyn today for my pre-Jewish New Year's stocking up on food. It's a long ride but the weather was what you wait all year to get - real Autumn, clear skies, very invigorating.I had never noticed before but on the Brooklyn side there is a sign which says something like "Exiting Brooklyn - Oy Vey!". Ha!

          4. MaryinColorado | | #15

            haha, that's cool!  I'm glad you enjoyed your day!  I need to find a place that's flat to ride, it's so hilly here that I can't ride very far.  It sounds absurd, but I think I need to drive the bike somewhere to be able to ride it untill I get in better shape. 

            When I had to retire from nursing early due to health issues, I bought the serger and the Designer I to keep my spirits up.  It has been a Godsend!  A few years in bed, trying lots of medications, now off of all of those nasties, I am trying to start living again.   Baby steps.  Before long I will be giving up my studio and will once again have to figure out how to sew in a small space.  I've been spoiled having my own nice studio.  Baby steps, transition, looking forward not back, I'm ready to evolve like the dragonflys I love so much. 

            Today I embroidered a crab (cancer), a flaming basketball, a skull, and a space command, tomorrow I will embroider cross country running designs, swimming, and maybe the high school bulldog for my grandson's high school memories crazy quilt.  It had to be a crazy quilt of course because he has such a variety of interest.  Next will be related to music and art too.  A quilt of many colors and aspects of his life so far.  Hope to get it done before he graduates.  Mary

          5. cycler1729 | | #18

            I've been riding for about 32 years almost every day but hills are still hard for me - and I saw a lot of riders who were a lot younger struggling on the ramp to the bridge so I didn't feel so ancient!

            I've never embroidered but today when I was looking at my manual I saw instructions to embroider a monogram even though it hasn't got special stitches.  I'm sure that your grandson will love his quilt!

            I think that one of the things that I've noticed on this forum is that we've all got in common is varying degrees of health issues that keep us out of the "normal" world but gives us time for the things that we love. 

          6. MaryinColorado | | #19

            Have you ever dropped the feed dogs on your machine and done free motion quilting?  If so, you can also do freemotion embroidery or "threadpainting".  I can walk you through it if you're interested.

            I learned machine beading this year with instructions from Threadkoe.  Now I have several books from the library on it that I'm exploring.  Can't bead by hand, but am loving this!  Mary

          7. cycler1729 | | #20

            OK - something that I don't usually admit to - but I don't read manuals before using what I buy.  I know it's foolish but I've usually got great instincts on how to work things.  The only time that it really affects me is when I miss out on a capability that I didn't know something had - such as my machine being able to embroider!  (And I've had this machine about 20 years!)

            So I looked at the manual today and there was nothing about feed dogs but it did say to use this plastic cover piece which I guess does the same thing.  It also said to remove the foot which I'd never've thought of.

            I will need to buy an embroidery hoop before I'm able to see how it works but it is a little exciting!  I don't embellish much but I saw a hint once about embroidering a small design in the back of a garment where the front and the back look the same (and that is a lot of my clothes!).  I'd do it tone on tone just to be able to tell the difference.

            Thank you for the offer - I'd love to learn machine beading but that's a ways off.  I think that I am going to take some time to see what my machine is capable of before learning anything else new.  And I'm sure that the embroidery will take some time.

            Another question, though.  Do you use a binder foot?  I just applied binding to a mesh bag that I sewed (my new favorite fabric!) and it seems that it's be easier to use the foot and get in all done in one pass.  There is one available for my machine.  

            Susan

          8. MaryinColorado | | #21

            I use the binder foot for my serger but not the sewing machine.  There are two different ones, one just makes binding, the other makes and applies the binding at the same time.  They work great.  I also have a gadget from http://www.nancysnotions.com (Sewing With Nancy on PBS with Nancy Zeiman) that makes binding which is also a great tool.

            How exciting that you can do machine embroidery with your machine!  That means you can also do free motion quilting.  What fun!

            For the freemotion machine embroidery, I like the plastic hoops that have a spring on the side, the inside hoop is metal inside.  They hold the fabric well and because they are flatter than the wooden hoopes, easier to get under the presserfoot of your machine. 

            When I first started doing this, I was always forgetting to lower the presserfoot to engage the tensions because of not using a presser foot.  That's a biggie. You can use No presserfoot,just watch your fingers don't get in there!  Ouch, voice of experience there.  You can buy an open toe foot, a spring action quilting foot...some of those also come in clear which makes it easier to see your work.

            Be sure to get some stabilizer.  In the beginning it might help to use spray starch to stiffen the fabric.  Mostly I use the medium weight tear away, for knits there are special considerations like using an adhesive water activated or iron on stabilizer to really hold the fabric.  Some of these need to be cut away and you leave the part of the stabilizer that is under the desing.  My favorite for knits is a press on mesh from Floriani.  The trick is, the lighter the fabric, the more it needs to be stabilized.  With knits, fleece, velvets, corduroy especially the threads tend to sink into the fabric so you may need to use a water soluble topper.  Just letting you know so you don't start with the difficult things that might be frustrating. 

            Enjoy your latest adventure!  Oh, you might want to pick up a few threads made specifically for machine embroidery.  They are thicker threads than sewing threads so show up better, loosen your tensions for these. Average is 40 wt. rayon or polyester they have more sheen too. 

            Be patient with yourself and remember to have fun with this!  Mary

          9. cycler1729 | | #22

            Thank you for taking the time to advise me! I forgot that I'll need special thread and I'd never think that I had to lower the presser arm because there isn't a foot there. I've got a bunch of feet that I've never used - there might be an open one in there. The only thing bad about sewing is every time you want to work on a new discipline there are all of these new things to buy! (Not that I mind buying them - I love accessories!) I was looking at a discount catalog (Newark Dressmakers Supply or Home Sew) and I figure I'll need to spend about $120. just for necessities - and that's not including the feet.It's never easy!BTW - A while ago I photocopied an article in Threads about using regular machine stitches to embroider and now I've got a use for it! ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything. The perfect day: Riding a bike to the library. —Peter Golkin

            Edited 9/3/2009 3:02 pm ET by cycler1729

          10. MaryinColorado | | #24

            I recently finished a wallhanging using a variety of techniques, I want to post photos but they come up so huge. 

            Some things to google search or look into at the library would be threadpainting or freemotion machine embroidery or machine embroidery.  The problem with googling machine embroidery is your going to get alot of commercial stuff for the embroidery machines. 

            http://www.ellenanneeddy.com is Ellen Anne Eddy's website, she is a phenomenal artist with fabric and thread.  I've seen her work at a Quilting Museum in Golden, Co.  I have her book "Threadmagic".  She also teaches. 

            Another good way to practice might be to look through your fabric stash and see if you have printed fabrics with elements you could "trace" around with your machine stitching...or maybe a border print. 

            You don't have to invest alot at first.  I'd just get a medium weight stabilizer, maybe some embroidery needles for the sewing machine, a small colorgroup of machine embroidery thread when it's on sale.  I started with earth colors and practiced with leaves at first and foilage.  circles and ovals and heart shapes and practicing cursive writing your name.  It's the same for freemotion quilting but you use scraps of batting instead of stabilizer but you are using longer stitches for that and can use your presser feet more, you decrease the preassurefoot and maybe use qulting thread. 

            You are entering a whole new magical world of your own creation, listen to your Muse and let your imagination carry you along.  Mary

          11. cycler1729 | | #27

            Do you know anything about http://www.embroiderydesigns.com ?
            They are offering a free Fonts design program Embroidery Fonts Plus and not to buy anything that I don't need yet I'd be interested in downloading it but I don't know the site so I am concerned about safety.Did you (or anyone reading this) ever use that site?Susan

          12. MaryinColorado | | #29

            I haven't ever used that site.  The software sounds like it is for people with embroidery machines, I thought yours was a sewing machine that you can cover the feed dogs with to do free motion embroidery with?  Mary

          13. cycler1729 | | #30

            It has fonts available to copy for letters. I thought that might be easier than freehand drawing them.I went to a notions store today and bought everything I will need (I think.) Of course, getting into colors of threads will be later on.

          14. Cityoflostsouls | | #33

            Pick up a few older (70"s maybe) sewing books as they show ways to do machine embroidery-now I think people call it thread painting.  Thats what we did back in the older days-farther back than the 70's.  I made my daughters poodle skirt that way!  Automatic embroidery isn't all that fun but more perfect I suppose.

          15. MaryinColorado | | #35

            I love doing both freemotion embroidery (threadpainting) and the programmed embroidery depending on what I'm working on.   I love painting on fabric and then highlighting it or outlining and embellishing it with the free motion stitching, but I'm not very good at it yet...but it sure is fun!!! 

            I have the 4D Professional Embroidery Software and use alot of the programs in that to alter designs.  I haven't had the focus yet for learning to digitize.  I wanted to for years, but now that I finally got the software, I' dragging my feet.  Shame on me.

          16. Cityoflostsouls | | #37

            I have all the lessons and instructions for digitizing but have been dragging my feet for years (?).  My son has just taken up all my time and thoughts as he has had to come a long, long way.

            I emailed Taunton about this sign-in problem and they said we would have to sign in that way (suggested one day to the next as though that would be as often as anyone would want in). They certainly did not say it was a temporary thing.  I hope someone straightens this out.  I enter whenever I get a notice from Gatherings no matter how many times a day that might be and I'm sure our computers aren't checked into Gatherings 24-7! Or even on 24-7.  I hope everyone keeps bringing this up until someone hears us.

          17. MaryinColorado | | #38

            I do it the same way, get on here whenever I get a notice if I can.  If I haven't used the computer in awhile, I might answer alot in one day and be on and off several times. 

            God bless you and your family, you and your son are in my thoughts and prayers.

          18. Sancin | | #23

            Mary - The thread I use for thread painting is finer than regular sewing. Have I been doing it wrong? I have a Janome and I spent hours carving a notch out of a plastic hoop that would fit under the presser foot and then found a wooden one that fit! Funny how things differ, isn't it?

          19. MaryinColorado | | #25

            Sorry if I said it wrong or in a confusing way.  There's no "rules" or right or wrong threads to use really.  I just think the 30wt or 40wt rayon or polyester embroider threads show up so well and look great for most machine embroidery.  A 60 wt. cotton thread might be comparable to a 40 wt. rayon, just like in fabric, the fiber content affects the weight of the thread. 

            Actually I use every fiber I can get my hands on, the thickest I use in a needle is probably the 12wt Sulky Cotton Blendables with a topstitching needle.  But you can hand wind a huge variety of thicker things on your bobbin. You just work with the wrong side of the fabric up (facing you), you can draw your design onto the stabilizer and threadtrace it this way too.  Bonnie Lynn McCaffery has a free video on Digibobbe on her website that explains this.  http://www.bonniemccaffery.com and Threads did an article on it but I can't find the issue.  Mary

          20. Sancin | | #26

            I don't think you said it wrong, it is just that the instruction I got at a very brief workshop said use finer thread and the thread I purchase as embroidery thread is fine. I have tried heavier thread but for some reason the rayon thread (which I love) doesn't do well on my machine. I have to spend more time than I have fiddling around with it. Most projects have turned out fairly well, but taken longer than I anticipated to complete. I don't have a embroidery machine, I just free hand. Thanks for the site. I'll have to spend more time there.

          21. MaryinColorado | | #28

            the thread might be crosswound so if you put it on a horizontal spoolholder and have it look like it is flowing off a waterfall, the rayon threads might behave better for you.

          22. Cityoflostsouls | | #44

            I'm really sorry you've been in bad health and so glad things are much better for you now.

            I love to look at the photos of sewing rooms on the internet-I think the last one was on Sewing.Org.  They range from elaborate to tiny spaces with all kinds of ideas for setting  up your space from tiny on up.  I have a large room but one end is full of large stuff I can't seem to unload-try a Wurlitzer antique organ, an antique store cabinet, etc, etc.etc.  I long to spread out and bring in my antique sewing chair with a table and lamp!  I think that organ will sit there as long as I'm around!  It's free too-just move it out!!  I have a problem with claustrophobia and that organ doesn't help.

            By the way I saw on TV where Lance Armstrong is trying to bring a large Bike Race to Colorado!

            Well I need to set up my serger to make a fleece robe for Corey.  Sometimes a mistake doesn't hurt or help.  Too much time between steps-had it laid out on the fabric-delay, delay-cut it out then found out advertising took up 3 inches the whole length on one side.  Well I hadn't laid it on like I was supposed to so didn't ruin the basic robe but now I have to line the facing and the belt with something else as I don't think that advertising will look too good even on the back side!  I had to know that was there when I laid it out-anyone out there have any "wake-up pills"?? The punch line is that without that three inches I did not have enough material for the robe!  Now to look for that facing fabric!  I'm glad its for Corey-he won't care.

          23. Cityoflostsouls | | #45

            This is just a triall message.  I think I have my name messed up.

          24. MaryinColorado | | #46

            ok

          25. sewingcyclist | | #16

            Just to add in about cycling since I just created my Threads account as sewingcyclist since my two most favorite things to do are sewing and cycling (road and mountain) and I am a complete fabric and book junkie!I look forward to reading and seeing what everyone is chatting about here. I have about one hundred Threads magazines!

             

          26. cycler1729 | | #17

            Welcome!  I'm sure that you will get a lot out of this forum and meet a lot of wonderful ladies!

            Do you sew cycling gear?  Since I'm on my bike all of the time everything I sew has to be wearable on the bike. 

      2. Tatsy | | #8

        You've got two issues here. One is sewing very stretchy knits. The other is overcasting a seam.Most knits don't need to be overcast because the seams don't fray. For sewing seams on very stretchy knits, try using a simple zigzag stitch with a narrow side step and a slightly longer stitch, such as setting the width at 1 (narrowest setting) and length at 3 or higher. Experiment on scraps before you try to sew the garment.As far as overcasting the seam with a sewing machine, that was my original idea a decade or so ago, but a friend who had a serger just laughed and said there was no comparison. She's right. A serger sews the seam, trims, and overcasts all in one very speedy operation. To see the difference, talk a dealer or a friend into letting you sew a sample garment on their machine. The whole issue will go away once you've done this.As for a starter machine, Brother makes a cheap, sturdy serger that's easy to use and fairly foolproof. The instruction booklets are clear and easy to understand and they come with a video. Once I got used to sewing on the Brother serger, I plunked down the money for a Babylock Evolve and gave the serger to my daughter-in-law who's thrilled to have it. Give yourself a treat and go test drive one.If there are no sewing centers near you, they will usually let you try the machine out in Walmart, but you have to bring your own cloth or buy some there because they won't take even smallest cut from their stash to let you test the machine.

        1. cycler1729 | | #9

          OK - I see the difference now.  But I'm still not sure what an overcast foot does if the zig-zagging edges the seam. 

          If I use the overcast foot and a zig-zag stitch will that give a better edge?  Or is it only used for that stitch?

          1. Tatsy | | #13

            I don't think I've ever used the overcast foot, but the Viking's instruction book says it's to prevent puckering along the edge and lists two different ones, one for light to medium weight fabric and one for heavier weight.

          2. Teaf5 | | #31

            The overcast foot simply holds the seam allowance flat so that when you use a wide zigzag or overcast over the raw edges, the threads don't pull the seam allowance into a tunnel. 

            You can achieve the same thing by having both the top and bobbin threads at the lightest tension possible, but the overcast foot takes all the guesswork out and doesn't require any special settings or tensions. 

            I sewed for forty years on very simple machines without anything but a regular foot and a zipper foot and never really needed anything else, but it was fun to try out one that someone gave me.

          3. cycler1729 | | #32

            Thanks - I know that many of us sewed for many years on machines that just had a straight stitch and one foot and produced unbelievable garments but it's hard not to want to take advantage of new technology especially for those of us whose garments weren't so perfect.

      3. Gloriasews | | #39

        Do you have a walking foot for your machine?  That usually takes care of the waviness at the edges of knits, as it works like Mary's differential feed (like it has feed dogs on the top, too, to feed the fabric evenly under the presser foot).  I use mine on knits all the time & the stitching is very good, as you aren't stretching the fabric to cause the waviness when it's fed evenly, as happens with just the lower feed dogs.

        Gloria

        1. cycler1729 | | #40

          No walking foot but I did just get a teflon roller foot.

           

          1. Gloriasews | | #41

            Did you use the roller foot on knits yet?  I have one, too, but never use it anymore, since I got the walking foot, which cost $32.95, plus tax.  Love it! It's more reliable than the roller foot was.

            Gloria

          2. cycler1729 | | #42

            Not on knits but I did use it on leather and it worked really well.

            I know that the walking foot costs a lot which is why I've waited to buy one.  It's always - "but THIS one might be the one that I need" and then I don't use it!

          3. Gloriasews | | #43

            I found that the walking foot was certainly not a waste of money.  I, too, hesitated buying it, because of the price, but I'm glad I did.  I have a roller foot, too, but haven't used it in years.  (I bought it, thinking it was a less expensive version of the walking foot.  Silly me - it's a totally different animal).

        2. gailete | | #47

          Gloria, I use my even feed foot a LOT but never thought of using it for knits which I have a horrible time sewing. I have never seen instructions on sewing knits that suggested an even feed foot, but I'm going to try it now. What type of stitch do you use with it for knit seams? Straight, tiny zigzag, etc.

          Gail

          1. Cityoflostsouls | | #48

            I couldn't get my serger threaded right so used my walking foot and 3 mm stitch length on Coreys fleece robe and it was perfect-no problems at all.  However, I couldn't use my machine basting stitch with my walking foot.  Just had to lengthen my regular stitch.  ??  I have Bernina.

            I had no business buying it but I was in Pueblo and discovered they have the large chain bookstore (?my mind} and my stress level being high lately I bought a hat-same reason women have for buying a new hat-actually I looked at the sewing books and bought Claire Shaeffers Fabric Sewing Guide.  My reasoning was I always like books and articles that contain the little blocks of hints and she has sewing in the back of the book and I have sewing manuals.  I also have 3 pieces of fabric I don't know how to sew so thought it would be useful.  I love it but it will take forever to read through and I hate to just use it for reference.  The price was terrible (paperback too!) and when I got home I found I could have saved $13.60 by ordering it on the internet.  There is a book price war going on.  I found out today that Corey does not fit the new guidelines for disability and has been cut off completely including his medicaid so I guess this will be my last purchase for anything.  Anyway I have found the internet a good place to buy.  I love the book.

          2. gailete | | #49

            Sorry to hear about the loss of disability. That is tough. I've been having a wicked couple of weeks with no energy for anything. I know how tough it can be and then to be told 'you aren't disabled' and cut off not only from financial assistance but medical care is the pits!

            I know what you mean about getting deals on books. I have a huge reference library for sewing, but many, many of the books were bought at yard sales, library books sales and with gift cards. I could never have afforded to buy them all at full price. I love to read and love having reference books handy. This past summer my son and I found a complete encyclopedia set for $10 and only 3 years old. Hubby and I have been looking things up ever since. Last weekend I looked something up in one of the S volumes and ended up reading many of the big articles, about South Australia, South Africa, Stalin and the Statue of Liberty for example. Once I get a hold of a book I can't stop, but Claire's book is very much a reference book and not one that is easy to read straight through.

          3. decoratrice | | #51

            I have Shaeffer's sewing guide and don't even aspire to read it all.  It's my best reference book and has paid for itself many times over , yet I know there are some things I will never read or need.  So you didn't waste money, and supported a bookstore.  Good karma!  As for the frustration of being denied disability, I've heard that denial is just their routine first response, and one should get a disability lawyer.  It's worked for friends of mine.  It's a shame that they jerk people around who are already stressed to the max.  Hang in there! 

            Edited 11/2/2009 10:26 am ET by decoratrice

          4. Cityoflostsouls | | #52

            I have an attorney for Corey now since this is his second denial but it takes 16 to 18 months here to get a court date so I put him on continuous and got his medicaid card back.  Disgusting.  I haven't had time to read much of my new book but its not going anywhere!  Being a single mom really keeps you busy.  My husband used to give baths and read to the kids and generally spoil them but it gave me a breather to get other things done!  Now it's all up to me.  I hope things calm down now and I can get back to sewing.

          5. Gloriasews | | #50

            Sorry, Gail, for replying so late (I've been sick for a few days, so haven't been online). 

            As for your question, I've used both straight stitch & zigzag - it depends on what I wanted it to look like.  For hemming knits, I usually use the wider double needle, as well, & I think that's done with the straight stitch (I haven't used it for awhile), as the top stitches are straight, but underneath it's zigzag, so you would topstitch the hem (sewing on the right side of the hem) for the 2 lines of stitching.

            Gloria

  3. stillsuesew | | #34

    What no one has really answered for you yet is just what an overcast foot is. It has an opening wide enough for a zig zag stitch but it also has a thin finger on the right side. Align the finger along the raw edge of your fabric. As you do your zig zag stitch it stitches just to the right of the finger and the finger holds the stitch flat instead of letting the stitch pull or collapse to the left. When you first set up for this it is a good idea to use your hand wheel for a couple of stitches to make sure your needle clears the finger. I especially like to use the 3-step zigzag for this technique. I think that extra step in the stitch helps to keep everything lying flat. All of this is in addition to sewing the actual seam.

    1. cycler1729 | | #36

      Thank you! I think that will give me a better edge.

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