Friday, August 1, 2014

Stopping at the "DOT" for set-in piecing tip

As those of you who have taken a Set-in Piecing Simplified workshop with me or used the teaching guide, Set-In Piecing Simplified may already know, not every sewing machine presser foot makes it easy to "stop at the dot"!!   Since I piece on a Bernina 1031 most of the time and the quarter-inch foot, #37, makes it easy to see right into the needle, I didn't realize what a challenge this can be with other presser feet.
In my workshops, I usually encourage students to try several different presser foot until they find the easiest one to use and achieve the "stop" easily.  What I've discovered is that isn't always possible.   
When part of the foot obstructs your view of the fabric directly in front of the needle, it can be frustrating.  So I put a different foot on my machine and set to work to find a solution.  And I think I have it!!

It will take some practice to feel at ease with it but I feel it's worth the effort to master it.  And here it is in a nutshell!

When the "obstructing" part of the presser foot connects with the "stop-dot" -- where my scissor tip is pointing -- STOP.  Now move forward one stitch at a time and counting the stitches -- one, two, three, . . .  -- until the needle arrives at or just before the dot. 
I had to lift the presser foot and crane my head around to see if I was there yet -- took a couple trials, but I finally arrived! 
And now I know with that presser foot for that stitch length on my machine, it is 4 stitches from the beginning of the obstruction to the dot.  On your machine, with your presser foot, at your stitch length, it may be a stitch less or a stitch more -- 3, 4, or 5 stitches -- but once you've figured it out, it will smooth out the process of stopping at the dot for you.

The counting didn't seem cumbersome to me -- after all, you have to be focused anyway to execute set-in piecing, so counting 4 stitches as the dot passed under the bridge on the front of this presser foot didn't slow me down.  Try it and let me know what you think!

And here's a peek at what I'm working on these days.

I think this idea will work with any piecing technique where you need to stop at a dot, whether you are using the Set-In Simplified technique discovered by one of my students, Mary O'Keefe, or not.  If you are curious about the technique, order the teaching guide!!  It's opened up a whole new world of designs for me to have a simpler way to stitch through Y-seams!!

So go try it out while it's fresh in your mind -- right now -- and leave me a comment about how it works for you.  If my instructions need to be clearer, let me know that, too.  And I'll edit this post to clarify.

Really, it will only take 5 minutes to find a piece of fabric, put a dot on it, and try it out -- you don't have to start a new project!!

Mary Huey


  1. Thats a perfect solution. I use my #37 too, but I can see where it would be a problem.

    1. I've discovered that Foot #37 spoils a piecer!! There are lots of less friendly "1/4" presser feet out there!