(Sewing) Feets don’t fail me now!

A number of ‘feet’ came with my sewing machine (Janome 6260QC) but I really didn’t know what they were for or how to use them… so I went looking for information. Some of what I found is specific to Janome but hopefully users of other brands will pick up something useful.

Janome’s US website has a great range of video tutorials on how to use various feet – they are short and easy to view (you’ll need to disable your pop-up blocker – the videos pop up in a new window).

I also invested in a Kindle version of ‘The Sewing Machine Attachment Handbook’ by Charlene Phillips

which is great for pictorial explanation. I particularly like viewing this type of book via my iPad because I can zoom in on the pictures and really ‘see’ what the foot looks like. The book is very comprehensive, covering the history of attachments (which is quite fascinating…really!), determining your shank type (the shank is the ‘leg’ that feet are attached to – shanks are typically either high or low), how to clamp attachments to your machine and finally, how to use your attachments. I had a number of ‘aha’ moments reading through this book.

But the best ‘footwear’ resource I’ve found, to date, is an iPad App called ‘FootBook’,

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created by the owners of Online Sewing. I don’t have any connection to them but I do like this app! (it’s also available in DVD format). It’s specifically targeted at Janome users and is similar to the Janome video tutorials but provides more information and allows users to highlight the feet that they have as well as create a ‘wishlist’ of feet.

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Below is a list of the feet that I have. This makes it easy to quickly check how to use my ‘feet’ without having to wade through the entire catalogue. I’ve also created a ‘wishlist’, printed it and casually pinned it to the kitchen noteboard… in case anyone is looking …

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For each foot, the app provides, on one easy-to-read page:

  • an overview of how the foot fits on various machines (high or low shank, mechanical or computerised)
  • description of the foot’s intended use
  • how to use the foot
  • additional uses – this section is the most valuable to me – I knew that feet could be used in many ways, but needed some hints. The screen shot below describes how to use the cording foot for gathering…never would’ve crossed my mind to use it this way!

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In addition to the text, they provide a link to a video of each foot in action. The videos are clear, well-presented and easy to apply, with the iPad set up next to my machine. The video on how to use the rolled hem foot significantly saved my sanity! I also learned of another, more effective way to insert invisible zippers. Bonus!

So, I feel like I’m getting better on my ‘feet’….

Are there any ‘feet’ resources that you recommend?

PS. After I initially posted this, I got curious about where the phrase “feets, don’t fail me now” came from…we say it as we fly out the door when late for something. Here’s what Wikipedia has to say: Origin: Catch-phrase that possibly originated during the vaudeville and chitlin’ circuit days. Spoken by several Afro-American actors in motion pictures of the 1920s to 1940s, usually when scared by a ghost or such (whereupon the character scooted). Delivered by actor Willie Best (1913–1962) in the 1940 Bob Hope film “The Ghost Breakers”[citation needed]; delivered by actor Stepin Fetchit (1902–1985) in several films[citation needed]; often attributed to actor Mantan Moreland (1902–1973).[citation needed]

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19 comments

  1. Wow, your post could not have been more timely! I also have a Janome which is new, and I think I will love it, but who knows? This app would be a lifesaver. Must look this up! Thank you so much.

  2. I love that book, I have a paper version. I had no idea there was a kindle version. And the APP – I am off to download it now, thanks for highlighting it!

    • Hi Andrea, I was surprised at how many good sewing references are available on Kindle. Eg Sarah Veblen, Nancy Zimmerman, Clare Schaeffer and Kenneth King. Like I said to the post, I like being able to zoom into pictures…which you can’t do with a book. Having said that, I still love paging through a beautiful glossy sewing reference book!

  3. Great app Anne. Thanks. Even I could learn something from it! 😉

    I have a book, which I believe is now OOP, called “A Step by Step Guide to Your New Home (Janome) Sewing Machine” by Jan Saunders. It has a encyclopaedia of sewing feet for the Janome. If you ever see it, it’s worth having a look at. Or I could lend you mine. 🙂

    • Thanks Alison! You are the best “feet meister” I know! I’ll have a snoop on the web to see if I can find a copy…if not, would like to take a look at your copy! Will let you know what I find.

  4. Cherry,

    Great post! Feet are awesome and, I think, a little underapprecited for the job they do. Bernina has scads of them. I’m almost afraid to venture out into that realm simply because the last thing I need is another addiction. Having said that, I did recently purchase a ruffler/pleating foot and it is OMG easy and awesome to just watch it do its thing!

    Best from Houston
    Dorcas
    (Art Attack)

    • Hi Dorcas! I’ve heard ruffler feet are scary looking but heavenly to use! I agree, feet are perhaps under appreciated! But no longer now that I know more about what they can do!

  5. Reblogged this on WolfChild designs's Blog and commented:
    This blog post makes me want an ipad even more. Oh the things you can learn with the internet. I’m interested in learning more about the different feet I have for my machine now. I know I’m not taking advantage of them the way I could.

  6. Alison leads me astray with feets, now you lead me astray with books, paper or otherwise. Where will it end, but what fun. Are you planning running classes, and I am not kidding. Looking forward to you coming in to ASG next.

  7. I must be one of the last people on earth without a smartphone / tablet / thingymajiggy. I’m with wcdesigns comment above …. I really wanna new gadget to help me figure out sewing whatnots. :o)

  8. Pingback: CherryPix : SewingPix

  9. Hi Cherry, thank you for sharing about the Footbook App. I just bought it. I have a Janome – guess now my next machine will be a Janome as well. The rolled hem is a skill I have in my sights to master soon. Life has been getting in the way of my sewing of late. I will check out that book as well. Do you read it on your iPad?
    Art Attack in Australia is a tv show produced by our ABC much like Mr Maker- currently out of production but old copies can be found at opportunity shops and I think it still airs on daytime tv…

    • Hi again CG. I love my Janome machines (6260QC and MyLock 644D). I think they are perfect for a newish-but-learning-fast sewer! As for rolled hems…watch the video on Footbook a few times, take a deep breath and practice….a lot! I eventually got the ‘feel’ and rhythm right. Re: sewing books on the iPad – I have quite a few – as well as the Threads Archives. They’re a fabulous treasure trove to dive into when I have a moment between meetings or sitting in airports/on planes. I have yet to tire of reading about anything to do with sewing! Re: Art Attack in Australia…I don’t know that one (I am not much of a TV watcher)


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