I started this post before I really got into the JJ blouse… then I was having camera issues and forgot I never finished it. Here it is, illustrated at long last:

As my obsession with making my own jeans proceeds, I’ve been reading the old Pattern Review Jeans Sew-Along. It’s going to take awhile. Then there’s the winter jeans sew-along, and there might even be one ongoing. That would be exciting… I discovered the idea of sew-alongs a couple months ago, but I’ve never done one. I have learnt a lot from reading them, though. And one thing I learned from the jeans one is that there are special sewing machine feet for edgestitching and topstitching!! Did you know that? I didn’t.

Technically a blind hem foot, this works great for edgestitching and topstitching too!

I don’t know much about feet. I used my mom’s old Pfaff (which has about a million different feet) happily for years with just the regular foot. At some point I discovered the hem roller (she has two, a narrower one and a wider one. My machine has only one, a narrow one, I think). After much experimentation (and MUCH frustration) I can often get a mostly good hem off one of these, if the fabric has a very straight edge. I used it to hem my tiered skirts, because there’s way too much fabric (like, 20-30 yards of hemline) to bother pressing (or bothering about my goof-ups). I am sure my mom must’ve showed me how to use a zipper foot because I’ve inserted at least one zipper under her tutelage, but I promptly forgot and nearly gave myself an aneurysm trying to put one in with a regular foot. It only occurred to me years—and some very sloppy zippers—later to check if there was a foot that would make it easier. Back to the tiered skirts, I had read about (but never seen) a ruffler foot… I resolved to figure out if my mother had one. I picked out the biggest, most complex and terrifying-looking foot in the box (it really is a doozie… here’s a photo of mine)… and sure enough that was the ruffler foot. A bit of experimentation and I figured out how to use it, at least roughly (for example, what looks like a 2:1 ruffle ratio in a foot-long sample can be quite a LOT different over ten yards of seam)…

And now, I was reading on the jeans threads about edge-stitch and top-stitching feet. They seem to be fairly similar. The basic idea is some kind of “rudder’ that extends in front of the foot, perhaps adjustable, so that you can guide your edge or seam straight at the rudder… and thus the stitch-line is really straight parallel to that seam or edge! Remember that temper-tantrum I had about my topstitching on the Anna top? (OK, it was the least of the issues with that top, but anyway)… So I just went and looked through the feet for my machine (as I no longer have access to my mother’s glorious cache)… and lo and behold, there is such a foot!

This is the solution! Hallelujah, choirs of angels, etc. Here’s a photo of some topstitching on what will hopefully someday be the JJ Blouse (no ruffles), showing different settings from the edge. I think I like the narrower one better, but I’m not bothered enough to go back and fix it (especially since I still don’t know how the blouse will fit). In any case they’re a great improvement over the Anna top. It’s a little fiddly in that there’s no obvious markings on the foot to allow you to adjust the rudder consistently, and the screw seems a little loose, but the results at least for a small project are FINE!

In other news, it’s the fifth of May and it has now been snowing for three days straight. We haven’t had this much snow since February. Possibly not even then. We sure needed the moisture, and I know snow’s really less of a pain then rain… but it’s May, dudes. I’d rather have rain.


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