Thursday, July 13, 2017

A Sticky Situation

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been preparing for a series of workshops I’ll be leading during a trip to Alaska next month. Alaska isn’t exactly around the corner for me, here in Syracuse, so I’ve been engaged by three guilds who will take advantage of my being in the area.

For their workshop project, one of the guilds has chosen the "Sneaky Peek Project Pouches" from ScrapTherapy The Versatile Nine Patch. It's a really fun project!

To prepare for the class I’ve been making the smaller of the two sizes in the book to illustrate the various stages in the assembly process. There’s a fair amount of scrap sewing, using the Middle Scrap Grid Interfacing to make 3-1/2” 9-patch blocks (have I mentioned that all three interfacing sizes, Mini, Middle, and Little Scrap Grids come in 10-panel packs?)

Once the 9-patches are sewn, they are ‘wonkified’ with a bit of trimming.

There’s a vinyl window involved in the construction. This project is designed so you can store in-progress blocks, embroidery, cross-stitch, supplies -- or whatever -- and see what’s inside the pouch.

For most of the construction, the vinyl is in between layers of fabric, but there’s one seam that requires that the vinyl interact directly with the presser foot. And this is where things *can* get a little sticky.

You see, metal presser feet and vinyl get along swimmingly. Unfortunately they get along SO well that they have a tendency to stick to each other. This is a problem if the metal presser foot can’t advance because it’s stuck to its best friend, vinyl. All you get is the needle going up and down in place, creating a hole in the vinyl that can’t be mended. Or worse, a line of close together little holes that form a big hole. Not good.

(How do you like those neon green nails - hey, it's summer, a girl's gotta have some fun!)

There are a few solutions to this sticky situation. One is to buy a teflon presser foot. But I really want to use my walking toot because this particular seam has about a ka-jillian layers. I could also insert tissue paper between the presser foot and vinyl. I’m sure there are a few other savvy options to keep presser foot and vinyl from being best friends while you’re trying to sew . . .

The solution I prefer is to use a little common painters tape. If you cover the presser foot guides then metal and vinyl won’t meet. However there’s a trick to this . .

You don’t want to cover the parts of the presser foot that keep the layers of fabric moving forward (red arrows) . . . . only the metal parts.

So get your scissors out and gather a little bit of patience and cut really skinny strips of tape to cover each presser foot ‘glide.’ I equate it to Goldilocks putting socks on her skis. You don’t want the socks to be too big, or too small, but ju-u-ust right!

This should create a happy relationship between metal and vinyl and keep your stitches nice and even . . . unless your socks fall off!

Happy Stitching!
Joan Ford


  1. Thank you for writing about how to avoid vinyl sticking to metal feet. The only solution to this problem I could find searching the internet was to buy teflon feet, NOT something I wanted to pursue.
    I hope that your trip to Alaska will be wonderful.

    1. Thanks Kim! Glad you found this article helpful!