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I am a mother, a grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge was published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon

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Sunday, February 23, 2020

Vintage sewing machine attachment project: the adjustable hemmer

 Adjustable hemmer:



Concept:  Although the adjustable hemmer looks very complex it is actually quite simple. There are two parts- on the front, a hem depth measuring scale and on the back, a hem folder-underer  (hope you can follow the technical terminology). Once set up, the adjustable hemmer will turn under the raw edge of the hem allowance and situate the needle to stitch an exquisitely tiny and precise distance from that edge, while at the same time it evenly turns down the larger hem allowance – all without pre-pressing or pinning.




Uses:

The adjustable hemmer can be used to machine stitch down hems of a variety of widths without the need to press or pin first.

How it works:
The adjustable hemmer can be used with the measuring ruler engaged to fold under and stitch hems from 1/8” to 1” .





With the measuring ruler moved to the left and front, possible when the screw that attaches it is loosened, the adjustable hemmer can also be used to stitch down much wider hems, although the hem allowance will need to be turned under and pressed. The hemmer will then only turn under and stitch the raw edge of the hem allowance. Below the measuring gauge, which controls hem depth, has been moved out of the way so only the hem edge will be folded.






Tricks for using it:

Understanding how the numbers on the measuring scale work can be a bit tricky. The large screw clearly seen on the gauge can be loosened to move, and then set metal pointer to any number on the scale. Each of these numbers corresponds to a finished hem depth:

Pointer set at:                                   Creates a hem of this depth (inches)

1                                                                                                                           1/8
2                                                                                                                           1/4
3                                                                                                                           3/8
4                                                                                                                           1/2
5                                                                                                                           5/8
6                                                                                                                           3/4
7                                                                                                                           7/8
8                                                                                                                           1

(Source: A manual of family sewing machines. Guildford, Surrey: The Singer Company (U.K.) Ltd., 1963, p. 44)
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9 comments:

Jen in Oz said...

Why are these no longer included with sewing machines???

Anonymous said...

I've never seen one of these, but fascinating to learn about!

ceci

expat in Side said...

Thankyou, very interesting,you have inspired me as usual. I'm now off to check what the feet supplied with my machine actually do for a start! I normally only use two or three. Looking forward to the next post, Angela

Anne said...

How does one get the fabric positioned in the foot before starting to stitch?

I’m wondering if some photos with semi-sheer or sheer fabric would be helpful to show how the fabric folds around the foot?

robyn said...

Great idea for a series! I would love to see how you insert the fabric into the foot and get the folds started.

Jean from Connecticut said...

This is amazing. Since you started posting these bits about attachments, I pulled out my Featherweight, sorted the (many) attachments, and started planning to follow along with your posts. This gizmo looks great. I'm psyched!

Patricia said...

Wow! I have never seen this, despite a life long interest in sewing, and my father being a sewing machine retailer and fixer-upper! As another commentator says, why do they no longer give us these things??

JustGail said...

As to why these are no longer included with machines - I suspect manufacturers think "why include one foot, when you can sell them multiple feet in various sizes for extra?"

I agree with Anne and Robyn - it would be nice to have a better view of how the fabric should sit in the foot. The one photo with fabric doesn't show how it relates to the ruler and pins. I know it's not easy getting photos in the refrigerator though!

I *think* I've read a tip where you sew a few stitches, by hand is fine, and leave thread tails long enough to reach out the back to help encourage the fabric to feed through at the start. I have no idea where I may have seen that.

Sewcat said...

Thank you! There was one of these in a box of accessories I picked up at a thrift store. I knew what it was but could not figure out how to use it. Please keep it up and I will finally know how to use all the gadgets that were in the box.