Sunday, September 27, 2020

Getting to know Bernard

 Don't know who Bernard is? You can meet him in the post Meet Bernard.

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Bernard and I have had a lot of sewing time to get to know each other the last month. (I can't believe it's been a month already!) I've learned a few things and I want to share them with you.

The quarter inch foot. What an amazing invention. I loved the one I had for Princess Lily and was happy that there was one included with Bernard. The difference with the feet is that the Baby Lock Brilliant foot has a guide that sticks out in front. This took a bit to get used to, but I think I've got it figured out.

By the way, the accuracy of the foot is ah-mazing!

The first time I experienced an issue was when I was making a square in a square unit. The first two seams sewed up beautifully. The problem began when I went to sew the third and forth seams.

The little bit of extra fabric at the end of the seam gets pushed and bunched up and doesn't feed under the needle well at all. It was frustrating to lift the presser foot and adjust. So, I went to Instagram. MaryMackMadeMine  shared a quick tip that changed how I use Bernard. The knee lift. What?!

I really thought I would only use the knee lift for quilting. I don't know why I had that thought, but it's not something I believed would be used a lot.

Now you're probably thinking, "Jen, you are still lifting up the presser foot." True, but I'm not reaching all the way around to the back to do it. This leaves my hand open to use the next tool to make this experience better.

That Purple Thang. I use this tool for so much. It's great for poking out corners (I've used it on every mask I've made) and, as it turns out, getting fabric to feed through nicely.

The next problem to solve was sewing Flying Geese and Half Square Triangle units. If you have followed the Monthly Color Challenge and watched the videos you know I like to mark one line and sew. The guide is actually very helpful in following the line. The biggest challenge is keeping that corner of fabric on the second square from flipping up.

Last, for the moment anyway, are the pins. Having the guide in front of the actual quarter inch foot means that it reaches the pin before the needle crosses the seam. Enter the knee lift. That thing is going to wear out. Ha!

I sew until I hit the pin, take one more stitch, then lift the presser foot. The pin goes under the guide and I can sew until my needle crosses the seam and I can take the pin out. Easy peasy and we're back in business.

Does you machine have a quarter inch foot with a guide and or a knee lift? Do you use the foot, or have you put it away because of the same issues, or different ones? What about the knee lift? Love it or hide it? Let me know in the comments!

Happy Stitching!


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  1. Yes, I have a quarter inch foot but don't use. I prefer to move the needle to the right to quarter inch minus one thread from the edge of fabric. I have more fabric under the foot. I sew a lot with quarter inch as I sew blocks together.
    Love your monthly challenge.

  2. My new machine, a Juki, has a quarter inch foot that makes seams just a little bit too wide so I invested in a 'swing gauge' that can be adjusted and, as the name suggests, be swung out of the way when stitching HSTs etc. And I do have a knee lifter but can't use it on my drop bed sewing table as the machine slips sideways every time I use it!

  3. I love the knee lift! I wish all machines had one!

  4. wow . what a pop of color . aesthetically pleasing . thank you


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