General Notes on Circular Attachment Use
I've been using a circular attachment on my sewing machine, and these are a few of the things I've noticed.
- Make templates for planning. Just run some paper (an old magazine is perfect) through the attachment without thread in the needle. Use a short stitch length - around 1.5. You can stitch several sheets at the same time. Make a few circles at each measured setting. The needle will perforate the paper and you can then remove the circles and label them with the correct size setting. Lay them out on your fabric to plan your designs. Keep templates in a ziplock bag for future reference.
- Make an x with basting stitches at the centre of your planned circle. This gives you a marker for where to place the tack. If you need to remove the tack to trim an appliqué you have the spot marked for reinsertion.
- When stitching down an appliqué, move your needle a few clicks to the inside of centre. When you go to cover the edge with a decorative stitch, the raw edge will better fit inside the stitch itself.
I use an awl to smooth the fabric lightly as I sew. It helps keep the circle accurate. Don't pull, let the machine do the work. If you note fabric getting unruly, stop and lift the presser foot so it can relax again.
Duck bill scissors are perfect for trimming appliqués or grading seams, or trimming hems.... Get a pair. You won't regret that purchase ever.
- You can apply identical appliqués to both sides of the fabric at the same time! Rough cut the shapes with at least 3 cm extra around the outside. Find the centres of both pieces and baste your placement X through all layers. I'm working with a quilt sandwich and it provides excellent stabilizing. Experiment to find what will work for you. Sew your shape down, being aware of what is happening on the reverse side. Check underneath occasionally to make sure nothing is flipped out of place. A little Steam a Seam or fabric glue would be very helpful.
- Make a note of which stitches work well. You may want to mark suitable appliqué stitches in particular, as these are more important to get right. If your manual has a list of decorative stitches, make a copy of these pages or mark in the book for future reference.
- As you move to tighter circles, choose narrower stitches.
- Always check to see what foot each stitch requires, whether interfacing is required and if IDT should be engaged. This can make a world of difference. IDT is not recommended, but I say that's up to how things go.
- Try using several rows of straight stitch together, moving the needle position several clicks in either direction.
- Watch for stitches that aren't stitched in a central needle position. If you are appliquéing an edge, this will be a problem.
- Decorative stitches that require back and forth movement probably won't work as well. Stitches that are boxy probably won't make the curve either.