Free Motion Quilting Madness

 by thequiltingpatch on 08 Feb 2017 |
7 Comment(s)
My friend Rach is kind of excited that Im blogging. She eggs me on, saying " thats the sort of thing you should put on your blog!" " People want to know about you and the stuff you do"

If you havent worked it out, Im a reluctant blogger. Its not that I dont have stuff to yak about, but where would I begin...or stop. 

So Im going to begin right where Im at now., and I guess youll get to know my beginnings along the way. 

One of the exciting things Im doing right now is converting an old industrial sewing machine into a free motion quilting sit down machine. 

I bought the machine off eBay a few years back with the intention of sewing school uniforms for my kids' school. That happenend for a while. Then I got too busy in the shop to keep it up, and since then my Singer has had nothing to sing about. 
I've been looking at it thinking "I must sell that" - it takes up too much room and really isnt earning its keep. So when I sat at it a week back, I thought Id run some fabric through it and get the tensions nice, just in case I mustered up the energy to list it on eBay or Gumtree. 
Something pinged in my head at that point. "Without feed dogs this thing would free motion."
I think it was my dad's voice I heard.

My dad worked for Leon Cutler from 1949 to 1952. Leon Cutler was a Sydney based fashion designer who made ready to wear clothing for women entering the workforce.
They made stylish blouses, skirts and suits.
Dad was his cutter at the ripe old age of 19, and by 22 was his executive manager, pretty much overseeing his factory. 

Photo courtesy of Tom McEvoy  House of Darlington 

More than once he told me if they had specialised jobs he would go around and remove all the feed dogs of the machines. Funny the info you retain!!

Ok so that was the feed dogs out. Then I had a little dig around in the drawer for a darning foot.
I think dad said they never used a foot?? Not sure I could fmq without one. 
No luck in the drawer - these old industrials only come with a couple of feet!

HA!   Another lightbulb moment. The Westalee Ruler toe foot is just a screw on adjustable contraption. And so is my Janome adjustable foot. And guess what - they both worked. So now I have the capacity to have both an open toe and a ruler foot for ruler work. 

Westalee Ruler Toe Foot - its the high special size, designed for the semi industrials like the Juki, Pfaff Grand Quilter,
( and my Husqvarna Mega Quilter. )

Convertible Free-Motion Quilting Foot Set #767433004 For Janome 1600P Series,( and my Husqvarna Mega Quilter)

The ladies who have attended my fmq classes will attest to the merits of a slippery mat under your work and some of them have been using BBQ mats. These are usually used to keep your BQQ clean and are much cheaper than the purpose made fmq mats. So off I went to Bunnings... a little hole punch for the needle and some masking tape later, et voila!

Here is my costing... 
Second hand Industrial machine                 $300
Westalee Ruler toe foot ( High Special)         $55
Janome Free motion foot set                       $80
Non stick BBQ mat                                     $ 9.95

Total price of set up $ 444.95. Thats a VERY cheap FMQ set up. 

I know it will take me 6 months to get to know its tension idiosyncrasies. Right now its behaving itself with Rasant and Signature threads. When Im feeling brave and patient Ill play with some other thinner threads, but for now thats a win. 



Jan Brunton - Comment
Jan Brunton08 Feb 2017Reply
Well done Danni. Hope you sort the thread out soon. It is amazing the things that your parents said that you remember "just in time"
Denise - Comment
Denise08 Feb 2017Reply
What a brilliant idea, well done! You're very clever, and how nice to special have light job moments.
Jan Dendy - Comment
Jan Dendy08 Feb 2017Reply
Awsome blog, interesting content, relaxed comversational style, well done Danni you're a natural!
Nerida - Comment
Nerida08 Feb 2017Reply
Way to go, Danni!
Joan Boland (aka Joan Prentice) - Comment
Joan Boland (aka Joan Prentice)08 Feb 2017Reply
Well done Danni. I love that Leon Cutler coat.
Amelia  - Comment
Amelia 27 Feb 2017Reply
I loved this story I was wondering an holding you're get it going,an it probably will proforma better than some new ones ,because I believe they made things to last in older days ,ha look at us .
Erina Noble - Comment
Erina Noble04 Nov 2019Reply
Wow what a wonderful idea. I have been using a long arm quilter with a 3 meter table for some years and just setting the quilt up on the rollers kills my back before I even start with any detailed quilting. I tried out a sit down quilter and was thrilled with the result and also thrilled with the fact that my back didn't give in so much, then I had to think about the price, even if I sold my long arm (mid arm AND with a brindabella frame) I would not be able to afford one. However I do have my industrial straight stitcher (Juki) I think I will give it a go and see if your idea works on it.
Thank you

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