Not so much a sewing lesson I guess, but sometimes getting to know a new tool that can save you time – thus money is nice too.
This little tool is called a 1/4″ hem roller (you can actually buy them in different sizes I believe, but not by much). You would use this for napkins, sheer fabric hems, some curtains. Places you’d see both sides of the fabric so you want as little hem showing as possible or as light weight as possible.
You can do these hems by hand, but trust me, as someone who has done this by hand on yards-and-yards of a hem – get the foot!
You need to start out by doing a quick, very close to the edge straight stitch. This keeps the fabric from stretching as you sew with the roller foot and give the fabric something to roll around so to speak. You’ll want to leave the thread tails for something to hold onto to pull the fabric through in the beginning since it won’t want to feed by itself. It’s also useful at the end so you can keep the fabric feeding through the foot and won’t pop out.
Attach your nifty little foot, set the needle to just barely catch the fabric curl (it’s about a 3 on my machine) and feed the long threads you left through first. If you just set it under there, it sort of self feeds itself into the foot. Do make sure that the thread from the needle and bobbin are fed through the bar AFTER the curl or the fabric won’t go anywhere. You’ll have a lot of thread coming out the back of the foot – it’s ok, you’ll cut it off when you’re done. Set the foot down right before the fabric and start the fabric through. You’ll want to start slightly before the fabric, but not much. Pulling gently letting the fabric curl through the foot.
You can see it curling itself here.
It works best for me to pull (very gently) with my left hand and guide with my right for this. You’ll want to play around to find the “sweet spot” for guiding the fabric in that get’s the best roll. It’s usually slightly to the left for me. If it’s a long enough piece of fabric you can just hold your hand in one spot letting the fabric slide through.
This is what will come out of the other side.
Sorry for the bad photo. Odd angle.
It ends up being very neat and clean if you do it right. You may end up with a few spots where it didn’t tuck the fabric all the way up and you’re left with a slight raw edge. You can go back through with small scissors and cut those spots off – being careful NOT to clip the folded edge of the sewn fabric.
This does take practice, but’s well worth the time and it’s well worth the $20 for the foot!