Thursday, 1 May 2008

April TIF - Circles and Flower Stitchers

Shortly after I purchased my new sewing machine, I was given some accessories for Christmas. Among them were a flower stitcher and a circle stitcher that were on my wish list. Neither has ever been used - until now.

The circle stitcher is very easy to assemble and use. It consists of a single strip of metal that screws to the sewing bed. The fabric is attached to a spike on a movable section that controls the size of the circle- moving it closer to the needle results in a smaller circle and visa versa. As you stitch, the fabric rotates on the spike so you stitch in a circle instead of a straight line. You can vary the look of the circle by selecting different stitches. A straight regular stitch gives, well, a straight regular circle. Selecting a zig-zag stitch with a very short stitch length creates a satin stitched circle. The three-step zig-zag gives an interesting design when set on maximum stitch width. Even the pre-programmed patterns can be used. I selected a simple pattern and started/ended the circle outside the design area to avoid matching problems. Where possible I used a hoop but found that I could only stitch relatively small circles in the hoop, for the larger circles I had to try to maintain an even tension with my hands. I deliberately selected a heavier weight fabric because I knew that it would not be possible hoop up for all of the stitching.

The flower stitch is altogether more difficult to assemble and to use. The instructions are not very clear, but once I had figured out how to attach it the first time, I found it a little bit easier subsequently. I had to attach and remove it frequently as hoop would not fit under the device.

The device has an arm that fits over the needle shaft, as the needle goes up and down it drives round a disc. Instead of securing the fabric on a spike, the fabric is clamped between the disc and the stitching bed (you have to set the pressure foot to maximum pressure) this causes the fabric to rotate.

You can control the size of the circles by adjusting the disc but there is not much variation from the smallest to the biggest circle. As with the circle stitcher, altering the stitch creates different effects, although straight, zig-zag and three-step zig-zag are the only stitches the can sensibly be used. It is called a flower stitcher because a wide zig-zag creates a design similar to a daisy. You are supposed to be able to adjust something to stitch a second circle over the first in such away to create petals but I could not make head nor tail of those instructions. To tell the truth, I was loosing patience with the device, I found it rather fiddly to adjust and use. The circles were not very precise, if the fabric so much as touched something it stopped turning causing the shape to distort.

I preferred the circle stitcher but unfortunately the smallest circle you can stitch with it is 2.5 inch diameter. I have heard that you can achieve exactly the same effect by taping a drawing pin to the sewing bed, I may give that a try.

Happy Stitching


Aussie Jo said...

You might like to check out Daledownunder blog. She has used the flower stitcher to great effect. I am still experimenting wih mine but I believe you can get more variation by moving your needle position as well.

Amanda said...

HI Carol - I've got a flowerstitcher and have been reasonably successful, but I've not heard of a circle stitcher before. Can you use it on any machine?