How to organize those presser feet

Hey, look at this, a post about something OTHER than crochet.  Sewing has been a lifelong passion, and even though almost all I want to do is crochet nowadays, I still get a lot of pleasure from sewing.  And it’s a truly useful skill, especially if you life with a Man whose clothes need mending regularly.  So anyway, today’s discussion is about small parts, specifically, small sewing machine parts and how to keep them organized, so you know what you have and what each thing does.

How many of you find something like this at the bottom of your sewing box?

piles o' presser feet

Okay, I actually don’t, but that’s because Monica Geller took organizational lessons from ME.

Monica can't sleep in a messy apartment

But what do you do when you have several of these little boogers (several presser feet, not several little Monicas) and you’re creating something that would be much easier with a special presser foot?  Do you even know if have it?

I’ll sound completely backwards here and admit that until recently I had no idea whatsoever of the world of creative presser feet.  Yep, I’ve been doing it the hard way all these years, even though my old, trusty machine came with 3-4 of those little things. I never looked them up to see what they did, seeing as I got them before the internet was the virtual library that it is now.  (This is what happens when you haven’t taken a sewing class since 1985.  What, you mean mattresses aren’t stuffed with straw anymore?)  So after a fubar’d conversation with a clerk at my local sewing store, I ordered a precious few, but life-changing, presser feet from Ebay.

ooooo, ahhhh, presser feet on Ebay

you can tell this is an old screen cap because they’ve changed their logo

When they came in and I took a look at what I already had, I knew there would be no way I could remember what each squiggle of metal was and all the neato things it did.  So I did what I do when faced with a similar problem: I got organized.

* tiny baggies from your stash (if you don’t already have these, jewelry supply stores are a good place to look)
* a website that shows which presser foot does what (I found Ebay most helpful with this task)
* a printer and/or some plain paper
* scissors for paper
* a decent pen, because life’s too short to write with a crap pen

Dig up all your presser feet from your sewing box, your machine cabinet drawer, the crevices of your couch, the toes of those beautiful boots you never wear… wherever small pieces always wind up.  Find a website that can help you identify what your presser feet do.

you can read here what they are for

you can read here what they are for

Click-and-drag the images onto your desktop then paste them into a Word doc.  Size them down so they’re pretty small, about the size of your tiny baggies so you don’t have to fold them up, and include several on each page.  You can add text using your computer or wait to write the names yourself.  Print out and cut apart each image.  Add any handwritten notes to the printouts you’d like, ‘specially if you can’t figure out how to do it in Word.  (Me? I use Photoshop for that stuff, but I assume not everyone else has spiffy graphics apps.)

labeled pictures of my presser feet

labeled pictures of my presser feet

Aside –> Some of my groovy new presser feet need a shank adapter to be used with my machine.  I typed a note into a Word doc that said something like, “Hey, remember to use that shank adapter with this one!”  I copy-and-pasted this text several times on a 3-columned page, and cut those out to add to those baggies along with that identifying slip of paper.  You could also notice things like that BEFORE you print out those initial labels so you could add the text to them instead of using a whole brand new piece of paper and even more toner.  Ahem.  Anyway.

If you don’t have a picture to print out, or your printer’s broken, just write the name on a small slip of paper and trace around the foot with a decent pen.  You’ll want the name of the foot so you know you’ve pulled out the right one, as well as the image of it so you can put it back in the right bag if you’ve gotten out several feet for a project.  I can’t remember anything anymore so need all the reminders I can get my paws on.  What were we talking about?  Oh, yeah, presser feet.

you want a nice pen for this, because crap pens are crap

you want a nice pen for this, because crap pens are crap

Lay out all those small, cut-up individual slips of paper onto a good working surface. Pile up the presser feet.  Make sure your cat doesn’t get up on the table else you’ll be finding those presser feet at 3am when you pull them out of your bleeding foot.  Then play Matchy Matchy and put the right presser foot on the right slip of paper.  Put that paper & foot into a tiny baggie so that you can see the name of the foot on the outside of the bag.

all tidy in baggies

Oh, how I LOVE tiny baggies!

Voilà!  Now you’ll never have to wonder again if you do indeed own a rolled-hem foot.  Or a pintuck foot.  Or an overcast foot… you get the idea.


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