Hi! This is Trish Frankland from QUILTchicken and I’ve taken over Kim’s blog today as part of Sam Hunter’s Back to School Blog Hop. My topic today is the STRAIGHT-STITCH THROAT PLATE for your sewing machine.
I have an older Pfaff (a 7570) that I adore – except that it’s prone to jamming the tips of my stitching down into the bobbin case and chewing them up rather than stitch a nice clean seam. Sometimes this happens right at the start of a seam, but it invariably happens when I offer triangle points – my Pfaff monster snacks them down like Doritos!
I know quilters who start and end every seam with a little scrap of fabric to avoid this problem – heck, Bonnie K. Hunter even wrote an entire book on how to make the most of those “leaders and enders.” And lots of people hold the tail ends when they start a seam – which is really just playing tug-of-war with the monster. I kept wishing there was a better answer. And there is.
Take a look at the bed of your sewing machine: see the slot where your needle goes up and down through to your bobbin case? It’s shaped like a slot because your machine has all those fancy stitches and to sew them requires left-and-right needle action. That wiggle room is the portal that allows the monster to eat your piecing.
We can replace that throat plate with one designed for straight stitching – it has a small hole for the needle passage, rather than a slot. It’s an available option for most machines (the plates snap off and on super quick for changes on the go). Check with your brand dealer.
Instantly, no more tears! Well, almost no more tears: because if you forget you have the straight stitch throat plate on and try to zig zag there may well be crying. You’ll break a needle INSTANTLY.
Some manufacturers put a red dot, an icon, or some reminder that you have the straight stitch throat plate on. Perhaps you’d like to add a fancy fingernail polish stripe to the front edge to remind yourself. Mine doesn’t have that, and I’ll admit that one night it took me 3 needles and a whole machine rethread before I figured out what the problem was: You can’t change the needle position with the straight-stitch plate on. (For the same reason, my plastic ¼” foot has a chunk out of the side of the needle hole. I’ve never claimed brilliance.)
But don’t be afraid to try this tip. It’s a way to easily improve your accuracy and your stitching pleasure. I didn’t even know such a thing existed until a couple years ago (a decade into my sewing obsession), and I cannot overstate how much this discovery rocked my quilty little world! PS: While you have the plate off your machine, take the time to clean inside (Megan offered tips for that earlier in the month at http://thebitchystitcher.blogspot.com/) — Did you love the tip from Trish? Check out what 32 other talented quilter’s had to share with you all to help make your quilting world better!
- Sept 1: Peta Minerof-Bartos of PetaQuilts – So, Does that Diagonal Method for a Pieced Backing Really Work
- Sept 2: Cheryl Sleboda of Muppin.com – The Quilter’s Knot
- Sept 3: Teresa Coates of Crinkle Dreams – The Importance of Pressing
- Sept 4: Cath Hall of Wombat Quilts – Color Coding for Paper-piecing
- Sept 5: Sam Hunter of Hunter’s Design Studio – How to Calculate and Cut Bias Binding
- Sept 6: Melanie McNeil of Catbird Quilt Studio – Credit where Credit is Due
- Sept 7: Mandy Leins of Mandalei Quilts – How to Keep a Perfect 1/4” Seam Between Different Machines
- Sept 8: Rose Hughes of Rose Hughes – Fast Pieced Applique
- Sept 9: Megan Dougherty of The Bitchy Stitcher – The Care and Feeding of the Domestic Sewing Machine
- Sept 10: Lynn Krawczyk of Smudged Design Studio – Make a Mobile Art Kit
- Sept 11: Susan Beal of West Coast Crafty – Log Cabin 101
- Sept 12: Sarah Lawson of Sew Sweetness – Zipper Tips
- Sept 13: Jane Victoria of Jolly and Delilah – Matching Seams
- Sept 14: Jemelia Hilfiger of JemJam– Garment Making Tips and Tricks
- Sept 15: Ebony Love of LoveBug Studios – Curved Piecing Without Pins
- Sept 16: Misty Cole of Daily Design Wall – Types of Basting
- Sept 17: Kim Lapacek of Persimon Dreams – Setting your Seams
- Sept 18: Christina Cameli of A Few Scraps – Joining Quilted Pieces by Machine
- Sept 19: Bill Volckening of WonkyWorld – The Importance of Labels
- Sept 20: Jessica Darling of Jessica Darling – How to Make a Quilt Back
- Sept 21: Debbie Kleve Birkebile of Mountain Trail Quilt Treasures – Perfectly Sized No-Wave Quilt Borders
- Sept 22: Heather Kinion of Heather K is a Quilter – Baby Quilts for Baby Steps
- Sept 23: Michelle Freedman of Design Camp PDX – TNT: Thread, Needle, Tension
- Sept 24: Kathy Mathews of Chicago Now Quilting Sewing Creation – Button Holes
- Sept 25: Jane Shallala Davidson of Quilt Jane – Corner Triangle Methods
- Sept 27: Cristy Fincher of Purple Daisies Quilting – The Power of Glue Basting
- Sept 28: Catherine Redford of Catherine Redford – Change the Needle!
- Sept 29: Amalia Teresa Parra Morusiewicz of Fun From A to Z – French Knots, – ooh la la!
- Sept 30: Victoria Findlay Wolfe of Victoria Findlay Wolfe Quilts – How to Align Your Fabrics for Dog Ears
- October 1: Tracy Mooney of 3LittleBrds – Teaching Kiddos to Sew on a Sewing Machine
- October 2: Trish Frankland, guest posting on Persimon Dreams – The Straight Stitch Throat Plate
- October 3: Flaun Cline of I Plead Quilty – Lining Strips Up
It's a good idea to clean out the feed dogs from time to time. I've learned the hard way that not doing so causes skipped stitches and broken thread.