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Manage Your Bulky Seams With This Magic Tool
- Anne Kesenne
Sewing over thick seams can cause a lot of frustration. Maybe your needle breaks, your stitching is not consistent, you get missed stitches, or your machine blocks. We found a great solution for this problem in this little tool that can also be used as a needle inserter or a shank for sewing buttons with your sewing machine. We named it the Bulky Seam Jumper because that’s what it does. Intrigued? Read on, or watch my video.
My sewing machine gave me a hard time when I tried to sew over this thick seam made out of denim. The first time, my machine made an awful sound and jammed. (check out the video and be the anonymous disaster tourist :-)). The second time I tried, I managed to sew over the seam - very slowly - but the stitches were not consistent– just before the hump, the stitches became much smaller than the length of the stitches before going over the seam.
Why does this happen? The foot has a hard time getting over that hump because the foot is on an angle and it wedges inward. The tip of the foot is up in the air ready to climb that mountain, but not all sewing machines have enough horsepower to make the climb. It is like the little engine that could, but in many cases, the little engine stalls. Additionally, your needle can break because of the angle the foot is forced into. The foot cannot move forward as it normally does, and so the stitches become smaller and inconsistent.
The foot has to be straight in order to sew consistently and get nice stitches. To keep the foot straight, and avoid allowing it to function on an angle, we now have the Bulky Seam Jumper in our store. This is such a simple but effective tool that works for all sewing machines, you’ll be amazed!
This is how you re-balance your presser foot with this nifty tool:
1. Sew until you touch the thick seam with the tip of your presser foot.
2. Put your needle down into the fabric.
3. Lift the presser foot up.
4. Position the Bulky Seam Jumper under the presser foot, behind the needle, with the 2 legs around the needle as close as possible to the seam. Choose the side of the Bulky Seam Jumper that best matches the thickness of your bulky seam.
5. Put your presser foot down and you will be able to proceed to sew because the foot is now at a straight angle. Continue sewing over the seam.
6. Depending on how high the bump is and how abrupt the end of the hump is, you can also place the Bulky Seam Jumper in front of the foot. If not, the presser foot might tilt too much the other way, which can also cause problems. Sew until the presser foot has completely passed the bulky seam, or until you reach the plastic of the Bulky Seam Jumper.
The result is a nicely sewn row of stitching! No more frustrations, tears and curses when sewing over seams! This tool is also used in quilting where you have to sew over a lot of intersections.
I’m not a big fan of hand stitching. When it is possible to get the job done with the sewing machine, I do it with my machine. But I’d never sewn on buttons with a sewing machine before testing this tool some months ago. I must say, it’s great! Especially if you have to sew on more than 3 buttons of the same size, it’s really worth it to set this up.
You need buttons with 2 or 4 holes through the top. The size of the buttons that can be sewn this way depends on how big of a zigzag you can sew with your machine. My machine can go up to 7 mm wide. The little holes in my buttons cannot be wider apart than 7 mm. But as you can see in the picture below, the holes in most buttons are not wider than 7 mm apart.
I’m not sure if this will work for all machines. You need a sewing machine that can sew a zigzag stitch. If you have a common household sewing machine with snap-on feet, it should work. It’s very easy!
1. Remove the snap-on presser foot from your sewing machine.
2. Disable the feed dogs. The fabric doesn’t have to move forward.
3. Choose a zigzag stitch.
4. Set the stitch width to the width of the little holes in your button.
5. Put the fabric and the Bulky Seam Jumper under your sewing machine needle so the needle ends up between the legs of the Bulky Seam Jumper. Test with the hand crank to make sure the needle doesn’t hit the Bulky Seam Jumper.
6. Let the button rest on the Bulky Seam Jumper under the needle and lower the shank. The shank holds the button in place but for most buttons you will also need your fingers to hold the button in place. Make sure your fabric is correctly positioned. Test with the hand crank to make sure the needle doesn’t hit the button.
8. Lift the needle up. Lift the shank up. Remove the Bulky Seam Jumper and the project from under the needle.
9. Bring both threads to the back and tie a little knot.
10. One nicely sewn button! And I tried it with the yellow button as well: Two nicely sewn buttons!
One of the legs of the Bulky Seam Jumper has a little hole that fits a sewing machine needle. Just put the needle in the hole, tip down, flat side facing the flat side of the little hole. Just use the Bulky Seam Jumper as a tray to insert the needle onto the machine.
I like this tool. It’s very simple and straightforward, and doesn’t take a lot of space.
Get your Bulky Seam Jumper HERE.
Cheers to happy and frustration-free Sewing!