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Thread: Where do you focus your eyes when you are machine stitching?

  1. #1
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    When you are machine stitching where do you focus your eyes (when the needle is in motion)?
    I suspect there will be different answers to this question because we do things different ways. Having more than one option is important (in my opinion) because one way will work better for some of us and another way will work well for others. If you feel your answer is a 'standard' in quilting please say so. (Like using a 1/4" seam is standard.) Pictures are always appreciated.

    I like to use my presser foot for my guide. This gets me in trouble because I tend to forget which part of the presser foot was going to be my marker for seam width on said project. I really like 1/2" seams. They make me feel good and lead me to believe they will not come apart in the wash.
    I am converting because I want to do things the way they are intended to be done. 1/4" is the standard in quilting. I am going to train myself to sew a 1/4" seam consistently.
    My answer to the post question:
    I used the red line (#4) to align my raw edges and set my hands in place to sew.
    As the needle goes to work I guided my raw edges against the rubber bumper (#3)
    My eyes were focusing on #2 and #3 in sequence and almost at the same time. (#2: can you see the itsy red ink dot I put on the walking foot marking 1/4"?)
    My seams are pretty, straight and 1/4".
    I am eager for your knowledge and the different ways you do yours.

    My 1/4" seam.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Lori L's Avatar
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    I haven't gone to the extreme you have ( don't have the red line) but I also have added a 1/4" guide to my throat plate using 1/4" quilting tape built up in several layers. I found using only my pressure foot to guide me made me inconsistent and I'm not sure why. Probably as you suggested and I wasn't focusing my eyes on that spot. I have found since I placed my tape guide to my throat plate I am very consistent with my 1/4" seams and I find my eyes tend to go from the pressure foot and the needle back to my 1/4" tape guide and things work well!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lori L
    I haven't gone to the extreme you have ( don't have the red line) but I also have added a 1/4" guide to my throat plate using 1/4" quilting tape built up in several layers. I found using only my pressure foot to guide me made me inconsistent and I'm not sure why. Probably as you suggested and I wasn't focusing my eyes on that spot. I have found since I placed my tape guide to my throat plate I am very consistent with my 1/4" seams and I find my eyes tend to go from the pressure foot and the needle back to my 1/4" tape guide and things work well!
    Throat plate? Do you have a front load bobbin? My bobbin is top load so I can only put the rubber bumper guide on top of the plastic lid I remove when I change the bobbin. If you have pictures you will give others a visual to follow if they want to set theirs up like you have. I really appreciate the response and related to your focus spots. Thank you.

  4. #4
    Super Member M.I.Late's Avatar
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    When I have to be completely precise, I put layers of blue painters tape where I can't cross.

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    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    I have a 1/4" foot, so my eye stays on that, making sure that my fabric is feeding evenly along the side of it.

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    I have a foot with a metal strip on it. I set my needle position to get my scant quarter. Then I push my fabric against the metal strip and sew away. It looks you have developed a good method to insure a perfect seam.

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    Quote Originally Posted by M.I.Late
    When I have to be completely precise, I put layers of blue painters tape where I can't cross.
    Would love to see pictures if you have some. My right side feed dog is in the path of my 1/4" 'line' from the front of the machine to the back of the machine. That keeps me from putting anything in that area. My only space is my bobbin cover lid.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Janie Q
    I have a foot with a metal strip on it. I set my needle position to get my scant quarter. Then I push my fabric against the metal strip and sew away. It looks you have developed a good method to insure a perfect seam.
    Your foot with the metal strip is not a walking foot, right. Do you know the name of the foot for others who might like to try theirs? I think I have one but I am on the couch and it is in the sunroom. Do you have photos? Would love to see. Thank you for your response and your compliment. It did work for me and it was stress free. (So far!)

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    Super Member quiltinghere's Avatar
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    If you have #3 over your bobbin area, do you remove it each time you have to fill the bobbin and then realign it? Is it a pain?

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    I also have a 1/4" foot, so my eye stays on that, making sure that my fabric is feeding evenly along the side of it. I don't think I could peice w/out one ,so spoiled to having the 1/4" foot.

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    Super Member kwiltkrazy's Avatar
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    I use my walking foot, then I set my needle so that when the material is at the edge of my walking foot, the needle position reads 6.1, and I get a perfect 1/4" seam allowance. But, I set it up for my friend and her 1/4" was 5.9. so you just have to work it out for your machine. But, my blocks always come out the right size, and I don't get frustrated.

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    I have a strip of tape with lines drawn on it that runs from my needle to where the bed of the machine curves down. I use the lines as guides for sewing half square triangles, putting opposite corners on the lines and keeping them there as I sew. I used a single edged razor blade to cut the tape on both sides of the plastic bobbin cover so it still can be opened. I focus my eyes on the line/corner of the triangle. This may be a solution to those of you concerned about having to remove the tape to change bobbins.

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    Super Member amandasgramma's Avatar
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    I have the 1/4" foot, too....and keep my eye one that. I stop though and double-check that the two pieces are in line with each other since I rarely pin.

  14. #14
    Super Member knlsmith's Avatar
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    First, when I FMQ I look about an inch infront of the foot so I watch where I am going, not where I've been. when piecing, I watch right in front of the needle.

    I also do not draw lines diagonal across squares for HST, I use a couple layers of painters tape and sew from corner to corner.

  15. #15
    Super Member wvdek's Avatar
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    Depends on the foot I am using and the type of stitch. The needle already knows where it is going so I have to guide it correctly. There are spots I focus on on the bobbin. I don't watch the needle and I m careful where my fingers are. :?

  16. #16
    Super Member Luv Quilts and Cats's Avatar
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    I started using a 1/4-inch foot on my Janome. It works like a charm and I am able to focus on it better than a line I had drawn on my machine. The foot has a metal piece that comes down over the right hand edge of the foot and allows me to butt my fabric against it. I tried a test block and it does measure a true 1/4-inch seam.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Lori L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dsb38327
    Quote Originally Posted by Lori L
    I haven't gone to the extreme you have ( don't have the red line) but I also have added a 1/4" guide to my throat plate using 1/4" quilting tape built up in several layers. I found using only my pressure foot to guide me made me inconsistent and I'm not sure why. Probably as you suggested and I wasn't focusing my eyes on that spot. I have found since I placed my tape guide to my throat plate I am very consistent with my 1/4" seams and I find my eyes tend to go from the pressure foot and the needle back to my 1/4" tape guide and things work well!
    Throat plate? Do you have a front load bobbin? My bobbin is top load so I can only put the rubber bumper guide on top of the plastic lid I remove when I change the bobbin. If you have pictures you will give others a visual to follow if they want to set theirs up like you have. I really appreciate the response and related to your focus spots. Thank you.
    Here is a picture of what I have set up for a 1/4" seam. I use a magnetic attachment next to my pressure foot and have the quilting tape built up on my throat plate. It is top loading so I can only have it for a short distance so I can maintain access to my bobbin.

    my tapes a little dinged up.....time to put a new layer on
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  18. #18
    Super Member newquilter10's Avatar
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    My foot is 1/4 inch also. Makes it easy to do.

  19. #19
    Senior Member cizzors's Avatar
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    I never take my eye off the 1/4" foot-sometimes I forget to blink!

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    Quote Originally Posted by quiltinghere
    If you have #3 over your bobbin area, do you remove it each time you have to fill the bobbin and then realign it? Is it a pain?
    No problem. It is the sticky back stuff. I took the bobbin cover top off, measured the sticky back stuff the width of the cover and cut it (with the paper still on) that width. Then I only unpeeled enough of the sticky back (1/4"?) for it to stick to the bobbin cover top. In the photo you can see the excess sticking up. I go under it and snap the tab to unlock the top and use the excess to pull the top up. It has been no trouble at all.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lori L
    Quote Originally Posted by dsb38327
    Quote Originally Posted by Lori L
    I haven't gone to the extreme you have ( don't have the red line) but I also have added a 1/4" guide to my throat plate using 1/4" quilting tape built up in several layers. I found using only my pressure foot to guide me made me inconsistent and I'm not sure why. Probably as you suggested and I wasn't focusing my eyes on that spot. I have found since I placed my tape guide to my throat plate I am very consistent with my 1/4" seams and I find my eyes tend to go from the pressure foot and the needle back to my 1/4" tape guide and things work well!
    Throat plate? Do you have a front load bobbin? My bobbin is top load so I can only put the rubber bumper guide on top of the plastic lid I remove when I change the bobbin. If you have pictures you will give others a visual to follow if they want to set theirs up like you have. I really appreciate the response and related to your focus spots. Thank you.
    Here is a picture of what I have set up for a 1/4" seam. I use a magnetic attachment next to my pressure foot and have the quilting tape built up on my throat plate. It is top loading so I can only have it for a short distance so I can maintain access to my bobbin.
    Excellent. Thank you for the photos. They make it so easy to see and understand.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luv Quilts and Cats
    I started using a 1/4-inch foot on my Janome. It works like a charm and I am able to focus on it better than a line I had drawn on my machine. The foot has a metal piece that comes down over the right hand edge of the foot and allows me to butt my fabric against it. I tried a test block and it does measure a true 1/4-inch seam.
    I have become really spoiled to my quilting foot. Do you find the 1/4 inch foot is as easy to use as the quilting foot?

  23. #23
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    I got a Janome for taking with in our MH. Bought one of those quilting feet with the metal blade and just love it. Did some research and found one available for my Bernina too. Sure makes it much easier to get a 1/4" seam.

  24. #24
    Moderator littlehud's Avatar
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    I'm watching my fabric as it goes under to foot. If I watch the needle I get off every time.

  25. #25
    Super Member knlsmith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cizzors
    I never take my eye off the 1/4" foot-sometimes I forget to blink!
    That's too funny! I forget to blink too!

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