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Forum > Sewing Machines > Bypassing feed dogs ( Moderated by Sharon1952, EleanorSews)

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Bypassing feed dogs
when the machine can't do it
SouthernStitch
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Date: 1/6/14 4:05 PM

When a machine doesn't have feed dog drop capability and no plate to cover the area, can you do any other sort of thing to accomplish being able to free motion?

Our ASG is having an event that everyone is excited to attend. We were told all they'd need is a zig zag machine, but the list is more extensive than that, including feed dog drop.
I wouldn't want anyone to not attend because of it. Is there another way to get around the issue if someone has a machine that doesn't drop, and no cover plate? Most of our members have the small travel machines, like the Janome Gem, etc. Thanks!

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kayco
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Date: 1/6/14 4:48 PM

Leah Day doesn't drop her feed dogs for FMQ, but rather covers them and or sets stitch length to 0. See this link Link
-- Edited on 1/6/14 4:48 PM --

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In reply to SouthernStitch <<
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Date: 1/6/14 4:54 PM

I agree with the link Kayco has. I've done thread painting way before embroidery machines hit the home market. Most of the time I drop my feed dogs but on occasion have left them up and no problems at all. Like in the link, you do want to make sure stitch length is set to zero. It does give a different feel and on some stuff a little better control. When I first learned we didn't use any foot, then there was a free motion spring you attached and now a good open toed darning foot is my favorite.

-- Edited on 1/6/14 4:57 PM --

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TessKwiltz
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Date: 1/6/14 6:01 PM

I often quilt without dropping my feed dogs. Sometimes I even forget to set my stitch length to "0" and it actually works pretty well.

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beauturbo
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Date: 1/6/14 6:06 PM

It actually makes almost no difference to me at all, if I want to free motion sew on something, if the feed dogs drop or not. I just do it anyways and it always works fine for me. Even if I don't cover them up with anything extra at all. I think best to just put your stitch length more at zero first though, then they will just sit there kind of motionless and not move at all. But since it works fine for me, I know I can't be the only one that works for either.

SouthernStitch
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Date: 1/6/14 6:38 PM

Excellent! Thanks everyone.

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When life gives you green velvet curtains, make a green velvet dress.

jannw
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Date: 1/6/14 7:28 PM

I always used old credit cards or the fake ones sent in the mail. You can also cut them out of the plastic bakery trays. I don't know if it was me or the machine, but it wouldn't work properly if the feed dogs touched fabric no matter what I set the stitch to!

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Learn To Sew
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Date: 1/6/14 7:34 PM

Oops. I got 2 posts by mistake.

-- Edited on 1/6/14 7:35 PM --

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Learn To Sew
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Date: 1/6/14 7:35 PM

What difference does the 0 stitch length mean? What about adjustable pressure foot pressure? What about tension?

The more I can learn about this, the better I will be at sewing.

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beauturbo
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Date: 1/6/14 10:08 PM

The longer your stitch length the more your feed dogs are moving between the places your needle goes down into the fabric. If you are not forcing free motion stithcing going on with your hands instead. So if you have a machine that you can set your stitch length for different length going forwards and backwards, then zero stitch length would just be the middle place there, and where they would not move at all.

If you got some kind of computerized machine, that for some reason won't even let you set your stitch length to zero (maybe since it knows that would make you stitch in one place and get a great big thread knot instead) and you have to have stitch length set going forwards at least a bit more instead, for something of a stitch length, then probably just the smallest stitch length possible would be best. I'm not sure I've ever meet a computerized machine that won't let you drop your feed dogs though, so maybe that is kind of a moot point there even, but there could be some.

I've seen some little "Hello Kitty" Machines though that don't let you choose a stitch length just on your own and you have only got a few pre-made up kind of stitch length choices there instead for straight stitch, but I'm sure you can still even free motion on those if you have to, and even if you could not drop your feed dogs, in that case maybe just set them for the shortest of all the straight stitch choices, and then they would be moving the least?

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