Product Review: Curve Master Presser Foot
By Lynn Holland
Like most quilters, I have been in search of the perfect scant quarter inch seam since the day I began piecing. Always willing to try the cheapest solution before spending serious money, first came the piece of tape. That gummed up the works because my machine’s “quarter spot” falls just inside the right hand feed dog. Moving along the cost continuum, I located a magnetic seam guide. Although it adhered nicely to the faceplate, I kept banging my hand onto it and spent more time looking at it than the fabric and wound up with wiggly, too-wide seams.
Getting frustrated, I bought the #37 foot that Bernina sells to quilters for the ¼ inch of their dream. My results were acceptable, but my own issues with visual perception, metal feet and not being sure if the fabric was EXACTLY lined up with the foot edge gave me less than consistent results. My next foray into the quest for the perfect foot was a Little Foot. My Little Foot was clear, and worked very well until I melted it. Yes, melted. My machine faced a window and, well, the Georgia sun was hot last summer. By August, the quarter inch part was no longer parallel to the other prong. This rendered it useless for its intended purpose, although it does make a good $30 paper clip.
Sadly, by the fall I was back to old Number 37. I stitched along for several months until Paducah this year, when we passed by someone giving a demonstration of the Curve Master. Always a fan of show demos (you know, the miracle carpet cleaner and steel-sawing knives stuff), I had to stop. Not only did this little clear beauty yield the perfect quarter inch, it would also magically ease your curved pieces into submission WITHOUT pins. Although the quilter at the table must have sewn a thousand curved pieces together that week in Paducah, I became convinced that only a few dollars stood between me and perfect straight AND curved piecing.
Reality set in once I got home. Alone in the house and eager to take the new foot out for a spin, I spent some time A) figuring out which shank to use with the Bernina adapter I rescued from my misshapen Little Foot and B) vainly trying to snap on the snap-on foot. Issue A was the result of the afore-mentioned spatial problems and B, well, weak hands in addition to spatial problems. (Remember, I can’t even put shoes back in a shoebox correctly without prompting.)
So I scrapped (no pun intended) that project and waited until Rob got home and assembled the thing in two seconds flat.
Fitting it to my machine, at first I thought it needed to be tightened or that I had picked the wrong shank. (The foot come with several different shank adapters for all brands of machines). However, after a few adjustments and a second opinion, I decided that it was meant to have some wiggle room. Okay. I was now set to actually sew. My first attempt at the straight seam was not bad. It took me a minute to get used to a foot with a toe on the right side of the fabric, but I found it did keep me from making the seam too narrow or too wide due to faulty judgment. I found I was making a more consistent seam since I had to fit the fabric through the channel rather than perfectly align it underneath a ¼ inch “toe”.
But the feature for which Curve Master was designed was yet to be tested. It took me a couple of weeks to get around to finding a template for curved piecing, trace the template and cut out some samples. I decide to just “let ‘er rip” and fought off a very strong urge to pin at least the middle and end of the curve. I was pretty sure that there was no way that this foot could figure that out by itself. But the demo lady did it without pins, and that is the way this thing is supposed to work.
And guess what? It does. If you start it even and hold the top fabric up the way the directions say, when you guide the final part of the seam under the foot with the tweezers, it comes out just right. No puckers, no bunching. I have no idea why this works. It might be magic, it might be voodoo. It doesn’t matter to me, although I strongly suspected it has something to do with the three-toed design and the wiggly way it sits. I can make nice ¼ inch seams and ease those curves without weeping. One caveat about this product: I strongly suggest you use some implement to guide the final smidgen. A sewing machine needle can pass clean through your finger. I have had this happen in my lifetime, and amazingly enough I am still sewing. So resist that urge to use your fingers and employ the special tweezers designed for use with the foot, or a trolley needle.
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