Reported by Christian Tamez
Like any sewer, I am always trying new things to make my sewing look more professional. The Ultimate Seam Guide seemed right up my alley. The Ultimate Seam Guide is a thin, clear plastic accessory that you tape directly onto your sewing machine. Marked with a number of lines which are clearly indicated by inch measurements, you trim this to custom fit your machine.
The time finally came to use the seam guide, and I found that I had to trim away quite a bit in order for it to fit my machine. I came to the realization that ideally you would have a built in table or cabinet for your sewing machine in order to fully use the seam guide the way it was designed. Nevertheless I marked out my feed dogs with tape, and trimmed away. The directions ask that you use scissors which is something I missed at the beginning and soon found out that an exacto knife would not easily cut through the plastic. I switched to scissors and found that right around the feed dog area that the scissors left a jagged edge, that could possibly snag a delicate fabric. I pulled out the exacto, scored numerous times and was able to remove the jagged edge.
Since this is a removable add-on accessory, you attach the seam guide with tape. Now because you have to trim away the area around the feed dogs, you lose the red dotted line that you’re supposed to line up with your needle. I worked around this by lining the markings of the seam guide with the markings on the sole plate of my sewing machine and then proceeded to attach the guide, with tape, to my machine.
My first project was simple. Two decorative couch pillows, that had a little dog on them. Something with just a nice easy quarter inch seam allowance to test out the guide. Before I was able to sew, I had to remove the seam guide in order to put in a bobbin that would match the top thread, then re-align the guide and continue to sew.
I started sewing and the first side went well enough, then came time to drop down my needle and pivot for the corner. The fabric went right underneath the plastic guide. Being more of an annoyance than a real problem, I moved the fabric out of the way and continued sewing.
As I went around the second side of the first pillow I noticed that the fabric was puckering a little bit. I examined my project a bit closer, and realized that the seam guide was making it so that the feed dogs were really only pulling the bottom fabric, causing the top to feed at a different rate. This was only minor, but I noticed it, and found it unacceptable. Because these pillows were just a fun craft and not really heirloom work, I figured it wasn’t the end of the world. In the end I removed the seam guide in the middle of the first pillow and continued sewing. I found that there was a noticeable difference in sewing quality with and without the guide. When I sewed with the guide, it seemed the seam guide itself created more pressure from the presser foot for the top layer of fabric waiting to be sewn. The extra pressure made it so the bottom fabric was moving faster than the top and so, in between my pins, I got the waves.
- It was a good idea, and meaning well counts in my book.
- Did not work well.
- Caused puckering of sewn goods.
- More stress than it’s worth, sewing is hard enough already.
- Would be better on a front-loading bobbin machine.
Have you ever been disappointed by a new sewing gadget? Tried any seam guides you DO like? Think I’m crazy, and just don’t know how to sew because you LOVE your seam guide, let me know below!