Book Review – Sewing Machine Secrets

I don’t know about you but I use my local village library a lot.   As well as a great resource for novels so that avoid adding to our already overcrowded book shelves, I use the online ordering service to get my mitts on books that I’d like to take a look at before deciding whether or not to buy.  These are usually sewing, knitting or cooking related.

Big surprise there!

The latest book to come my way is Sewing Machine Secrets by Nicole Vasbinder.

IMG_7959_edited-1I’m always pretty dubious about new sewing books as I often find they tend towards a younger, less experienced seamstress. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for anything that encourages new sewists, but they don’t really have much to offer me.

This one, however took me, quite nicely, by surprise.

It’s broken down into two main sections. Section 1 is  “Choosing Machines and Accessories”.  I found the chapter about sewing machine needles to be really informative and useful.


I didn’t know, for example, that there are specific needles for machine quilting. As I’m about to embark on the quilting of the Gardener’s Journal quilt ( *cough* finally *cough*), this was a timely piece of information!

But, for me, it’s in Section 2 that this book really shines. “Sewing Machine Feet and How to Use Them”.  


I love this section!  It’s eminently practical without being too basic.  Perfect for newbies as well as gals like myself who’ve sewn a stitch or two but still have much to learn.


Each chapter covers a particular type of foot in detail giving:

  • clear photos or illustrations of different foot designs in each category, for example, zipper feet,
  • a brief description of the foot and what you will use it for,
  • step by step instructions of how to use the foot,
  • a great photo of the finished product,
  • and extra tidbits of information in “insider secrets” such as:

You can use the rolled hem foot as a guide for sewing on narrow trims…slip the trim through the scroll…it will feed through…making it easy for you to stitch it on straight

And whilst it covers all the basics, such as zipper feet and buttonhole feet, it also looks at some of the more unusual ones too.


Circle attachment anyone?

Who knew?

I am seriously covetous of this little beauty.

But not entirely convinced I can justify it!

Especially when I fess up a little guilty secret!

You see, my current sewing machine and overlocker were replacements for my original machines which were lost when my house flooded years and years ago. They came with several boxes of feet and attachments that have been tucked away in the sewing loft for forever without being used.  Every now and again I’ll think something along the lines of “I could really use a 1/4″ foot”, which will lead me to rummage though the boxes to see if I have said 1/4″ foot or if I need to buy one.

It’s a ridiculous waste of specialist feet and accessories  so yesterday, armed with this book, I pulled them all out.



Good grief!

Half of them are overlocker accessories, which aren’t covered by this book, but the other half are sewing machine feet and ALL of them I could use on a regular basis.

Sadly there isn’t a circle attachment hiding amongst them.  But they are all nice and tidy now and ready to play with.  I think there is a side project of trying out all the overlocker feet, too, and finding out exactly what each of them do.

But in the meantime, I can heartily recommend Sewing Machine Secrets.  I certainly learned something new from it…I suspect you might too!


14 Responses to Book Review – Sewing Machine Secrets

  1. Mrs. Smith says:

    THAT is a lovely surprise!

  2. Wow a marching army of sewing machine feet!

  3. I too have a huge selection of feet and I just bought the circular attachment for one of my machines 🙂
    There are some pretty awesome projects to make with this attachment.
    Enjoy your feet 🙂
    Here is one….

    • Oh you are a very naughty lady! That is AWESOME. I’m off to check out the pricing for my model…I have a birthday coming up. Big hints will be dropped I think! 😉

  4. Whoa! I agree you have an army of sewing machine feet! I want to see you using them all and report about here :o) The one I love most is my edgestitiching foot and of course the invisible zipper foot

  5. janet clare says:

    I have so many feet that i never use too- still, I like to know they are there if I need them.
    The Pfaff people shocked me when they said you should change your machine needle after 5 hours sewing. That is DAILY for me when I’m busy. Want to confess how old your sewing machine needle is?!

    • Nope! Not in the slightest! I usually check it at the start of each project (if it’s the same size of needle) and if it feels rough then change it. If not, I leave well alone. Shocking, but true!

  6. I just spent (far too long) a while watching videos on YouTube about the circular foot – also called ‘flower stitch foot’

    On the point of needles… my tutor (yes the same one that embarrassed me about being a pear shape!!!) said a new needle for each project. Hmmm… naaa… But what is a project. I wouldn’t use a new needle to whip a few cushions up but I might use a new needle for a dress using expensive (anything over £10 per meter!) fabric.

    • I got sucked in too…I so need a circular attachment now!
      I’m hugely impressed you didn’t bash that tutor over the head with a dress form! I do think your needles tell you when they’ve had enough. They make that punching noise as they push through the fabric or feel rough if you run your finger down to the tip. A small project like a child’s tshirt wouldn’t need you to change a needle…several pairs of curtains would.

  7. Sandy says:

    Hey, congrats on not only finding all of your sewing machine feet, but now knowing how to use them. That’s kinda fantastic!

    Btw, did you know that if you want to sew a circle, you only have to tape a thumbtack, pointy side up, to your sewing machine bed? Stick your fabric over it, then a pencil eraser to keep said fabric in place and you’ll sew circles. The distance from the thumbtack to the needle is half the width of the circle. 🙂

    Happy sewing!

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