I hope I can explain this properly. I have an old Kenmore machine which I have been using for a couple of years. It had been jamming up and I got it completely overhauled. Now it sews great, except for one thing. I have always had this problem actually, the overhaul didn't get rid of it. When I am sewing, the fabric layer on the top always slides to the right. No matter what I do. So all my seams are a little bit crooked.
With the simple projects I've done so far it hasn't been too bad, but I am about to start a large patchwork quilt and I certainly don't want my seams to be crooked there! Does anyone have any ideas for me as to what might be causing the top layer to slide? Is it a problem with the foot tension, maybe? I am so clueless about machinery...
Actually, this is quite common with home sewing machines. You can counter the effect by using a walking foot. A sewing machine uses a feed dog to move the fabric along, these are the teeth that you can see at the throat plate. They grab that bottom layer and pull it along. When you use a walking foot you add a feed dog on top, so both layers are fed evenly. The little bit of sideways drift will probably always be there. I guess I don't even pay much attention to it anymore but just try my best to guide the fabric straight.
For a patchwork quilt a walking foot will be a must if you want to avoid wrinkles and puckers when quilting straight lines. Or you can use a free-motion quilting foot, but the feed dogs must be lowered. You can definitely use the walking foot when piecing your quilt, too, to help make your seams straighter.
Andi, wife of Seraphim
Mom to Elijah (6/05) and Moses (6/08) and baby Joshua, UBAC February 18, 2011!