1/2 Inch Belt Loop Folder
Finished 1/2″ Belt Loop
.I decided it was past time to be learning how to use this folder. I must explain. I avoid using these attachments because of previous poor experience. I’ve never been able to get a narrow hemming foot to work. What I produce is so bad, I’d rather hand roll. (Instead I make baby hems folding the hem twice, 1/8″.) The foot which cleverly folds bias while stitching to an edge, and thereby neatly finishing the edge, always ends up being a half-a$$ed affair. My few attempts with that foot have ended with a smaller sized finished product. How’d that happen? Well, I couldn’t rip the stitches without damaging the item. So I’d trim the “bias” with scissors or rotary cutter. Then the item needed to be evened and so the whole blamed thing ended up slightly smaller than planned. Anyway, my efforts with folders in use with the standard sewing machine have not been satisfactory. With that in mind, I’ve delayed using my folder for nearly a year. Frankly, I’d rather do it once correctly than make a mess 3 times. But I decided it was time to either learn to use the Belt Loop folder or toss it in the trash.
It’s been many months since I purchased the above folder. It came without instructions. Looking at it now, I decided Sharp Sewing must have decided it was so easy to use you didn’t need instructions (encouraging) or so difficult only experts who-knew-what-they-were-doing should be purchasing it (discouraging). I already had the thing, I may as well give it a go. I started by removing the hemming plate that’s nearly always attached to the CPX and installing the adapter plate. I’m really comfortable with this procedure and had the plate secured in seconds.
Install Adapter Plate
Next was installing the Folder. Very similar to installing the binders I actually had it in a place on the machine in seconds. I did find that I needed two screws. It would rotate on one screw and change places on me.
Folder attached with 2 screws
I knew I would want to document this process. I make belt loops probably once a month. With my senior memory, that’s long enough to forget what I need to do. So I threaded the machine with regular serger thread – nothing fancy or expensive- but I used red in the needles and black in the looper. In retro spec, I wish I had used a 3rd color in the 2nd needle. But it is what it is.
Since I didn’t have instructions, I wasn’t sure how to cut the strips. I cut all the strips cross grain and sliced off one end to form a point for feeding into the folder. The folder is etched with “1/2″ which at the moment meant nothing to me. (It’s that senior memory thing.) I cut my first strip 3/4” wide.
First strip, 3/4″ wide
And begin trying to “thread” the strip into the folder. Being 3/4″ wide it slopped around a bit and I had to use my stilletto (inserted into the vertical slot on the top of the folder) to encourage the strip to pass through the folder and under the foot.
I did notice some folding going on as I pulled the strip completely under and to the rear of the foot. I used my stilletto for that purpose too. My senior fingers don’t fit beneath the foot or in the tiny space between the end of the folder and the foot.
I ran the machine at a moderate speed and produced a strip of crap.
1/2″ folder, 3/4″ strip
Back to the cutting table to produce a 1″ strip which almost filled the folder but it did slop just a bit.
It also produced almost a decent loop but not good enough. It’s got to be as good as I can produce using the SM or I’m not working at the CS.
Front of 1″ strip, 1/2″ folder
Back of above
Back to cutting board for 1.25″ strip which over filled the folder…
but produced a relatively nice strip.
1.25″ strip, 1/2″ folder
Actually my biggest complaint is that the stitching is not exactly centered on the strip. Having learned my lesson, I cut 8 an 24″ strips 1 and a scant 1/4″ wide. I mean we’re talking the difference of 1/16 or less. When I lined up my ruler, I lined the fabric in front of the quarter inch marking. I’m not even sure that line is 1/16″, it could be 1/32″. Either way that was perfect. I rethreaded my CPX with grey thread in both needles and looper; nudged the folder to the left just a hair and ran through the 8″ strip. Perfect!
Strip is pressed and folded so you can see front and back at the same time.
BTW, my stitch length was 3.5 standard needle, looper tensions and pressor foot unchanged. Did not need to engage the differential either. I already had size 12 needles in the machine. So essentially I did not change the machine settings by much; just installed the adaptor plate and folder.
Once I’ve adjust a tool like the folder, I want to be able to install it in the future with little fuss. I wanted to mark the folder to show how to align the folder with my foot. Wouldn’t you know it, the folder resisted any attempts. Not to be defeated, I cut a small strip of Glow-Line Tape and place it at the front edge of the folder. I place a small arrow with the broad end exactly between the flanges of my clear foot.
I was really excited with my results. I think the whole process took maybe 30 minutes including cutting and testing. Faster than any previous belt-loop-making procedure I’ve used and no burnt fingers. But I think the 1/2″ belt loop is slightly larger than what I would normally like to use. I immediately sat down at my computer to order a 3/8″ folder. Duh! Right on the Ebay listing it says “Cut 1″ to make 1/2″ belt loops”. Actually the folder is so simple that instructions aren’t needed. Although I do think testing is always in order. I always test my machines to be sure the tensions are correct and the machines correctly threads. For belt loops, I’ll also need to be sure that the fabric cooperates and folds nicely. A 1″ strip of this fabric did not look as nice at the nearly 1.25″ strip.
PS ordered the 3/8″ belt looper
Whats In the CookBook
Samples attached to back.