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This page is about the Westalee brand of rulers sold by the Sew Steady Company. I can't say enough about how I love the products, the service and the excellent education and communication this company offers its customers. I have quite a few teaching blogs on this page about how to use some of their products and will have many more in the near future.
They also create beautiful extension tables for any size machine of any brand and any type. As of now I have a Sew Steady extension table for all my machines which include my Baby Lock Crescendo sewing machine, Destiny sewing/embroidery machine, Ovation Serger, Embellisher Felting machine and Janome Felting machine.
The rest of this page is about setting up your sewing space for Free - Motion Ruler Work with Westalee Templates. This is absolutely essential for successful ruler work. There are many Sew Steady/Westalee videos on Youtube for instructions about anything you can think of but they are not necessarily all in the same place. Some are actually produced by the company itself and others are put up by people using and teaching the products. If you google “Youtube” and type “Westalee” or “Sew Steady” in the search bar, many, many videos will be laid out on your screen. You may not get any more sewing done that day if you start watching those!
I recommend doing that at first to get familiar with the different products but also for later on when you are working on a project, you can always go back and review anytime if you need more information on how to work with a particular tool. And there are always new videos being produced for each and every template as they are released for sale. If you can't find one, there is a private facebook page called, "Westalee By Me", and another one called," Sew Steady", where you can join for free as a member and ask questions and learn from others.
First, you have to find the right Sew Steady acrylic table for your sewing machine. Here is a link to a Youtube video where you can go to for information about what you will need:
You can see that all my favorite tools are already in the compartmentalized drawer where I can see them instantly and they are always at my fingertips. It sure beats losing them under my quilt, knocking them off my table into my trash basket by accident, or raking through a tray to put my hands on the right one each time I need one.
In order to set up the table I have turned it upside down and applied the legs one at a time, which is very easy to do – no tools required.
For instructions click here:
Then I applied the Universal table grid for accurate piecing. For information about that click here:
Once that was done it was time to put the table in place and put the Glider in place. A Free-Motion Glider is absolutely essential for Free-Motion Quilting and any kind of Rulerwork. Rulerwork is really just a more structured form of Free Motion Quilting using tools to glide along the foot as you are sewing to create intricate and instantly perfect designs.......well, with a little practice. It is a piece of slippery plastic that clings to the acrylic table top and and allows the fabric to slip and slide easily under the needle as you glide along the edge of your template shape. It also covers screw heads, crevices, and other hardware edges that the surface of all sewing machines have that would otherwise catch and stall your quilting "flow."
A polishing kit was included which was new to me but I followed the instructions to make the surface as slippery as possible. Here are the directions for polishing your quilting surface once the table and Glider are installed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8fwKWt9DbI
Almost ready to sew but not quite yet.
The Westalee Ruler Foot needs to be installed on your machine. There are 4 sizes available – Low Shank, Medium Shank, High Shank and High Shank Special.
The templates also come in 3 thicknesses, based on your machine make and model so it is important to determine what you need first before ordering.
Below you can clearly see the difference between the low shank and high shank templates. Because there are hundreds of machine brands and models and these tools are sold all over the world, it is best to call before ordering so you can be sure your tools fit your make and model machine. If you are one of those lucky people who own several sewing machines, don't assume that one set of templates will work with all your machines. You would have to choose which sewing machine you want to do Rulerwork with and order for that brand and model machine.
I installed my Ruler Foot with a Creative Notions Crescendo screw driver designed to fit over the Presser Foot Holder Screw on the larger Baby Lock machines. The Grip Handle stays in place so it doesn’t fall out of your hands each time you turn and return the screw.
To test whether my foot is installed correctly I put the needle where I think it is centered in the circle of the foot, put a piece of paper under it, lower the foot, lower the needle into the paper. I use a fine mechanical pencil to draw around the edge of the foot to make a circle. I put the needle down and up to create a hole in the circle and see If the hole in the paper is in the center of the drawn circle. In the middle picture, you can see that the hole is not centered. I move my needle adjustment to the right a couple of clicks and In the third picture, the hole is now centered. I know I am ready to sew. In the following photos I used a Sharpee marker so my pencil marks would show up better.
Sometimes I may need to be sure the foot is securely held by the screw so as not to move out of place or out of center as I am quilting. Put quilt under needle with screw loose, lower foot into quilt, lower presser foot, lower needle. Make sure the quilt can move freely under the needle as low as possible. If the foot is too high the stitches will not be formed and thread will break frequently.
When the foot is in the lowest position possible and you can still move the quilt in all directions easily, tighten the screw firmly and you are ready to sew!!