Monday, May 01, 2006
Martelli Binding Fiasco
And about that binding tool...
Well, I promised to tell you how I made out with that Martelli Stitch-n-Ditch Binder Foot. The short story - it is now in the trash (except for the packaging which I have to refer to for this post). I thought for a nano-second about offering it to anyone else who wanted to try it out, but then I came to my senses - I wouldn't wish this thing upon my worst enemy, so why would I offer it to a friend? The long story follows:
First off - the ad in Keepsake Quilting says: "Apply binding completly by machine without stitches showing by feeding your quilt edge underneath this plastic pressure foot, which adjusts for 1/4" to 1" bindings. Set includes four attachments for different batting lofts and six shank adapters for a variety of machines. (Bernina requires its own adapter.)" $29.99.
Sounds pretty good, right. So, I order it and have it sent to Canada - which involves some extra postage/import fees. The directions on the back of the package references some other tools and then states... "*Zip Clips, Minute Miters and SewMate sold seperately. These tools are helpful, but not required." Huh? Oh but wait - I can go to www.martelli-enterprises.com for directions with pictures. Oh wait - that website my computer is unable to find. OK, so skip that thought! But I do search around and finally come up with - tada! - the refered to zip clip system here http://webstore.quiltropolis.net/stores_app/Browse_Item_Details.asp?Store_id=430&page_id=23&Item_ID=1260 and for $54.99 - plus add the shipping. I think for $54.99 you get everything, including the part I already have. And wouldn't you know - the entire system from this website has such an outstanding review that it has you dreaming about perfectly easy, effortless bindings. Ha. Oh but wait, there's more - if you just so happened to buy this neat-o gadget at a SHOW you get a FREE cd or video or something like that to walk you through the steps. So where does that leave me, a mail order customer?
But anyway, it does say that these tools aren't required, and I am already out my money, so I am going to give it a good try. The photo of the thing on my machine is proof of that. But, right off the bat I am having trouble SEEING where I'm going - that big plastic foot kind-ov blocks your view. But I think I can live with that because the guide is adjusted to the right placement. Except that when you start sewing it really DRAGS so you end up with micro-scopic stitches unless you set your stitch length to something HUGE - so then you end up with a combination of long and short stitches depending on how easily everything is gliding along at a certain point. I think that somewhere along the initial testing stage of this product the testers must have run into this issue too because guess what the directions say? "We suggest lengthening your stitch to conduct a "trial run", making any changes to needle position and seam allowance then returning your stitch length to normal". Hummm, interesting.
I tried, I really did. After 2 nights of fiddling around with this thing I did what any practical Momma would do who wants to finish a quilt for her baby - went back to what is tried and true for me - my good old walking foot. Sewed that binding on one side. Then I tried something new - flipped it over and pinned it all down and sewed it on the other side with the walking foot. Remember, I am experimenting on toddler quilts in prep of doing this on a big quilt (trying to avoid hand sewing the binding to the back, but maybe that is still the route I will take). So, one quilt I sewed the binding to the back and then sewed through the binding on the top. The 2nd quilt I sewed the binding to the front and then ran my sewing stitches in the ditch along the front to catch the binding on the back (I liked this look the best). Not sure why someone would ever need a Mitering tool because mine always come out fine. In anycase, I think the binding looks pretty big because way in the beginning the directions for the binding foot said to cut the bindings 2 1/2" and I usually cut mine 2 1/8". And my SQUARE quilts now have WAVY edges, so it might have something to do with a wide binding OR it could be that I used the walking foot on both sides to attach the binding? Not sure! That is a bit beside the point though because Little Boy is very happy with his bound quilts!
In all fairness, I did have a kind person e-mail me about her Martelli binding foot (thanks Cheryl). She too had originally just purchased the set-up I bought. Later, at a show, she bought the rest of the tools and after 4 trys - is now able to say that it is a wonderful gadget. But that brings you right back to the fact that the item is more than $29.99 to work so wonderfully. Personally, I think that is very crooked! I mean, if it is $30 it is $30 in my book, not $30, but if you want it to work like it should - that will be another X$ (couldn't even find where to buy just the needed attachments since I already have part of the system). Just tell me the total cost up front.
So, it didn't go good, not good at all. Except that I was just talking to DH about what I am writting and now he is thinking that I should go fish the thing out of the sewing room trash and take the issue up with Keepsake. You know, I just might do that! $30 sure would buy me some nice, new fat quarters!
Edited to add: Keepsake Quilting promptly returned my money. Keepsake is a splurge for me, but their customer service is excellent and if you want to splurge - it is good to splurge where this is true just in case something ever goes wrong! I understand that the binding tool works for some people and they like it. I have to say, the book that has helped me the most with finishing my quilts is "Finish It" by Alex Anderson. For a slim book, it is packed full of practical knowledge on how to get perfect bindings and finishing techniques, using tools that you probably already own for quilting anyway, plus some beautiful scrap quilt patterns! If you buy anything from Amazon, please do so through one of my Amazon links because it helps me out - thank you!