7 Ways to Use a Laser on Your Sewing Machine

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Welcome to my stop on the 2019 Back to School Blog Hop!


Seven ways to use a laser on your sewing machine



When Sam of Hunter's Design Studio asked for bloggers to participate in this years Back to School Blog Hop, I knew exactly what I wanted to share!


Back to School Blog Hop

I recently shared about my new sewing machine lasers (read that post here), and I've been playing and experimenting ever since.

Many new sewing machines come equipped with a built-in laser, but these machines can be expensive!! When I discovered that Dave had invented the ViviLux laser that can attach to ANY sewing machine, I knew I had to have one! Fast forward to today, and I now have both the red and green ViviLux lasers. (Be sure to read this post if you want to know more about how the lasers work. I used both the red and green lasers for the photos for this post, but the green one is by far my favorite!)


ViviLux sewing machine lasers

The red and green lasers are available directly from Dave on his website, which is how I would recommend purchasing them. (You can even use coupon code FREEVLSHIP for free US shipping!) You can also get the red laser on Amazon. (Note: Before getting the ViviLux lasers, I used a laser I purchased at Harbor Freight. It is also available on Amazon. See this post if you want to see how it compares with the ViviLux lasers.)

So how does a laser help you sew?

I'm so glad you asked!

Here are my seven favorite ways to use the laser!


Seven ways to use a laser on your sewing machine


1. Making HSTs (half square triangles)

I use my laser for HSTs more than anything else! It saves SO much time not having to draw the lines before sewing!

Just adjust the laser to line up with the right side of your 1/4" presser foot.


Making HSTs with a sewing machine laser

As you sew, keep the bottom corner of the square in line with the light of the laser.


Making HSTs with a sewing machine laser

Sew all the way across, then flip the square around and sew again.


Making HSTs with a sewing machine laser

Keep the corner of the square in the laser line as it feeds the fabric.


Making HSTs with a sewing machine laser

Voila! Two lines on either side of the "center line" - but you didn't have to draw the line to start!


Making HSTs with a sewing machine laser

Just cut down the middle, and two HSTs ready for trimming!


Making HSTs with a sewing machine laser


2. Sewing stitch-n-flip corners

This is definitely a close runner-up for what I use my laser for the most often. Stitch-n-flip corners (known by many other names too), is another quilting technique that usually requires you to draw a line from corner to corner across a square.

But instead of drawing the line, align the laser with the needle and just sew! Keep the corner of the square in the laser line as the fabric feeds through the machine.



Sewing stitch-n-flip corners with a sewing machine laser

A perfectly straight line without drawing the line first!


Sewing stitch-n-flip corners with a sewing machine laser

No more drawn lines!


Sewing stitch-n-flip corners with a sewing machine laser


3. Maintaining consistent seams

Often, quilters will use painter's tape from the right side of the 1/4" foot forward to the edge of the machine table to show where to align the fabric for a consistent 1/4" seam.


Getting accurate and consistent seams by using a sewing machine laser


The tape often makes it difficult to change bobbins in machines with top loading bobbins, and also presents challenges when the table needs to be removed.


Getting accurate and consistent seams by using a sewing machine laser

The laser can be used in place of the tape! Just align the laser with the right side of the 1/4" foot and sew!

This is also a great way to maintain consistent seams if you're using a seam allowance other than 1/4" - maybe 3/8" for garment making or 1/2" for a quilt backing seam.


4. Stitch in the ditch

The laser really is helpful when machine quilting too!


Using a sewing machine laser to stitch in the ditch

Just align the laser with the needle...


Using a sewing machine laser to stitch in the ditch

…and stitching in the ditch stays in the ditch!


Using a sewing machine laser to stitch in the ditch

5. Free-motion quilting accuracy

The ViviLux lasers come with three interchangeable laser tips: the line laser, cross-hairs, and a dot. The dot laser is quite helpful when free-motion quilting!


Line the dot laser up with the exact point that your needle enters the fabric.


Using a dot laser for free-motion quilting accuracy

Then as you free-motion quilt, watch the dot so you can stop on an exact point.


Using a dot laser for free-motion quilting accuracy

The dot also helps when quilting right up to the edge of a section without coming up short.


Using a dot laser for free-motion quilting accuracy

6. Straight line quilting guide

Most walking feet come with a guide that attaches to the foot for accurate spacing. However, sometimes, the spacing needs to be smaller or larger than the guide allows. (Or you don't have a guide for your walking foot!) Or you want to be able to be more accurate in lining up the quilt than the small guide allows.

This is a fantastic way to use the laser!


Using a sewing machine laser for straight line quilting

Just line up the laser line with the previous straight stitched line. Be sure to guide the fabric so that the laser line and previous stitched line stay aligned as you stitch


Using a sewing machine laser for straight line quilting

No limits to the spacing between your straight lines now!


7. Dot to dot quilting

My final favorite way to use my laser is for dot to dot quilting. The technique was popularized by Angela Walters of Quilting is My Therapy.


Dot to dot quilting with a sewing machine laser

The laser line should be lined up with the needle, then you can quilt a straight line using your walking foot to anywhere the line points.


Dot to dot quilting with a sewing machine laser

This same technique is perfect for quilting diagonally across squares. It's way more accurate than "eye balling" it and much faster than drawing lines.


Dot to dot quilting with a sewing machine laser

How would you use the laser? Tell me in the comments!


Seven ways to use a laser on your sewing machine


Be sure to check out all the bloggers participating in the Back to School Blog Hop for more tips, tricks, and techniques that will make your quilting and sewing projects a little easier!



Day 1 – September 1 – Sam Hunter: Sewing Long Seams Without Stretching – huntersdesignstudio.com
Day 2 – September 2 – Susan Arnold – Joining Binding the Easy Way – quiltfabrication.com
Day 3 – September 3 – Angie Wilson – Fussy cutting tips and techniques – www.gnomeangel.com
Day 4 – September 4 – Andi Stanfield – No-Mark HST: Let your machine be your guide – truebluequilts.com/blog/
Day 5 – September 5 – Bobbie Gentili – Say YES to Y-seams – geekybobbin.com
Day 6 – September 6 – Mel Beach – 5 Reasons to Say Woo Hoo! to School Glue – pieceloveandhappiness.blogspot.com
Day 7 – September 7 – Laura Piland – 7 Ways to Use a Laser on Your Sewing Machine – www.sliceofpiquilts.com <---That's me!
Day 8 – September 8 – Suzy Webster – How to solve loops in free motion quilting – www.websterquilt.com
Day 9 – September 9 – Tara Miller – Accurate Stitch-and-Flip Corners – quiltdistrict.com
Day 10 – September 10 – Latifah Saafir – Accurate Seams Using Masking Tape! – latifahsaafirstudios.com
Day 11 – September 11 – Sarah Ruiz – The Magic of Glue Basting – saroy.net
Day 12 – September 12 – Jen Shaffer – Ways to stop your ruler from slipping while cutting – patternsbyjen.blogspot.com
Day 13 – September 13 – Cheryl Sleboda – Basics of ruching (a vintage fabric manipulation technique) – muppin.com
Day 14 – September 14 – Raylee Bielenberg – Choosing quilting designs for your quilt – www.sunflowerstitcheries.com
Day 15 – September 15 – Jen Strauser – Accurate and Attractive Machine binding – dizzyquilter.com
Day 16 – September 16 – Jane Davidson – Matching points for all types of intersections – quiltjane.com
Day 17 – September 17 – Teresa Coates – Starch and starch alternatives – teresacoates.com
Day 18 – September 18 – Jen Frost – Benefits of spray basting – faithandfabricdesign.com
Day 19 – September 19 – Sandra Starley – Getting started with Hand Quilting – utahquiltappraiser.blogspot.com
Day 20 – September 20 – Karen Platt – Drunkard’s Path Made Easy – karenplatt.co.uk/blog/
Day 21 – September 21 – Kris Driessen – All Kinds of Square (in a Square) – scrapdash.com
Day 22 – September 22 – Sarah Goer – Planned Improv Piecing – sarahgoerquilts.com
Day 23 – September 23 – Kathy Bruckman – Organizing kits for on-the-go sewing – kathyskwiltsandmore.blogspot.com
Day 24 – September 24 – Cheryl Daines Brown – The Secret to Flat Quilt Tops: Borders – quilterchic.com
Day 25 – September 25 – Cherry Guidry – Pre-assembling fusible applique – cherryblossomsquilting.com
Day 26 – September 26 – Laura Chaney – Getting started with English Paper Piecing – prairiesewnstudios.com
Day 27 – September 27 – Ebony Love – Cutting Bias Strips from a Rectangle – lovebugstudios.com
Day 28 – September 28 – Tammy Silvers – Working with heavier weight threads in your machine – tamarinis.typepad.com
Day 29 – September 29 – Kathy Nutley – Create a perfect facing or frame with 90 degree angles – quiltingsbykathy.com
Day 30 – September 3 – Joanne Harris – Using Leaders and Enders – quiltsbyjoanne.blogspot.com

Linking up with Monday Making.

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19 comments:

  1. Love this laser - and yes the machines with them are expensive. I am definitely adding this to my list (comment above me should be deleted).

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  2. Ok--I was tempted by your previous laser posts but seeing these 7 awesome uses (great visuals) and now I seriously need to add a 'frickin' laser beam to my shopping list!! (pardon the Austin Powers/Dr. Evil reference). Fabulous blog post!!

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  3. Woohoo! I want one... Thanks so much for sharing these great tips!

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  4. Wow. You're right. I think I need one!

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  5. Thank you for the tips. Just using for the HSTs can be a great timesaver.

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  6. Laura, I see you use a Juki. I bought one recently (same model as yours, it looks like) and wonder if you might know of a good forum for Juke owners.
    Thanks for posting all those tips!

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  7. What is the website for Dave's laser, could not find when I searched. Did I miss it? I'd rather order from him.

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    1. Here's the link! https://harbor-sales.com/listonecategory.asp?idCategory=75&idAffiliate=6

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  8. That looks like something I need, since I mostly do WFQ and not freehand. Thanks for the information.

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  9. Great info. I think I might get one. I had a laser from Harbor Freight and never could get it lined easily. I found it frustrating to work with.

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  10. You keep showing us the great uses, I've had it on my list for a bit, it may need to move to to the top of that list.

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  11. Hi! Thanks for posting all these ideas. I did get a red laser from Vivilux (the green isn't available right now) but I find that I have to readjust it all the time because it doesn't stay lined up where I put it. How do you keep yours lined up so that you can rely on the line staying where you need it?

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    1. I should also mention that I am using the Juki TL-2010q 🙂

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    2. I do definitely prefer the green one for this exact reason. The "neck" of the red laser isn't quite as strong. When I use my red laser, I make sure the tip is screwed on tightly, then get the line as close as possible by re-positioning the unit on the Velcro. I have the same machine as you, and I find it really helps to position the neck over the top of the tension knob and have the neck touching the left side of the knob. This gives it some extra support so it won't wiggle out of position.

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    3. Thanks for the tips. On my other sewing machine I tried taping the laser in place with washi tape and that seems to work well. I may see if I can secure the laser to the tension knob and maybe that will help keep it lined up. I really do like using it when I can get it to stay positioned :-)

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  12. I have the same problem as Rachel Milgroom. The green laser was no longer available so I bought the red one. I have a Janome sewing machine and there is no way I can keep the laser steady. When I sew the laser swings to every corner of my fabric. It is a big and costly disappointment.

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    1. Oh, man! I'm so sorry it's not working for you! The neck is much stronger on the green laser, so it is worth the upgrade. When using the red one, make sure the tip is screwed in tightly, then you could try taping the "neck" into position with washi tape onto a spot on your machine. That way it wouldn't vibrate out of place. I hope you're able to remedy it! I love and use mine all the time!

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  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  14. Sorry you had a problem with the red laser. Last week we just posted several YouTube videos on how to secure the laser better. Please watch those. If you still have problems, please contact me off line.

    Dave

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Thank you for visiting and for your comments! I try to reply to comments via email, so if you're expecting a response and don't hear from me, check if you're a no-reply blogger. Happy sewing!

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