Bernina Foot #43 Free Motion Couching

MarveLes Art StudiosBlogs 7 Comments

So… we visited yesterday with a quilt using more “traditional” type of couching, with the blog the day before on the #39 foot.  Tomorrow I will be posting a small project showing this technique, and I hope you will check back then!
And TODAY… more couching!  How I love a free motion foot of any kind… but this #43 free motion foot from Bernina is particularly FUN and one of my most favorites to use.  The foot comes with three pieces; the foot itself, a thread guide (that you load onto your Bernina thread cutters), and a small wire that is a threader that helps you insert cords/yarns through the holes of the foot. Ask your Bernina dealer to demonstrate it for you!  I will be demonstrating this at the placemat class at “The Quilt A Way” on February 15th 5:30 – 8pm.  Class fee: only $10 – come join us!
You can see the stitches ‘pulled’ a bit… so lower the tension!
  • Lower your top tension at least 1-2 levels
  • Lower your feed dogs
  • Use a 90/14 microtex  needle
  • with foot #43 from Bernina, the needle stitches through the center of the cord, so it’s important to get it stitched down, but keep the foot moving evenly over the fabric.
  • just like any other foot, you can make circles, stitch over previous lines, and etc.
  • keep an even speed; not too fast, not too slow
  • tie off like you normally would 
  • cording or yarn you choose for this particular foot is approximately 2mm in width, or roundness.  Too big, a cord won’t fit properly and will plug the holes in the foot.  Too loose, and it won’t stitch down at all.  So find something that ‘fills the hole’ but feeds smoothly & evenly through the hole.

I am showing some basic placemats above, previously cut with free hand curves, and then those curved pieces have been edge-stitched down, and are now ready for stitching, couching and decorative stitch accents.  Here’s the link to a previous blog that featured Christmas themed placemats. Hint:  Look at your needle as you gauge placement… it’s in the center of the foot, so placing your foot, and watching the needle will take some practice, in order to get exact placement.

Remember, this is free motion, so feed dogs are down.  Lower your tension as needed, and match your top thread color to the cord.  I like 50 weight Masterpiece cotton from Superior threads in my top and the same in my bottom thread, but a polyester is good too, and I make my decisions based upon how much I’m going to couch, and the type of cord/yarn I am couching.  Polyester tends to be stronger, and for that reason alone, it can be a better choice especially if you are using ‘tougher’ cords/yarns with nylon or alot of density to them.

Threading the foot:  Begin with the side-entry, feeding your cord/yarn through the side, and then down through the top center hole.  Keep the excess cord/yarn to the left, ensuring it is tangle free and can feed easily as you are sewing/quilting.

Thread yarn through the side-entry hole first

The #43 Free Motion Couching Foot by Bernina is just a “must have” foot if you want to look like a STAR!  I teach and demonstrate this to most of my classes!  It’s just too good not to share!  Note:  This foot has a shank that fits only the newer Bernina machines (10 years or more new), and it is not produced for the older models.  

Yarn completely threaded (left to right, through the center hole)

Comments 7

  1. This is a really clear demo. The Bernina video alludes to attaching a wire guide (that comes with the foot) to the side of the machine but doesn't show this. What is this about?

  2. Thank you for the only clear demonstration of how to thread it! Bernina's instruction leaflet is hopeless. I've found that the thread I wanted to use is too thin. The needle doesn't keep on the thread. I'll try using a thicker one. Keep posting your useful tips.

  3. You are the first one to properly explain how to thread this foot. Your photos are very clear. Your description is perfect. Now with some practice I bet my yarn will stop tangling… Thanks for your help!
    Cindy Richard

  4. I have this foot for my Bernina too. I'm sad to say though, that I haven't used it much. I really should get it out and play with it. Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment.

  5. Sorry to say 'Impera' there is not a #43 foot for the 1230, or in fact, for any of the older styles of machines. Bernina changed the shanks on the all feet when started making newer-computerized machines about 12 years ago.

  6. Oh my… I am drooling over the #43 foot. Will have to check and see if there is one to fit my 1230!

    Love your work… truly beautiful!

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