Okay, after the excitement, stress and rush of the winter season, time to get back to some sort of normal. Well for me anyway. I have been chosen to do a project review for the new Clover Stitch Guide.

This has taken some time to complete, plagued with computer issues. Drove me batty, however, testing this product took my mind off it for a while, and the computer was sorted just in time to give a final edit to this blog.

At first assessment, I was a bit shocked to see how small and compact it was, I was expecting something bigger and chunky. Part of the appeal and one of Clovers selling points is it is more portable and can be used anyway and on any machine.

So with that said, lets test it shall we.

I have joined The Stitch Book collective for this year and will be making a few pages for the project. So this will require me to stitch weird and wonderful shapes in place so what better way to test. I will be working with three different fabric weights, denim, cotton and calico -both thin and thicker weights of calico- so I will be able to see how smoothly the stitch guide works.

What do you get in the product? For a start you get: the instructions, written on the inside of the packaging, which is both a great way to save on paper and be eco friendly, thus allowing you to store the product without losing them; however, the writing is very small and for those. Like me who struggle to read, a magnifier would be required. But I am sure once you have read them; you would get the general idea how to use it after time. So for the initial inconvenience of reading glasses etc, the product will explain itself once set up. This with any product is always a plus in my book.

What else do you get? You also get two sections which you are required to assemble for straight stitching, they simply clip one on top of the other, but take note they are not designed to remain clipped unless in situ. The next thing in the packet is a very nice small plastic stitch guide, which Clover have called the positioning guide and this is also used to store the stitch guides on once you have finished with them for the day.

Prior to use Clover recommends that you remove dust from the base of your machine and remove the film from the bottom of the guides. I know this sounds simple but how many of you just want to crack on and get going. Sometimes stating the obvious saves us time later. I wiped my machine down with an alcohol free baby wipe and left it to completely dry.

Yes they are sticky, I did not get them in the position I wanted at first so I had to move them, they moved and re stuck with ease. I did try the positioning sheet and did not get the needle in the hole, so I have already added a needle pot hole. Something to be wary of when using it.

Straight stitch first, it glided nice past the guides with no sticking or snagging on the join. It made a lovely even row of stitches. The hem I also did was quick and simple. Ideal if you cannot always guide by hand. Where I placed the guides made it a little hard because I used clips rather than pins, but because it guides from that point there was not a great deal to go wrong.

Strip Stitching, once I had the guides in the correct place the fabric went through with ease and did not slip out of position or want to pull one way or another as sometimes that can happen. Instead I achieved a nice even line, even if some of my fabric was slightly off on one side of the strip -remember I am using up my scraps- nice result.

Anybody else fascinated with the shaped they find after combing through there scraps. I quite like this shape I found from something that had been cut out on the fold. This gave me an Idea, something I had never done before, inserting a curve into another curve. It great way to test the stitch guides curve function.

Curves: okay so I am going to try and be really clever here and sew a curve similar to a Grandmothers Fan pattern. I have only ever sewn curves for round pillows etc so this will be new to me. The instructions call for the curve to go up for outer curves, now if you are like me and cannot tell your left from your right, it is a good job Clover has provided a picture as reference.

My semi circle turned out okay for a first try, however, not sure if I got the guide the right way round, I did try it with both sections or I wasn’t using it in the right place, it did not seem to make much difference. But in fairness, it could have been user error, the good news is that it did not hinder the sewing either.

Next to try the top stitching, this will be interesting as I currently use an overlock, or a over edge foot for this. The instructions say to “Stick shape cut out on either side of the presser foot. The shaping accommodates the foot while providing a straight edge guide. Figure 3.” Although figure 3 only shows one half placed down I presume it would only be one section needed. On my first reading of the instructions I thought it meant placing them either side of the foot, but then how would you get the fabric through and sewn. Then after re reading them I assume that it meant either side depending on which way you are top stitching. See picture for explanation. Either way the instructions were a little ambiguous for me at first. Note to self try not to undertake a task when tired.

It has been a few days since I ran my first set of tests, so the sticky has been left on them for at least a week before trying this top stitch test. Will they still stick? One had slightly come off the positioning sheet; however it was still sticky and stuck down with ease. I found the first time I placed it in position it would have made the top stitch too wide for my liking. So I placed the fabric where I wanted it to be and re stuck the guide down accordingly.

I went with more speed than I would for top stitching and let the fabric feed in using the guide and over all I am happy with the results. Apart from the end where the fabric was no longer touching the guide because it was at the end. I tried this again with a wider top stitch just to test again and as you can see from the image a nice line of “fake” double stitching. Maybe a great way to cheat, if you do not have a twin needle to hand.

What do I think overall of this product, this product retails from £8.50 – £11.24 so I would recommend shopping around. Do I think it is value for money? If compared to the more expensive feet that you can purchase then it does hold some value for money. If you are starting on your sewing journey then yes, I would say this helps a great deal. However, if you have been sewing for years, then it helped out, but you might not use all the design features of it.

I did find because I was doing different sorts of sewing while this was on test that I had to take the guide on and off, over time my concern would be that it loses its sticky adhesive. If you were going to be doing lots of sewing, ie you wanted all the seams the same edge widths then this would be great and you could leave it stuck to your machine for the duration. Thus creating less wear and tear on the guide. Clover does state in the instructions; “When the adhesive becomes weak, soak in water and dishwashing liquid. Allow to dry. The adhesive will return to its “sticky“ state”. This was the only thing I could not test.

My other gripe, however it is more to do with the way I sew than a fault with the product. I kept losing the positioning guide; it was small and clear and under all my mass of fabric it disappeared, unless the guides were stuck to it. So I would suggest that you be very careful with this or you risk gathering it up with fabric or scraps and it could easily become misplaced.

Thank you to Clover for offering this product up for testing. https://clover-usa.com/ or https://www.clover-mfg.com/

Thank you to the United Kingdom Quilters Website for allowing me to test this product.