Creative articles about sewing

Use the FHS on the sewing machine

Do you use the FHS on the sewing machine? It’s the knee lifter or Freehand system. For me it is a highly appreciated extra value to use it. I’m sewing on the BERNINA 710 now and this model has the same technical settings as the others from the 7-series. You activate the presserfoot by moving your right knee to the right. In this way it works as a third hand. You don’t need to take your hands away from your sewing project to lift the presserfoot. Very practical!

Image of BERNINA 710.


The BERNINA 710 offers many features to make sewing easier. Inventions such as the semi-automatic threading system, the BERNINA Stitch Regulator (BSR), the BERNINA DualFeed, and the embroidery system, are proof of this superior quality.

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I used this tool frequently when making this cushion:

Use the FHS on the sewing machine - kneelift - Bernina

My previous sewing machine (the BERNINA 1090, bought in 1991) already had the kneelift. The dealer advised it to me with with big certainty. you need a learning curve, but after a short while, it feels very natural. That’s the reason why I bought an overlock with kneelift as well: the L 460.

Use the FHS on the sewing machine - kneelift - Bernina


Supplies for a project with the kneelift on the sewing machine: a spring – golden cushion.

  • Cotton fabric for a cushion, batting bigger than the shape you will sew, extra fabric to cover the batting.
  • Buttons or a zipper
  • A shape to use as template (I bought a cheap felt coaster).
  • Mettler Web Bond temporary adhesive spray
  • Gold spray
  • Mettler metallic or goldlike thread
  • The Open embroidery foot # 20 gives you a good view on your work while sewing.
Image of Open Embroidery Foot #20.

Open Embroidery Foot #20

Perfect for sewing decorative stitches ✓   Creation of attractive appliqué designs ✓  Allows lines and patterns to be followed precisely ✓   An open form for a clear view of the project ✓  For 5.5 mm and 9 mm machines ✓ 

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Prepare the fabric:

Spray the back of the template with temporary adhesive spray. Put it on the fabric and push well.

Spray the gold paint over the template.

Remove the template and let dry.

Put the batting and the back fabric on the back of the painted fabric. Pin the three layers together. You really need the batting and back fabric to prevent the sprayed fabric to pucker.


Start to sew the spring cushion.

Sew along all outlines of the sprayed shape  Set your stitchlength a little longer, to see the thread better. I think 3,5 is a good choice.

How to you use the kneelift, is explained in this video:

You will need to lift the presserfoot in every corner of the outlines (yes, quite many!). Turn the fabric with needle down. It’s useful to do this action quick and while keeping your hands down to move the fabric. Move your knee to the right and the presser foot lifts automatically.

Use the FHS on the sewing machine - kneelift - Bernina - open embroidery foot 20

Sometimes you will need to sew half a stitch to find the exact corner of the lines. In the blogpost ‘Tips for collar, darts and topstitching’ I explained how to do that.


Now finish the gold cushion. When all outlines are stitched, trim the batting and back fabric and sew with a zigzagstitch or overlock to prevent fringing.

 At last, you can finish the fabric to a cushion. .

Use the FHS on the sewing machine kneelift Bernina

I hope you are convinced about the use of the kneelift.So, this was today’s adivce: use the FHS on the sewing machine.

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