Angler 2 Makes Piecing Angles Easier
|March 25, 2002||in Product Reviews|
A review of
from Pam Bono Designs, Inc.
The Angler 2 is a cutting guide you install on the bed of your sewing machine to save time and increase accuracy when you sew 45° angles. It is an eight-inch square of transparent plastic about the thickness of thin template plastic.
The Angler 2 is marked with diagonal lines and 1/4-inch seam allowance lines to act as a guide when sewing half-square triangles, mitered corners, Flying Geese, Snowballs, or diagonal ends and corners.
Pam Bono designed this tool to work with her method of piecing in which she eliminates cutting triangles used in patterns. Instead of sewing triangles, Pam sews squares on the diagonal to squares or to rectangles and trims away the excess fabric.
You don’t need to own the Angler 2 to make Pam’s patterns. But the Angler 2 makes them a lot easier.
Without the Angler 2, I could draw a diagonal line between opposite corners of a square to act as a stitch line. But I would have to be careful to draw my lines accurately. I would have to choose a marker that I would be able to see and able to remove when I’m done. And I would have to allow extra time to draw and remove the lines.
Using the Angler 2, I found that I got good, straight 1/4-inch seams on my squares, Flying Geese, and my half-square triangles. As a matter of fact, the Angler 2 provides by far the fastest, most accurate method for doing 45° diagonal sewing.
While I really like using the Angler 2, I found a few drawbacks associated with using it.
For one, the instructions are incomplete and do not provide enough detail. The pictures show how to use the Angler 2 for 45° sewing, but the instructions that come in Pam’s book Quilt It For Kids go into greater detail.
Read my review of Pam’s Quilt It For Kids
But even without great instructions, the Angler 2 is still very useful for everyday quilting. But for a complex operation like Flying Geese, the lack of good instructions is a real problem.
The instructions assume that your knowledge of Flying Geese will get you to the point where you begin sewing the geese. But if you are unfamiliar with Pam’s method of construction, you may not know how to get to that point.
Most Flying Geese patterns have you sew small triangles to a larger triangle. But Pam does it differently. She sews squares to a rectangle and trims away the excess.
The Angler 2 instructions say that you will get an accurate 1/4-inch seam allowance by using the lines on the Angler 2. But if you don’t start with pieces of the right size, no amount of accurate sewing will guarantee the necessary 1/4-inch seam allowance. Other tools for Flying Geese come with a table or with instructions to determine the cut size of the pieces you will need. The Angler 2 does not.
I checked Pam’s Web site for a table or instructions but didn’t find any there, either. And if you have never made Flying Geese, or if you have just followed the cutting directions on a pattern, you may not realize how to calculate the cut size of the pieces. Therefore, you might waste a lot of fabric trying to figure out how to get proper Flying Geese with 1/4-inch seam lines.
Another drawback is the size of the tool. The packaging states that it fits all sewing machines, and that’s partly true. When you install the Angler 2, you cut a rectangle in the rear center of the tool. This piece is called the key. You use it to align the template properly on your machine.
The key has an alignment hole for the needle. The instructions tell you to use a pin to punch a hole in the key for your needle. I tried that, but it didn’t work. I ended up using my small Fiskars Softouch scissors with a very sharp point to punch through the plastic. Since then, I’ve learned that heating up an old sewing machine needle to punch the hole would work.
The key has lines to align the large square of Angler 2 to the key so the hole for the needle lines up properly. The key worked fine for getting the lines in the right places. But the Angler 2 is wider than my machine bed so it sticks out on three sides. This makes it easy to bump it or knock it out of alignment.
I didn’t have a problem getting the Angler 2 aligned with the needle hole. But the instructions don’t tell you that it is important to have the Angler 2 aligned properly with the machine bed as well.
I attached the Angler 2 to my machine bed using packing tape on the bed and Scotch tape behind the foot area. When I removed the Scotch Tape to replace it, I apparently moved my Angler 2 without realizing it. When I began sewing again, all my half-square triangles had too large a seam allowance. I took out all the seams, aligned my Angler 2, and sewed again. With the Angler 2 aligned properly, all my seam allowances were correct.
Taping the Angler 2 directly to the bed of my Janome 3000 isn’t a good long-term solution. I have to remove it to get to my accessory compartment every time I change feet. Then I have to go through the reinstall procedure each time to make sure everything is lined up properly.
If you are lucky enough to have an extension table for your machine, your problems are solved. The Angler 2 will fit properly and be secured to your extension table on all four sides without getting in the way or getting knocked out of alignment.
I really like sewing with the lines on the Angler 2, even though I have to look at the pictures in the instructions to remind me where I line up my pieces. I get accurately sewn pieces in less than half the time of my old methods. And it saves me a lot of work too.
I also like the accurate 1/4-inch seam allowance I get when following the 1/4-inch seam lines on the front of the Angler 2. And the best part is that I get accurate 1/4-inch seam lines with every foot.
However, I would definitely recommend getting the extension table for your sewing machine. Then install the Angler 2 permanently on the extension table. These two items together are a wonderful help in the sewing room.
Where To Buy: The Angler 2