No matter what brand of sewing machine you have the feet are similar in function. If you know how to use the narrow hemmer on a Singer then you know how to use it on a Kenmore and numerous other brands.
The most important thing to know when buying feet is what style to get for your sewing machine. Kenmore, White, Domestic (I think) and some others use the type that screw on from the bottom up in the back of the foot. For Singers you have to know what shank size your machine has. Sew-Classic has a measurement chart for these. My Singer 15-91 takes a low shank foot. So does my 201, 128, and vintage Elna. This means the feet are interchangeable on these machines.
This next photo shows hemmers. The ones in the back left are from a box of treadle attachments. The one on the right is from my Elna. The two in the foreground are from the Singer box above and are what I'm going to start with.
Safety note: Whenever you change a foot bring the balance wheel over and make sure the needle goes past the foot and into the center of the needle hole in the throat plate.
This is the narrow hemmer also know as the foot hemmer. The Singer reference book claims it is one of the greatest time savers. "It stitches a perfect hem without basting or pressing." It makes a small 1/8 inch fold then another 1/8 inch fold for a total 1/4 inch hem.
To attach it, raise the needle to its highest point, unscrew the presser foot, and attach the hemmer in its place. Follow the safety note and check that the needle passes through alright.
The trickiest part about using the narrow hemmer is getting it started. There are several methods. The hem must be started at the edge with the fabric edge in the foot evenly or it will feed in diagonally (on the bias) and the hem won't be right.
Method One: This is from the old Singer manual. Finger press the hem in the fabric for about an inch or two--it doesn't have to be perfect. With the hemmer up (don't lower the presser bar) put the fabric under it about an inch or more into the fabric and try and get that fold into the hemmer scroll a bit. Pull the fabric back to the beginning edge and now lower the presser bar. The hemmer needs to be sitting on the edge of the fabric with the fabric under the needle as in the next photo. If there is no fabric under the needle it can be difficult to get started and you might end up running in one place with no fabric moving. Make three or four stitches and stop.
Now grab hold of the thread ends in the back (next photo) and gently pull them as you start sewing while with your other hand you keep the fabric edge folded to enter the scroll. This pulling will help get your fabric feeding under the foot. Once it's going, let go of the threads.
Try and keep the fabric fold feeding through evenly. This is one of those things that takes a dreaded "P" word: Practice.
Confusing? Sound difficult? I promise if you try it, it's not that bad. I've used this foot often, but by the time I finished sewing all these bits for this demonstration I can handle it with no trouble, so I have no doubt you can too!
If you're still in doubt, I've made a little video for you--it's absolutely dreadful. Now I have never made a video before--ever--I'm not even in the few home videos we have. I have no idea if it will work or load right for you. Someone can let me know about that. It shows this first method. Watch at your own peril.
Did you watch or decide it was too much and go with the photos and written directions?
If you feed too much fabric in, the hem edge will look bulky. Here is a shot showing a raw edge from where I didn't feed enough fabric in.
The disadvantage to this method is that the first few stitches might be a bit messy. It helps if you have a little extra fabric to play with at the beginning. If you do, you can trim off the beginning. If you don't, try the next two ways.
Method Two: This is from a later Singer reference book. It's also in my Elna manual and seems to work on many types of fabric. Fold the fabric over an 1/8 inch and then again another 1/8 inch. Press this.
Lower the hemmer down on the fabric like a normal presser foot and sew a few stitches. Stop and now pull the edge up into the scroll raising the hemmer if you need to. I usually leave the needle down in the fabric while I'm pulling the edge into the scroll. Getting the fabric in the scroll can take some pulling. Lower the foot, if you raised it, and continue sewing while feeding the fold into the foot. With this method the first few stitches will be neater (even if you did some pulling to get the edge started).
I made a shorter video showing this method. It's worse than the first--my arm gets in the way when I'm sewing but you can see the start and that's what's important. Also when I'm trying to get the fabric in the scroll I'm mumbling that it isn't always easy. This method really works though and I encourage you to try it.
Method Three: Another method I've used frequently is to start on a piece of tissue paper. I think I also saw this mentioned in the last issue of Threads magazine. Scrap tissue from a pattern, regular gift wrapping tissue, or any thin paper will work. Fold and crease your fabric. You can pin it if you like. Place it on the tissue paper.
Put fabric and tissue paper under the foot and lower the foot onto the tissue paper. The needle is going to start on the tissue paper. Pull the edge of your fabric into the hemmer's scroll. Start sewing for a few stitches. Stop and take out your pin if you haven't already. Feed the fabric in evenly.
When you're done pinch the stitching and pull the tissue paper off. The advantage to this method is that the first few stitches are on the tissue paper so if they're not perfect it doesn't matter.
I think once you try the above methods you'll find which one works the best for you. But here's another one too.
Method Four: This one came from a manual for a treadle sewing machine that's over a hundred years old. Start by clipping the edge of the fabric at an angle that is 1/4 inch. If you're using a hemmer that is more than 1/4 inch clip up to the amount your hem total is.
Fold and then fold again so you have a narrow hem to match your hemmer as in the following shot.
Now place the fabric edge under the narrow hemmer so the fabric is under the needle and the fold is in the scroll and lower the foot. Take a few stitches and if you need to, stop and grab the threads, and pull as you get the fabric started. Having the edge cut off is supposed to help with getting the fabric fed into the foot. You need some extra fabric at the beginning for this method.
It's good to know all of these methods because sometimes it depends on what fabric you're using and what your project is as to which one is best. You might find you can do one better than another. There are probably more ways too--people usually come up with something that works.
Notice how these methods are all about how to start on the edge of the fabric but not in the middle as you would with a hem on something that's already sewn together. I usually use a version of the second method for this--starting near a seam. Again, practice. To cross a seam, clip the seam in a V shape from a 1/4 inch down to nothing on the edge.
You can use a narrow hemmer on a bias edge. The edge must be stayed with a line of straight stitching, then trimmed 1/16 inch from stitching before hemming.
There is more to using the narrow hemmer but since this post is getting long enough I'll stop here and post the rest tomorrow. I'll also add the adjustable hemmer too.
Here's a practice lesson for you: Take several long strips of fabric, about 4 inches by 22 inches (longer or shorter will do, but not too short), and make a narrow hem on one side. Try the different methods of getting started. When done save your strips (even if they're not perfect) because we'll use them again in a few weeks when we try out the ruffler.