I haven't tried taking the foot off yet. That might be the solution. I'm not sure if the hipbelt will fit under the needles highest position, though.
Good to know I'm not the only home sewer to face this problem. However, I can't believe you were sewing 1/2" CCF on a home machine. I'd expect it to be 1/4" or 3/8". I might see if there's a local shop that could help me out. I don't want to spend any money on the sewing if I can help it. Maybe there's a kind soul out there.
I'm pretty bad at hand sewing and truth be told don't have much desire to hone that craft. However, if all else fails that's my path.
Thanks for the suggestions so far everyone.