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Thursday, 17 March 2011 05:00

Janome Heritage: First Professional-Style Embroidery Machine, MC8000

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134-mc8000-janome-heritageThis three-in-one machine opened up new worlds of creative possibility.

Do you remember when you first saw the Memory Craft 8000? This embroidery pioneer turns 21 this year!

It caused quite a stir in the sewing world when Janome released it in 1990. It was the first home sewing machine that would allow you to do professional-style embroidery. For the first time you could just bring up a design on the screen, hoop up your fabric, and stitch it out.

And it didn't even need a bulky embroidery attachment.

You could do multi-color embroidery designs. You could build a design library of Memory Cards. And with the Scan 'n Sew, you could scan any line art and turn it into a design.

The MC8000 was also the first of the three-in-one machines, where you could do sewing and quilting along with the embroidery. Just choose your function on the ultra-modern touchscreen. Its monogramming function was also very popular.

The Memory Craft 8000 was a best-seller and there are still sewists using theirs today. Now, more than 20 years later, the 4th generation Memory Craft 11000 Special Edition is Janome's top-of-the-line model.

See All Janome Embroidery Machines

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Wednesday, 16 March 2011 05:00

Video: Sewing On Four-Hole Buttons With The Button Sewing Foot

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108-4hole-button-sewing-foot-videoLearn how to use the Button Sewing Foot to sew on four-hole buttons.

So you have a terrific automatic buttonhole foot. But what about sewing on the button? Is there a special foot for that?

Yes, it's called the Button Sewing Foot and it fits all Janome top-loading sewing machines. If you have a front-loading machine, you'll want the Button Sewing Foot (front loading machines).

This accessory has two rubberized feet that hold your button still while your machine sews it into place.

The Button Sewing Foot is easy to set up. You just snap it on. Then choose your machine's button sew-on feature. If your machine doesn't have this, you simply choose a zigzag stitch and lower your feed dogs.

You position your button under the foot and then adjust your stitch width until your needle drops right into the center of the two holes. You test where your needle will pierce with the handwheel. Then simply stitch in those two holes.

But what if your button has four holes? Watch Button Sewing Foot Video: Sewing On Four-Hole Buttons. This demo was created using the Memory Craft 11000 Special Edition sewing and embroidery machine.

See The Button Sewing Foot

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Tuesday, 15 March 2011 05:00

Four Tips For Using A Hemmer Foot

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136-four-tips-hemmer-footPerfect, tiny hems are easy with this versatile foot.

Yesterday's article covered the basic anatomy and sizes of the Hemmer Foot. We learned that this foot stitches a narrow, double-turn finish; perfect for hemming ruffles, napkins, tablecloths, blouses, sheer fabrics and more. And it works on any Janome sewing machine.

Today, we'll explore how to get the most out of this useful foot. The applications are wide, and with a little practice the results are terrific!

Click below for our tips on general use, as well as specialty applications.

Go To The Hemmer Foot Tips

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Monday, 14 March 2011 05:00

Anatomy of a Hemmer Foot

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135-anatomy-hemmer-footThe Hemmer foot stitches a narrow, double-turn finish; perfect for hemming ruffles, napkins, tablecloths, blouses, sheer fabrics and more.

Janome offers three different hemmer feet. For ease of use, choose the foot appropriate to the fabric:

  • 2mm Hemmer foot D – Suitable for tiny, narrow hems on lightweight fabrics. Best choice when hemming curves. (a standard foot)
  • 4mm Hemmer foot D2 – This is the best all-around choice for lightweight fabrics. The hem is slightly wider, making this foot easier to use. (an optional foot)
  • 6mm Hemmer foot D1 – Best on medium to medium-heavy fabrics. This foot creates the widest width hem. (an optional foot)

Top View

135-anatomy-hemmer-foot-top

The curl or scroll at the front of the foot turns the fabric edge two times. The toe of the foot guides the hem's outer edge.

Bottom View

135-anatomy-hemmer-foot-bottom

The bottom groove denotes the width of the hem and allows the foot to ride smoothly over the finished seam.

Reading The Foot

135-anatomy-hemmer-foot-markings

The letter/number indicates the name of the foot

The single number indicates the width of the foot

Browse All The Janome Specialty Presser Feet

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Friday, 11 March 2011 05:00

Favorite Quilt Block Series: Block #2: Pinwheel

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133-fav-quilt-bloack-series-pinwheelEasy to Make and Adorable! 

The Pinwheel Block adds great visual interest to quilts and other sewing projects, yet is very easy to make. It’s a great way to use up scraps from other projects as well.

Many quilting patterns instruct you to cut away excess fabric in order to make a half square triangle. Often, this fabric is discarded, or thrown in the scrap bin for use later. If you have the time, it’s great to pin those triangles together as you trim the excess, then sew them into their own, smaller half square triangle units. They’re great for making pillow shams to complement a quilt top, or to use in the border or on the back of the quilt. 

To make the Pinwheel Block from trimmed fabric triangles, follow these instructions:

1. Stitch triangles of separate colors together on the long side.
133-fav-quilt-block-series-pinwheel-d1
2. Open and press seam toward the darker fabric. Repeat to make four triangle units.
133-fav-quilt-block-series-pinwheel-d2
3. Sew two triangle units together to make a row. Be sure to note the orientation of the colors in the triangles. Press seams in one direction. Repeat to make a second row.
4. Stitch the rows together to complete one block. Press seam in one direction.
133-fav-quilt-block-series-pinwheel-block-diagram 

To make Pinwheel Blocks to a specific size, determine the size of the finished block you would like. Divide that in half, then add 7/8” – this will be the size you should cut your squares for each of the half square triangle units in the pinwheel block. (For the photo shown, you will need two white squares and two pink squares.)

To make pinwheel blocks from squares of fabric, follow these instructions:
1. Draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of the light fabric.
133-fav-quilt-block-series-pinwheel-d3
2. Layer the square with the line right sides together with a square of contrasting fabric.
3. Stitch ¼” from each side of the line.
133-fav-quilt-block-series-pinwheel-d4
4. Cut in half along the drawn line.
133-fav-quilt-block-series-pinwheel-d5
5. Follow steps 2-4 above to finish the Pinwheel Block.

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Wednesday, 09 March 2011 05:00

Serger Smarts: Hemming Knits on a Serger

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127-hemming-on-knitsSkip the Tailor! Put that Serger to Work.

One of the best things about knowing how to sew is that you can save money by altering your own clothes. This process is probably easiest on a pair of trousers, but the elasticity in knits introduces a minor hurdle, as it's sometimes difficult to choose the correct stitch to make them 'fall' without bunching.

There are two things that make this application a lot easier to do with a 4 thread serger. They are the Blind Stitch foot and the Spreader (2 thread converter). The Blind Stitch foot allows the fold and the flat raw edge to be guided and serged simultaneously.

To hem knits on a serger, follow these guidelines:

  1. Attach a Blind Stitch foot to the machine.
  2. Fold the hem on the garment for a blind hem, press and secure with pins that will be removed as they approach the presser foot. Pressing the second fold (for a blind hem) is not often recommended but can be done if desired.
  3. Set up the serger for a 2 (or 3) thread flatlock stitch – refer to the manual for instructions for settings and the attaching the Spreader (two thread converter). Adjust the stitch length to the highest number available.
  4. Adjust the blind hem foot so that the very edge of the fold will be penetrated by the needle. This will result in a very small stitch being visible on the right side of the fabric.
  5. Once serging is complete, lay the hem flat and press.

Note: It is very important to match the thread color to the fabric – this helps to hide any stitches that are visible on the right side of the fabric. If it's your first time hemming, test your thread and the application with scrap fabric to perfect this technique before tackling your actual garment. Getting the correct 'bite' on the hem stitch is easier after some practice.

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Thursday, 10 March 2011 05:00

Techniques You Need To Know: Quick Swing Tacks with the Fringe Foot

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132-fringe-footSome feet do far more than their names imply!

True to its name, the Fringe foot can be used for creating decorative fringe to accent any project.

But this versatile accessory has other uses as well. It is perfect for creating swing tacks in garment construction.

When adding a lining to a skirt or other garment, you can put swing tacks at the side seams to anchor the lining in place so it doesn’t bunch or ride up while still allowing flexibility as the wearer moves.

  1. 132-fringe-foot-pics-200pxAttach the Fringe foot.
  2. Set up your machine for a Zig Zag stitch. 
  3. Select the widest width and a length of 0.0.
  4. Butt the seam allowances together just above the skirt and lining hems, leaving an approximate ¼" gap in between. 
  5. Lower the presser foot. Stitch 5-6 Zig Zag stitches, just catching the edge of each seam allowance.
  6. Raise the presser foot, grasp the swing tack and carefully remove the garment.
  7. Tie off and clip the thread tails. 

 

Note: If your machine has a Button Sew-On stitch, use it instead of the Zig Zag. The Button Sew-On stitch locks the stitch off at the beginning and end of the stitch, eliminating the step of tying off the thread tails.

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Tuesday, 08 March 2011 05:00

Video: Finishing A Raw Edge With The Overedge Foot C

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107-overedge-foot-c-videoFinish the raw edge of your fabric without getting out the serger.

The Overedge Foot C allows you to sew a zig zag stitch over the raw edge of your fabric to keep it from raveling. 

Now if you tried to stitch a zig zag over the edge of your fabric with a regular foot, the fabric would curl. The Overedge Foot C prevents this by having a set of "brushes" hold your fabric flat while it's being stitched. (Be sure to set your stitch wide enough so your needle doesn't hit the brushes--see the instructions.)

To make it easy to keep your fabric edge in the proper position, the Overedge Foot C has a flange, a thin metal guide which you keep your fabric against as you sew.

For instructions on how to use this foot watch Overedge Foot C Video: Creating An Overedge Stitch.

The foot featured in the video is for top loading Janome sewing machines. For a front loading machine you would use Overedge Foot C (front loading machines).

Watch The Overedge Foot C Video

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Monday, 07 March 2011 05:00

Janome Dealer Bittersweet Fabrics Wins Hall of Fame Award

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130-vdta-award-bittersweetLongtime Janome dealers are recognized by the Vacuum and Sewing Dealers Trade Association.

Each year the trade association for sewing dealers across the country recognizes one outstanding store. This year, at their annual trade show, they gave the Hall of Fame Award to Bittersweet Fabric Shop located in Boscawen, NH. Don And Audrey LaValley, the owners of the shop, have been Janome dealers for 34 years.

Bittersweet Fabrics opened on August 7, 1968 in the family dining room of the LaValley home. It was Audrey's dream to start the shop, quitting her job at the telephone company and managing her fledgling store with seven children at home.

Within a few years they were able to build their store and now provide quality sewing machines, as well as first-rate sales, education and service to sewists throughout the northeast.

Twelve years ago their son David joined the team, continuing the Bittersweet Fabric Shop tradition into the next generation.

We offer our hearty congratulations to the whole LaValley family. We couldn't be more proud.

If you're in New Hampshire, be sure to stop by Bittersweet Fabric Shop.

Read The LaValley's Story

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Friday, 04 March 2011 05:00

Notepad Cover

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126-notebook-coverSimple sewn projects can brighten any chore - even grocery shopping!

Little notepads are great for jotting down your thoughts, keeping track of things to do, or writing up the weekly shopping list. But a boring notebook in your bag is no fun.

Find some cute fabric, and whip up our Nifty Notepad Cover. Just a few simple seams turn a regular notepad into a fashion accessory. Make one to brighten up your chores, then make a few more for gifts. Super quick and easy!

You can make this with basic sewing skills and any Janome sewing machine.

Nifty Notepad Instructions

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