I love those little emergency sewing kits they have at hotels. They're a life saver if you lose a button right before an important meeting or have another kind of "wardrobe malfunction." But I wouldn't dream of using them for my regular sewing – anymore than I'd open a hair salon that only carried those cute little hotel shampoos. However, for some sewers, especially beginning sewers, their set of tools is at about the same level as the free repair kit. If that's the case with your sewing basket, you have some shopping to do. Having better quality tools and notions actually helps you achieve better results on your projects. It can make the difference between a project that was fun to create and you're proud to display, and one you feel like hurling out the window. This is also a great article to share with friends who are just learning to sew. Helping them collect the right basic tools is one of the best ways to make sure they start off on the right foot.
Accurate pressing is one of the most important parts of the construction process. Having a tool that holds precise, narrow folds and clean angles is critical. And, if that tool allows you to do that without your fingers getting dangerously close to the iron, it’s a must-have in our book! One of our favorite pressing tools, the Clover Hot Hemmer has a new friend: the Hot Ruler. This 2½” x 10” ruler is part of the Press Perfect collection by Joan Hawley for Clover, and is made of the same super thin, heat resistant nylon fiberboard with a special non-slip surface.
Here is your word for the day: plethora. As in, "a whole bunch." As in, "With such a plethora of ribbon options on the market today, why would I want even more?" Because you can. The Janome Ribbon Sewing Guide allows you to stitch directly on ribbon up to 1" wide, so you can personalize the color and design of your ribbon accents and create exactly the look you want and need.
Life can get a little sticky sometimes. In general, that statement covers a vast array of scenarios. But in the world of sewing, we’re usually talking about laminates, vinyls, faux leather, oil cloth, and the other sticky fabric substrates that look cool but can be challenging to sew. The surfaces of these specialty fabrics love to drag across your presser foot and/or needle plate, causing your stitching to bunch or break. Plus, with non-wovens, once you make a hole it’s there to stay. So the last thing you want are extra holes due to messed up seams. The Janome Ultra Glide Foot and its accompanying Needle Plate Set gives you the ability to sew through your sticky situations like a hot knife through butter.
Years ago the Thermos® company had the slogan, "Keeps hot things hot and cold things cold." You can't say it much better than that. Did you know there are fabrics that help you do the same thing? These aren't the heavy industrial materials that keep steelworkers, astronauts, and firefighters safe, but honest-to-goodness fabrics you can actually sew with.
Often, the most exciting notions look rather nondescript inside their cardboard boxes and cellophane wrappers. Our goal with the Products We Love series is to break open the packaging, show you how to use these cool tools, and inspire you to add one or more to your own sewing basket. The Clover Hot Hemmer is one of the best little pressing tools we've come across in a long time. Although pressing is an incredibly important part of the construction process, we're not always happy to be hemming. But the Hot Hemmer helps keep all those narrow folds accurate without having to get your fingers too close to the iron. Nearly every time we feature this tool in our instructional photos, someone asks about it, so we knew it was time to make sure you had all the details.
You probably already know the rule of thumb for sewing machine needles: install a new one at the beginning of each project. When a needle is piercing your fabric at 600 to 1,000 stitches per minute, small things like a dulled point or an eye that's beginning to wear, can make a big difference in the quality of your stitches. But it's just as important to choose the right kind of needle. This is information we like to run at least once a year because it's such a good reminder to us all. Our thanks to Janome America and Janome Canada for helping us with the fine points of machine needles.
Creating beautiful handmade projects is what we all love to do. However, we probably don’t put in quite as much effort thinking about how to keep them looking beautiful. So we spent some time with our clever friends at Dritz® to explore their Clothing Care category, coming away with nine products that help smooth, dry, repair, protect, and more. The majority of them are “multi-taskers" with additional uses outside the sewing room, including as travel solutions. Do you have your own unique uses for these types of products (your own "hacks" for the social-media-savvy)? We'd love to hear them. Leave us a comment below.
A skosh, a wee bit, just a hair... sometimes, the distances we want to work with in sewing aren't quite as precise as the engraved inch and millimeter markings on our machines. Wouldn't it be great if there was a foot you could manually adjust to perfectly align with the exact distance you wanted? There is! The Janome Sliding Guide Foot has a perfectly balanced outboard guide you can smoothly slide to the right then lock into place, from ⅜" to 1⅛" from the center needle drop (10mm - 30mm). I love it when someone answers my "wouldn't-it-be-great" requests!
One of things we are asked about on a regular basis is sergers. For many people, even seasoned sewers, they are equal parts tantalizing and terrifying. They can do so many cool things at once: seam, trim, and finish – all at lightning speed. But to make it happen, there are a lot of threads working together and… knives! Luckily, the benefits should outweigh your apprehensions. Adding a serger to your sewing room arsenal is a great way to save time and give your seams a professional quality finish. We put together our top five reasons for making a serger your sewing machine’s newest companion.