Tag Archives: shopping

Stocking up on knit fabrics

11 Aug

I really want to get better at sewing knits.   My ready to wear wardrobe is full of knit fabrics so I think learning how to sew these properly would be a chance to incorporate more me-made garments in to my daily life.

I found some lovely knit fabrics on Tia Knight and spent the remaining money in my PayPal account on these beauties:

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I  want to look at making:

A Renfrew

Another Day to Night top

Another Tiramisu – other one was a bit ropey, not sure how I managed to mess up a dress everyone else found so easy!

Some projects from Sew U Home Stretch – this book was a huge hit in blogging world about six months ago but now it seems to be impossible to find.  Maybe that is how I picked it up for £3!

Over to you:

  • Have you tackled the knitted monster?!
  • Do you have experience with any of these patterns?
  • Do you have any good online sources for fabric?

Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you! 

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Unlocking serger shopping

1 Feb

Last birthday, February 2012, after just six weeks of sewing I upgraded my sewing machine to the Janome DXL 603 and I simply love it. I bought it in person at The Sewing Studio in Redruth Cornwall but they also sell online. What a fantastic experience it was to go and try out all the great machines in the shop and whittle it down to the one which fitted me like a glove! The lady was so helpful and knowledgable; she showed me how to use every feature and foot. I brought it home and it was christened…

meet Stitchy:

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In the intervening year I have only had one issue with my sewing machine…

meet Horatio:

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He took the christening to another level – by PEEING on Stitchy! This led to the cat being deeply unpopular for at least a day (could you resist the little swine!?) and the inside seizing up (machine, not cat). I phoned the Sewing Studio and as I had to travel the hour and a half from Plymouth and could only come at the weekend they made me an early morning Saturday appointment. Then, get this, as it was a quick fix they didn’t even charge me! I mean, what service!?

So when my family offered to club together for my birthday this year so I could have an overlocker / serger there was only one place I would visit. Two weekends ago my lovely husband took me down to test drive some models and learn all about these machines.

Upon arrival we were assisted by Darius who I *think* is the owner, he is at least the engineer. He showed me three different machines:

Entry level:

Milford Sound in New Zealand

Janome 9300DX £259

Pros:
Good entry level machine
Colour coded thread guides
Instructional DVD
Comes pre-threaded
Personal one: would match Stitchy beautifully!

Cons:
More complicated on the threading than other machines
Can only do three or four thread stitches
No integrated waste basket

Mid range:

Milford Sound in New Zealand

Pros:
Top of range Janome
Can do two thread stitches
Easy threading of lower loopers with a clicky thingy
Colour coded threading
Simple rolled hem conversion
Cool accessories box which fits in to waste basket
Instruction DVD – they have it on their website too

Cons:
No needle threader
Personal one: I don’t like the grey as much as I do the red!

Top of the range:

Milford Sound in New Zealand

Juki 734DE

This bad boy looked amazing and apparently is a Bernina in all but name – they come from the same factory – but it was out of my price range so I didn’t dwell too much in case I fell in love!

Test driving

I decided to try out the mid-range Janome. Darius showed me the basic operation of an overlocker – in short you start the machine going and THEN start sewing to get a thread chain – and then he let me loose.

First reaction? These beasts are fast! Wow! You can tangibly feel the increased power and speed from a sewing machine!
I played with it for a while with Darius demonstrating the features and then asked him to change it to three thread, two thread and finally rolled hem. He was quite happy to do all he could to answer my questions and demonstrate anything I asked. It was great to try everything and he was so knowledgeable.

The shop has a lovely cafe inside with the holy trinity: muffins, magazines and material – who could ask for more!? After a lovely cuppa we went back to where I had been playing with the overlocker and I began playing with it on my own while the shop assistants were serving other customers. Call me silly, I am, but this is when I started falling in love with Her. Darius kept talking about the machine like it was, well, a machine! Hey,he is an engineer to him that’s what it is. But to me, it needs to be so much more. It was this time I spent alone with it, playing with it, accidentally breaking the threads (and turning it in to a nest!) that made me feel this was my new baby. Bless him, Darius had the patience of a saint, rethreaded it and answered all my questions when he came over.We had a great experience and everyone was so helpful.

Reflection
I came home to research my shortlisted machine. There were hardly any reviews, which felt strange as the design of the machine wasn’t particularly modern. After a little digging and I quickly found this machine used to be called the 634D which had lots of good reviews. Particularly as a mid-range model, it means I can begin as well as grow on this baby.

So I put in my request to the birthday fairy for the Janome 6234XL – they were on sale until today so I hope he bought it in time!

Have you got a serger or overlocker? Do you like to ‘fall in love’ with machines, or are you more interested in sepcifications? I’d love to hear from you!

I wanted to say I am not affiliated to The Sewing Studio – just impressed!