Choosing A Sewing Machine

 

Always Knitting and Sewing frequently receive questions from customers new to sewing, for advice on which sewing machine to buy. The choice of machines is vast and can make the search for the right one daunting for the new sewer. The price range is varied from a basic machine to a machine with a wider range of features. Particularly for the new sewer, the question must be asked; Will all the extra features on an expensive ‘all singing all dancing’ sewing machine be used ? Maybe not ? The following sewing machines are within a reasonable price range and provide the user with more than enough features for; Sewing projects such as cushions, bunting, dressmaking, skirts, blouses and patchwork to name a few, and save money from an unnecessary expensive purchase

Janome 2200XT

The Janome 2200XT is an all round machine with a good selection of stitches and features. It is user friendly and simple to use, Linda and Jan at our shop both have this machine.  The machine features 22 stitch functions, an auto four step buttonhole, convertible free arm for hems and cuffs and is compact and easy to store.

The machine is easy to thread and operate, it will sew straight stitch, zig zag, blind hem, stretch stitches and overlock. Bulky fabrics and multiple layers can be sewn with ease using the 2200XT extra high presser foot lifter.
Click on the sewing machine to view on Amazon
Singer 3221

This sewing machine was produced by Singer with novice sewers in mind. This machine gives you all of the features you need for most sewing projects, and more than enough features as you develop your projects further.

It is good value for money, and is easy to use, it is compact and light for movement and storage.Ideal for dressmaking, patchwork and bunting, It can sew through more bulky and layered fabrics & fleeces and can sew on thin fabric too. The needle is easy to thread and the users manaual is reader friendly and easy to read.

Click on the sewing machine to view on Amazon

 Toyota eco 26c sewing machine

This machine has an uncomplicated presentation with ergonomic features to assist user comfort. The threading system is easy to practice and is backed up with clear diagrams on the machine. Features include ; Top loading bobbin with see through cover. Needle threader for quick and easy threading and stitch length control. There are many more features which make this sewing machine a good purchase. 26 stitch settings, 3 needle positions, zipper insertion and more.

Click on the sewing machine to view on Amazon

Brother AE2500

 This machine comes with a user friendly instruction manual and an instructional DVD. Both can be used together to obtain a good understanding of the workings of the machine. It is a great machine for new sewists, easy to sew actions, in operation it is very quiet compared to some other machines, sewing in straight lines is easy and the stirches are of a high quality

The machine has 25 stitch settings, the foot pedal is a good size which makes control much easier underfoot.

 Click on the sewing machine to view on Amazon
Good Homes Magazine Competition Win a Silver Viscount Sewing machine in a pretty Liberty wild floral print, the Silver Viscount is an ideal for for sewing beginners and experienced sewers alike.

To visit the competition at the Good Homes magazine, online, click on the link below

Click here to visit the competitions at Good Homes Magazines online

What can I make with scrap pieces ?

When the time comes around again to make an attempt at sorting out your fabric stash, it’s always a challenge to come up with makes and projects for all of the bits and pieces of fabric accumulated since the last sort out !

After our last sort out, I found this wonderful little book with some great ideas for little projects to make with scap pieces of fabric.  The first project we have made are these cute caddies that could be used to store all sorts of little bits and pieces.  We made them with some small scrap pieces. Really easy to make in about half an hour each,  we added a cardboard base too which added a little bit of stability in the bottom of the caddies

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We are going to try a few more projects in the coming weeks and will let you know how we get on with them

PicMonkey Collage

You can find the jelly roll scraps book below on amazon  for £4.99

Quilters and patchworkers all over the world are familiar with Jelly Rolls – bundles of coordinating fabrics manufactured by Moda, pre-cut into useful 21/2in (6.5cm) strips. But what do you do with all those left-over pieces once you’ve made your patchwork quilt? Instead of assigning them to the waste bin, save them up and you will soon have enough to stitch at least one of the fun projects in this book. Using simple sewing, quilting and patchwork techniques, there are twenty projects to choose from, including stylish cushions, pretty little bags and a handy pincushion, all of which are quick and easy to make. If you don’t use Jelly Rolls, any odd scraps of fabric can be used instead – just cut them to size and away you go! All the templates are provided as well as some basic tips and techniques, and each project is accompanied by a list of the materials and tools you need, and clear, step-by-step instructions.

Linus Project

Lesley, from the Linus project, visited us at Always Knitting and Sewing yesterday to promote the Linus Charity.

I am a former children’s nurse & midwife and have first hand experience of caring for sick children & babies.   I am therefore really keen to promote this wonderful charity which makes hand made quilts and knitted/ crocheted blankets for sick and traumatised babies, children and teenagers.

Karen Loucks started project linus  in the USA in 1995 after seeing how much a comfort blanket had helped a sick child, she then started to organise blankets for her local children’s cancer unit. Project Linus aims to provide a sense of security and comfort to sick and traumatised babies, children and teenagers through the provision of new home made patchwork quilts and knitted/crocheted blankets.

There has been a UK branch of project Linus since 2000 which gives volunteers across the UK the opportunity to contribute to their local community,  since then there have been 217,478 quilts donated to children and teenagers.

We had the opportunity to be involved when a local Linus volunteer held a quilt making day at our shop recently and several quilts were made and donated to the Linus project.

customer makes

 

What are fat quarters?

We often get asked about fat quarters –  what exactly are they and what can you use them for ?

A fat quarter is a piece of fabric which is basically a metre ( or a yard in some cases )  which has been cut into 4 pieces ( quarters)

If a fat quarter is cut from a yard of fabric is should measure approximately 18 x 22 inches and if it has been cut from a metre it will measure approximately 20 x 22 inches.

Fat quarters are great for lots of projects –  they are just big enough for a cushion for instance but they are often used for things like patchwork and smaller project work – dolls house furnishing/clothing  and loads of other things

We put several fat quarters together into  matching colours which compliment each other –  these are known as fat quarter bundles and are great because you get a good variety of patterns which look good together.

Here is one of  our recent bundles in which you have 7 fat quarters in matching colours etc.

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Bundle 7 polycotton fat quarters summer stripe