Feature Friday – Sewing

Many of you have asked about a Sewing Tutorial here on Feature Friday.  Today I’ll be showing a few tips and tricks for working with a Janome Sew Mini.  This is the perfect machine for paper crafters. It is reasonably priced, and perfectly sized to easily fit onto your desktop.  I’ve seen it from time to time on Overstock.com, and I’ve just found it over on Amazon.com here and you can get it at Hancock Fabrics here.  Keep your eye out for sales and online coupons! The Janome has a variety of stitches including shorter and longer stitches, both straight and zig zag.  You’ll a key to each of the the stitches right on the front of the machine and you’ll select which stitch you want to work with by turning the front wheel…. I’ve seen many of you saying in blog posts, or on Facebook, that you already HAVE a machine and haven’t put it to work just yet. Go ahead and take that baby out of its box and let’s play! Like any other technique it just takes a bit of practice!  Some advice for newbie paper sewers….
  • Go slow, there’s no rush! Consider stitching on a patterned paper that you can follow along, maybe follow along a grid line, or on a set of polka dots.  Till you get used to it, this will help you to stitch straight.
  • Check your stitch setting before starting. I can’t tell you how many times, I’ve been on the zig-zag stitch when I wanted to go straight, but then I was committed to zig-zagging!
  • When making a turn, always stop stitching with the needle through the paper.  Then you can raise the presser foot and turn the paper while the needle is marking your place.  Then place the presser foot back down stitch away!
  • When you’ve finished sewing, be sure to pull your loose ends back through the card stock and secure on the backside with tape. This will keep your card front neat and clean!
  • Don’t try to stitch through too many layers at a time.  You can stitch an accent piece individually and then add it to your project with adhesive. It looks like it is sewn in place without forcing your machine to go through too many layers all at one time.
  • Do not stitch directly over adhesive.  This will gum up your needle and damage your machine.  I use just a bit of adhesive in the center of my panels, then stitch around the edges.
Some ways to incorporate stitching into your projects include:

Selective Stitching – switch up your stitch selection, use a straight stitch on some elements, a zig zag on others.  Partially stitch only certain areas of your panel.

Switch where you stitch! Maybe inside the border instead of around the edge…

Pleating – zig zag fold paper scraps or ribbons and then stitch down the center for a fun pleated treatment

Add extra detail to your Die-namics dies….

Circular Stitching – this is a tricky move, sew very slowly to gently manipulate the turns.  Consider moving the needle up and down by turning the wheel on the side of the machine by hand, versus using the foot pedal to power the machine.

If you’re having trouble, I suggest pulling out your spool of thread and try re-threading the machine. Even on times when I was sure it was threaded correctly, when I re-threaded, it worked perfectly!    Dust your machine. Little bits of paper will eventually collect and can damage your machine. I periodically take a bit of that “canned air” and dust!
Just practice, practice and have fun.  I think you’ll decide that sewing adds just that extra touch and the more you do it, the better your stitching will look!  Let me know if you have any questions,  here to help!  And we look forward to seeing YOUR stitched projects!