A foot for every task

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One of the best ways to speed up your sewing and get professional results is to use a specialist foot. Most of our Toyota machines come with a range of feet, but we also sell many footwork kits that allow you to add fantastic new functionality to your machine. These techniques will really make your sewing stand out from the crowd and add a professional touch to all your makes.

Jeans sewing made easy

If you’re sewing denim, jeans or other accessories you’re probably well aware that this heavy fabric can be a little hard to control. With the Denim Jeans Footwork kit you’ll be able to sew those bulky seams no problem. The walking foot can ‘walk’ over thicker layers of fabric, meaning those meeting points of seams and allowances are no match for your machine.

What our customers say: “I am very pleased indeed with this purchase. The foot was extremely easy to fit onto my sewing machine and performed excellently when I was sewing three thicknesses of material together.”

Suitable for: RS, RS2000 machines

Buy it for £17.90.

Sew difficult fabrics with the rolling foot

Are you worried about the idea of sewing difficult fabrics like leather, PVC and velvet? No worries! The rolling foot is designed to roll with the fabric making for an easy movement of the needles with difficult fabrics. Velvet often shifts as sewn but this foot will stop dragging of the top layer. Why not indulge in a little velvet with the help of this foot?

Buy it for £9.50.

Suitable for: RS, RS2000, SP, ECO, Super Jeans machines

Sew Successful : Overlockers

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It was wonderful to see the Overlocker introduced on last nights “Great British Sewing Bee”. The competition hotted up as the task of making men’s trousers was set. Naturally contestants turned to their Overlockers for help with this one.

 

 

What is an Overlocker?

Simply put, the Overlocker is a type of machine used within sewing that uses a run of neat stitches over the very edge of a fabric to give a professional look and finish which also seals and prevents the fabric from fraying. A seam is sewn to join layers of fabric, the edge is trimmed to provide a neat finish and the trimmed edge is oversewn to prevent fraying – clever?!! Sure is!!

The Overlocker offers 3 very useful sewing functions in one easy process:

  1. Decoration
  2. Reinforcement
  3. Construction

 

What’s the difference between an Overlocker and a Serger?

In most circumstances you’ll actually find here that people are talking about the same thing. Like tomato, tomato. The main difference is that Americans refer to them as Sergers whereas we Brits know them more as Overlockers. In practice the terms ‘overedging’, ‘merrowing’, ‘overlocking’ and ‘serging’ are all used interchangeably as the same thing – so don’t panic, if you read this article you should be able to keep up with most of these conversations and understand what’s going on!

 

Recommended Overlockers?

Toyota Home Sewing are very pleased to be well known for our Overlocker’s and we want to help make things as simple as possible for anyone interested in buying. Please visit our Overlocker page by clicking here and please remember to contact us via our Facebook or Twitter if you have any questions or require any more information from us.

 

The image shown at the top is our popular SLR4D machine, if you’d like to purchase one of these please use the above Facebook or Twitter links to request more info.

 

Check out these Quick Guides, full of images, aimed at making the process from threading to stitching as straightforward as possible.

 

Toyota Overlockers are based on a central philosophy of ease of use whilst providing advanced performance and features. They are here to give you the confidence to tackle more ambitious sewing projects.

 

Sew Successful – Buttonholes

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Today, buttonholes can be placed on everything from dresses, jeans, pillows to simply just pieces of art and decorative work. Most machines come with a 4-step buttonhole foot and are able to complete the simple function with ease but, and you’re not the only one, have you ever actually given it a go?

 

If the answer is no or you’re not sure, here’s a video from Toyota Home Sewing to help you get started. It’s one of those “once you pop you can’t stop”  cliches …. so dig around for the long white foot (aka your bottonhole foot), open up your wonderful button collection jar, grab some spare fabric AND, have fun!!

PS. Don’t worry if you don’t already have one or you don’t seem to be able to find yours, you can purchase a Buttonhole Foot (4 step) on our Toyota Home Sewing website here.  Let us know how you get on by posting to our Facebook or Twitter pages.

Sew Successful – Gift Bags

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Have you dreamed of dressing your presents up this Christmas and giving an extra special touch to your gifts… well here’s how with this simple and stylish reversible gift bag tutorial …

 

 You can make it to your ideal size and choose your ideal fabric to make it perfect for anyone. It’s an eco-friendly wrapping solution and we love that … it can be used again and again for all sorts of things from storage to door stoppers as well as more gift-giving

 

1. Choose 2 coordinating fabrics and cut out your desired shape from each fabric x 2. This will give you 4 rectangles of the same size.

2. Pair the fabric together, right sides facing.

3. Use your Sewing Machine to sew a 1cm seam down the lengths and along the bottom of each separate bag (leave the top open).

4. Choose which one will be the exterior bag and turn it right side out, press. (Leave the liner bag inside out).

5. Slip the liner bag over the bag that will be on the exterior when completed (right sides facing). Pin bags together at the top seam.

6. Stitch the liner and exterior bag together with a 1cm seam along the top only, (making sure you only sew 1 layer of exterior and one layer of liner together all the way around).

7. Use a seam ripper to take out 3cm of the stitching on the bottom seam of your liner bag.

8. Gently pull the exterior fabric through this hole, (right side out).

9. Close the hole in the liner using your Sewing Machine (stitching close to the edge).

10. Took liner into the exterior bag and press.

11. Place the thicker ribbon around the bag about 3cm from the top and pin. (Make sure that the raw edge of the ribbon is tucked directly underneath itself, approx. 1cm, and starts on the side seam of the bag).

12. Slip the bag over the Sewing Machine arm, and place under the presser foot.

13. Stitch along the top edge of the ribbon; stop stitching before reaching the other side seam.

14. Cut the ribbon off at the seam, allow for a 1cm overhang, turn this under, align with side seam and stitch in place. (Back stitch at each side seam for reinforcement).

15. Repeat this method to attach the second piece of ribbon to the other side of the bag.

16. Stitch along the bottom edge of the ribbon (it should remain open/accessible at both ends).

17. Attach a safety pin to the end of the narrow ribbon and draw it through, pull full circle.

18. Join together the ribbon ends, remove safety pin, and tie off to secure.

19. Start at the opposite end and repeat procedure with safety pin and ribbon.

20. Simply pull on the ribbon ends to tighten and your bag is finished!!

 

 

 

 

Sew Successful – Victoria Pendleton

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SEW SPEEDY…

 

This Summer the whole nation (and world) has been gripped by the Olympics & Paralympics (and we are no different)!! The last few posts on our community blog have been Olympic inspired and it seemed only right to keep this post in the theme too…

 

Victoria Pendleton, one of our 2012 Team GB “Golden Girls”, has admitted that she looks forward to switching her “Queen of the Velodrome” status to Domestic Goddess. It’s no secret that Victoria enjoys the homely comforts that we all do, and is especially fond of her sewing machine (a women of our own hearts).

 

Within her first newspaper interview after she announced her retirement from the sport, Victoria aired her excitement of getting her hands on the ‘acres of fabric’ she has been storing up at home for such a time. Dressmaking is one of her great enthusiasms and she has been quoted to have said “I bought a vintage sewing machine, the ones with a treadle, from a charity shop and I am dying to start using it properly”. And if her leg speed on the bike is anything to go by, she will be one speedy sewer!!

 

This is quite a fitting contraption for Victoria Pendleton, don’t you think!?  The 1939 “Goofybike” :

 

 

Sew Successful – Inspire A Generation

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INSPIRED .. it’s not just sport, we want the legacy to live on for sewing!!

Following on from our Olympic theme in the last post, we want to acknowledge this year’s slogan “inspire a generation” made famous by the London 2012 games. And it seems to have lived up to the aim! Since the games came to a close less than 2 weeks ago we’ve seen streets & parks full of joggers, skaters, bikers and sports clubs becoming inundated with inquiries from people who have been gripped by Olympic fever … the conversations and legacy are far from over!!

 

So, just like the olympics are “inspiring a generation“, we too are looking to inspire a generation!! We hear of a time when grandmothers and mums clothed their families and decorated homes using their inherited sewing skills and it’s no hidden statistic that today these numbers (& interest) have dwindled!! Teaching your children to sew has a greater benefit than learning a life skill; it will teach them patience, problem solving and can be used as a useful learning tool … as well as a great fun time to spend together.

 

We can also learn from their training … it’s always practice that will make you better at what you do! With practice  comes excellence and expertise. It’s a great way to teach children practice and patience! Just like running or riding a bike…it’s hard at first but once you persist it comes much more simple and achievable.

 

Sew, let’s inspire a generation and pass on the sewing legacy!!

 

 

 

For our range of sewing machines visit our site here: Toyota Home Sewing

 

 

 

 

 

Sew Successful – Olympics 2012

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Over the last few weeks the whole nation (in fact world) has been zoned in on London and the Olympics 2012, it’s taken our minds off the glum broken English weather and seasonal seaside trips and had us indoors glued to the live coverage. The greatest thing is that it hasn’t only been relevant to the sporty type, the whole nation has found it uniquely enticing and have been able to associate with something.

 

The height of our interest remained on the immeasurable amounts of sewing that went into the Olympic set up. From stage designs and backdrops, to equipment like trampolines and volleyball nets, and the athletes attire we just couldn’t believe the amount of work and detail that has gone in to everything.

 

Even for the average household, we’ve all been busy; sewing TeamGB logo’s onto clothing, making bunting and accessorising everything with the Union Jack, we’ve been SEW busy!!!

 

In the Opening Ceremony we were introduced with an impressive visual bang and witnessed an array of stunning and enticing outfits worn by the 15,000 performers, marking the moment the 2012 games began and all the eyes of the world focussed on London and the UK.  (In fact it apparently took 1 mile of clothing rails to hold all the costumes needed for the show!!)

 

Even the sports gear worn by the Olympians was stepped up a gear this year after the input of top designers.  A lot of name designers got involved with the uniforms and we were eagerly awaiting to see the nations step out in their patriotic colours, as they say: “it’s not the colours you go home with, it’s the colours you came with that matter”!! With Stella McCartney backing TeamGB and Ralph Lauren influencing the US (you can’t get 2 better representatives).

 

However, what stole the show was the Closing Ceremony with the Olympic Fashion show paying tribute to the great British fashion designers and influencers that have impacted the world for decades. The stadium was brought to a standstill as the nation’s sexiest supermodels emerged from giant lorry billboards and performed a creative ode to British fashion catwalk. The line up included Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss and Lily Cole, all showcasing a series of intricate custom-made gold outfits from our iconic British brands.The amount of work and detail in particularly Naomi’s dress was incredible, and my personal favourite.

 

We know the slogan for London 2012 is “Inspire a Generation” … we definitely agree that the Olympics have left a legacy and hopefully there will be a generation inspired to sew too!!

 

Troubleshooting Basics – Broken Needle

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Broken Needle:

 

Whether you’re a learner or an expert, these things can happen to all of us at some point within our sewing lifetime. However, it’s usually easily solved & fixed…Check out our points below that may help solve a) why it happened in the first place and b) how to help prevent it in the future!!

 

This may be because the:

  • Needle is incorrectly installed
  • The needle clamp screw is loose
  • The needle is too fine for the cloth
  • The tension of the upper thread is too tight
  • The fabric is being pulled too strongly
  • The bobbin case is not in the correct position

 

You could fix this by:

  • Installing the needle correctly
  • Firmly tightening the screw
  • Checking you are using a needle appropriate to the fabric
  • Adjusting the thread tension
  • Checking you are not pulling the fabric too strongly
  • Ensuring the bobbin case is in the correct position

If you need help on doing any of the above, refer to your Instruction Manual or download one here.

If you have any more advice to add to this, would like any more help or simply want to share your experience … come and visit our Facebook page and let us know your thoughts!!

 

Sewing Machine Maintenance – The Basics

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As we all know, sewing machines need looking after, a bit of TLC and regular servicing; after all they are no stranger to the popular concept “for life, not just for Christmas (or birthdays)”!

 

It’s so common these days that people quickly loose the maintenance momentum that comes with the excitement of a shiny new machine but slowly start to neglect the sewing machine’s needs. My Grandma had the same sewing machine from the start of her sewing career and passed it down to me in great working order. However, without taking care of it and treating it as the delicate piece of machinery that it is she would never have seen it last so many decades.

 

When you invest in a sewing machine, or any other piece of equipment for that matter, you want it to last as long as possible! And so we want to help you maximise your machine’s performance and efficiency whilst saving you time, frustration and money as repairs not only usually end up being costly but they typically crop up at the worst of times, like mid project, and could have been prevented with following our simple tips and trouble-shooting! And the best thing is, for the majority of repairs all you will need is your regular toolbox!!

 

To start; our MUST basics …

  1. Know the make and model of your specific sewing machine.
  2. Treat your machine with respect. Keep it clean and brush it down regularly.
  3. Use the recommended sewing machine bobbins, sewing threads, and needles for your sewing machine.
  4. Keep your sewing machine covered when not in use.
  5. Work indoors and ensure your sewing machine is on flat, sturdy surface when working.
  6. Do not allow young children to use your sewing machine unsupervised.
  7. Do not cover the air vents of your sewing machine.
  8. Keep your instruction manual safe, and if you don’t have one you can reprint one here.
  9. Change the needles often. A bent or dull needle will not only damage your fabric, but your machine as well.
  10. Oil your machine on a regular basis.

 

Sew Successful – Ruffles

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We recently recommended a simple and effective sewing idea that can be added to any sewing project to give a professional and unique look: RUFFLES!!

For anyone new to sewing or this technique, ruffles are basically strips of closely pleated fabric used mainly for trimming or decorating your fabric from flat to frilly. Thank goodness for clever people and modern technology…because now gone are the days were, to achieve this look, you’d need a good ruler, pins and a LOT of time and patience…thanks to the amazing Ruffler Foot…transforming and dramatically reducing sewing time, preparation time, (& stress levels)!!  Although at first sight a ruffler may appear bulky and complicated, its innovative design actually makes it very easy to use.

 

The Toyota Ruffler foot is a swappable presser foot part for your sewing machine that can be used to produce pleats and ruffles for anything from home décor to clothing projects. It speeds up the process of ruffling and has the ability to be adjusted to create loose or tight ruffles depending on your project!! Once you’ve tried and tested it out we guarantee you’ll suddenly find a lot more places and ways to use and add this effect!!

 

We love helping and inspiring you with your Home Sewing projects and so we thought we’d talk to you in a little more detail about the accessory that makes ruffling easy and fast:

  1. Measure the length of fabric, remembering that a piece of fabric that has been ruffled will be shorter than it was originally (the standard rule is to cut the piece 2.5 times as long as you require)
  2. Your width will be dependent on whether you want a single layer, or folded/double strip (for folded strips simply add the seam allowance onto your width and multiply by two)
  3. Before you start sewing, and once your fabric is all cut out, press the strips
  4. Attach the ruffler to your sewing machine once you have removed the original presser foot
  5. Once the foot is secure it is recommended, and important, to test gather some practise strips on a scrap piece of fabric to get the look you want based on the look you are going for
  6. Insert the fabric into the machine and sit along edge *(raw side should be facing into the body of the machine – watch the demo video to show)
  7. Drop your needle down and start gathering *(remember to keep your fabric moving smoothly)
  8. To secure the stitch at the beginning or end of your sewing, you can back tack if you’re sure it is the desired effect and length, or, you can secure the thread with some fabric glue once you are happy with the adjustments
  9. You now have beautiful strips of ruffles or pleats to add to your projects!!
Sewing; one ruffle at a time …
  • Add length to skirts, tops or dresses that have become too short
  • Add detail and texture to children’s clothing
  • Add ruffle edging to curtains, pillows, lampshades