Our Brand New Sewing Machine …

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Toyota Sewing Machine

It’s SEW exciting … This month, we get to see the launch of our brand new Toyota Home Sewing machine – OEKAKI. The sewing machine has been named after the Japanese concept and term “to draw” and we want to help encourage you to have fun with sewing!! We’d love to see you personalise clothes, furnishings and even transforming your child’s artwork to a unique tapestry piece together!!

 

We’ve set up a very special Oekaki World BlogFacebook and Twitter to share, show and see what is going on within the community … so make sure you get connected!!

 

This machine has been cleverly put together by our Toyota design team and has some wonderful features .. it comes with a special starter pack to make it as simple as possible for you to make the most of your new purchase and get started straight away (even if you’re brand new to sewing) – it includes an extension table, DVD, darning/embroidery foot, flower stitch foot, thread etc … PLUS we’re giving a free embroidery hoop to every Oekaki owner here.

 

We ‘re so excited to see our brand new model already feature in the popular UK Sew Today magazine (see pic below) and be recommended for a Christmas buy in “All we want for Christmas”.  The model will be released for sale in the UK on Friday 23rd November 2012.

 

Oekaki Machine Magazine Article

If you’d like to read more about this sewing machine, or find out where you can buy it from … come and visit us here. We’ll also be running competitions, sewing projects and sharing your tips and creations so DON’T MISS OUT!!

Quilted Dress Takes to London Fashion Week

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It probably comes as no surprise that our favourite designer at London Fashion Week this year has to be Jasper Conran, for this floaty quilted dress design alone!!

 

With his bright colours and tropical inspired show, Conran provided a hint of Spring amid all this recent gloomy British weather. Walking barefoot, yes barefoot, the models strutted along a walkway of artificial grass with a fun floral background. But the show stopper for us is this quilted dress, in which he has used a variety of hexagonal colourful fabrics to create this marvellous creation. Within moments of seeing this dress we had re-pinned it and splashed all our love over it (as you can see).

It wasn’t just the dress that made the fashion show, to tie in his designs he also showcased this quilted bag:

 

If this post has inspired you as much as it did us, then why not check out our range of Quiltmasters & Sewing Machines on our Toyota Home Sewing website.

National Sewing Machine Day

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Toyota Home Sewing Blog

Today, Wednesday 13th June 2012, is officially SEWING MACHINE DAY!!

Sew, Happy Sewing Machine day to all our lovely Home Sewing community and all our much loved Toyota Sewing Machines!!

Yes, you read that correctly, there really is a day dedicated to our wonderful creative companion … And, just as any other day of dedication, it’s a day to honour and appreciate all all the hard-work of this impressive invention!!

Sew, today is the day to treat your existing machine to a lovely clean, freshen up or service and why not see what new accessories and feet your sewing machine could benefit from (and you too will also benefit, of course)!!  Or, not sewn in a while (ever) … today gives you the perfect opportunity to get out your machine, dust it off and give it another go; or treat yourself to a spanking lovely new one!!

Now is the perfect time to invest in a Sewing Machine if you don’t already own one!! Just last week it was reported that the UK’s disposable income will fall for the third year on the run, and it’s no secret that we here at Toyota Home Sewing fully support “make do and mend” and creativity.

Sew, in the spirit of “Sewing Machine Day” we have brought you a list of 5 of our favourite sewing machines and accessories for you to check out:

QUILT226-EU

1. QUILT226 – 26 stitch Quilting machine with a wide range of additional accessories included. Join the “quilting” trend with this great machine!!

 

toyota super jeans 15

2. TOYOTA SUPER JEANSOur 15 stitch Super Jeans model with basic functions, but the unique ability to sew through up to 12 layers of denim…impressive!! Click the link to see all the accessories included with this machine along with a short video demonstration of the machine in use!!

 

black-sew-machine

3. DESIGNS FOR LIVING – Personalise your machine with our unique concept by choosing one of our nature inspired designs to feature on the top or side panel of your machine. Also, choose from our 21, 24 or 25 stitch options. View all the range here, and choose the one that best suits you!!

 

JETB224

4. JETB224 – Our Premium Design Toyota machine. Don’t miss out on all the features, it speaks for itself, check them out here

 

ECO15CG

5. ECO15CG – For all our Eco Friendly lovers we bring you this lovely new CO2 reduced machine, at a weight of just 4.85 kgs. Come and check it out here and find out about the great features of this ECO machine!!

 

ACCESSORIES:

Black Bag

1. Sewing Machine Bag – Keep your bag safe and free from dust by protecting it in this purpose made bag for your Toyota sewing machine. It also comes with 2 carry straps making it simple and easy to transport your machine. (AND If you order now you qualify for the special online price).

 

extension table

2. Extension Table – Make sewing those larger projects easier by adding this extension table to your sewing machine and increase your work surface area and support (but, remember to make sure you get the right one for your model)!!

 

Footwork - Decoration

3. Footwork Decoration Kit – Let us provide you with everything you need to embellish your sewing projects in this amazing all in one pack…use the same Toyota machine; all you need to buy is this Footwork kit to transform it’s capabilities & features!!

 

brush

4. Cleaning Brush – Although only small, it plays a big part in the maintenance and efficiency of the running of your machine! For that reason we’ve included it in our top 5 accessories!!  If you haven’t got one, treat your machine to one today!!

Rufflers foot

5. Ruffler – Make life easier and create various types/sizes of pleats by letting your machine do all the work!! Watch a quick demonstration of how simple it is to use here and use it to update your wardrobe, home and gifts with pleats and ruffles!!

Toyota Home Sewing

Don’t forget Toyota Machines come with a 3 year guarantee, let them be for life not just for National Sewing Machine Day … We invite you to discover for yourself the ease, reliability and superior craftsmanship that Toyota Home Sewing is renowned for!!

If you have any questions don’t forget you can interact with us on Facebook, Twitter or call us on 01322 291137, we look forward to hearing from you!!

 

 

Sewing Machine Feet – The Basics

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Sewing with machines can be as complex as you choose to make it; the key is to start by knowing the basics and then get “hands on”!! Understand what you want to achieve, what best methods/equipment to use for that and treat it a bit like the concept of driving – “learning by doing”!! Everyone has a personal style and it’s great to throw yourself into that and impress yourself with your results, but the basics are essential to taking care of your machine (and mind)!!!

Below you’ll find some general advice on sewing machine accessories to help build up your knowledge of what’s available:

 

 

Buttonhole Foot

To achieve the correct measurements, quality and finish to a buttonhole – this foot is a must have in any sewing box! It saves time and creates a neat, professional look. With buttons being the key to completing any item (both aesthetically and practically) this really is an aid not to be missed.

 

 

Embroidery Foot

Perfect for creating decorative stitches and embellishments. I love using this foot; it can transform an old tired piece (clothing/cushions/cards) to a completely contemporary feel or even give an item a more classic transformation. It becomes so personal-it is a tool that never tires me to use. You can sew to a design or just really go with the flow and rhythm of the machine.

 

 

Straight Stitch Foot

Used for straight stitch work such as top stitching, seaming, quilting. Therefore it becomes a highly used, essential tool. It provides a great finish as it allows excellent fabric control when working with very fine material through to heavy fabric.

 

Blind Hem Foot

Like many of the feet the name describes this item exactly – a stitch that you can’t see the hem!! It is a more formal finish, extremely professional and yet so simple. Hand sewing takes time that most of us do not have so this foot makes the desirable result easily achievable with your machine!!

 

Zigzag Foot

Also known as the all-purpose foot, as this is perfect for most utility stitching and other standard functions. It is a great accessory to have on hand as a back-up foot. It has the benefit of a three needle position – centre, left and right and allows control but movement whilst feeding.

 

Zipper Foot

This is designed for installing zips accurately; the design of the foot allows the needle to stitch closely to the item. It is also a must when piping with cord.Remember as well as new creations – Zips can be added to renovate old items (clothing and furnishings) to resize or even just bring them to trend!!

 

**If you know you are sewing a specific project or have a preferred method it is definitely worth taking a look into the ready to go Footwork Kits available by Toyota (ie “Footwork Kit Denim/Jean”) that make it simple to get started!!**

 

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

How to Sew In A Zip With Your Sewing Machine

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Adding zips to clothing can be done for practicality of fashion.

 

You may simply have a zip that’s broken and needs replacing, or you may wish to recreate some popular styles. For example, this fabulous Gucci Dress utilises a stylish zip down the front which gives it a fabulous modern style.

 

dress with zip

You can easily create a similar style or add a simple zip for practical reasons.

 

Click on the image for larger version.

 

Here’s some tips to help you along the way when adding zips with your sewing machine.

 

Attach a zipper foot on to your sewing machine for easy zipper sewing.

 

zipper_foot
zip fasner
Buy a sewing machine zipper foot

 

Attaching a zipper foot

  1. Remove the power plug or switch off the sewing machine and remove a foot.
  2. When sewing the Right side of the zipper, attach the Left pin to the presser foot holder.
  3. Attach the Right pin when sewing the Left zip side.

 

sewing-zip-foot-ENG
zip-left
zip-right-ENG

How to sew

  • Do not sew a U-turn across the zip teeth.
  • Sew the right and the left zip sides separately. Stitch them to the same direction.
zip
correct-zip
  1. Sew the right then the left zip sides.
  2. Sew parallel to the zipper teeth.
  3. When you reach the middle, stop sewing, needle in the fabric, raise the presser foot, and pull down the zip slide past the needle.
  4. Repeat the same procedure when sewing the left zip side.
  5. Change the foot for normal sewing.

Good luck and we’d love to see your creations, so please do upload them to our facebook page to show us what you’ve been making with your Toyota sewing machines!

Make your Sewing Machine Last Longer – Good Maitenance!

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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!

 

We’ve put together a few simple tips to help you make your sewing machine last as long as possible.

 

1. Treat your machine with respect.Keep it Clean

 

sewing machine bobbins
2. Use the recommendedsewing machine bobbins sewing threads, needles and bobbins for your sewing machine.

 

3. Make sure the needle, thread and fabric you use when sewing are all compatible.

 

4. Use straight sharp needles when sewing.

 

5. Keep your sewing machine covered when not in use.

6.Work indoors and ensure your sewing machine is on flat, sturdy surface when working.

 

7. Do not allow young children to use your sewing machine unsupervised.

 

8. Do not cover the air vents of your sewing machine.

 

How to choose & change sewing machine needle

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Using defective or worn needles causes stitch skipping and snapping of thread.

It is important to choose correct needle for your sewing machine depending on type of fabric you sew and insert it correctly.

 

Choosing Needle

 

Smaller-sized needles e.g. no.65-70 are best for lightweight fabrics.

Larger number needles e.g. no.100 are used for heavyweight fabrics like denim

Material Needle
Lightweight material e.g. lining no. 65~75 / US11
Medium-weight material e.g. cotton no. 80~90 / US14
Heavyweight materials e.g. denim, curtain no.100 / US16 or Jeans needle
Jersey Ball point needle or Jersey needle
Leather Leather needle

Denim/Jeans needle has an extra-sharp point and stiff shank, which makes it suitable for stitching denim or other densely woven fabrics.

Ballpoint needle has a blunt, rounded tip that slips between fibres rather than piercing them.

Use this needle for sewing coarse knits, lycra and other fabrics that tend to run if you snag them.

Twin needle has two shafts on a crossbar which extends from a single shank. They’re ideal to use for decorative stitching and

creating multiple, uniform stitching rows. Don’t forget to purchase an extra spool pin for the second thread.

View all our sewing machine needles
 
Changing Needle

 

changing sewing machine needle
changing sewing machine needle2

Set the needle in the highest position by turning the handwheel toward you.

Loosen needle clamp screw (1) by using the needle plate screw driver.

Take out the needle.

 

* Do not loosen needle clamp screw too much. It may come out.

* Dispose of the old needle in a safe manner / way.

Insert a new needle into your sewing machine with the flat side away from you.

Push the needle into the clamp until it touches the pin (a) and stops.

Firmly tighten needle clamp screw with the screw driver.

Checking needle


Using defective or worn needles not only causes stitch skipping but also breakage of needles or snapping of thread.

It can also damage the shuttle and needle plate.

* When you have skipping stitches or snapping of thread, try changing the needle.

Some Sewing Machine Accessories That Acheive Perfection

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You have a wide range of sewing machine accessories from which to choose if you want to save time when sewing and acheive a perfect finish. Here is a couple we love.

The Leather Roller Foot

sewing machine leather roller footLeather is a thick fabric which can cause even the most experienced sewers trouble if not approached properley. This specialist leather roller foot, when added to your sewing machine aids in smooth sewing of leather as well as other thick and speciality fabrics such as velver & naped or looped surfaces. Of course it is also worth using a leather sewing needle in your sewing machine for this type of work, normal needles will still work but if you use a leather sewing needle which is designed to cut through the leather,  you will notice less of a drag on your machine and less thread breakage

A Hemming Foot

Among the most useful sewing machine accessories is the hemming foot. This tool cuts a huge proportion of sling sewing time as you no longer have to stop and fold hems while sewing (or even more time consuming – resort to ironing the hem).