7 Reasons To Make Sewing Your New Winter Hobby

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It might seem pretty biased for us to be recommending sewing to you but, we looked at it this way, surely it’d be wrong for us not to!! We know first-hand how rewarding and enjoyable it is!!

 

With summer being officially over, and along with it the warm nights and outdoor activities, we thought it’d be the perfect time to do some sewing evangelism.

 

Here’s our top 7 reasons why sewing could be the perfect choice of hobby for you this Autumn/Winter …

 

1. Having a hobby can cheer you up!

It’s said that having a hobby is an important part of life, and we couldn’t agree with this more! Not only can a hobby be fun to do but it can also enhance your overall well-being and give you an immeasurable sense of pleasure and achievement. Let’s face it, with the lack of sunshine going on, we can all have those days when we need a little something to look forward to and boost our happiness levels!

 

2. The Great British Sewing Bee! 

Earlier this year, 2013, sewing became a hot topic following the huge success of the BBC TV show ‘The Great British Sewing Bee’. The show had the entire nation captivated as contestants showed us what you could achieve with just a little bit of creativity, time and a sewing machine. You never know, if you try your hand at sewing now you could become the face of one of the future sewing bees, or at least enjoy sewing-a-long with the next series!

 

3. Celebs are doing it!

You know you’re onto a good thing when all the top celebrities are doing it, and, guess what celebrities are publicly sharing their love for sewing!! From top Hollywood actresses like Katie Holmes and Katherine Heigl to one of the world’s most famous faces David Beckham we’ve seen many celebrities enjoying a spot of sewing and talking about what they’ve been creating, which proves it’s a hobby worth doing, right?!

 

4. It’s for everyone!

Sewing is not a new craze, it’s been around for years, in fact the first Toyota Sewing Machine was made in 1946, however times have changed and sewing machines have adapted. Despite it historically being viewed as an object used by housewives it is now a skill taken on by all – as we saw in the Sewing Bee TV series!! Whether you’re young or old, a beginner or advanced, male or female sewing is now something for everyone!!

 

5. It can save you money!

We’ve always loved being economic. The great thing about sewing is that it is a hobby that could help you save (and make) money. Whether you take up the hobby to start up-cycling your wardrobe, create handmade gifts or make home-furnishings it can be a very rewarding hobby in both senses of the word. With sites constantly emerging like Etsy and Pinterest etc, we’ve also seen a lot of individuals crafting bespoke items to sell across these sites. So it;s a hobby that really can pay off!

 

6. It’s fun!

Sewing can be a very enjoyable craft! It many ways (apart from the obvious) it’s like riding a bike – once you get the hang of it, it gets easier and easier to do and there is a lot to enjoy along the way. Sewing is a great hobby to cheer you up and keep you in good spirits. Want to find out for yourself? Give it a go and let us know how you get on!

 

7. Community and friendships

Although the sewing machine is clearly designed to be used by one person at a time, it is by no means a lonely hobby. There are lots of sewing groups set up all around the country that invite anyone with an interest of sewing to attend. The best way to find out about your local sewing groups are by speaking to friends, looking in a local paper, asking in a local craft shop or searching on the internet. You could also look out for a workshop or course to attend. These are great ways to make new friendships and meet new people that will all share something in common with you!

 

We could go on, but for now there’s our top 7 reasons! What Next…

 

It can be daunting at first when you’re trying to decide what sewing machine to buy, especially for a hobby that (we hope) lasts you a lifetime. So, if you are considering buying a new sewing machine, come and read our ‘sewing machine buying guide’ on the Home-Sewing website, or why not pop over to our Home-Sewing Facebook page and ask our community for their advice.

 

You can buy our Designs For Living range from our online store, access here.

 

If you have any questions about buying your new sewing machine, please call us on 01322 291137.

Toyota Home Sewing – Website Introduction

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Recently, we changed our Home-Sewing website to make it simpler and smarter for our users. Following this big news, we thought it was about time we wrote a little bit about it so that you not only know how to use it but you also know what you can find on there…

 

Firstly, to access our site from the UK simply click on the link here and a new page will appear and look like this:

 

 

At the top of the page you will see these options:

 

1. Sign In: If you have already registered with Toyota Home-Sewing you can log straight into the site here.

2. Search: If you are looking for something in particular you can type it in this area and click the magnifying glass ie ‘needles’.

3. Sewing Machines: If you are looking to view our range of sewing machines this is the place to head to. However, please note that the only machine we sell directly through our site is “Designs For Living“. All our other sewing machines are information pages only and are sold through our dealers.

4. Accessories & Parts: When you click on this tab, you will see our impressive range of accessories. These include needles, storage, tools & consumables etc. We have tried to make it simple to find what you are looking for by placing all our accessories into  categories. However, if you are struggling to find what you are looking for, try the search bar at the top right of the page.

5. Haberdashery & Books: As part of our new site, we have introduced a new section called Haberdashery & Books. We are hoping to grow this area and if you would like to see anything in particular being sold here, please let us know on our Facebook page.

6. Overlockers: Overlockers are becoming very popular with home sewers and we know it is important to find the right one for you so we now also have a page dedicated to our wonderful range. Here, you will find a list of our overlockers along with their key features and functions.

7. Oekaki: If you hover over this Oekaki tab you will have two options : ‘OEKAKI WORLD’ and ‘OEKAKI STORE’. If you click on the Oekaki World, you will be taken to a new site that is dedicated to the world of Oekaki; including blog posts, tips and guest how to’s. If you select the Oekaki Store, a page containing all the relevant accessories for the Oekaki machine will appear. To find out more about Oekaki and what it is, click here.

8. Instruction Manuals: We understand how important it is to have access to the instruction manual if you have a question about using your sewing machine, or you’re trying to use a new feature. If you want to find our whether we have an electronic version of your sewing machine’s manual, simple visit this page. If you cannot see your machine here, please contact our spares department by emailing spares@aeuk.co.uk

9.  Movies: Sometimes it can be tricky to pick up a new sewing technique. This part of our Home Sewing website features all our videos that may help guide you through a particular task.

10. Delivery & Returns: This section applies to any purchases made on the Home Sewing UK website. It will answer some of the questions you have about delivery fees, changing an order and returning an order etc. If you have a question that isn’t answered within this section you can ask us on our Facebook page.

11. Contact: As well as asking us your questions over on Facebook and Twitter, we have a section of the site dedicated to contact us. Here, we have a contact form where you can leave your details and comments, a contact telephone number for you to call and our address for you to write into.

 

At the bottom of the page you will see these options:

12. About Us: Here, you will find out about the history of Aisin and Toyota Home Sewing.

13. Branches & Agents: We have provided a list of our branches and distributors in Europe and Central Asia. In this list you will be able to access our addresses, contact telephone numbers and email addresses.

14: Sewing Machine Buying Guide: We understand that buying a sewing machine is an investment and therefore it is important to choose the one that best suits you and what you are hoping to use it for. We have placed some useful tips into this sewing machine buying guide to help you find your perfect match.

15: Social Media Links: This part of our site is a quick way to find us on social media. We have Home Sewing accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube and we welcome you to join our communities.

16. Toyota Home Sewing Blog: This is a quick way to access our Home Sewing blog. If you don’t have the blog web address, simply click on this link and it will bring you straight on to the blog.

 

At the right of the page you will see these options:

17. Sewing Machine Buying Guide: At the right hand side of the page you will find another link to our Sewing Machine Buying Guide as mentioned in point 14.

18. Oekaki World: This is another link to take you directly to our Oekaki World blog as mentioned in point 7.

19. Community Poll: We love to hear from you and so we have placed this simple poll on our home page to learn more about you. The question currently on there is “How Old Is Your Toyota Sewing Machine” and to answer you simply select the choice that applies to you. You can also see the results above the Poll.

 

We hope this little introduction helps you to navigate around our new site easily and you enjoy looking around our new features.

 

‘Flower Power’ – add a touch of summer.

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Despite already being in our British Summer months it doesn’t quite feel like it yet with all the wind, rain and central heating. So, we’ve decided to bring our own touch of summer and introduce you to the flower stitch foot. Many of you may have already seen this demonstrated on our latest Oekaki model recently, but for those of you who have never heard of the flower stitch foot then this post could be for you.

 

The foot is a great addition to your sewing kit, you can do some truly amazing and decorative stitching with it. You can create circular patterns and flowers with this special attachment. It’s ideal for embellishing projects and making them unique. Use different coloured thread to add that even more decorative look to your pieces – it’s so versatile and creative.

 

Watch our useful video below showing the flower foot in action and if you’d like to buy one for your machine just check out our flower stitch attachment foot. Buy the flower foot here.

Sewing Room Upcycling Ideas – DIY Your Own Sewing or Desk Chair

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Are you done and dusted with your spring cleaning? Have you organised your work space but fancy giving it a bit of a fresh new look? Well, recently we were truly interested, impressed, and inspired by one very simple photo and you may well be too.

 

We were sharing some tweets with one of our lovely, and loyal, Home-Sewing community members and came across some very interesting images. We’ve been looking for a chair that will fit in a shabby chic style sewing room for the past 2 months. The walls are lined with Laura Ashley Duck Egg ‘Summer Palace’ Wallpaper and a matching ‘Jade White’ paint from Dulux finishes it off. The desk and bookcases are a white finish but that last item still remaining to complete the look is a chair in the shops. One that is comfortable and sturdy enough to sit at for hours of sewing but that will fit in well with the rest of the room.  We’ve searched every charity & vintage looking shop for one, and, after a brief exchange with Becky, the light bulb moment struck, and the answer is simple … paint one!

 

The images come from Becky Peddie, and were taken from Becky’s Twitter feed. This is the first image in which we spotted the chair and, just out of interest, we asked whether it was one Becky had upcycled herself.  Sure enough it was!

 

This next image shows the before and after, hasn’t she done such a good job!

I actually have a used dining chair I can use for the very job – saving me the long search for the perfect chair. Maybe you are the same! Becky has also very kindly shared some of her home-sewn patchwork chair cushions to complement the look and make them extra comfy to sit on. Just like Becky says, they are a great way to use up your excess fabrics from other projects .. “a good scrap buster project!”.

 

Our special thanks once again go to Becky for allowing us to share these with you and GOOD LUCK to everyone about to upcycle their own!!

 

To read more from and about Becky – check out this blog post “Becky Peddie … Mom Not Mum” .

 

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.

 

The Great British Sewing Bee

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We know we’re probably not the first ones to bring you this fantastic news, but, just in case you’ve missed it we’re excited to share it with you                           …

 

 

The Great British Sewing Bee, from the makers of  “Great British Sew Off”, will be coming to our BBC2 screens very soon!!

 

Remember we linked to the application process last year, and it seems that it’s here already!! It’s no secret that the aim of the show will be to encourage people to sew and excite the “make and mend” movement back into the nation, just as the Bake Off did with baking. Of course the extent of success will not be truly known until the show is actually underway, however going off the success of the Great British Bake Off and also the fact that it is based around amateur contestants as opposed to ‘professionals’ we are pretty confident that this spring/summer is one to look forward to!!

Claudia Winkleman will be presenting the show supported by judges May Martin and Patrick Grant.

So, do you think Claudia will be able to recruit a nation into being economic through sewing? Toyota have always backed the idea and are excited to see more big names behind it.

If you’re inspired and looking to invest in a sewing machine, or even just interested in seeing which sewing machine accessories are out there – why not pop over to our Home-Sewing site where you can choose your own stylish look with our Designs For Living range or learn more about our accessories and storage items too.

Let’s all aim to be happy little sewing bee’s this spring and share our skills with others!!

Top 5 Spring Sewing Projects

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Now that there’s been a good few days of nice weather and the days are officially getting longer we feel it is the perfect time to keep yourself warm & busy creating some lovely spring pieces. It doesn’t seem long since advent calendars were lining the shelves but already they’re now stacked with Easter eggs and the high streets are finally bringing out beautiful and colourful dresses once again… so even though it takes a little faith to trust that Spring is on her way, she is!!

1. Make An Owl Doorstop.

There’s no denying there’s still a chill in the air so why not make this cute and cuddly owl but use stuffing or dried peas/rice to create your very own colourful chill protector. We found this one from Toad’s Treasures and found their step by step guide very useful.

2. Fabric Easter Eggs.

What better way to reduce the temptation of all that chocolate than to replace with fabric eggs instead. Not only do they look so much prettier (and you can choose the colours yourself) but they will take away all that urge to eat them and last for next year too. Lovely free pattern at Positively Splendid.

3. Oil Cloth Lunch Bag.

I’ve yet to find someone that disagrees how wonderful Martha Stewart’s ideas can be and here’s another that fails to disappoint. It’s her oil cloth lunch bag. Spring means we can finally start making our packed lunch once again so why not grab some colourful oil cloth and give it a go.

4. Gardening Apron.

What says ‘I love you’ better than a thoughtful handmade gift? So, with mother’s day approaching we picked this easy to make gardening apron from Sew-Mama-Sew that you should be able to create just in time for 10th March. In fact I think I’ve decided I’ll make this one too.

5. Easter Bunny.

Children will love them, why not sew up some easter bunnies in your favourite fabrics. This time of year isn’t complete without the easter bunny and the great thing is you can amend the pattern to make it a spring/summer bunny instead. The tutorial we found was from Revoluzzza here.

 

These are just some ideas to get you started and I hope they help. Remember to post your pictures to our Facebook page and let us see what you’ve been creating. Or if you have any recommendations of your favourite projects and blogs, we’d love to hear your thoughts too.

 

Toyota Home Sewing

 

Valentine’s 10% Off Coupon: With Love From Toyota Home Sewing

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It’s here, Valentine’s Day is upon us so we wanted to give our loyal customers a little treat, and our lovely new ones too!!

 

 

 

 

As our Valentine’s Day gift to you, here is a 10% off coupon code to use against our Designs For Living range sewing machines on our Home Sewing website.

 

Coupon Code: TOYOTA-LOVE       Site: www.home-sewing.com

(valid from 14/02/13 to 28/02/13 especially for Valentine’s)

 

Designs For Living (aka DFL) is Toyota’s much loved stylish sewing machine range and so they became our perfect choice for our Valentine’s offer to you, we’d love to be your cupid and help fix you up with your new match made in heaven. The concept allows you to not only choose the type of machine you require but also the design that best suits you!! Want to test the designs out and see how they look,which would suit your personality, room etc – no problem, just click here.

 

PLUS: Our Designs For Living machines come with 3 years warranty and free delivery for mainland UK (see more here). We also have a range of accessories to complement the machines that we recommend you have a look at, available here too.

 

 

With love from,

 

Your friends at Toyota Home Sewing x

 

 

Twin Needles – What they are and how to use them

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This is often a function that goes unnoticed or untried on a sewing machine but we hope within this blog you’ll find everything you need to know to get you started and encourage you to give it a go. First of all twin needles for our RS sewing machines can be bought directly here.

The picture to the left shows an example.

What is a twin needle?

A twin needle is just basically two needles attached to a single shank, one being slightly shorter than the other to enable your bobbin to catch the thread from both needles.

The needle is used to sew two parallel rows of sewing. It installs in your machine in the same way a regular needle would HOWEVER, the difference is with the spools – if you hadn’t guessed, 2 needles = 2 spools!! Thread your machine as you normally would, one thread at a time ensuring you don’t get them twisted. Hand thread them through each needle as the auto-threader will not work. After you’ve threaded it, I’d always just wind down the needle to make sure none of the needles catches the foot plate. Then, it’s simple … just sew. It looks so effective, I always think it adds a professional and decorative look to any project with such ease and nothing makes parallel lines simpler.

And that’s it, so, why not buy yourselves a twin needle (just £3 on our Home-Sewing site) and get crafty!!

 

 

 

 

Good Luck!!

The Gentleman’s Sewing Club – Getting men in a stitch

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I’ve come across some interesting articles recently, not by intent, just through internet browsing and they all seem to have a clear common theme …

 

“Men itching to get stitching”,  “Sew Macho”, “Teach a man to sew; clothe him for a lifetime” etc…

 

Sewing, whether fact or fiction, has always been looked at as being a ‘women’s world’ or a ‘female-dominated society’ but I’m so gripped by all these headlines that I’ve done my own investigating around the subject to see whether that view point still exists.

Gretchen “Gertie” Hirsch recently summed it up in her blog by saying “home sewists are women and highly-paid couturiers are men” but we’ll let you pass your own judgement on that one. She also taps into a blog set up by a guy called Peter who shares with us his journey of garment-sewing adventures, called Male Pattern Boldness.

Anyway the question most interesting to me was, is it our culture that keeps men away from sewing? Then I came across “The Gentleman’s Sewing Club: a  weekly sewing club for gentleman folks”. Now, I’m not a fan of splitting the craft into genders or groups, however I do love to see sewing being popular with all whether old/young, men/women etc and I understand the advantages of getting like-minded people together. For example, a group such as this can concentrate on male-focused patterns and more male orientated chat. Despite not passing as a gentleman, I still managed to gain access and have a snoop around the blog and I must say … I loved it!!

From monthly sewing evenings (held at the regal Glasgow Sloan store whilst sipping whiskey sours & exchanging sewing tips) to the blog featuring things such as lifestyle advice from Tom Ford, my favourite being:

 

5. A man should never wear shorts in the city. Flip-flops and shorts in the city are never appropriate. Shorts should only be worn on the tennis court or on the beach.

This is all happening right now in Glasgow … imagine the gentlemen that would take to our fine British streets if this caught on throughout the nation!!

Anyway, my conclusion is that men are interested in sewing and quite serious about it too and I look forward to hearing your thoughts over on our Facebook & Twitter pages. Do you have a husband, brother, friend who can sew?