Sew Successful – Buttonholes


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.

Troubleshooting Basics – Broken Needle










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!!


Sew Soul Mates


We stumbled across a great video that features a trustworthy senior Toyota Sewing Machine at work by a senior American Engineering Professor and thought it fitted in well with our recent blog … It supports our theory that the use of correct TLC and maintenance can see your machine sticking around for as long as you!!

(Click Here to the Toyota Sewing Machines cameo on this short video.)


Rene Coté, known by his students as “Grampa” because of his personable and friendly nature, is an Engineering Professor at TCU.  He runs his own small in-home embroidery business designing and making t-shirts, hats and polos for his colleagues and students. He creates the customised items all on his loyal Toyota Sewing Machine that he’s been using for over 20 years!! … We guess he’s a man that knows a thing or two on how to look after your sewing machine and keep it running well!!

“Sometimes you have to think like a machine.”   says Coté

It seems Coté’s sewing machine really has become his best friend, and they both seem well suited to each other don’t you think?! And that got us thinking …  “Do sewing machines reflect our personalities in some way?!” and “Does everyone have a “soul mate” sewing machine?”


I’ve recently purchased a beautiful new Purple/Gold Toyota Design for Living number that is definitely my soul mate … but I wonder what this says about me??!!






Thanks goes to TCU News where the article was spotted

Sewing Machine Maintenance – The Basics



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.


Sewing Machine Manuals


One of the most important accessories that will come in the box with your new Toyota sewing machine is the instruction manual…it will become your complete introduction to knowing your machine well and a valuable portal into the world of sewing.

The instruction manual will remain the most important tool you have to keep your machine in good working order so you can always be confident you are getting the best, and making the most, out of it. Toyota has created your manual especially for you, with your best interests in mind because we want you to love and enjoy your machine. The steps in doing these things vary slightly from machine to machine, so be wise and keep your book safe.

Go through the instructions slowly and carefully to make sure you don’t miss out the important bits.

In the manual you will find important information on how to initially set it up, use all the different features and troubleshoot help. It is formatted simply and with pictures to try and make following as simple as possible, however if you have any queries don’t forget you can add us on Facebook.

If you have had your sewing machine for a while, or, if it was given to you and you no longer have the manual with it don’t worry, all is not lost, as Toyota has an amazing section on the website offering you the option to download them here.

Just check your machine for a sticker that looks like this to find the model identity:

Home Sweet Holme: Celebrities in the sew


Celebrities in the sew

Sometimes we get the idea that celebrities are surrounded with a scurry of assistants running around to do everything for them. So, I was pleasantly surprised when I read recently that Tom Cruise bought his wife, Katie Holmes, a sewing machine for her birthday this year!!

Katie & Tom

It’s lovely to read that her hobby for sewing started in a similar way to many of our own…She was introduced to home sewing as a young girl when her mum made things around the house and she noticed how this created a warm homely feel.

I think it’s beautiful how she now does this with their daughter Suri, and the generation of sewing continues!

As well as her ability to sew around the home etc, check out Katie’s clothing line “Holmes & Yang”. A luxurious and stylish brand she started with two friends in 2009.

Other celebrities we’ve heard that sew include Eva Longoria, Nicole Kidman & believe it or not, even Chris Martin.

Eva Longoria Nicole Kidman Chris Martin

Do you know of any other celebrities who sew or who own a sewing machine?

Make your own pencil case


Pencil Case


Simply made using a sewing machine, this Back to School or Office accessory can be customised to your own bespoke design. Helps to add that little sunshine to your day.











1. Cut 2 rectangles from your chosen fabrics (measure the width on your zip plus 4cm allowance) and make the lining length 2cm smaller.
(e.g. Exterior 24cm x 20cm / Lining 24cm x 18cm for a 20cm zip).














2. Sew a 1cm seam around the fabric (right sides facing), leaving a 3cm gap on one length.














3. Gently pull the right side of the fabrics through the 3cm gap.



4. Place the exterior fabric and the zip together and pin (right sides facing).



5. At this stage prepare your Sewing Machine Accessories and place on the Zipper foot.



6. Pull the fabric over the sewing machine arm and stitch along the edge.















7. Pull the zip across to meet the other edge of the fabric (right side facing still) and pin.















8. Stitch along the edge (it helps to open the zip midway to avoid sewing around the bulk).



9. Flatten the fabric down, keep the zip central and pinch in the corners to meet together under the zip on both ends. Keep flat and pin.

















10. Sew down each side and back stitch fairly heavily to secure in place.





















11. Open the zip and pull through the fabric and push out the sides to complete the look.

















Put in your favourite pens and pencils and your pencil case is ready to show off!!

With Applique you can customise anything


The beauty of applique is that you can personalise anything, it’s simple to do and it looks amazing!! It’s another great way to use up those beautiful scraps of fabric lying around too!! And once you get started, you won’t want to stop….



1.    Choose the item you wish to embellish and a design to applique.
2.     Cut out a template of your design/letter.


3.    Lay the template face down, in reverse, on the wrong side of a sheet of BondaWeb and draw around it.


4.    Lay the template on the fabric (right side up) and cut out. You can choose to do it all in one fabric or separate fabrics and layer your design to add a deeper and more colourful effect.


5.    Fuse the BondaWeb to your chosen fabric (be sure to do this on the correct sides).


6.    Place this onto your backing fabric and press.


7.    Using the zigzag stitch on your sewing machine, sew around the edges of your design. (If you have the correct Sewing Machine Accessories change your foot to the Applique foot).
**You may want to experiment on a scrap piece of fabric first with the tension & stitch size to achieve the desired look. (You need one side of the stitch to go through the applique fabric and the other side to go through the backing stitch).


8.    Line the fabric up so the raw unstitched edge is in the centre of your foot and start stitching.


9.    Where necessary add more stitch detail and any layers in the same way.


10.    Finish off with any desired extra touches.