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.

 

History Behind The Great British Sewing Bee

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In the world of sewing and craft everyone has by now heard of the new “Great British Sewing Bee” programme that is about to grace our TV screens tonight .. we’ve blogged about it, BBC have now launched details about it and it’s leading all the conversations within the sewing community at the moment. It’s even trending across Twitter, yayyy!!!! #GBSB

But, do you have any idea what relevance a bee is to sewing? Well you’re not the only one, we’ve all been thinking the same. Many assumed the name would just be “The Great British Sew Off” after the successful “Great British Bake Off” having the same producers, so it came as quite a shock when the “Great British Sewing Bee” name was announced. Now that we’ve investigated it we agree it makes perfect sense and  reflects the British culture perfectly well … so we thought we’d share this knowledge with you too.

To explain this we need to go back about 100 years, when what we now know as “sewing circles” or “sewing groups” were actually referred to as “sewing bees”. Yes, that’s it, that’s how a bee fits into sewing. This became popular with the Queen Mother (Queen Elizabeth) as she made it a popular idea to make and mend throughout the war and used it as a way to socialise and support the troops. Sounds exciting and I’m sure the show won’t let us down, it’s just a shame it will only be on for 4 weeks but I’m sure there will be plenty to keep us glued throughout those episodes and tasks and hopefully the sewing revolution legacy will continue long after the show ends. SEW, all that’s left to do now is to watch it over the next month and see who is crowned King or Queen Bee and then get out your very own sewing machine and put it all into practice!!

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!!

Carolyn’s Sew & Tell – With Love

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We noticed recently a YouTube channel offering lots of helpful ideas and methods to help you sew some wonderful creations for yourself … and, as you know, we’re all for that here at Toyota Home Sewing. So, we wrote to Carolyn and asked her to do a special “Sew & Tell” especially for you. In the short exchanges we made with Carolyn we saw how lovely, friendly and passionate she is about sewing and her customers and we wish her all the best with the opening of her new shop in Edinburgh … be sure to pop in if you’re in the area – we will be!!
 
“My love of sewing and fashion has allowed me to create and mould my dream career around my little flat in Edinburgh.
After graduating in fashion in 2007 and feeling a little bewildered on what route to take, I soon found myself catching my first design job – creating a dress for a Miss Universe contestant. After this job, I felt that this was where I belonged – making women feel glamorous! Within 18 months, I am proud to say, from that day I have now built a dress label which has featured on the The Bachelor TV show and with various celebrity fans including Katie Piper and Millie Mackintosh.
Despite this rapid success the last year I still run my business from my little 1 bed flat in Edinburgh. However this is soon going to change as I open my first shop in Edinburgh later this month.
Throughout college I felt a little behind and less capable in my pattern cutting than my other class mates. I soon found out this was due to me having dyslexia. Despite this, dyslexia was never something which hindered me too much as I worked my own way around pattern cutting creating my own techniques. One thing that did bother me however was the first time I tried to sit down and follow a pre-made pattern. Everything suddenly became jumbled and I soon got frustrated and gave up. Rather that this being a negative thing I decided to put my dyslexia to good use. Along with my dress label I am also a Youtube partner giving tips on fashion and beauty on a budget. I decided to use my simplified pattern cutting techniques to turn the written instructions in video form. I created a series of short videos showing how to make your own celebrity red carpet dresses and sold the simplified patterns to go with the video guide. The video instructions make it easier to follow and the patterns have various symbols on them to match up the pattern pieces. My intention was to turn pattern cutting and dress making into a more accessible thing using 21st century technologies. I hoped to tap into young woman who maybe viewed dress making as complicated or old fashioned.
The thing I love most is when I am sent photos of girls all over the world wearing their dresses to proms & special events. It always puts a smile on my face.”
Carolyn Baxter has her own website of the same name that sells her unique designs & patterns and she also has her own YouTube channel that we think is just amazing and we are sure you will too … Here’s Carolyn’s personal recommendation especially for you  … How To Make Your Own Madison Dress
Check It Out .. Be Inspired!!

Val’s Sew & Tell – Halloween Inspiration

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Val Houghton, our loyal Facebook friend & Toyota user, has kindly sent us some of her amazing “Sew & Tell” photos to share with our Toyota Home Sewing Community. And, well we thought, what better time to share this creation below considering we all need inspiring to get out the sewing machine and start making our annual costumes … Val shows us how it can be done:

 

We know that Val is in demand, and makes all sorts for everyone, she’s very talented!! But she explains that she made this particular costume for a friend who attended a Halloween themed dog agility class dressed as (you probably guessed it) … DRACULA!!

 

What costumes are you making? Why not send your creations, photos or ideas to our Facebook page, there’s a community of Home Sewing Followers who’d love to see!!

Styled To Rock – Bringing Sewing Back

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I couldn’t believe it last night when I turned the TV on to discover a fantastic program called “Styled To Rock” in which contestants all compete to design and make outfits for the stars. I don’t watch much TV so it isn’t a surprise I hadn’t heard of this before but I can’t help but feel I’ve been missing out on this show … it’s the first series but it’s already on about episode 9 now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The competition seems to focus around superstar Rihanna on her hunt for the next expressive “up & coming” British fashion designer and I love the key statement: ‘SEW HARD‘ featured on the main studio wall … encouraging the team to not just work hard, but sew hard!! It’s clear to see their passion for design & sewing and it really did push some buttons in me to start pushing myself further too!!

 

Supporting Rihanna is Girl’s Aloud popstar Nicola Roberts, successful British Fashion Designer Henry Holland and superstar stylist Lysa Cooper. Each week the contestants are given a new brief along with a new superstar. So far I believe they have designed for Cheryl Cole, Kanye West & Katy Perry!!

 

Another pleasant surprise for me was seeing Heidi May, an ex-classmate of mine from The University Of Huddersfield, and her delightfully sweet personality still shining through. It was Katy Perry night and Heidi actually won the challenge so congrats!! We’re cheering on all the contestants and excited to have found this show at the peak, will definitely be tuning in next week and thanks to all involved for the sewing inspiration!!

 

What I especially love about the show is it shows anyone can do it with a bit of determination, all the contestants are all from totally different backgrounds; self-taught, graduates, boutique owners etc.. Some are amazing pattern drafters, others have no experience BUT at the catwalk stage everyone pulls it off … it just stirs up an excitement in me to get more creative, to do a supermarket sweep in the fabric shop and then straight to the sewing!!