JUKI Star Spotlight: Meet Bill from BILLIAM

BILLIAM, a custom jean company based out in Greenville, South Carolina, was founded by Bill Mitchell in 2009 right out of his family’s basement. Over the years since opening, Bill’s business has flourished and has continued to thrive as fashion lovers all over the world find him. Today we’re going to take you behind the scenes of BILLIAM and their two-man show where they showcase the process of ordering your own custom jeans and the work that goes into the designs we love.

Follow along below for the transcript version of our interview with Bill Mitchell from BILLIAM

Hey guys, my name is Bill Mitchell, from BILLIAM Jeans, we are a custom jean company based in Greenville, South Carolina, and we’ve been making jeans since 2009 for people, and essentially what we do is we take your measurements, we show you different fabrics you can choose, and then we build you anything you want from scratch.

Now the process of buying a pair of jeans from us is you schedule an appointment to come into our store; you come in, and we will take your measurements, and then we’ll show you different fabrics that you can choose, and then we’ll sit down, and we’ll talk about the different style you want.

So if you wanted something that would be skinny, slim, straight, layered, baggy, whatever that is, we can kind of make those creative decisions after we get your measurements. Then it takes about a month to have us produce that pants for you. then we ship it to you, or you can come into the store and pick it up.

If you don’t live in Greenville and you can’t make it into our shop, then we can do all of this over Facetime. So you can set up a time to Facetime with us with a measuring tape, and I will walk you through the entire process as if you’re here in the store but from the comfort of your own home.

What inspired you to start sewing?

So in the seventh grade, I took a home ec class, and that was the first time I learned I could use fabric and a sewing machine to build things from scratch, and it was a really fun, powerful moment where I had built something that I was proud of.

In college, I started tailoring clothes for myself, and I realized I could start tailoring things for other people that they could be proud of. So I needed a product that I could make that I could do that with and scale, so I chose blue jeans, and the service of tailoring clothes to people or making things bespoke to solve people’s problems was a great joy for me. I’ve spent the last 15 years doing that, and it’s a very rewarding process to get to not only make things from scratch but make things that benefit other people’s lives.

What was it like opening your first shop?

So opening my first shop was a really strange experience because I had been jeans at this point in my parent’s basement for a year and a half, and it got to the point where it was strange to have people that I didn’t know coming to my parent’s house, down to their basement fitting them for jeans, and so I knew I needed to find a place that was my own.

It kind of got to the point where I knew I needed to open up a shop. I opened up that first store and it was just a really fun experience to have something that was my own and to create an atmosphere that I could custom-tailor to the experience that I wanted to give people. Now I’ve had three or four different shops over the course of 15 years, but I’ll never forget that first shop and how fun of a time it was to do that.

How has life changed as a small business owner?

Okay, so life as a small business owner is a very strange life because, in so many ways, every day looks different. So you know, for me as an artist and as a business person, I have to stay focused and really choose what I’m going to do each day. To me, really having a concrete process of how I’m going to make things, and the different machines that I’m going to use, allows me to take an order and have a good time making that order so I can actually have a successful day.

To have JUKIs in my room that are all working, and the technology is allowing me to produce this product in a way that’s very easy is a really nice process.

What is in store for BILLIAM Jeans?

So BILLIAM has always been, essentially, a service that we offer to people, and that service through making custom jeans is a very challenging thing to scale, but there’s a different technology that I’m very curious about and am investing in currently that would allow us to make it easier to make custom jeans for people without them having to come to the store.

The future of BILLIAM is adding as much technology as we can to the fitting process so that you could essentially download an app, scan yourself from home, and do everything online. You never need to come in, and it’d be a very easy thing to just have your jeans made without having too much of a stressful experience.

In a world of evolving trends, what is your most and least favorite jeans style?

Okay, so in the world of evolving trends, specifically in jeans, you’ve seen so many things. From low-rise jeans, skinny jeans, really baggy jeans, kind of like the JNCO million pockets kind of thing. For me, I’ve always really enjoyed the people of the ’70s. I really love the flair of it, I love the colors, the style, that you know you just give this sense of freedom to fashion back in the day. So, for me, I think the most fun trend to be a part of is making a flare jean. Right now, doing it custom, you can kind of put the knee at the right place to get the flare to open up at the right proportion for somebody, and that is a lot of fun to do.

I say the least fun thing for me to make would be something that is very low-rise skinny jeans, probably. That would probably be like the very Britney Spears ’90s thing, I don’t know if that’s my thing right now. But ill probably regret saying that in 5 years.

How can a customer find BILLIAM?

So the easiest way to find us and to stay updated with all the different things we love to talk about and share with you would be Instagram. BILLIAMJeans at Instagram is the best place. if you want to see photos of the work we’ve done, you can go to our website, which is BILLIAMJeans.com, but to me, the single primary place that I like to communicate with people is through Instagram at BILLIAMJeans.

To learn more about BILLIAM visit their website or Instagram! Thank you for joining us today in getting to know Bill Mitchell and his shop BILLIAM Jeans. We hope you get a chance to visit the next time you’re in the Greenville area of South Carolina.

National Account Spotlight: Meet SewingMachinesPlus.com

Join us today and get an inside look at SewingMachinesPlus.com’s San Diego shop location as we visit with Blaine, a well-known face for the SMP business! With over 50 years of business, SewingMachinesPlus.com operates the largest sewing machine and vacuum cleaner website nationwide. Located in Southern California, you can visit one of their two retail locations in San Marcos and San Diego, both offering 10,000 square feet of showroom with giant classrooms to host weekly Sewing classes and monthly events!

Follow along below for the transcript version of our interview with Blaine from SewingMachinesPlus.com

Hi, I’m Blaine Austin and I’m with SewingMachinesPlus, and we have two retail superstores in the San Diego area, and we also have a big online presence that we ship nationwide.

What is the history of SewingMachinesPlus.com?

The company was founded by Ron Martin, and he’s been in probably the sewing business for probably over 50 years. SewingMachinesPlus itself, the concept of online business has been well over 25 years, and that’s kind of how the company started. He’s got his two sons involved in the business as well, and I joined the company in 2018. We’ve been going strong ever since!

What can customers expect when shopping at SewingMachinesPlus.com?

One of the things at SewingMachinesPlus that we strive on is customer service, and in customer service, one of our core values, the number one, is to be customer driven. I know that’s easy for companies to say, but to do it is a completely different thing and you have to work extremely hard to make sure that you’re giving incredible customer service.

One of the things that we have at SewingMachinesPlus.com that we instill in all of our employees, is finding a way to say yes. That’s our number one policy. So we do whatever we can do, through training, through support with our machines, we do new owner classes through Zoom, so we find a way to make sure the customer is happy with their machine, that they can use it, and grow with it.

What machines can customers find at SewingMachinesPlus.com?

We actually, at SewingMachinesPlus.com, carry every single brand of sewing machine out there, and naturally, JUKI is one of our top brands. and we carry every single JUKI machine, including the industrial machines, and residential machines. And so, you can basically see at our locations and online presence, every quilting, embroidery, and sewing machine that is made.

Why did SewingMachinesPlus.com choose to carry JUKI?

Well, one of the reasons we chose JUKI, is you know the number one thing, is just the quality. You know, when you get a JUKI machine I pretty much steel everybody, “It’s bulletproof.” it is such a great machine, and it’s pretty simple to operate too, so that’s one of the things we very seldom have any problems.

What I like about JUKI is they have a machine that’s gonna fit just about any job you can come up with for sewing, and so you know that’s one of the things.

The number one machine we actually sell is the 2010. We have sold thousands of those things, and the customers really love that straight stitch machine but you know, we also introduce the new RICOH printer that JUKI has in just the last couple of years and we’ve sold more of those than anybody in the country. Then we also have the TAJIMA 8-needle embroidery machine that JUKI is distributing, and that had been a big seller for us as well.

We really love all the different things that JUKI has, and the different machines that they carry that give you the versatility of pretty much anything you want to attack in the sewing world.

What do you see for the future of SewingMachinesPlus.com?

Well, that’s kind of a loaded question! You know we are continuing to try and reinvent ourselves. You know a lot of stores during the pandemic struggled, but we strived, we actually figured out a way to do things more virtually and did a lot more visual classes. So we found ways in social media to get more customers in and you know we’re doing that every day.

We’re looking at technology and things, where we can get more of a customer base, and that’s the thing we’re continuing to strive for and to continue to build that customer base and give them great customer service. You know that’s the number one thing.

One of the things we’ve done too is developed a network of repair techs nationwide, so now we can send somebody to your house nationwide to do installs and repairs, and that’s been big for us as well.

So one of the things we’re continuing to do is just try and think outside the box to come up with new and better ways to do it.

How can customers find SewingMachinesPlus.com?

We welcome everybody out there to come and check our website out its www.SewingMachinesPlus.com, and also, give us a call at 800-401-8151. We have a huge call center of operators standing by that can answer pretty much any question you have in sewing. One of the things that w really do, and the reason we encourage people to give us a try is that everybody we hire has to go through an extensive training program with sewing machines so they are very knowledgeable, and our live chat agents have to be sewers and quilters and embroiderers before we’ll even hire them.

So the people you’re talking to at SewingMachinesPlus are very knowledgeable about every single product and that’s the number one thing we try to do, try to give you great customer service and great prices!

To learn more about SewingMachinesPlus visit their website or socials down below! Thank you for joining us today in getting to know Blaine and our National Account SewingMachinesPlus. We hope you get a chance to visit the next time you’re in the San Diego area.

Don’t miss out on SewingMachinesPlus.com updates by following their socials below!




JUKI Tip: Using the Needle Threader On Your MO Series

For this month’s JUKI tip, we go over how to use the automatic needle threader that can be found on select serger machines in our MO Series! Creating an easier sewing experience for you, this feature is perfect for getting your machine ready to create, without the hassle.

Follow along below as our National Account Trainer Alba showcases how to thread your automatic needle threader.

The needle threader on the Serger from JUKI is a mechanism that has a lever that goes right and left, whether you’re choosing to thread the right or left needle, before being pushed down to cover the needle in front of the eye.

As you watch the video, you’ll notice how our JUKI National Account Trinaer Alba moves the mechanism to the right-hand position, turning the hand wheel towards herself until the needles reach the highest possible position.

Ensuring the lever is set for the right-hand needle, we’re going to lower the self-threading lever, until it comes right around the needle. Here is where you’ll notice how the mechanism just hugs that needle, giving you the perfect spot to place your thread. Now, remember, for the best experience ensure your thread is not taut, and instead loose. This way the machine is able to thread your needle, without tugging.

Now, as you raise up the needle threader, as shown in the video, you’ll notice how it forms a loop that you can carefully pull through the eye of the needle, completing the threading of your needle. Pull the thread behind, and you’re all set on the right-hand needle!

For the left needle, we’ll position our needle threader for the left-hand position, before lowering the mechanism where it will hug your needle. Next, we recommend using two hands to place that thread in the groove of the needle threader; this will be right at the eye of the needle.

As you raise your needle threader mechanism, you’ll notice the loop form once again, before pulling the thread completely through and towards the back of the machine.

We hope this helps you the next time you want to use the automatic needle threader on your serger machine! What tip do you want to see next from JUKI? Let us know in the comments below!

New Season, New Look!

Get ready for a new season with a new look using JUKI! Whether you’re creating a new jacket, a dress for a night out on the town, or a swimsuit for the sunny days approaching, our JUKI machines are ready to help bring your projects to life. Enjoy the Season, and give yourself a new look!

Check out our serger machines and contact your local JUKI dealer here to learn more about our machine features by contacting us here today!

Stitching on Your JUKI Overlock Serger

If you’re new to using a serger, you might wonder what type of stitches you can create and what kind of fabrics and projects you can work on. Today, we will cover what a serger does, the kinds of stitches they can create, and how they can be used in your projects.

What is a Serger?

A serger is a specialty machine better known as an overlocker. We’ll jump into the stitches a serger can complete for you later in the blog, but an overlock stitch will only be found on sewing machines. An overlock machine will create a professional-grade binding on your fabric using three or more threads. For many, the professional finished look offered by using a serger is why they will invest, becoming owners of both a sewing machine and a serger.

Sergers can also speed up the creative process as a three-in-one machine. A serger will sew seams, trims off seam allowances, and finishes raw fabric edges in one process. The knife on the right side of your stitching space trims your work while you sew quickly, saving you the work. They also sew at high-speed levels, not found on sewing machines, and only sew on the left side of needles.

You can use your sewing machine to sew hems, gather fabric with differential feed, sewing knits, and other stretchy fabrics, and possibly create cover and chain stitches, depending on your chosen machine.

What Stitches does a Serger Create?

2 – Thread Overlock: This is the simplest overlock, and its primary use is preventing fraying in your project. While not strong enough to create a sturdy seam, it can help your projects have a more finished look and works best with lightweight fabrics.

The 2-thread overlock stitch is not commonly used since its main purpose is only to clean the raw edge of your fabrics, and in many cases, is not recommended for seams as it only uses two threads, creating a stitch that is not as sturdy as the following 3 and 4 thread options we’ll go over.

We recommend this one to finish the end of a dress created out of light material like chiffon, finish the edge of a ruffle on your home pillowcase, or finish the edge of a project made with silk.

3 – Thread Overlock: Basic stitch of overlocking, which will prevent the fabric from fraying. We recommend this one when working with knit fabrics and occasional woven fabrics though stay away from areas that will be continually stressed, like sleeves of shirts.

You can also use this stitch while finishing or creating decorative stitches, patchwork piecing, blind stitching, piping, and attaching lace, trims, or beads to fabrics.

If you’re working with fabrics like canvas, corduroy, and denim, we don’t recommend this option, as heavy materials require strength that a second needle and thread can provide to build stability in the project.

4 – Thread Overlock: Now, this one uses two needles and four threads to securely sew together knitted and woven fabrics of most kinds. This option is also ideal for projects that involve heavier-based materials, as we mentioned before. This is because the 4-thread overlock offers a wider stitch due to the two-needle threads stitching, creating studier and bulkier seams.

You can use this overlock stitch to install elastic and insert zippers in garments, and it is a great choice when sewing stress areas in projects like the crotch of pants or sleeves of shirts. This overlock will enhance your stitches’ durability and allow your projects to withstand wear and tear.

However, while this stitch will create durable pieces of projects, we don’t recommend it when working with Chiffon and Georgette, as those fabric pieces might require more flexibility than the 4-thread overlock.

3 – Thread Flatlock: This stitch, as its name implies, results in a flat seam. This stitch is great because it will give you a professional finished look with little bulk, as the stitches are completely encased in the stitching and looper threads. You’ll find this stitch is best for hemming and can be commonly found on ready-to-wear garments.

Something to keep in mind when creating using the flatlock is the number of threads you’re using. Since you’re using three with the 3 – Thread flatlock, you’ll have a strong and sturdy stitch that can be used on garment pieces like activewear that will go through repetitive stretch and pull. You can also change the type of flatlock stitch from narrow to wide by deciding which needle to use when stitching.

Using the left needle creates wider stitches, and the right needle creates a more narrow stitch.

3 – Thread Narrow Overlock: This stitch will roll your fabric edge and then sew with a very narrow overlocking. We find this stitch is ideal for garment creators who are working on projects like activewear, swimwear, or underwear. Anything that is made from a stretchy material that you expect to be stressed and stretched often will be secured with this form of a stitch.

This thread will also allow the best stretch of the material, something we want in our activewear, so we can move and run with ease without the worry of our stitch unthreading.

3 – Thread Rolled Hem: The purpose of this stitch is to fold the raw edge of your fabric under thread wraps. Using the 3 – Thread rolled hem, the stitch will roll your fabric and then cover the rolled hem with threading as you stitch the fabric through.

You’ll find that medium and heavy-weight fabrics work well with this stitch since using the three threads will provide more tension for the fold and wrap on that bulk of the material. You’ll want to use this technique when working on a multitude of projects like dresses, pillows, quilts, and more to give your projects a professional-looking finish.

3 – Thread Rolled Hem with Differential Feed: When you use this 3-thread rolled hemming stitch on your projects with the differential feed on stretch fabrics, you’ll create richly designed pieces that have a beautiful hem design.

Depending on the design of your project, you can use the differential feed to add a touch of flair by simply adjusting the differential from 0 to 0.7. For example, if you’re creating with non-stretch woven fabric, start with the differential feed on neutral or zero. This way, both sets of feed dogs are moving at the same speed, giving you a flat rolled hem. If you want to add flair, raise the differential to 0.7 and watch as the rolled hem gets a ‘lettuce’ texture look that adds a beautiful touch to home pillows, dresses, and blouses.

We hope this helps you feel more comfortable with your serger and encourage you to try your hand at serging on your next project! Whether you’re working on a new quilt or planning your next prom dress, the benefits of having a serger in your studio are endless when it comes to achieving that quality finished look. If you’re interested in learning more about the serger stitches and how they look, follow us on YouTube today and watch our past videos here.