Sewing Tips with JUKI!

As new sewists continue to join us, we recognize many are self-taught! Learning on your own is no small feat, but having the right tools can make any project easier. So today, we wanted to share our top 5 tips!

Slow and Steady Wins the Sewing Race

When it comes to creating your projects, it’s best to have a light foot than a lead foot. When you’re starting, we recommend finding a steady speed your hands can keep up. You can test this out by slowly increasing the speed and seeing how the machine feeds the fabric while your hands are moving along. For example, we recommend putting the speed at about 30% and increasing from there with free motion quilting.

It’s Easier with the right Presser Feet!

When you’re creating projects, learn about the presser feet options available with your sewing machine model. Check to see which feet come with your machine or are available in a specialty sewing shop near you. For example, some feet will help you conceal a zipper with ease, give you the perfect edging, and create a rolled hem. You can get familiar with different presser foot applications by reading the instructions provided with the feet or watching videos.

Trust in Patterns

There’s nothing worse than spending hours on a project and the result not fitting. However, sewists from different skill levels can find the benefit in using patterns on their projects. First, look for designs that fit your current project at your skill level. Many patterns come with expertise levels marked as beginner, intermediate, and expert. As you get more confident in your work, upgrading pattern levels is a great way to learn how to create a project from scratch and make your pattern one day!

Keep an Eye on those Needles!

Using the wrong needle when working on a project can cause stress! While many sewists recommend having a universal needle on hand, these needles can still struggle on heavy fabric choices like leather and can be too sharp for stretchy fabric material. Make sure to research which needle you need on your project to prevent any mishaps. Click here to view a helpful guide that matches your fabric to the appropriate needle. Also, remember to replace your needle every project or 8 hours of usage. One of the causes of tension issues can be a lousy needle, so it’s best to replace it frequently.

Try New Things

The best piece of advice we have is to get creative! Many sewists have something they don’t like to sew or are scared of trying. Take the time to learn new techniques like attaching buttons, zippers, pockets, and more. However, keep in mind your skill level. One mistake beginners make is choosing a project that someone with experience would say no. It’s best to start small and build your confidence than to go big and go home because of disappointment or frustration. Trying new things can boost your confidence creating the best experience in sewing!

Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, these tips are great to keep in mind on your sewing journey. So what advice would you give beginners? Let us know in the comments down below!

JUKI Designer Ambassador: Kiki Kitty

Introducing Kiki Kitty, owner, and designer of K. Milele, as one of our new JUKI Designer Ambassadors! A member of the fashion industry since the ’90s, where she started off with FUBU’s womenswear, Kiki Kitty is a force to be reckoned with.

One of five siblings, Kiki grew up in a home where she and her family would focus on creating everyday items to stay entertained. Creating projects like ragdolls, pillows, and slippers, she was inspired by her mother, who found art in everything. Taught by her mother, Kiki would create using natural pieces like pinecones and other found items to create projects like home décor whenever inspiration struck. Through these small projects that Kiki learned how to build her creative eye, assisting her for years to come when it was time for her to design fashion.

Finding sewing as another art medium, her first lesson was thanks to her mother. A fun activity for her and her siblings, Kiki would complete little projects to train herself on the machine and work her way up on project size and complexity. One of her favorite parts about sewing has been the freedom to explore new techniques and concepts. Through her excitement to learn, she sees each mistake as an opportunity to learn something new.

“I love when a mistake turns into the greatest thing about a garment because it forced me to have to look at it in a new way.”

Kiki’s love for the hobby has grown, leading her into the fashion industry in the ’90s as a designer for FUBU, a women’s streetwear fashion line. Motivated by her need to artistically express herself, she finds the process to be therapeutic. Seeing this as a way to express her thoughts was her first step in learning to express herself. “It took me a very long time to find my voice, to verbally express myself, and to stand up for myself. Expression through art was always my outlet. And even now that I’ve discovered my voice, creating remains to be my most powerful expression.”

While her time at FUBU led to her first brand K.A.Kitties, a venture she’s proud and fond of, her most tremendous success was only recently accomplished in her latest fashion collection K.Milele, “This is My Protest.” Using her JUKI machines, our MO-20000QVP, and HZL-NX7, she states she was finally able to create a collection that is 100% her self-expression. With the opportunity to explore prints, patterns, and textures, she hopes to create beautiful, one-of-a-kind pieces representing her and those she designs for.

Her newest collection has trends like gathering, a favorite of Kiki’s since the ’90s. Loving how the final product looks, she finds it’s a simple technique that elevates the simple styles into sexy numbers, something her line embodies. Loving anything that creates fabric manipulation is her favorite trend in sewing. A must-have tool she keeps on hand for these projects is her tweezers. Allowing her told the fabric in place and keeping her fingers away from the machine after one terrible accident in her time at Pratt University when she first began sewing on industrial machines, she finds this tool to be a finger saver.

From FUBU to her current collection, Kiki’s journey in sewing is far from over. We hope you enjoyed getting to know our ambassador today and that you keep up with her future projects! Kiki’s new collection can be found on her socials here, and we’re so excited to see her projects come to life! Kiki’s final note to you JUKI lovers is this, “When you’re trying it [sewing] out, don’t get frustrated about making mistakes. Often mistakes make way for the opportunity to be creative and discover that there’s more than one way to achieve a great outcome. Even if it’s not the idea, you started with. Be flexible. See the beauty in what’s in front of you.”

Clean Up with JUKI!

When was the last time you gave your machine some TLC? Today we’re going to go over some general tips on how to keep your sewing machine maintained and ready to sew! If your machine needs a deep cleaning, take it to a nearby sewing machine technician.

Let’s start with the basics: cleaning, oiling, and changing the needle.

External Cleaning

The best place to start cleaning is the outside of your machine. Turn all power is off and unplug your machine before removing the needle and presser foot. This is a safety precaution to save you from being pricked.

Grab a microfiber cloth and dampen just a little and get to work! Stay away from using any harsh chemicals on your machine or solvents. We recommend a small amount of dissolved detergent or dish soap if you find a stain that won’t come out.

For those hard-to-reach spaces, we recommend using your craft pipe cleaner. It’s best to do this at a slow pace to avoid unnecessary damage to your machine, especially near a spot with wires. This way, you can avoid bending or wrongly adjusting anything.

Internal Cleaning

Once the outside of your machine is looking clean, let’s move on to the needle plate area. While each machine is different, your manuals will display how to remove your needle plate. If you find yourself without a physical manual, remember JUKI places digital manuals on our websites.

Begin by removing the screws from your needle plate using a T-shape screwdriver. Next, place the screws somewhere safe and secure. We don’t want to lose any!

Once you have removed the needle plate and secured your screws, it’s time to dust! Here we recommend using the brush your machine comes with or grabbing that craft pipe cleaner to remove the lint and dust. If you find any loose threads, use your tweezer to capture those stray strands slowly.

*Never use canned air on your machine. This will cause dirt and lint to be pushed further into your machine rather than clean it.*

Once you’ve dusted the general area, it’s time to focus on your bobbin area. Your first step is to remove the bobbin case and shuttle hook. Once that’s removed, you’ll be able to clean the space behind it where lint and dust fall. Remember to be gentle in the process, your machine has many parts and tricks, and it’s best to go slow and easy when cleaning.

Our best recommendation is to service your machine regularly. A professional sewing machine technician will safely clean out those spots you might have missed and access parts we wouldn’t recommend doing yourself.

Needle Plate & Bobbin Area for DX-4000QVP

Oiling

The first thing to know about oiling is not all machines will need it. The best place to find your answer is in your manual. Remember, if you find yourself with a lost manual, JUKI uploads our machine manuals on our website!

Something to keep in mind is that non-computerized machines, like our TL series, need regular oiling. However, our machines like the DX series are computerized and self-lubricating, so you do not need to oil.

We recommend checking out our video here for maintenance and lubrication knowledge for our TL series.

If your machine requires oiling, your JUKI machine will come with a plastic container of sewing machine oil. You can also purchase this from your local sewing machine shops. Remember, your manual is your best friend! Requirements on where and how can be found there when it comes time to oil. We recommend applying one drop of oil to each arrow point shown above for every 4 to 8 hours of sewing. Use machine oil (New Defrix Oil No. 1) or similar supplied with the machine.

Changing the Needle

One of the most important things you can do is change your needle. Needled can dull, get bent, and become damaged, and it’s one of the most significant factors in your machine performance. We recommend changing your needle every 8 hours of usage or starting a new project.

A tip to keep in mind is that the flat side of the needle will usually face away from you on our DX series machines and face towards you on our TL machines.  recommended to check your manual. Always confirm that your needle is pushed up and that your screw is tightened to secure the needle in place.

Remember, depending on your project and fabrics is how you choose your needle. You want to make sure you’re using the right one for the job between different types of needles and sizes. This will lower the chances of needle breakage and machine error. Things to consider when choosing your needle are the fabric type, project idea, and thread.

When it comes to maintaining your machines, it’s best to take your time and go slow. If you’re ever in doubt about how to clean your machine, visit us on our JUKI Home Sewing Youtube page here.

You’ll be able to find maintenance videos on many of our machines and more! Don’t forget to stay tuned as we continue to launch new videos on JUKI machines and more.

JUKI Designer Ambassador: Kovid Kapoor

Today we’re introducing a new addition to the JUKI team, Kovid Kapoor, one of our new JUKI Designer Ambassadors! Based in Brooklyn, New York, Kapoor is an Indian fashion designer that focuses on the luxury and high-end fashion market. Holding an impressive background in fashion, Kapoor has won the National Textile Corporation’s Young Designer Hunt competition in India, completed his master’s in fashion design from the Academy of Art University, and was a contestant on the 17th season of Project Runway. So it’s no surprise his work has gone on to be featured in well-known fashion titles like Elle USA, Elle India, and Vogue Italia. Follow along as we share more about Kovid and his life in fashion below!

Photo Credit: Kovid Kapoor

Starting at a very young age, Kovid learned how to hand sew from his grandmother. Finding love for art, he continued to be passionate about the hobby through his teenage years and adult life. During the foundation years of his bachelor’s degree, Kovid started using sewing machines in his work. As Kovid shares, “It was one of the most crucial subjects and essential skills to develop a successful garment.”

Kovid’s brand is a small-scale brand that believes in creating dynamic clothing to find a healthy balance between art and viable commercial product. Inspired by tales and stories that celebrate feminine and LGBTQ stories, he believes fashion should represent an individual’s identity and be used as a form of self-expression. Focusing on contemporized pieces with a traditional twist, his line is relaxed yet helps buyers feel confident in their look. His motivation for creating his pieces is a therapeutic process, “What motivates me to create is to project and express my thoughts and creative aspirations through fashion and clothing. It’s a therapeutic process of self-reflection, and every collection helps me evolve not just in my creative space but also my emotional space.”

Besides his fashion brand, Kovid has accomplished great success in the art world of fashion. His favorite art piece to date was a conceptual art wear garment inspired by the Mask Project Series, in collaboration-with Akshit Bhardwaj. This art piece was an enlarged garment version of a mask, designed with three-dimensional details. Enjoying the organic process of the garment creation and the carefree approach with which they followed, the final pieces reflected their experience in the creative process. Another art piece, one he claims as his greatest success, was for an installation in the Asian Art Museum vault. A 12-foot tall saree dress tent made for art directors Adrienne Pao and Robin Lasser, designed with bright colors and traditional style. Click here to view the art piece!

Photo Credit: Kovid Kapoor

Currently, Kovid is working on his upcoming collection all constructed on his trusted Juki machine. A must-have tool, Kovid shares a good sewing machine is worth the investment because of its importance in elevating the speed and efficiency of his work. Describing the upcoming collection as something new and fresh, he’s beyond thrilled to showcase the new line once completed. With a passion for his work, Kovid’s love for sewing comes from the process of creating. “There is something very rewarding about constructing something yourself. It adds a personal touch to an otherwise store-bought world.”

As we finished getting to know Kovid, he had one final tidbit of advice for new sewers in the community, “The key to success in sewing is consistency and practice. Sewing is a skill that is finessed with practice and time so it’s completely fine if the initial projects don’t work the important thing is to keep practicing.”

We hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know Kovid Kapoor! Follow along as we continue to join Kovid in his fashion journey, and visit us here to learn more about Kovid and our other designers!

JUKI Designer Ambassador: Mah-Jing Wong

Welcoming new JUKI Designer Ambassador, meet Mah-Jing Wong! Founder and Designer for his line Mah-Jing Wong, he began sewing as a child under his grandmother’s teachings. An activity they loved doing together, sewing is the connection to his childhood and grandmother he keeps with him to this day.

His beginning in sewing is a sweet memory, with his first project being a hat! First seen on Michael Jackson and wanting his own, he went to his grandmother and asked how to create his own. From there, he completed his first project, grandmother along his side, and step by step sewed it together. This event would set the tone for his future career.

Later in life, Mah-Jing would attend the Arts Institute of Philadelphia, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Fashion Marketing. In his senior year, he would begin interning with top fashion designers Zac Posen. It was here that he began planning to create his own clothing brand that launched in 2011. Inspired by Japanese anime and the Marvel Comic book world, his work uses simple silhouettes with hand-dyed prints and geometrical shapes. His favorite work to create is his bodycon dresses, seen during his time as a contestant on Project Runway.

Since his time on project runway, Mah-Jing has continued to move up in the fashion industry, working with superstars such as Cardi B, Megan Thee Stallion, Chole Bailey, and many more! With his work garnering attention for its style and boldness, it has been featured in pop lifestyle settings like stage performances, music videos, and Magisterhaft covers. Mah-Jing continues to wow his followers as he works on the new collection, with orders already being placed.

With a design style that is innovative and fun, Mah-Jing’s favorite sewing trend right now is the exposed overlock thread. Using his JUKI overlock MCS-1700QVP, his favorite tool in his studio, he can create the base for all his creations and easily add this trend.

Mah-Jing states his experience in sewing has been rewarding. Like anything in life, sewing has had its ups and downs, but it remains his safe space for expressing his creativity like so many of you. His piece of advice for sewers is this, “stay calm and trust the process.” A saying we all understand in sewing and quilting.

We hope you enjoyed getting to know Mah-Jing as much as we have JUKI Lovers! So follow along with his journey and JUKI today and visit us here today!

Which fashion piece was your favorite? Let us know below!

JUKI Designer Ambassador: Megan Smith

Joining us as a new JUKI Designer Ambassador is Megan Smith, creator and founder of Megan Renee, a sustainable women’s contemporary brand. We are so excited to introduce Megan to you, JUKI Lovers! Follow along below through our interview with Megan and her journey in sewing.

Megan’s story starts like many of ours; she joined the sewing world because of her love for fashion and art. The ability to create her garments and showcase her personality led to the fashion and designs she shares today. Contemporary and lively, her designs are inspired by women, the arts, and traveling. Finding inspiration in her experiences, she can create pieces that truly speak from her soul and love of color. Using the art of sewing to relax, she loves the peace it brings when she’s creating.

“It’s a stress reliever, and I love having the ability to create something beautiful.”

Her love of sewing and designing has brought her great success in the fashion industry like having the chance to compete on Amazon Prime’s “Making the Cut.” Proud of the work she created while on the show, she was impressed with how quickly she put together her designs and brought them to life in such a short time in each episode. Her favorite tool to keep on hand while on the show? Her snipping scissors! With the speed she was creating, this tool was perfect for keeping up. Finishing as a top 4 finalist, her work was praised by Naomi Campbell and other judges for her edgy looks. Amazing!

Since “Making the Cut,” Megan has focused on her fashion line “Megan Renee,” a line that empowers and celebrates bold and unapologetic femininity. The contemporary brand focuses on reducing waste after witnessing the effects of fast fashion in the industry. For example, her first collection, created out of sustainable deadstock fabric, was perfect for her vision. Using her own originally designed prints, she was able to digitally print the fabric and reduce the ink and water needed for traditional printing. Her favorite trend, which can be found in her designs, is patchworking and color blocking, radiating the boldness she strives for, Megan’s had the opportunity to work with celebrities like Issa Rae, Becky G, and Dominique Fishback.

As Megan continues to take the fashion industry by a storm, she’s most excited about finishing and launching her new fall collection. Megan’s time in the fashion industry has been as challenging as it has been rewarding. With the experience she obtained from working in other fashion companies to her time on “Making the Cut,” she’s been able to learn new tricks in sewing and launched her clothing line. Her motivation to continue creating is honest, “it’s the feeling I get once I complete a design. I love seeing how my garments make my customers feel, and I like doing photoshoots after we’ve finished a collection.”

We are so excited to see Megan’s new fall collection and her future work! We hope you enjoyed getting to know Megan more with us, and we’ll leave here with some parting advice from Megan herself to new sewers out there, “Practice, practice, and practice. Keep going and learning no matter how hard it may seem.”

JUKI Designer Ambassador: Will Riddle

Today we’re introducing Will Riddle, our new JUKI Designer Ambassador! Known for his bold risks and designs, Will’s journey in sewing has taken him everywhere, and we are so excited it has brought him to JUKI! Coming up in the fashion industry Will has been a contestant on Amazon Prime’s Season 1 “Making the Cut,” presented a collection at NYFW, and styled celebrities such as Obama’s, Camila Cabello, Megan Markle, and more! Follow along as we get to know Will Riddle and introduce him to the JUKI team.

Will’s story starts not in fashion but painting! While always attracted to the arts, Will’s first medium was oil and acrylic painting. Taking 15 years’ worth of lessons, he decided it was time for something new and broke away from the medium to find a new one, branching out to the fashion world. Graduating from the Fashion School at Kent State University, he received his CFDA+ certification for his work in evening wear and achieved one of his most significant accomplishments.

“A few weeks after I graduated college, I had the opportunity to create a capsule collection that walked the runway at Lincoln Center during New York Fashion Week. To be that age and entering the industry with such an accomplishment under my belt was an amazing feeling.”

Diving into the world of sewing, Will turned to it as a form of comfort. Seeing it as his time to relax and unwind, he placed sole focus on his projects and creating. Will views designing and sewing as a therapeutic activity and finds sewing like a puzzle. He engineers the pattern pieces and designs to come together in a certain way for the perfect finish.

Finding inspiration for his work is exciting as he pulls from his own life experiences. Viewing life experiences as unique to each person and non-replicable, he draws from his past to create beautiful futures. In addition, he finds motivation behind the fact that creating is all he knows how to do. From an early on exposure to art, he’s been able to ensure that he’s constantly surrounded by creativity in his life, from fashion and music to performance and more.

Will’s present finds him most excited about developing custom prints and artwork featured in future collections! Using his favorite tool, a JUKI industrial sewing machine, he’s able to create fashion pieces he’s proud of. “I was spoiled in college by learning how to professionally sew on a fleet of new JUKI machines, and as soon as I started building my atelier, made the investment to have one of my own!” His work is bold and different, and his current favorite trend is domestic embroidery machines! Using his JUKI quilting machine DX-3000QVP and MO-2000QVP, he’s able to create personalized artworks with embellishments and accessories. This tool comes in handy when he designs his second favorite kind of outfit, campy Halloween costumes! His first favorite is the evening gowns he’s known for. 

Will’s experience in sewing has been exciting! Still coming up in the fashion industry Will has had a whole career he feels, “from managing the atelier at 3.1 Phillip Lim and Oscar de la Renta, to managing NYC factory relationships for sample creation, working with overseas factories, teaching newcomers how to sew and everything in between!” One word he would use for his projects? “Complex.” Created with the idea of bringing out bold styles and looks, it’s no wonder he’s gotten this far!

Will’s future in sewing is exciting and filled with opportunities, JUKI Lovers! His advice to new sewers joining is to complete projects at your skill level. We know how fun it can be to start large, but like

Will states, “feeling of accomplishment you get from successfully completing a project that you find slightly challenging, but not impossible, is incredibly rewarding and helps to encourage more difficult projects as you sharpen your skills.”

We hope you loved learning about Will as much as we did! So follow along as we continue introducing new JUKI Designers these coming weekends! Which Will Riddle design did you love best? Let us know down below!

Spotlight: Meet Sherry Miller!

This month we are introducing our newest National JUKI educator, Sherry Miller, to the JUKI team!

With over 40 years of experience, Sherry began sewing around seven years old with her mother. Moving on to junior high and high school, Sherry began constructing outfits, a hobby she loved and continues to work on today. After turning 16, Sherry worked in a quilting shop and loved the experience! So much so that she would continue to stay on for the next 30 years, becoming one of their very own educators.

When asked about her favorite sewing memory, Sherry fondly looks back at when she made quilts with a Girl Scout troop for a homeless shelter. Seeing the excitement on the girl scouts’ faces as they put the squares together using a sewing machine, and tying them with yarn, was a heartwarming experience. When it came time to donate, the Girl Scouts group invited Sherry when presenting the quilt at the shelter.

While Sherry was working in the quilting shop, she began practicing her quilting techniques. Creating quilts and home decor samples at home for the store gave her confidence to write patterns and eventually teaching classes. It was here Sherry found her passion for teaching others!

“The most very favorite thing about being an educator is the joy on people’s faces when they accomplish something they thought they could never do! I like meeting new people and learning about their styles of sewing. With every person I help, I always learn something new!”

Since joining JUKI, Sherry finds the J-350 Longarm machine to be her favorite! As someone who loves working on free motion quilting and quilting with rulers, these machines have fit her needs each time. We are so excited to have Sherry Miller on board as she continues to teach our JUKI lovers new tips and tricks on their favorite machines.

Keep up to date with JUKI on https://jukiquilting.com/our-events/ and meet Sherry and our other educators at our next class!

JUKI Designer Ambassador: Kenya Freeman

Meet our new JUKI Designer Ambassador, Kenya Freeman, CEO and Senior Lead Designer of Sylvia Mollie Collections – an American lifestyle brand that embodies bold femininity. Her garments are meant to instill power and confidence to fearless woman! And its’ because of this that Kenya’s motivation to create is simple: this is her purpose.

“It is my calling and my assignment beyond the passion. Knowing what I do is going to change the lives of many after me.”

We are very excited to have Kenya join the JUKI family as a JUKI Designer Ambassador and want to share a tidbit of her story with our JUKI Lovers! So follow along as we share a part of Kenya’s sewing journey.

Inspired by life, Kenya stumbles upon inspiration in her day-to-day activities. From dreams to the seasons, she’s always observing life outside of her home and the people she passes. Situations in life have continued to bring her inspiration, leading to her beautiful bold fashion pieces.

Kenya’s favorite pieces to work on are dresses. From the challenging cuts to the techniques she’s picked up, she looks forward to the pieces that will shine. Using Frixon pens, her favorite sewing trend, she drapes and uses her tool to mark those seams and lines. Her favorite part is heating it and seeing all the marks disappear from her work.

Kenya acclaims her season on Project Runway to be her most significant achievement in her sewing journey. Setting the tone for her future in fashion, Kenya’s life changed. As one of the top 5 finalists, Kenya’s work is loved by viewers. Her popularity quickly rose, and she inspired so many others to work on their skills.

Her love for sewing comes in full form when she sees the final product. It amazes her to see the process from concept to creation. As she continues to grow her brand Kenya’s primary goal is to relaunch her fashion line to sizes 10-20, creating an inclusive atmosphere for all fashion lovers.

Currently, in the process of the product development stage, Kenya is nothing but excited! With a roller coaster of an adventure since she joined the fashion industry, she’s experienced crazy, insane, exciting, devastating, and unforgettable moments. Her advice to sewers is simple, “Keep practicing. Keep practicing.  Keep practicing.  Never give up. It only gets better with time.”

We hope you enjoyed getting to learn about Kenya as much as we did, JUKI lovers! So join us on our socials and visit us here to keep up with our new friend Kenya and her journey in fashion.

Which of Kenya’s pieces did you love the most? Let us know below!

Create with JUKI: Trick or Treat Bag!

It is almost Halloween time, JUKI Lovers!

Join us today as we share a JUKI Halloween projects for your family! Learn how to create our Trick or Treat Bag, a see-through bag perfect for seeing everything your children bring home. With a finished size of 14” x 16”, this bag will carry all those treats home!

Click here to download our Trick or Treat Bag instructions.