Are You Ready To Upgrade Your Sewing Machine?

As we grow our sewing and quilting skills, we sometimes wish we had more features, feet accessory options, stitch options, and more. It can be hard to decide when it’s time to upgrade our beloved sewing machines, but an upgrade may be needed if you face issues like needle breakage, your machine stalling on large products, or not having enough space to create.

Today we’re going to cover upgrades in JUKI. From our beginner machines to more advanced options, we recommend the best upgrade options depending on your current JUKI. Whether you’re a quilter, garment creator, or focus on home décor, creating is best done when your machine is ready to handle your projects.

Things to Consider Before Upgrading

Before you search for a new machine, sit down and think about what features, presser feet, stitches, and more you’ll want to use on your sewing machine. Keeping these notes in mind, you’ll be able to begin your search with a clear idea of what you need, and then you can focus on the more bell and whistle options that you want.

Workspace

Do you have a dedicated space for your sewing and quilting? Or are you commonly moving your machine around to create? An important thing to remember when shopping is your machine’s size and weight. For example, if you’re a quilter with a designated room, you can plan for stand-up or sit-down machine options with large workspace areas. However, if your workspace is your dining table on the weekends, consider a machine that can be easily moved and put away.

Features and Accessories

If you’ve been working on a simple beginner machine, chances are you’re working with a small number of stitch options and a few features. However, sewing machines are now equipped with many features and capabilities that can make your sewing experience fun and easy!

Depending on the type of projects you want, features like button sewing, zig-zag stitch, and more can help you build your skills and create professionally finished projects. If you enjoy quilting, finding a machine with a dual feed function can be extremely useful when creating, helping you enjoy the process better. If you’re a common user of heavy fabrics, you’d want to find a machine that offers durability and semi-industrial strength.

Completing a Test-Run

Don’t forget to try it out before your buy! If you can test-drive your dream machine options, you can see if you like the features, power, and size of a machine before purchasing. When we upgrade our sewing machine, we’re looking for one that will be durable and long-lasting, which means this can be an investment. Before purchasing, you want to ensure that the machine can handle your current and future project ideas while allowing you to learn new skills and techniques easily.

5 Features to Keep In Mind

Finally, before purchasing your sewing machine, we want to share five features we believe sewists shouldn’t live without! Making your experience easier, these features were created to help you create your projects easier and faster while teaching you new techniques.

  1. Needle Down/Up

If you’re creating quilts, home décor, or even garments having needle up/down features can be essential in creating clean finished projects. By setting the machine, so it stops with the needle down in the fabric, you now have greater control and can turn or pivot the fabric you’re working on.

2. Automatic Buttonhole

Any project requiring a button can be completed faster and more efficiently with an automatic buttonhole. Machines that offer this feature usually come with a small variety of buttonhole options, allowing you to create pieces for garments, quilts, or decorations. Test-drive the machine before purchasing, test out the button holes to ensure you like the options available, and check out how easy this feature is to work.

3. Needle Position

While some sewists may overlook this feature, being able to change the needle position can help you achieve particular looks on your projects. For example, you can change the needle position from left to right if your machine has a zig-zag stitch. In addition, some machines come with multiple options for needle positions, like our DX-4000QVP, which allows you to quickly move the needle to the ¼ position with a tap of a button.

4. Automatic Tension

If you’re quilting or creating a garment piece, you know that changing tension between your project pieces can be a hassle and time-consuming when you first begin. A feature sewists appreciate is the Automatic Tension. Allowing you to switch between fabrics with ease, the machine will automatically pick up the tension it needs to be at for you to create your projects and lower the amount of work you need to do!

5. Dual Feed

Lastly, a Dual Feed feature is perfect for you if you’re a quilter. By allowing the fabric to feed from both top and bottom evenly, this feature can easily handle fabrics that shift or are bulky. So now, when you’re creating your family quilts, you’ll have less stress in dealing with shifty fabric or those thick seams.

Upgrade Recommendations

If you’re planning to upgrade your sewing machine, we’ve created a list below of machine recommendations depending on your current model. Whether creating quilts, apparel, or handbags, having the right features as you grow your skills will help you make those professionally finished projects you’re aiming for.

Quilting:

Suppose you’ve found more room to create and a designated space for your machine to fill, look into a sit-down or stand-up quilting machine! While a table-top quilting machine is perfect for many quilters, upgrading to a sit-down quilting machine will allow your projects to grow and flourish.

A sit-down machine like the J-150QVP offers straight-stitch and quilting like your TL-18QVP. This way, you can create your quilt pieces while working on other projects like your garment pieces and home décor. The throat space is larger on this machine as well! Now you’ll have a 12-inch spacious throat space and a 30″ x 30″ table where you can open optional leaves for even more room and easily create larger quilts!

For an even larger workspace, we recommend the J-350QVP! Like the J-150QVP, you’ll have a 12″ throat space for creating. However, your quilt space has just expanded immensely! You now have the option to convert your machine to a 5′, 7′, 10′, and 12′ frame. This frame will allow you to create quilts as large as king size.

If your focus is quilting, and you have a designated space in your home for your machine, we recommend checking out the J-350QVP Stand-Up! Upgrading from the J-150QVP to the J-350QVP will allow you to upgrade your quilt size and use new features like the Quilt Creative Touch 5.

The J-350QVP Stand Up offers options in 5′, 7′, 10′, and 12′ feet frames. From twin-sized quilts to king-sized, you’ll easily be able to free-motion quilt designs onto your quilts and enjoy the new digital aspect of quilting. Thanks to the QTC5 program that you can get as an add-on to your machine, you can now free-motion quilt with the tap of a finger.

The Quilter’s Creative Touch 5 is a user-friendly add-on that allows you to easily design and layout your projects using a Windows tablet or PC. Powered by quilt motion, the system will stitch designs onto your quilt with over 220 options. You can also master creating your designs and personalizing your quilts!

Sewing:

Creating apparel is fun and exciting, but it’s best when you have the right machine! If you’ve been working on clothing projects and notice you wish you had more stitch options.

Compared to the 70-HW, which holds 80 stitch patterns and five buttonhole patterns, the F Series begins with 106 stitches, including 16 professional buttonholes and three lettering fonts! Decorative stitches are a fun and easy way to add personality and texture to your garment pieces. Line your skirts, add them to your handbags or use them in home décors like table runners and pillows. The lettering options let you go the extra mile and personalize your projects!

Another bonus of upgrading your machine to the HZL-F or DX Series is the accessories available to you. Now you can use presser feet like the 1/4″ Guide Foot, Invisible Zipper Foot, Smooth Presser Foot, and more. These accessories will help your skills in garment sewing grow and allow you to test new techniques you couldn’t do on your other model machine before.

If you’re looking for a machine upgrade that goes the extra mile, we recommend the DX Series! Using a touchscreen, you can easily master the stitches and feature options on your machine. Beginners and sewists can enjoy the large selection of options available for decorative stitches, letter stitching, buttonhole options, and other features like needle positions and automatic tension.

The HZL-G Series is an excellent machine for a beginner sewist. Still, if you find your project skills outgrowing the capabilities of your sewing machine, we recommend upgrading to the DX series. While both sewing machines are computerized, the DX-4000QVP offers a 7″ touch screen that goes the extra mile for sewists testing new techniques.

While the G series offers excellent features like the automatic needle threader, free motion quilting, and powerful feeding for heavy projects, the DX offers these features and more that can ease the creation process. Now, with the DX series, you’ll be able to adjust stitch length easily, presser foot pressure, combine decorative stitching, and much more.

Designed to help you create everything under the sun, the DX series is perfect for the sewist ready to dive into their sewing journey! With the ability to make home décor, quilt, and sew garment projects, you’ll be able to excel in new techniques and project types while enjoying the ease of sewing due to the intelligent technology used in the DX machines. With features like a bobbin thread sensor and the visualization of stitches on the DX-4000QVP, you now have a concrete idea of your stitches and designs before creating.

Whether upgrading to a computerized or a stand-up quilting machine, finding the right one that can grow with you is crucial! It can be exciting to test our skills and create projects we’ve been dreaming of, so make sure to have the suitable machine and tools on hand when you need them. If you were upgrading your machine today, which one would you choose? Let us know down below!

To find a JUKI dealer near you, visit us here today!

How to Start Sewing Your Own Clothes

In the past few years, we’ve seen a rise in sewists pop up from all over the world, beginners starting their journey. If you recently started sewing and are interested in learning how to start sewing your own clothes, today we’re here to help you start! Follow along as we go over the basic supplies you should keep on hand, beginner machines and the machine types, and more.

What You Need to Start

The most important thing for sewing your own clothes is your tools! Having the right tools on hand will help the process go smoothly, and you’ll have better quality projects at the end of it. Below is a list of tools every sewist should have in their tool kit.

  1. Scissors

A prominent tool, but an important one! When it comes to your sewing scissor, we always recommend having one dedicated to only fabric and one for everything else. This helps to keep your fabric scissor blades sharp longer so that you don’t fray your fabric when it’s time to cut.

2. Measuring Tape

Important and handy, having a measuring tape in your kit is a need! A measuring tape is a must for any sewist, from measuring yourself when it’s time to begin creating to measuring your fabric, elastic, and more.

3. Sewing Gauges

An excellent tool for when it’s seam allowance time, the sewing gauge is a t-shape measuring stick with a slide gauge that allows you to measure the distance from your edge of the fabric to where you are stitching. So when you’re sewing apparel, this tool is perfect for hemming!

4. Thread Snips

This tool is perfect for creating apparel because it allows you to get that close thread cut on your projects without the fear of cutting your fabric. So without fear, cut close to your fabric using a thread snip on your next project.

5. Seam Ripper

Made a mistake in your stitching? Want to reconstruct a piece in your closet? It’s easier deconstructing those mistakes and projects with a seam ripper. This tool has a sharp hook that easily rips through the thread, breaking those pieces apart. Be careful, though, with its sharp end, it can also easily go through the fabric if you’re too rough.

6. Iron and Ironing Board

When you’re sewing clothes, it’s best to have your iron and ironing board nearby! When creating, there are a lot of pieces that need to be pressed, so having this is a need! If you don’t have room for an ironing board, you can always get an ironing mat. This is perfect for beginner projects and is a great place to start.

7. Pins and Clips

Whether you keep them in a jar, or a cushion, having clips and pins on hand is necessary when you’re sewing. These little tools are needed to keep fabric pieces together and aligned, ensuring your project comes out exactly as you want it to!

8. Fabrics and Threads

There is an abundance of options for choosing fabrics and threads for your apparel projects. Check out your current closet to see what fabric types you already use to better figure out what options you should buy. As for the thread, sewing is an excellent fabric/thread/needle game. Depending on what fabric you’re working with, you’ll be able to choose the right thread type and the right needle. 

We recommend looking for fabric created for apparel and 100% polyester thread which is durable and comes in every color.

9. Sewing Patterns

When you’re new to creating apparel, following sewing patterns is a great way to learn! Look at online patterns, your local quilt shops, and even antique and vintage shops when you begin browsing for your next pattern! Some pattern designers even offer step-by-step video tutorials and diagrams for the beginner sewist.

10. Sewing Machine

When you’re first choosing a sewing machine, how many options are out there can be daunting, but we’re here to help! Whether you get a machine with all the bells and whistles, or a basic straight-stitch, finding the suitable machine depends on your needs and wants. So follow along below as discuss the different types of machines out there, and what you should look for in yours.

Picking Your Sewing Machine

Let’s start by discussing the different types of machines out there! It’s important to know your options for what’s available out there and understand how each machine can help you build your project.

Mechanical Sewing Machines

JUKI Options: TL-2010Q, TL-2020PE, TL-2000Qi, TL-18QVP

JUKI Haruka TL-18QVP

A mechanical sewing machine, or electric sewing machine, has little to almost no circuitry. It has a motor that moves the needles up and down, a foot pedal to drive the motor. Some mechanical sewing machine options, like the JUKI line, also offer Free Motion Quilting, allowing you to piece and quilt.

These machines are perfect for beginners because they’re simple to use, and don’t have a lot of bells and whistles. For someone who is just beginning, and doesn’t want too many buttons or stitch options, a mechanical sewing machine is perfect.

These sewing machines are also perfect for the sewist who plans to work with heavy or thick fabrics. Our TL series, for example, is a popular choice among bag makers because it can handle multiple pieces of fabric at once and can sew through fabrics like vinyl, leather, and cork.

Computerized Sewing Machines

JUKI Options: HZL-DX7, HZL F-600, HZL DX-4000QVP

JUKI Kokochi DX-4000QVP

A sophisticated type of machine, the computerized sewing machine includes an LCD screen and offers more stitch options and functions. There are many digital features including sensor systems, pivot functions, digital tension, auto thread trimming, and more.

Some machines like, the HZL-NX7, come with features like JUKI Smart Feed, to move the top layer of your fabric in sync with the lower layer. If you’re working on apparel, this feature is perfect for stitching without the worry of shifting layered fabrics.

Computerized sewing machines, even with their selection of features, are relatively simple to use and for many make sewing an easier process.

Let’s Talk Features

Let’s go through some features you need, and features you’ll want. Knowing the options available to you will help you build a better wish list once you start looking for your machine.

  1. Know Your Presser Feet

Keep in mind the projects you plan to create and research what presser feet you’ll need to own. Some machines come with these accessories in their set, others you’ll have to purchase separately. Having the right foot is important when you start implementing techniques like gathering, adding elastics, and more.

Some feet we recommend for apparel are the Buttonhole Foot, Walking Foot, Smooth Foot, and Invisible Zipper Foot to start.

2. Stitches

Think about the type of stitches you’ll want to work with. Some machines only offer straight stitch, others will offer zig-zag. You can also find machines that offer stitches for quilting, piecing, overlocking, triple stretch, blind hem, and more.

3. Creating Buttonholes

This can take 4 steps, or 1 step depending on the machine you purchase. Some machines will offer an automatic one-step buttonhole while in others you must manually switch between the zigzag and bar tack stitches to form the buttonholes. If you’re a beginner, finding a machine that uses an automatic option is great, especially if you plan on using buttons often!

4. Built-In Free Arm

If you plan on creating apparel, a free arm is perfect for pants legs, and sleeves. This free arm will allow you to sew those narrow cylindrical or tubular items, helping you create the perfect closet.

5. Automatic Needle Threader

A small feature with a big impact, the automatic needle threader feature is great for users who have difficulty with eye-sight or shaky hands. This feature works by using a small hook to pull the thread through the eye of the needle.

Let’s Start Creating!

Now that you know what tools you’ll need and have a better idea of what machine you’ll want, you can start planning your sewing journey! Sewing your own clothes is a wondrous journey where mistakes will happen, your skills will surprise you, and you’ll constantly be learning. Pick beginner-friendly projects and patterns, research local sewing classes, and test your skills by grabbing thrifted and discounted fabric when you first start.

We recommend looking on YouTube for online tutorials and lessons when you find yourself lost, and enjoy the limitless amount of resources out on the web for sewist! We put together our top 5 tips for new sewists!

  1. Start Small

Don’t psych yourself out with big projects when you first start sewing. Pick up simple patterns and projects and start there before building your skill base and attempting larger projects. By doing this you’ll reduce the chances of burnout and have fun making mistakes!

2. Use Scrap Fabric

Don’t let those pieces go to waste! Scrap fabric is perfect for when you want to practice new stitches and techniques.

3. Read Those Patterns!

Don’t start a project before fulling reading through a pattern. Then, if you need to make adjustments, you can catch it early on and do so before you start cutting. It will also help you understand the steps you’re about to take and help you understand the entire process before you begin stitching.

4. Check, and Check Again

Test trying your outfits and projects as you sew is the perfect way to confirm you’re doing it right. Check on the stitches, make sure the length is correct, and make those adjustments.

5. Enjoy the Journey

Not many call themselves sewing experts, even those who have been doing it for years. Every time we sew and create, there’s a chance for a new technique to be learned and a new project to be created, meaning the journey is never-ending! Enjoy the process and watch yourself grow as you sew.

We hope these tips and resources help you find the right tools and machines when you start sewing! What do you wish you had known before you started sewing? Comment down below and leave tips for the new sewist!

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!