Know Your Stitches!

When we first try sewing, our first idea is to learn from project and instructional videos or reading pattern and sewing instruction books. One of the top things you’ll need to know about is the type of stitches you can create and when it’s time to use them on your projects! Depending on what machine you’re working on, whether you’ll be able to complete every stitch we mention below, and how you’ll be able to create it.

Let’s Get to Stitching!

Straight Stitch: The straight stitch on all JUKI sewing machines is perfect for plain seams, darts, tucks, and topstitching! We recommend altering the stitch length to suit your project goals. The longer stitch lengths can be used for projects that require gathering or very long lengths for basting, making it easy to remove the stitches. Remember that your needle position should be set to the center of the presser foot for this to work.

Some machines will also offer a triple straight stitch. This is where the machines take 2 steps forward and one step back. This extra-strong stitch is excellent for crotches in pants where the seam is under extra stress.

Stitch Lengths to Know:

Seams and Majority Sewing: Length 2.0-3.0.

Gathering Fabric or Machine Basting Fabric: Length 4.0 is used for gathering fabric and machine basting fabric.

Double Needle Stitch: Add extra durability to your projects using this stitch! If you’re working on knits or stretch fabrics, this type of stitch creates parallel lines along the fabric and has the benefit of the fabric responding well to it.

If you’re working with woven fabrics, you won’t require this type of stitch, but it can be used to make a hem look more professional, giving your project that professionally finished look.

Keep in mind that twin needles come in a variety of sizes, and they have two number designations: one is the space between the needles, and the other is the needle size. So, for example, a 4/80 twin needle has 4 mm space between two sizes of 80 needles. Then for your extra needle, you’ll use your extra spool to place the second thread on your machine.

You can use this stitch to create decorative stitches, parallel rows of topstitching, and a coverstitch hem like those found on t-shirt hems or pintucks.

The Zig-Zag Stitch: Found on most of JUKI’s electrical and computerized machines, you won’t need to go over the fabric multiple times with this stitch! This stitch is solid and most commonly used to stop raw edges from fraying.

If you find yourself without a serger, this stitch is great for sewing knits as it has a built-in elasticity, meaning your stitches won’t break when pulled.

This stitch can also assist you in adding applique to your projects, like beautiful motifs for decoration.

Zig-Zag Width Setting Tips:

Sewing knits on the seams – We recommend a width of 1.0 and a length of 2.5. The stitch should be small and tight and look similar to a straight stitch.

Sewing knit hems – We recommend a width of 4.0 and a length of 3.0. The zig-zag should be much wider than the seams.

Finishing raw edges – We recommend a wide zigzag of width 4.0 and length 3.0 right on the edge of the fabric. This can stop your project from fraying and will increase the longevity of your creations.

Applique – We recommend a length of 0.5 and a width of 4.0. Again, you’ll want a very close zigzag stitch so that very little fabric shows between the stitches.

Blind Hem Stitch: This mix of straight and zig-zag stitches is perfect for hemming and mending your closet items! Nearly invisible, this stitch is used to either sew two pieces of fabric together or fold one fabric together.

A blind hem means you can’t see the stitching on the top of the outward-facing fabric. When done correctly, all you should see are little dots. These are the micro stitches, with all the visible stitching at the back. This stitch is perfect for skirts, dresses, and trousers with non-stretch fabrics.

You can also find presser feet accessories like the Blind Stitch Presser Foot to use in conjunction with this stitch option.

Bar Tack Stitch: This stitch was made for those areas that need extra durable stitches! Due to being in high-stress zones, you’ll want to use this stitch to reinforce project areas that are subject to stress and stretch, like your pant’s belt loops or pockets.

We also recommend this stitch for fabric bags because the stitch will provide strength to your stitches and the ability to withstand the stress of carrying multiple items.

This stitch does include the use of zig-zag and can be applied with a machine. If you want extra support, this stitch can be doubled up with a back stitch at the end of the seam.

The Buttonhole Stitch: This stitch can be used on a multitude of projects and depending on what machine you’re creating on you will either have one step to do, which measures and sews the buttonhole reinforcement for you, or take 4 steps and adjusts a few settings as it sews the 4 sides of the buttonhole.

You can use a zig-zag stitch for stitching buttonholes. Still, most sewing machines have the capability to create buttonholes with a special foot attachment or a pre-programmed buttonhole setting, like our DX-4000QVP.

 You can also use the buttonhole stitch to make sewn eyelets, attach applique to ground fabric for personalization, and as couching stitches.

Stretch stitch: Use this narrow zig-zag stitch when working with knit fabrics! While a straight stitch would break under the stretch of these fabrics, a zig-zag stitch stretches according to the fabric stretch. You might also hear this stitch called the lightning stitch or elastic stitch. This stitch can also be used to join elastic and the fabric or for mending tears in cloth!

Decorative Stitch: While not commonly picked, many electrical and computerized machines offer many decorative stitches that you can work into your everyday projects. You can experiment with different color threads and stitch options to be as creative as you want in your project designs!

We recommend stabilizers when creating with decorative stitches so that your designs don’t pucker or stretch on your fabric bases. This will help create a smooth, consistent stitch in your designs.

Keep in mind when working with decorative stitches the difficulty of removing them. These stitches can be very dense, making them easier to fix if you don’t like your chosen design. We recommend using a sample fabric to test your decorative stitch on the fabric and confirming which designs you want to use before beginning our project.

The Right Machine

When choosing your machine, remember what stitch capabilities it has and what you’ll need to create the projects you’re dreaming of. A basic sewing machine will often only offer straight stitching sewing, so if you hope to work with other stitch options like we listed above, you’ll need to broaden your machine options. To use more stitch options, like decorative stitches, we recommend researching an electrical or computerized machine like our computerized sewing machines that commonly offer a variety of stitches for your project needs.

Want to test-drive a machine and check out our stitch options? Contact your nearest JUKI dealer today here!

JUKI Tip: Adjusting The Bobbin Tension On Your Longarm

For this month’s JUKI Tip, we’re focusing on adjusting the bobbin tension on your longarm machine like our Miyabi J-350QVP! A common question we hear from sewists and quilters is, “how do I adjust the tension for my bobbin on my longarm?” We’re going to start off today’s JUKI Tip by covering what bobbin tension is, how to get true good tension for your next project, and a tool we think all quilters and sewists can benefit from having in their tool kit!

Follow along below as our JUKI National Account Trainer Alba demonstrates setting the bobbin tension for her Miyabi J-350QVP Longarm machine and how she finds the perfect tension for her project needs.

The first thing we cover is what our bobbin case and bobbin look like. For our JUKI longarm machines, you’ll need an M-Class bobbin and bobbin case. Inside the bobbin case, you’ll find its spring, which prevents backlash as your bobbin turns inside. Always check on your spring when changing bobbins, confirming its blue color to ensure it’s good to go! If you notice the blue haze diminishing, it’s time for your spring to be replaced.

Now it’s important to take care of your bobbin case! Handle with care to ensure that the metal doesn’t receive any bumps or bending from drops. This will affect your tension in the long run and how the bobbin pulls on your thread.

Starting off with a full bobbin, we’ll place the bobbin thread inside the bobbin, ensuring to pull the thread to the right side, before placing the bobbin in the bobbin case and stretching the thread to where the slit is so that it falls right into that tension area. That area is what holds the thread tension when you’re creating. Now the two screws you see on the side can be used to adjust the tension. By turning the screws in 15-minute increments, as opposed to twisting it fully, you’ll be able to adjust your tension slowly to your goal tension number. Remember, lefty loosey and righty tighty!

There are two ways to test your tension. One way to test your tension is by hand. You can do this by setting the bobbin on your palm, making sure to face the bobbin away from you as it normally would in the machine, and then pulling on the thread. You’ll want to make sure you can pull the thread up, slowly lifting it from your palm without the bobbin releasing from the bobbin case. The second way, a technique that offers more precise measurement, is using a tool like the TOWA Guage.

The TOWA Gauge is a tool quilters will love because of the assistance it can offer when you’re trying to get that perfect tension. The goal place our trainer recommends is between 180 and 200. However, her favorite is a little lower at 150. On a longarm, you want your tension to be able to handle multiple layers of batting and fabrics, so you’ll want your top thread and lower thread to meet right in the middle of your batting for good strong tension.

Following along on our youtube video, you’ll notice how inserting the bobbin into the TOWA Gauge is like inserting the bobbin into your longarm machine. Make sure to listen for a click as your setting your bobbin to ensure it’s placed in properly. Next, stretch the thread and run it along the bottom side of the first wheel and up and around to the top; here, you’ll begin to notice the gauge move. As your thread goes into the thread guide and out to the side, pull steadily and even to measure the tension. From here, you’ll be able to decide if you need to adjust the tension number to your preferred goal tension.

Once you’ve finalized your perfect bobbin tension, you can focus on your needle and thread combination. Having the right bobbin, needle, and thread is what will help your projects finish successfully and beautifully, but we’ll cover those combinations soon!

Thank you for joining us in this month’s JUKI Tip, where we focused on how to adjust the bobbin tension on your longarm machine. What JUKI Tip do you want to see next? Let us know in the comments below!

Happy National Quilting Month!

Join us this month as we celebrate National Quilting month with some of our favorite JUKI quilting machines. Whether you’re working in a studio, or on your kitchen table, we make sure to have what you need to start creating.

Check out this month’s top quilting machines and contact your local JUKI dealer here to learn more about our machine features and projects you can start creating today!

5 Ways to Personalize Your Projects

As creators, we love being inspired by other sewist and quilters, but how do we take their inspiration and personalize it? Today we will discuss five ways to personalize your sewing and quilting projects. From adding lettering to printing on designs, there are so many ways we can find a project and turn it into our style. So follow along and check out what machines and accessories we recommend for your personalization touches.

Adding Lettering

Whether you’re inspired to create a tote bag, or a sweater, adding lettering to your projects can be just the touch of personalization you need! Add your initials with your partners on a sleeve to create the perfect valentines gift, place your child’s name on their new school bag, or gift a quilt with a quote to your loved one using the lettering feature on your creations.

To add this personalization technique, you can use an electric computerized sewing machine that offers lettering, like the Kokochi DX-4000QVP! An electronic computerized sewing machine like the DX-4000QVP offers lettering stitch choices, ranging in different fonts, that will allow you to quickly and easily stitch in your child’s name, favorite quote, or number one sports team name!

Adding lettering is an easy way to personalize your next project and can be done with just a tap of your finger and a stitch!

Adding Embroidery Designs

Using a specialized embroidery machine, you can start adding your designs and bring texture to your projects by adding a touch of your personality! For example, add a cool design to sneakers, pet collars, or even a child’s teddy bear to create a project representing you or the gift receiver.

A machine like the JUKI/Tajima Sai 8 Needle Embroidery Machine is an example of a machine that can offer this feature! With 8 different color options, you can create beautiful flowers, animals, and a scenic view from your last hike. Art is limitless with what you can create on an embroidery machine. Adding embroidery can be an exciting art form when creating personalized projects!

Want to try your hand at embroidering and creating a makeup bag? Learn how to create this makeup bag with our JUKI Ambassador Nicole Moore here!

Designing Your Fabric

Have you found yourself wanting a specific fabric design? Been drawing some designs of your own? Then take the leap and design your own fabric! With a machine like a Direct-To-Garment printer, the options in patterns and designs for your projects are now endless, thanks to the ability to design your own fabrics right from your studio.

The RICOH Ri 100 can help you print your art designs and patterns onto fabric easily and quickly. From canvas fabrics for your tote bags to cotton for your memory quilts, enjoy the freedom of designing and creating anything for your imagination, and enjoy a material that no one else would have!

Try your hand at printing your own fabric with this east mini quilt project! Learn how to create your own with our JUKI Ambassador Nicole Moore here!

Adding in Photos

Whether it’s a family photo or a memory from your favorite trip with friends, adding a memory photo to a project like a t-shirt or a quilt is a great way to personalize your projects! Whether you’re embroidering designs with free motion quilting, using a Direct-To-Garment printer, or using an embroidery machine, there are limitless ways you can get to designing and including your photos in your projects.

Our favorite projects are memory quilts users create with photos! From sweet newborn gifts to anniversaries and holidays, a quilt created with personalized love is an excellent idea for your next gift project! Using a machine like our Direct-To-Garment printer, the RICOH Ri 100 can easily print and place your photos directly onto the fabric you’re creating, letting you put your focus on your quilt block designs.

Want to create your own memory quilt like the one shown for your loved one? Follow along here to learn more here!

Creating a Set

One of the best things about personalization is the freedom to be creative in what we embroider and print on. Personalize your next gift by creating a matching set! Whether it’s a set of make-up bags for traveling, or a matching set of t-shirts for the father and daughter duo, sets can be a fun gift that allows you to try different project ideas.

One of the best ways to create sets is to intermix your work! Print on your fabric, embroider your design and sew it all together to create something unique and different. Whether your project is small, like a glasses case, or large, like a king quilt, adding these touches of personalization will bring the whole idea together!

So the next time you create a project, add your name, embroider a design, or print on a pattern and show your personality when showing off your project!

Want to try your hand at creating a matching set? Check out our Daddy and Daughter duo set project here!

Want to personalize your next project? Then, visit us here today to find your nearest JUKI dealer!

JUKI Tip: Using The Micro-Lift on the TL Series

For this month’s JUKI Tip, we’re focusing on the micro-lifter feature that can be found on your TL series machines! Now, a common question we get is, “what is different about the Micro-lift feature from the presser foot pressure?” To show the difference, we’re going to use the TL-18QVP because it has two different locations for each feature.

Now the presser foot pressure, as it sounds, is the amount of pressure the foot puts on the fabric you’re sewing. For example, if you’re moving your project, the presser foot pressure is what will help you keep that nice straight seam. With the Micro-lift feature, your presser foot pressure will stay the same, but the height of the foot will change. Raised above the feed dogs, your foot will now have space to create using multiple layers of fabric, thick fabrics, complete binding easier, work on handbags, and so much more.

Our favorite part is not needing to adjust the presser foot pressure as often when using the Micro-lift feature, helping your project process become more simple.

As you watch the video, you’ll be able to follow along as our National Account Trainer Alba demonstrates how the Micro-lift feature looks when in use, and how easily the fabric you’re working on will go through. From 8 layers of denim to 15 layers of denim, you’re able to see how the fabric smoothly glides through; the needle easily sewing through the material.

We hope this video encourages you to try your hand at the Micro-lift feature on your machine and that it helps you create beautiful projects with quality style! What JUKI Tip are you hoping to see next? Let us know in the comments below!