As we celebrate the summer coming to a close, let’s go over some great and fun projects you can create that will follow you into the fall! Whether you’re going to the beach or back to school, these projects will always be handy.
Whether they’re protecting your eyes from the sun or helping you see, keep those glasses covered with a glasses case! With the ability to be versatile in your case designs, this project is perfect for letting your creative side shine. You can create using cotton, leather, canvas, and more fabrics and decorate with applique, quilting, or embroidery.
What we recommend keeping on hand for this project are notions, fasteners, or closures! These are best for keeping your glasses secured in their case and resistant to falling out; possibly getting scratched. Another fun add-on is a bag snap-clip! Use this when you’re on the move, and want to keep your glasses in easy reach or for a child’s glasses case to keep attached to their backpack.
For the inside of your glasses case, make sure to use a material that won’t affect the glass! We recommend sticking to cotton or a material that has a lovely soft touch to it, like velvet.
Lastly, we recommend keeping a Smooth Presser Foot nearby! This machine accessory is perfect for sewing those protective fabrics you love like vinyl or leather, as these materials can commonly cause issues when sewn with a standard presser foot that it might stick to.
A bucket hat is a perfect accessory to fight off those UV rays from hiking, the playground, or the waterpark! Fun and simple to create, a bucket hat pattern is an excellent choice for your wardrobe. We recommend using medium to the heavy-duty fabric. The material you use should be stiff to hold the shape of the hat.
We recommend fabric options like tweed, denim, or canvas. If you want to create with a thin fabric, you’ll need to use fusible interfacing. Fusible interfacing will help your fabric hold its shape and firmness while preventing fraying on your fabrics.
Some notions to keep in mind that you will want to purchase for that finished look are eyelets and a drawstring cord. Adding a cord to your bucket hat now allows you to adjust the sizing, making this a great gift! Also, the eyelets will help improve ventilation and makes wearing hats more comfortable, especially on those hot summer days!
Don’t forget to have your machine accessories on hand and ready! Since bucket hats have lining around the brim and top area, we recommend using a ¼” Guide Foot! This is a perfect tool for achieving those even spirals around the bucket hat brim and sides, allowing you to create something beautiful while securing the hat has that professionally finished look.
Fun to personalize and easy to create, you can never go wrong with making some scrunchies! Whether you’re using them to accessorize or simply pull your hair back, this project is fast, easy, and perfect for beginners.
Inexpensive, this project can be completed with scrap fabrics or upcycled from old clothes! As a fashion and functional piece, this project only requires straight stitching, fabric, and elastic. We recommend using elastic size ¼ for basic scrunchies and moving up if you’d like to create jumbo ones.
Keep in mind fabric size and elastic size before being created. We recommend 8 to 9 inches of elastic and using a 3″ x 22″ fabric piece for best outcomes!
Table Runner and Mats
Re-vamp your home in time for the new season! Great project quilters can create matching table runners and mat sets, perfect for decorating your home and creating a quick and easy project. So whether you’re decorating for the holidays or looking to freshen up the living room with new colors and patterns, these accessories can bring a room together.
Some fabric recommendations we have for this cotton! Easy to wash and create with, this fabric is available in a multitude of options and allows you to use it with comfort, knowing you can throw it in the washer when those accidents happen. For fusing, there are a few main qualities you want to look for since this project will be washed often. Find interfacing with a low or no percentage of shrinkage, low thickness, and whether it’s fusible. Fusible interfacing will create a better project experience and is easy to use.
A great way to design your table runner and mats is by using free motion quilting! Whether you’re working on a compact machine or a long-arm quilt, adding in designs can genuinely bring your fabric to life and add texture. Keep in mind accessories for your machine like a Quilt Presser Foot (for ruler) and Quilting Rulers when you want to create intricate shapes and designs and need a little help!
Whether we’re going to the beach, or after-school activities, having a travel bag fitted for your needs is a must! Travel bags allow you to add storage spots, secured or hidden pockets for valuables, adjustable straps, embroidered names, and so much more.
For bags you’re going to use often, we recommend finding durable fabrics and ones that can hold weight well. Some options to keep in mind are canvas, nylon, mid-weight woven, tweed, or leather. Depending on what perks you’re looking for, like using nylon fabric that can handle water for a gym bag, make sure to find a fabric that can withstand your lifestyle!
Notions to keep on hand when you build a travel bag are closure notions like zippers and spring snaps, snap hooks for attaching accessories like your keys or holding your scrunchies, and strap adjusters for weight changes. These pieces will help your bag have that professional finished look you’re going for, and create a longer-lasting project.
Other fun pieces you can add to your bags are applique, embroidery, or printed fabric to bring out your personality. Add-ons like mesh pockets or water bottle holders to personalize the bag for your needs are also excellent choices when wanting to expand on your skills.
Don’t forget to have the right accessories on hand! Using a foot accessory like the Decorative Stitch Presser Foot is perfect for adding in those personal touches like your name and decorative designs. Add your name to the inside of your child’s bag or your gym bag, and enjoy seeing your finished product!
Whether you’re creating on a computerized machine like our HZL series or quilting on your TL machine, these projects can be made easily. Want some inspiration on other projects you can create? Join us on our JUKI Home Sewing page on YouTube today for future and past projects!
Meet small business owner Anjori Halder, creator, and designer for House of Lilli, a business that does embroidery a little differently. Known for her free motion embroidery work created by free motion quilting on the HZL-F600 sewing machine, Anjori has begun making a name for herself in the sewing world. From beautiful full portrait designs to small motifs that bring her apparel to life, let’s learn about how Anjori discovered her skills in embroidery work, where she began, and where she plans to go!
It all started with a wedding invite in 2010. One day, after becoming a bridesmaid to her dear friend Veronique, Anjori needed a crinoline slip for a themed dress! In her “I want to DIY everything” phase of life, she decided to take it upon herself to create a slip with the help of some blogs and a machine off Craigslist. Even after “crudely” finishing her first piece of apparel, her journey in sewing had truly begun.
“I call it my therapy and use it constantly to de-stress. But I also use sewing to keep my mind sharp.”
While the journey was on and off, Anjori would find time to complete refashions and housewares in her downtime from her career as a software engineer and project manager. It wasn’t until she transitioned to a stay-at-home mom that Anjori truly began immersing herself in sewing. Finding the need to do something and gain a sense of accomplishment, she threw herself into the hobby. However, she would soon find out that sewing could be toxic after experiencing the push of social media on her work.
“That need to sew turned toxic, though. Social media and the idea that you had to be creating content all the time to grow followers, to, in turn, grow your business took a toll.”
This moment would change the direction in which Anjori was running her business. After learning about slow fashion and revaluating how she was running her business, Anjori decided it was time to do things differently. Slowing down her work, she began creating again for pure enjoyment and not just for the sake of creating.
Indie patterns and pattern testing brought the fun and creativity back to sewing for Anjori. She began by creating clothing for her daughter, honing her skills at a smaller scale, and was able to grow her confidence in garment creation. After sewing an Anarkali from a sari that her late mother had gifted her, Anjori’s confidence in garment creation for adults rose as well.
Inspired by those she was creating for, she focuses on how her creations will be used and enjoyed before sewing. Her favorite inspiration is her daughter, a strong-willed and goofy personality who had an obsession with construction vehicles! After her daughter requested a dress with a bulldozer on it, and Anjori had no luck finding one, she decided to test her skills in embroidery and make her one! Continuing to create for her daughter, Anjori focused on embroidering designs and sayings that would inspire her daughter in life.
House of Lilli showcases this with Anjori’s creations focused on positive & reaffirming messages. Her embroidered art shop concentrates on creating art with only a machine, thread, and her hands. Pulling from her heritage, she creates Indian garments, or garments with Indian motifs such as paisleys, peacocks, elephants, and tigers. Completed with free motion embroidery through the free motion quilting feature, you can see the pops of color and bright energy she pulls into her work. Described by friends as positive and always looking for the bright side, it’s no wonder she brings this into every project she creates, not letting mistakes in her projects hold her back.
“Mistakes are opportunities to learn and keep going or realize change is needed and pivot to something new.”
What’s our favorite part of her creative process? The unique use of free motion quilting as free motion embroidery! Gravitating toward embroidery work, even as a child, Anjori knew that adding images and designs would be the next step in going from homemade to handmade. Unfortunately, it was here where she hit a wall. Knowing that the cost of an embroidery machine could be high, she found herself at a standstill on what step to take next. It wasn’t until she stumbled upon creator Emma Giacalone on Instagram that she discovered the possibility of embroidering using free motion quilting.
A new door in creating had been opened, and Anjori walked right in! Finding a new way to bring her art to life, she was excited about how simple the process was to begin. All she started with was a sewing machine that could drop the feed dogs, thread, fabric, and a design. It would take time before she began using a darning foot, admitting to still skipping that step on some days!
Using the HZL-F600, she created her designs quickly and easily fill them in. Creating embroidery using the HZL-F600 is fun and different and has allowed Anjori the freedom of creation in embroidery while sticking to her budget. When asked about what she recommends for JUKI users out there who want to try their hand at free motion embroidery through free motion quilting, she advised having the following tools in your sewing kit:
Stabilizer of some sort (washable or tear away)
Open toe darning foot
Heat erasable pen
While using a machine with ample throat space has been helpful, as well as her tools, she also advises to seek out training! After taking a sculptural embroidery class from Meredith Woolnough and learning new tricks and tips for her projects, she encourages others to invest in themselves and their hobbies.
“Never be afraid to invest in learning.”
While opening her small business has been a journey, she knows that planning and strategy are what build a business. As a small business owner, you are now the marketing manager, designer, producer, shipper, and so much more. Success can be different for everyone, so Anjori advises taking time to figure out what success is to you and not comparing yourself to other businesses. She also recommends getting to the nitty gritty and taking those “boring” business courses that can assist you in running yours!
Taking her own advice to heart, she’s recently taken a business course presented by Jan Ditchfield and has begun reworking her strategies and plan. So while we wait for the new and improved House of Lilli to rise, we’re so excited we were able to introduce her creations and technique!
Continuing her work in embroidery, Anjori hopes to keep instilling positive messages in her creations and sharing her work with others.
“Creating with my hands, whether it is sewing, painting, drawing, or knitting, is a treat for my soul. I find it relaxing and fun, with a sense of accomplishment when you complete a project. Of course, in the end, you usually end up with something nice to look at too.”
To learn more about Anjori and her journey in embroidery, follow along below for her social links!
When we think of creating a business, our mind often jumps to brick-and-mortar shops or online shops that sell creations. However, there is another type of business many tend to overlook, and that’s their expertise!
One of the most popular ways to sell your expertise in a skill is to offer online courses that new crafters can purchase and use on their journey. These online courses can be pre-planned and downloadable or offered as live sessions with scheduled classes for students to attend. The pro of providing a service like this is that instead of a physical product like your quilts and apparel, which require multiple steps like creating, shipping and processing, an online course allows you not to worry about things like that.
Do you feel like you have expert knowledge that others can learn from? Have you built a platform showing friends and followers tips and tricks on your machines? Creating an online course is about taking that knowledge plus your skills in teaching that offers you the chance to compress your expertise and showcase it to new crafters like yourself.
Follow along today as we go over some steps you can follow to create your online course today.
Let’s Talk About Online Courses
In our day and age of technology, online courses have risen in popularity. From education on how to run a business to classes on sewing, online courses have broadened our ability to learn new skills worldwide.
Online courses can take much time to create and require much planning and direction. However, this is a single product that you can sell multiple times without you having to re-create. There is no product inventory or packaging cost; instead, customers can easily buy this service with a few clicks. Besides purchasing a few subscriptions to create and host your course and purchasing the equipment necessary to film and edit your videos, your central budgeting will go towards marketing and hosting your course after creation.
Online courses can also offer high revenue. After you’ve completed the costs that go into your original course creation and production equipment, the rest of your revenue can be profit. Whether you choose to update the course once in a while or leave it as is, this product can be seen as passive income and is a perfect addition to many businesses.
Building Your Course
Let’s jump into the steps to building your online course! As we know, there are many educators out there who are offering online courses in their fields of expertise. The best way to stand out from others is to find your niche in skills and build on a topic that you’re uniquely good at. Think of your course as a solution to new sewer needs, and choose a topic where you have credibility, expertise, and of course, passion! Follow along as we go over steps to keep in mind while building your course.
Research Your Future Customers
Before you can jump into creating your course, let’s discuss who you’ll be teaching and selling to. Below are some tips to keep in mind when researching your audience.
– Learn what your audience wants to know! Are you constantly asked how to create a handbag? Finish a sleeve? Free motion quilt designs? These questions are essential to note, so when you make your course, you can find what common questions, and more complex ones, can be addressed. In addition, students want to feel accomplished when they attend your class, so learn what skills and projects can achieve this while working on your course design.
– Find the solution! When new students find your course, they often have a problem they’re looking for a solution to. Your course can be that problem solver! Make sure when creating your course that you offer efficient and quick ways of teaching skills and sharing your knowledge.
– Learn your audience. It’s best to know your target audience, whether you are selling to new sewists who have little knowledge or experts who want refresher courses or to learn more complex skills. Then, when it’s time to promote and sell your class, you have a clear message for students to read and understand, so they choose the right course for their needs.
– Don’t forget to put yourselves in their shoes! When creating a course for a student, put yourself in the students’ shoes and make sure you’re covering the essential details. You don’t want to attend a class and leave with more questions than you came with, so have friends and family test the course and find what pieces can be removed or should be added.
Need help deciding what subjects and problems to cover? Do some research in your field! We recommend googling trends, browsing community forums, and roaming social media to see what questions and concerns are being brought up in your community that you can answer with your course! Keep in mind what problems you have solutions for, what goals your students have, and how you can help them achieve their goals.
Choosing a Class Type
There are multiple formats for your online course that you can choose from. Depending on how you plan to structure your class and how many days you believe a student will need to learn your material, you can create a template for students to follow when downloading your course.
These courses can take up to a few hours or one day. These classes can be formatted as a video, blog series, and more. Generally, in the lower cost sector, these courses are offered at low rates or free as a marketing tool if you’re trying to sell a higher-end course later. Mini-courses are perfect for those treading the waters of starting an online course and can give you an idea of what plans and efforts are needed to create a multi-day course.
Generally, a multi-day course takes a few to several days of work to complete. Broken down into chapters or modules, these courses break down the lesson plan into multiple segments where a student can gain more in-depth knowledge of a skill. In addition, a multi-day course will often include add-on material for teachings like a project or worksheets. Falling into a higher cost range, these courses can range from $300 – $2500. A great way to sell this course for newcomers is offering that mini-course we mentioned beforehand as a sneak peeks at what’s available. A mini-course is also helpful in validating your expertise before a more significant purchase, like a multi-day course.
The Master Class
A master class should offer in-depth knowledge and skill teaching for your customer base from weeks to months. Generally offered for those already in the field looking to expand on their current skill set, these classes can go up to $5,000 in charge. We don’t recommend creating a master class as your first or even third course, but it is something that can be worked towards if you enjoy teaching!
Master Classes have a way of succeeding when they start becoming communities. When creating a master class, look into creating a community forum or group page for your students to interact. This is a great way to encourage communication between you and your customers while creating a loyal customer base that will want to return and learn new skills and talents from you.
Breaking Down Your Course
Once you’ve decided what your course will be focused on and what format you want to create yours in, it’s time to break down your ideas and start planning! Again, put yourself in the student’s shoes, and work from end to beginning to see how you’ll plan out your lesson. Remember, the point of your course is to provide a solution for someone’s problem, in this case, their lack of knowledge or expertise on a skill or project.
Below is an example of a course breakdown:
Once you have an idea of your outline, depending on how many days your course is and how much time you expect your course to take, it’s time to start planning the content for the lessons and what formats you’ll need to create those in. Besides text, below are examples of content formats you can use in your online course.
Video Content: portray those stitches, curves, feet replacing tricks, and more using video as a tool.
Screencasts and Walkthroughs: if you’re working on a program, like the Tajima Sai Writer, for example, screen record your directions and how-to’s and place those in your course so students can follow along and build with you. Using screencasts and walkthroughs is a great way to show step-by-step instructions when using programs that new users are unfamiliar with.
Downloadable content: Here is where you can place patterns, worksheets, to-do lists, and more that correlate with your lesson plan. Creating interactive work for your lesson plan is a great way to keep the student involved and have them learn these skills hands-on.
Before setting up your content, research what formats other courses use that you find helpful and find out what content students feel most comfortable learning with. Your content will solely focus on your audience group and their needs, so think about what you would like to work with if you were learning.
Setting Those Prices
Pricing will always vary on course cost, but your format is the first step. For example, free and low-cost are recommended if you choose to do a mini-course. On the other hand, high costs are expected if you do a masterclass. Other things to keep in mind when playing with the cost are who your audience is (think of what they’re willing to pay), and your expertise and credibility (the more expert you are in a skill, the more people will want to pay.)
Research your competitor’s pricing and their expertise levels to get an idea of pricing. Don’t sell yourself short, but be realistic when placing pricing. Make sure to set a goal for yourself to decide how many students will need to sign up for your course each month to meet that goal.
Choosing a platform
Once you’ve planned, created, and priced your course, it’s time to choose students who can access the platform. Follow along as we go over a few options you can consider before choosing your venue.
– Udemy: to keep it easy and simple when creating your first online course, we recommend checking out Udemy! With over 50 million current students, their platform can offer you the chance to get your name out there. To create a course, you must first follow the process of being approved as a ‘premium instructor,’ and then you’ll follow easy step-by-step directions on how to set up your first mini-course! With multiple support options for new teachers and programs you can join to up your business game, Udemy is excellent for beginners in the online course world.
– Thinkific: Beginner-friendly, Thinkific is simple and offers ready-to-use templates for those creating their courses. Feel free to follow along with the template and tweak it to your liking as it recommends specific cue points like quizzes, instructor notes, downloads, and more. Created to make your life simple, Thinkific works towards simplifying the creative process so you can enjoy your course faster.
– Skillshare: Those looking for creative skills in crafts tend to float towards Skillshare when it’s time to learn something new! Free to sign up and publish a course. This is a great way to practice creating mini-courses and getting comfortable with building your skills in teaching. Keep in mind that your classes will be accessible here unless listed on Skillshare’s premium catalog.
Getting Your Name Out There
Now that your course is up and running begin marketing your expertise! Work on that email marketing campaign, share your class with your social media pages, encourage others to join and share too, appear in content relevant to your audience and niche, and consider paid ads. It takes time to find the right marketing tools for your audience and see what brings in the right customers, but tests and trials are the perfect way to bring in those students and get your class running.
Don’t forget to ask for reviews and testimonials that can be shared on your sites so new prospective students can get an idea of what your course can do for them! Remember, your course’s goal is to help students accomplish their goals. So don’t take feedback to heart, and listen to your students’ needs as you tweak and perfect your course for future customers.
Let’s Get Started!
Now that you’ve planned and set up your course let’s make it a reality! If you’ve been able to teach yourself and teach others, creating an online course that follows your passion is a great business to look into. Teaching others your passion can be an enriching journey while setting you up to earn money through your expertise and skills! So, if you were to start an online course today, what would you teach?
Interested in starting your business today? Visit us here to see how JUKI can help you start today!
In this month’s spotlight, we are introducing Kiana Bonollo! Fashion designer, YouTuber, and TikToker, Kiana has grown in popularity in the last couple of years due to her videos showcasing apparel projects and behind-the-scene how-tos for new sewists. Follow along today as we talk to Kiana about her journey in sewing and how she grew to the 400k audience she has now!
From a young age, Kiana always had a curiosity for sewing. Her earliest memory was borrowing her mother’s sewing machine and altering her clothes while creating skirts from scratch! Later on, she would take her first sewing class, a week-long course on sewing basics, where she began with making pillowcases like so many of us do. Following her interest, she went on to take apparel classes in high school, finding she had a true talent for the hobby and diving into the journey. She began learning how to create patterns and learning complex skills she hadn’t tried before. College would be no different; continuing her studies in the fashion design industry, she has continued to grow her skills and talent, creating new patterns and projects for her audience and shop.
Using fashion as a form of expression, Kiana loved that fashion design allowed you to imagine anything you wanted and create it. Like so many of us, she struggled with inspiration in the past but finds that her favorite work to design are those pieces that she knows she will wear and show off in the real world! Focusing on projects that bring her happiness, her patterns range from loungewear to evening wear, a versatile selection that her followers love.
When asked about how she chooses which patterns will be sold, “It’s really important to me that I take into consideration what my customers are suggesting and asking of me, so if a lot of my customers are asking for a prom dress- I’m going to make them a prom dress.”
Following her ideas and likes, she pulls from her customer’s suggestions and creates projects that align with their wants and her taste. It’s here that she’s been able to compromise on what’s highly requested and what she truly enjoys designing, creating that relationship with her customers, so many shops want to build.
Kiana describes her style as “edgy, but still tailored and chic.” However, finding it boring to stick to one aesthetic, she likes to dabble outside her comfort zone and enjoys mixing different design styles and aesthetics to create fun looks! With so many different style aesthetics and designs, she doesn’t let one style hold her in a box.
With an audience of over 400k across platforms, it’s amazing to see what was accomplished in a couple of short years. Kiana’s page quickly gained popularity by opening her YouTube account in May 2020 due to her easy-to-follow and straightforward “how-to” videos and project compilations. When she first began her online page, she would put in 40 hours a week designing, editing, and creating, treating it as a full-time job. Feeling she needed to give herself a real chance, she dived into her work and focused on her dreams of working in social media and fashion design.
“I never imagined that my audience would grow to the size it currently is so fast, and I’m so grateful for everyone who has subscribed and liked my channel and followed me.”
For those out there who want to raise their following, Kiana advises finding your strengths and taking advantage of them! With so many talented artists and sewists in the world, it can be hard to distinguish yourself sometimes, but finding what you can offer that’s different or better from those out there will help you stand out. Kiana, for example, is known for her videos teaching sewist techniques and how to create different projects, focusing on her strengths of being a technical sewist and the joy she finds in educating others on her favorite hobby.
And a recommendation she has out there for those building their skills in sewing? Invest in a high-quality machine that you can also grow in too! Finding a sewing machine that can handle heavy-duty fabrics and stitches quickly and versatilely is perfect for those learning. They can upgrade their projects and skills without needing to upgrade their machine.
Kiana’s sewing table is always ready to work with her machines! Using the JUKI DX-2000QVP and a QVP serger, she’s prepared to create her silk gowns, cotton loungewear, and more. She loves recommending this machine to her followers who are serious about starting their journey. She states they’re great choices for intermediate and advanced sewers alike.
Currently, her sewing table is being used for project requests and suggestions submitted by her followers. With the current pandemic closing shop for fashion shows in many cities, she’s been focusing on her customer base before planning to create another collection. Waiting for the world to feel a little safer, Kiana hopes to continue once fashion shows are back!
Besides her current wish for the runways to come back, Kiana hopes to launch a fashion design course one day and sell her fashion line. But for now, she’ll keep busy creating content for her followers and expanding her current business. We can’t wait to see what’s in store for Kiana and her fashion line!
To keep up with Kiana and her journey, click her profile below. And the next time you want to learn some fun fashion sewing tips, check out Kiana’s YouTube here!