It’s almost time for spooks and candy JUKI Lovers! For today’s blog, we will share our top 5 favorite Halloween projects you can begin creating this weekend. So whether you’re going trick-or-treating, or staying at home, follow along below for ideas you can start today!
Halloween Patchwork Quilt
Stay warm this fall and create a Halloween patchwork quilt! Using a variety of Halloween fabric pieces, think witches, pumpkins, and ghosts, you can begin making your very own patchwork quilt. Quilts are the perfect accessory to any home, used and loved by everyone.
We recommend checking out your local quilt shop for holiday quilt bundles. Great options when you want to create a patchwork quilt, and don’t have the scraps, are browsing charm bundles, jelly rolls, and mini-charms! Also, don’t forget to grab batting for your quilts and have fun by bringing texture to the surface using free-motion quilting techniques.
The perfect addition to so many costumes, a cape can be used for various characters ranging from royals to superheroes. To use this cape multiple times, create your piece using basic colors like white, red, or black so you can enjoy this project through the years.
For creating a cape, we recommend having fabrics like stretch velvet, fleece, or wool! Usually, you’ll use about 2 yards of fabric for an adult cape and 1 yard for a child’s cape. This is an excellent apparel project for a beginner to try their hand at. For more advanced sewers, you can add features like trims and a hood for a more finished and professional look.
Decorate your home with a spooky table runner and matching placemats! A fun and easy home project, you can accessorize and personalize your kitchen and dining table with fun fabric designs and colors.
When creating placemats and table runners, we recommend having some tools on hand. Inside your placemats and table runner, you’re going to place a fleece or batting; this will stabilize your project. Spray glue is an excellent adhesive for this! Once you’ve pieced together your mat, you can choose to leave it as is or add designs with free motion quilting.
For yardage, we recommend 2-3 yards of fabric. With one yard, you can create up to 8 basic-sized placemats, and with your other yards, you can create your table runner depending on your table length! Keep a ¼ presser foot on hand when you’re ready to complete your project, so you can quickly finish the edging.
Decorate your archways and doorways with a fun garland! Easily created with less than a yard of fabric for the hanging pieces and string, this décor piece is the perfect touch. For the hanging details, we recommend using backing fabric for stabilization.
For this project, keep your ¼” presser foot nearby! Perfect for creating a clean edging on each hanging piece and the edging on the hanging string, this accessory can be the only foot you need for the project.
Lastly, don’t forget to have your trick-or-treat bag ready! Wishing you a happy spooky season, download our free instructions for our see-through trick-or-treat bag here. With a finished size of 14″ x 16″, this bag will carry all those treats home!
In this month’s spotlight, we’re focusing on Kimberly and The Fat Quarter Shop! If you’re a quilter, you’ve most likely heard about the Fat Quarter Shop for their variety of fabric bundles, sew-along streams, quilt patterns, and more. Dive into the Fat Quarter Shop journey with us as we discuss how Kimberly, with the help of her husband Kevin and team, started the business right from home and how it grew into the shop it is today.
Starting in 2003, Kimberly would return home after working as an accountant during the day and begin buying and cutting fabric, preparing fat quarter bundles for her new sales. Fat quarter bundles weren’t common to find 20 years ago. They were one of the few precut bundles you could purchase, so with only a desk, a computer, and a shelf full of fabric, she began creating and selling her own fat quarter bundles directly to customers. It was a niche many had missed, and Kimberly took it upon herself to remedy this issue.
“I wanted more access to more bundles for myself, and if opening a store would let me have that, then that’s what I was going to do!”
Kimberly loved the idea of packaging a collection of precut fabrics and started seeing an increase in shoppers. So, as the business began to grow, Kimberly’s husband, Kevin, jumped on board and joined the team! After only a few months of getting married, Kevin and Kimberly were also business partners! With Kevin handling IT and operations, and Kimberly running the creative side, they could go full-time and upgrade their shop to a warehouse.
Upgrading to a warehouse came with more than just extra space, but the opportunities to grow their inventory and build a team! As they began hiring and expanding their product range, the Fat Quarter Shop became known for having everything a quilter may need. With over 35,000 products, they’ve been able to offer over 18,000 different fabrics plus notions, precuts, kits, thread, floss, patterns, books, and charts. As a one-stop shop, beginners and advanced quilters can enjoy their different clubs and promotions.
With so many clubs to choose from, the Fat Quarter Shop offers a multitude of monthly subscriptions for fabric bundles, quilt block pattern kits, and more. Currently, their most popular club is Designer Mystery Box of the Month! Now going for 15 years, the Designer Mystery BOM includes months 1-12 with designer mystery quilt block patterns, perfect for trying something new. They also offer clubs where you can receive a bundle of your favorite kind each month and quarterly Fat Quarter sets. One of their favorite ventures, the Fat Quarter Shop, will always try to go above and beyond in their kits, a unique program they have had fun creating.
With the help of their team, they’ve been able to expand their shop and keep a focus on customer service. Elva, their customer service team leader, started many years ago filling orders in their warehouse. In addition, Jocelyn was the first person they ever hired to do marketing, becoming the leader for most of their marketing team. With so many others joining, they attest their growth to a team effort all around!
With Jocelyn and Elva on the team, they’ve expanded their reach on social media and created a customer service experience that quilters and cross-stitch creators can depend on. Going above assistance with sales, you can reach out to their team and receive guidance on fabric choices, notions, and more. With a wealth of knowledge on their team, they help customers find what they need.
A great way the Fat Quarter Shop team has shared their knowledge over the years is through their social media platforms. By connecting with quilters, stitchers, and other crafters on channels like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and more, they’ve been able to provide live-stream lessons and answer questions directly from customers. You can find tips and lessons on quilting techniques, machine tips, and more on these socials.
Kimberly’s favorite social media aspect is their weekly live streams on Fridays! Allowing her to chat with customers live while creating and enjoying her hobby, she’s been able to connect with the community and build her shop product list based on their requests and recommendations. Through marketing like this, she’s been able to create programs like their free Christmas and Halloween mystery quilt that customers love and come back for.
“- I get to hear firsthand what they want to see in the store. If something doesn’t exist, we try to create it.”
Don’t worry if you miss a Livestream! You can always visit the Fat Quarter Shop’s YouTube page and find videos on Quilt Alongs, tips and tricks, and other projects. In addition, their quilting video page offers tutorials that all skill sets can enjoy. From beginner to advanced techniques, Kimberly and her team have provided their audience with what they want! For example, if you’re interested in learning how to quilt, they offer an outstanding Ultimate Beginner Series. But, if you’re an advanced quilter, you can learn and try your hand at classic & vintage quilts.
Aside from their fabric, quilter’s kits, and notions, you can also find pattern books! Starting 10 years ago, Kimberly, and her husband Kevin, opened up the publishing side of the business, ‘It’s Sew Emma.’ Named after their oldest daughter, Emma, the publishing aspect of their business has published hundreds of quilt and cross stitch patterns, books, and notions. While their most popular designer is Lori Holt of Bee in my Bonnet Co., they also offer Fat Quarter and Half Yard books, perfect for those bundles you love to buy!
With everything the Fat Quarter Shop has been able to accomplish in 20 years, we asked Kimberly what the experience was like seeing the rise in popularity. “It’s hard to describe. I never expected it to grow as it has. It’s been difficult, stressful, and a lot of fun all at the same time.” Focusing on doing their best daily, they attribute their success to the team’s continuous hard work, never giving up, and offering customers the best quality service and products. They, of course, also attest to their success to their loyal customers, who keep coming back for their new products, videos, and inspiration.
Kimberly and the teams’ advice for those starting their own business is this, find your niches! When you can create an image and branding that you’re proud of and shows off your style, you’ll be one step closer to seeing success. Be passionate about your hobby and shop, engage your audience, and you’ll begin seeing the trademarks of something starting.
While Kimberly and Kevin admit there are things they could’ve done differently, they recognize all these decisions led them to where they are today. Constantly giving a hundred percent to the shop, they focus on looking forward to opportunities that allow them to be creative and have fun in the future.
“I try to only look forward, and I still have more goals to reach. I don’t see limits to what we can do, so I’m ready for anything.”
We’re so excited to share more about the Fat Quarter Shop and its team with you! So whether you’re starting your quilting journey or an advanced quilter looking for something new, check out the Fat Quarter Shop today and meet Kimberly and the team!
To follow along on the Fat Quarter Teams Journey, and learn more about their shop, visit their links below!
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!