JUKI Designer Ambassador: Kenya Freeman

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Create with JUKI: Trick or Treat Bag!

It is almost Halloween time, JUKI Lovers!

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

Click here to download our Trick or Treat Bag instructions.

New Juki Brand Ambassador Alert! Meet Nicole Moore.

Sewing has always been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. When I was young, my mother sewed many of our outfits. We went to a private school, and with some additional help, she even sewed all the students’ uniforms. But it wasn’t just my mother who influenced my sewing journey, my paternal grandmother would sew Barbie clothes for me, which filled me with great delight! Later in life, my aunt helped me make curtains for my first apartment. Eventually, a majority of the women in our family started meeting regularly to either sew group projects or just work on our things. We still try to get together every year!

I didn’t start “seriously sewing” until I transitioned out of the corporate world (back in 2013). I’ve always been a driven and determined person and was convinced that there was more to being a stay-at-home mom than philanthropy and the car rider line. Most of my friends and all of my family knew that I love to sew. I was often asked to make things for people and told to sell my creations. I never really gave it too much thought until our local music Association hosted a craft fair. I decided to put myself out there and get a booth. I made several pillowcases and sold the majority of them at the craft fair. I was so excited about my success that I decided to open an Etsy shop and place the leftover products for sale online. This is how my company, Sew Much Moore In Store began. 

My Etsy shop was how I initially made money with sewing. I started with pillowcases, then transitioned to bags, and was doing well making custom ID wallets for people on my Etsy shop. During this time, I started a website and learned about blogging through an online course. I created multiple lines of income through affiliate marketing and paid sponsorships. It wasn’t until 2016 that I made my business legitimate. You see, Etsy sent me an email that said they needed either my social security number or my FEIN#. I decided to go ahead and get my business license and things took off from there.

After I went legitimate, I was motivated and decided to give Amazon Handmade a try. At the time, I was using a hand-me-down 1984 Kenmore. This poor machine was on its last leg. I had made hundreds of ID wallets and make-up bags on it. I was constantly sending it in for service, and it just couldn’t keep up. When I opened my Amazon Handmade shop on Black Friday weekend, I made enough money to purchase my first Juki sewing machine. I’ve decided on an industrial sewing machine considering the amount of bags I was making in my commercial business. I purchased the Juki DU-1181N. I decided to get the servo motor so I could control the speed. I learned a great deal about industrial machines and even wrote a blog series which can be found here.  

I found great success with my JUKI industrial, so it was an easy decision to purchase additional JUKI machines like the JUKI TL-2010Q straight stitch sewing machine. This is hands-down my favorite machine to sew on! I can easily piece my quilts, make most bags and even do some free motion quilting. It sews like a dream! And because I love free motion quilting, I added a JUKI J-350QVP as well. I occasionally quilt other people’s quilts, but because my long arm is currently on a table (and not a frame) I mostly just quilt my quilts with my J-350QVP. One of my business goals is to transition my long arm sit down to a frame and add the automation package. Both my kids are still in the house so until they fly the coop, I don’t have the real estate in my home for a longarm business right now. I’m also learning more about making garments so it only makes sense that I have a JUKI serger and cover stitch combo, MO-735. I bought these as gifts for my Mom and love to use them when I visit her. My mom still loves to teach me new things since sewing garments is something that I am still learning more about.

Speaking of sewing lessons… In 2017, I decided to add sewing lessons to my business! I was already contracted with a local quilt shop to teach monthly lessons to a kids club. I enjoyed working with the kids and decided to offer classes in my home for the local community. We don’t have a large space for group sewing, but we did manage to gather around the dining room table with our machines and learn about quilt piecing, bag making, and many other valuable sewing lessons. I continue to teach sewing and quilting through my videos and offer classes to guilds and quilt shops as well. To learn more about my lectures and and in-person workshops, you can visit my website here.  

2017 was also the year that I was nominated for the Vice President of programming for the Kansas City Modern Quilt Guild. During my two years of service, I had the opportunity to learn more about being a professional in the industry. I gained experience including contract negotiations, learning what a professional is worth, and the pleasure of getting to know so many inspiring creators in the industry. I was also pleased that the membership of the guild experienced tremendous growth during my years of service. I believe it had a lot to do with the talent we acquired for lectures and workshops. I also believe our guild was more successful in gaining new members and filling most sewing workshops because of the marketing efforts for the guild. My experience with Facebook pages, groups and events provided maximum exposure for our guild members and for potential members as well. We grew so much that we had to find a new place to meet as most meetings were “standing room only” and many workshops would sell out quickly.

I was getting comfortable with social media by this time and started engaging my audience through these platforms. By this time, my business had a weekly newsletter, a Pinterest marketing strategy, a social media schedule, patterns and products offerings on my WooCommerce website while still maintaining my Etsy and Amazon Handmade presence. I even started a custom t-shirt quilt business as well! With all these things going on, I decided it was time for a YouTube channel! This was a pretty good learning curve because I didn’t know much about editing videos. Fortunately, iMovie made it pretty simple and with the help of Google, I was able to start producing video tutorials. This new format helped reach a new audience and brought additional traffic to my website, which was now hosting advertising for yet another line of income to my business.  

Fast forward to 2019, and I was sharing every day on my Instagram stories. I would constantly get questions about my sewing business. These questions inquired about how I managed everything that I was doing, and it made me feel happy and excited to help other people do the same thing. I never thought about adding coaching to my business until I learned more about producing my online courses. I learned how to create my business by online learning, so it only made sense for me to create my own coaching company.

The Creative Day Job began in 2020 and it currently hosts multiple online courses that serves Creative Entrepreneurs (mostly in the sewing and quilting industry). I love to help sewers and quilters that want to turn their hobby into a business by navigating the technology and overwhelm so they can start earning income from their craft. If I were to give a piece of advice to someone about starting or creating their own sewing/quilting business, it would be this, “just get started.” There’s always going to be something to overcome or some obstacle that might get in your way, but if you just get started and keep moving forward you can do it also! To learn more about the Creative Day Job, you can visit my website here

I truly believe there is Sew Much Moore In Store for myself and my journey with the sewing and  quilting industry. I love to help people with their sewing and quilting projects and I love to help  people overcome their creative business obstacles. I especially love the JUKI brand because  with the help of their machines and technology, my work has become more productive and  enjoyable!  

There are several ways to stay in touch with Nicole. You can find her on Instagram every day.  Subscribe to her YouTube Channel and sign up for her Weekly Newsletter. Nicole even has a  Facebook Page and TikTok Channel. If you need help or are interested in starting a Creative  Business – be sure to visit the Creative Day Job website! 

When you follow Nicole, there is always Sew Much Moore In Store!

Author: Nicole Moore

Editing Team: JUKI

Channel the Flannel with JUKI!

Celebrate with us as we showcase some of our top QVP products this month! Get ready for the fall and those warm projects you have coming up using our QVP line!

Our Haruka TL-18QVP is perfect for those fall bags, and heavy quilts we all love! Bring industrial technology into your home; this machine can go from straight stitch to free motion quilting for all your project needs. The Kokochi DX-4000QVP is one of our state-of-the-art machines! offering touch screen capabilities, a large sewing space, and an abundance of features, this machine truly gives you that ‘good feeling’! Don’t forget to check out our MO-2000QVP! Perfect for giving your projects that clean finish, this machine offers automatic needle threaders, air threading, and more to make sure your project ends on a high note.

JUKI Spotlight: The Moda Lissa

Photo: Moda Lissa

Like many others, Mellissa, better known as Lissa, looked up to her older sister growing up and watched her sew. When Lissa was in fifth grade, she took her first sewing class at her local Ben Franklin. Creating an adorable lime green with bright pink apples trimmed with pink ric-rac pinafore and shorts, Lissa tried following her sister’s footsteps by creating projects with no patterns. She quickly realized it was not as easy as she thought and left the clothing construction to her sister. However, this didn’t shy her away from sewing but encouraged her to look into different projects Lissa could create. One day, she stumbled upon quilting and found herself transfixed with it!

“Quilts don’t have to fit anyone.”

Photo: Moda Lissa

The idea of quilts changed her life. No longer was she trying to hem and follow a body type, but now she was tackling a different puzzle! With a father in engineering, she took to quilting like a math problem, creating patterns in her artwork. After marriage and having kids, Lissa kept up with her hobby by working at a local quilt shop a few evenings a month and on Saturdays. Eventually, she started teaching classes and was hired to open a quilt store. Nine years later, she began a position as the Director of Marketing for Moda Fabrics.

Working at Moda Fabrics, Lissa started collaborating with all different types of designers. Sewing various projects from fabrics those designers crated and creating combinations no one could’ve predicted! Lissa created pieces of art that were as beautiful as they were different. Her favorite challenge with each project was seeing how many different designers she could place on one project.

“It just makes me happy. As I touch each piece I think of the designer, the name of the fabric line, and how fortunate I am to have them as friends.”

Photo: Moda Lissa

As time went on, Lissa began creating patterns she wanted to share with others. Inspired by a high school story where she introduced herself to the class, she came up with a clever tactic to make her peers remember her name. Cutting a picture of the Mona Lisa and gluing yellow yarn to represent her blonde hair, she created a plan! Everyone knew about the famous painting by Leonardo da Vinci and all they had to do to remember her name was to think of the Mona Lisa but with blonde hair. Years later, after starting her position in Moda Fabrics, she called it a no-brainer when she created the nickname Moda Lissa for her media.

Lissa’s first solo pattern book, “OH SCRAP” was published after experiencing a series of seizures diagnosed as a subdural hematoma resulting in brain surgery. While recuperating, she was offered the opportunity by Martingale Publishing to create her first pattern book. Continuing forward, Lissa would begin working on the Sisterhood of Scraps and Scrap School. Working with some of the best quilters in the industry sewing scrap quilts, she learned new skills and techniques for her projects. While her books focus on the usage of a scrap quilt, her main goal has always been to encourage freedom for quilters to play and create with fabric.

“You may have always heard that quilting is therapy and it certainly was for me. I love learning and exploring how the publishing world works was very exciting.”

Photo: Moda Lissa

As Lissa continues to sew on her baby Junie, our TL-2000Qi named after her aunt, she hopes to start sewing apparel in the future. With her two granddaughters and three grandsons, she’s excited to start creating their Halloween costumes and more in the future. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for Lissa’s next pattern book! Lissa’s goal is to continue her pattern creations and helping sewers like you have fun.

To learn more about Lissa and her story follow her on the links below and check out her site to see her pattern books!

Instagram: Click here

Pattern Book’s and Scrap School: Click here

Finding your Passion with Ponderosa

Today we’re introducing and spotlighting Paige Anderson, the face behind Ponderosa. Paige’s sewing story begins before she was born. Her family has a strong tradition and makes sure their sewing skills pass with each generation. Starting as an ecologist, Paige studied the ponderosa pine trees for her candidacy. Inspired by her past work in the eco field, Paige wanted a way to tie her love for nature with her quilting, thus naming her brand after the beautiful pine tree – Ponderosa.

Inspired by trees, the back to the land movement, 2000s alien movies, and womanhood as a whole, Paige focuses on bright colors that merge well to create pieces that flow and feel balanced. As time has gone by, she’s found inspiration in multiple things from vintage fashion and home goods to ceramics and murals. Currently, Paige’s work focuses on freeform curves and semicircles.

As a mother, Paige transferred her career from ecology to creating a business as an artist. While she first feared that a journey like this wouldn’t be feasible, she found this to be her truest passion!

“After having my child, I switched gears from being in the ecology field to wanting something I could do with my daughter in tow. Up until that point, I had always told myself that being an artist wasn’t a feasible career path for me, but… it’s the only one I’m passionate about. “

Ponderosa was created to bring quilting into the everyday world. Working on our JUKI TL-2010Q, Paige knows the importance of speed! Designing and creating accessible goods like bandanas, keychains, pouches, and totes, Paige has been able to share her products again and again. Off the path of trends, Paige likes to focus on what speaks to her personally! Her proudest work to date has been a large quilt project she’s currently working on based on a landscaping painting she created, a difficult task she’s proud of, but one Paige says might not happen again!

The future of Ponderosa is a bright one, JUKI lovers! Paige’s next dream goal is to open up a maker’s co-op in Olympia, Washington. Currently, Paige is looking for a space with an abundance of natural light, room for makers in the back, and a retail space upfront. With her friends in tow, Paige is currently working on her master plan and hoping to make this dream a reality. She hopes to see you there once this dream is completed!

If you’re interested in learning more about Paige and her work, visit her on her pages! We’ll link them down below for you.

Click here to Ponderosa Creative Instagram!

Click here to shop Ponderosa Creative!

Longarm Training with JUKI!

Hello JUKI lovers! We know how butterfly-inducing it is to get a new machine, but what about the aftermath of learning it? That’s why we’re here! Our JUKI Longarm training is for all types of quilters to join and learn more about techniques and tricks.

Get your pencils and notebooks ready because this 3-day workshop covers basic machine maintenance, tensions, working with different threads, batting, LCD screen operation, free-motion techniques, loading a quilt, marking quilts, ruler work, couching, pantographs, optional accessories, and more on the TL-2200QVP and Miyabi J-350QVP.

We also offer the opportunity to learn about our Quilters Creative Touch software. This workshop teaches you the basics of building blocks, pantographs, including the new Power Panto, designing your quilt pattern blocks, and move on to more advanced techniques such as Quilt CAD and Pattern CAD.

We offer JUKI Longarm training throughout the year with our Education staff to help you be the best quilter you can be! Thank you to those who have joined us in the past on our training, we hope you enjoy your JUKI and come back for more in the future!

Check out this link to see other training dates and sign up information. We hope to see you soon!

JUKI Sergers and You!

MO-654DE

This month we’re celebrating JUKI sergers! Looking to celebrate with us? With so many options, we compiled a list to make your choice a little bit easier.

Our MO-654DE and MO-644D, our most popular models, are perfect for beginners joining the serger world and experts who want professional results. These overlocks have JUKI Lovers raving about their ability to tackle any projects you throw at it! Each machine comes equipped with tools and technology that make the process of creating beautiful garments easy for you.         

The MO-735 is a quiet and stable combination of overlock and coverstitch that easily sews through several layers of fabric and works on thick materials, such as denim or leather. This machine is not only a great tool for designing clothes but for creating upholstery and various home decorations as well. Create all the projects you envisioned with the MO-735!

MO-1000

If you’re looking to waste no time on threading, the MO-2000QVP and MO-1000 are perfect for you! These air-threading machines make threading a breeze. With the press of a button, the looper threads are threaded for you. Additionally, these models also come with left and right needle threaders. It really can’t get much easier than that!

For our JUKI Lovers that have handled sergers and want to grow more, we recommend our MO-100 series. Beginner-friendly but still perfect for experts, our MO machines make things easier with a turn of a dial. With lay-in threading feature, quiet and simple operation, these overlocks can offer quality finishes to your projects!

MCS-1500

Lastly, our MCS Series is perfect for those looking for a professional coverhem finish. Our MCS-1500 can you help expand your creativity with an extensive range of functions and professional-looking stitches. The 3- and 4-thread coverstitch is perfect for various applications, such as hems, sleeve cuffs, and necklines. Perfect for the beautiful garments you make!

Whatever your project, we at JUKI want to make sure you find the best fit! What machine is on your wishlist?

How Its Sewn with Nicole Chen

Nicole Chen
Asymmetrical Cotton Seersucker Dress by Nicole Chen

Hello everyone, today we’re excited to introduce a fellow JUKI Lover, Nicole Chen! Read on to learn more about Nicole’s journey on becoming a sewer in 2020 as she shares her experiences in picking up her new go-to hobby.

As a fashion retail buyer in New York and a student pursuing her fashion design certification by night, Nicole always loved the process of creating- and in her case, making clothing! During the beginning of quarantine, Nicole began documenting her sewing journey on social media including Instagram @Howitssewn and website Howitssewn.com for people to join her as she learns new techniques on each project.

“It’s my main creative outlet and makes me feel so happy and fulfilled, especially when I can see my improvement over time.”

Joining the wave of new sewers, she began by taking apart and upcycling her old clothes, giving them a new life. As she gradually improved with the help of videos, she designed and drafted original sewing patterns.

“I love the challenge and design freedom that self-drafting allows, but the process from pattern to clothing is a lot of trial and error. There is no escaping this, but each mistake teaches me something new!”

Floral Print Ruffled Linen Dress By Nicole Chen

As Nicole continued to grow, she ventured out to find inspiration for her projects. Her recommendation? Look into the Google Arts and Culture collection, an online museum created during quarantine. This application has helped people escape their homes and explore a beautiful and awe-inspiring online exhibit with artwork, images, and cultural artifacts from around the world. She explains it’s a free application allowing you access to gain inspiration from any fashion museum and art gallery they have on display. Her favorite artist to follow is Zimmermann, for their fun and flirty pieces, and Alexander McQueen, for their technically intricate clothing.

Early on in Nicole’s sewing journey, she told herself she would learn a new technique for every project she worked on as a way to challenge herself. Having an infinite amount of possibilities at her disposal, Nicole is currently learning about curves and movements of the human body and how to rein the designs she wants.

Nicole’s advice for newcomers? Sewing is 80% preparation and 20% actual sewing. Taking the time and care to prepare everything beforehand like fabrics, pattern truing, and cutting sets you up for a win!

A JUKI lover like us, Nicole invested in her first JUKI serger last year, the JUKI MO-654DE! After being recommended by friends and online sources, she claims it as one of her best sewing decisions, here’s some advice below from Nicole on how to choose the best serger for yourself.

Juki MO-654DE

“To save you the time, here are my top 3 aspects to look for in your first serger:

1. Color-Coded Threading System. The last thing you want is to spend half an hour changing your thread color. The 4-color coded system is great for visual learners and is super intuitive.

2. Adjustable Differential Feed. This is a must-have if you often work with knits and stretchy fabrics. This is the trick to create those beautiful lettuce hems!

3. High-Quality Knife Blade. This is, arguably, the most satisfying part of serging. A good blade will cut smoothly through your excess seam allowances and leave you with neatly finished edges.”

As the new year continues to bring in new sewers, we’re so excited to share with you their accomplishments. To learn more about Nicole and keep up with her quilting journey, follow her on Instagram today @HowItsSewn or her website HowItsSewn.com!