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 Spotlight: An Inappropriate Quilter with Leslie Bercher

Known for creating beautiful quilts, sharing tips and tricks for your sewing rooms, and her quilting podcast with co-host Rochelle Rice, we’re excited to spotlight Leslie Bercher, Quilter and podcast host for Inappropriate Quilters! Joining us for this month’s spotlight, we got to interview Leslie about her journey in quilting, the podcast’s beginning with co-host Rochelle, and how she created her brand.

It all started with Leslie’s grandmother, Helen. Helen was a member of a church that held Auxiliary Meetings where other members would quilt, crochet, and embroider. It took Leslie several years to watch her grandmother attend these meetings and see her create beautiful projects before picking up the hobby. So it was 2018 when Leslie, with two of her best friends, decided to take a class called ‘Quilt 101’.

“My first quilt was a log cabin, and I made two immediately. That was the beginning, and I haven’t looked back.”

Leslie began sharing her work online, finding a passion for creating and taking the time to build these quilts and designs. It was after a friend recommended she create a profile on social media, explaining she was missing out by not joining the online community when she opened her account. Opening herself up to the idea, she began posting and sharing her projects, excited to see how many beautiful quilters were out there in the world.

It was online that Leslie found a supportive community in her projects and offered her the opportunity to network and build relationships with new people! Consistently supporting one another in their ideas, and encouraging those who have lost their “sew-jo,” as Leslie says, has made the community, unlike any other group she’s been a part of.

This community has also been the inspiration for countless projects she’s created, inspired by other creators on social media. While not a modern quilter, she finds inspiration in all their designs picking from their color selections, patterns, and quilting textures. She also focuses on who she is creating, letting that drive much of the inspiration.

At one of these quilt retreats with the quilting community, she met Rochelle, someone who, according to Leslie, “has never met a stranger.” Leslie and Rochelle were placed in the same group, and their group’s theme was chickens! With their organized and over-the-top decorations, they couldn’t resist having a group mascot, Leon, the rubber chicken.

One day, during the retreat, Leon went missing! Leslie convinced Rochelle was to blame for the Rubber Duck disappearance, and she took it upon herself to ‘borrow’ Rochelle’s foot controller from her machine when she wasn’t looking. The joke would fall back on Leslie when Rochelle returned to the retreat the next day after a nice early night in, unaware her controller had been taken in the first place! They were fast friends after that, bonding over jokes and laughter.

 A couple of years later, the podcast topic would come up between the two friends. During a dream quilt vacation, a sewing retreat where two of their favorites, Camille Roskelley and Angela Walters, would attend, they were having breakfast when the idea popped into Leslie’s head.

With only an idea and some research, Rochelle purchased all the equipment while on their retreat and had it shipped to her home for when they arrived back in town. Excited about their new project, there was only one thing missing, a name! But, as their friends joined in on the conversation, one name stuck out. Walking away from their breakfast table, their friend Angela turned around and offered up “Inappropriate Quilters,” the perfect name for the inappropriate duo!

“Angela was getting up from the table and casually said, ‘oh, I know what you should name it. Inappropriate Quilters.’ We looked at each other and said, “that’s it!”

From there, the show project was on! Weekly episodes, released on Saturdays, became the norm where two quilting friends could join together to discuss life and quilting. With no script in hand, the two friends meet at Leslie’s studio weekly to record before she finishes editing and schedules the episodes Saturday morning. Finding their way into other quilters’ studios through their speakers, their show focuses on just two friends who love quilting, allowing listeners to feel like they have friends in the room with them when they’re creating.

One topic Leslie loves to cover is the process of creating and organizing your studio space. As quilters and sewists know, having a space that encourages creativity and allows you to move and build your projects is important! As an advocate for ‘Function and Beauty,’ we asked Leslie what recommendations she can offer to those building their studio space today.

“You have to start with function. But if it isn’t cute, it better have a very good reason to take up your space!”

What else can you find in Leslie’s studio? Her JUKI! With her Haruka TL-18QVP, named Camille after Camille Roskelley, Leslie has been able to create beautiful quilts and projects she loves. With 95% of her projects involving straight-stitch, she chose a machine that fit her needs. Her top three features at the time were: consistent straight stitch, an automatic thread cutter, and speed! Her best recommendation to sewists and quilters looking for a new machine is to focus on what features are important to you, figure out what type of stitches you plan to create with, the speed, and visit your local dealer! A local dealer can listen to everything you may want and offer machine recommendations and test-sewing.

Leslie’s quilting has opened up a community for her, allowing her to be creative, meet new people, and enjoy her hobby! As she’s transitioned to a content creator and business owner, we asked what advice she’d offer to someone trying to build their brand. “There are so many little things that you didn’t plan. Be gracious with yourself in the process.” Setting up the government business aspects of a shop, like tax ID, sales taxes, and even finding a partner, can be challenging, but the final product is worth it when you love what you do!

We’re so excited to continue seeing Leslies’ brand and content grow, especially with possible plans of opening a YouTube page for creators to join! Listening to feedback from the community she’s created is vital, and she trusts them to lead her toward new and exciting project ventures. So even with her reservations about being on camera, you can expect Leslie to meet her community in the middle and find a way to join the video world!

From quilting to running a podcast, we had a great time getting to know Leslie and going behind the scenes for her projects. If you’ve enjoyed getting to know Leslie and want to keep up with her and Rochelle’s podcast and future quilt projects, join us in following her socials and websites below!

Blog: read here!

Instagram: follow here!

Linktree: Find Leslies channels here!

YouTube: watch here!

Podcast: Inappropriate Quilters – available where you listen to podcasts

Inappropriate Quilters Shop: shop here!

5 Projects you can create this Spooky Season!

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.

Some great tools to have when quilting is your Open Toe Quilting Presser Foot, Quilting Rulers, and a ¼” Presser Foot for finishing.

Costume Cape

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.

We recommend having a Cording Foot on hand if you plan to attach a string inside for the cape hood. Also, use a Decorative Stitch Presser Foot to add designs on your cape’s ends for extra personalization!

Spooky Placemats and Table Runner

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.

Halloween Garland

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.

Trick–or–Treat Bag

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!

Happy Halloween, JUKI Lovers!

Catching Up with Rob Appell

You may recognize this month’s spotlight from “Michael Miller Fabrics Making It Fun” or “Man Sewing,” we’re so excited to spotlight our JUKI Ambassador, Rob Appell, during National Sewing and Quilting month! In today’s blog, we get to speak with Rob about his journey in quilting, his passion for the craft, and how he came to be where he is today.

Robs journey in quilting began when he moved back home from college, spending his free time outside and snowboarding. His mother, the manager and eventual owner of the local quilt shop brought Rob into the business, where he started as a clerk. When his mother began bringing in machines to sell, Rob eventually shifted to machine repairs, and here is where he started falling in love with sewing!

Creating fun Hawaiian shirts as his uniform for the quilt shop, he found himself having fun making them and eventually began looking into patchwork quilting. A fun and easy way to pick up quilting, he began testing his skills in free motion quilting his projects. Again, finding himself loving the hobby. The rest, as they say, is history!

Since he began to quilt, Rob has accomplished a published quilt book, starred in and hosted multiple quilting YouTube shows, created a community for his teachings, and so much more! His videos encourage new quilters to be creative and enjoy their projects! With a focus on basic techniques, his hope when he’s creating for viewers is that they find something they can take away from his lessons and learn how to make their versions.

Recently starring in ‘Michael Miller Fabrics’ Making it Fun,’ you can follow along with his high-energy videos and view the different patterns and free motion quilting techniques Rob uses. While he offers some design patterns and templates for quilters, his work mainly focuses on organic creation. Going with the flow, his work often doesn’t follow design patterns; the finished design patterns he has sold usually come from these organic works he’s completed after the fact!

“The Free Motion Quilting, I prefer to go freestyle, no pattern, sometimes a plan, but usually pretty random and free.”

Quilting didn’t take him away from the outdoors he loved. Combing two of his favorite things, Rob is known for his landscape quilts. These beautiful pieces focus on nature and showcase views in bright colors. In fact, in 2009, Rob created 12 different quilts that featured faces of endangered species. Using the patterns from his work, he was able to fundraise and advocate for these species through sales that went toward endangered species charities.

He also authored a pattern book, “Making Waves … Adventures of a Surf Quilter,” a self-published print book featuring his landscape and seascape quilts. Early in his quilting journey, Rob was known for his scenic creations. Then, using free motion quilting and applique, he would add fun designs like fish, coral, rocks, lighthouses, ships, and more! Then, bringing in his love for surfing, he created a piece that intertwined surf terms with quilting terms, going above the average and setting himself apart.

Now, as someone who’s been quilting and creating those quilting videos we love for years, we asked Rob what keeps him going. “Videos are free and can be viewed over and over again if you’re learning from them. I love to present my passion for quilting.” Rob likes to focus on basic quilting techniques because he’s often reminded of how many new quilters have emerged in the community over the years. Thanks to video cameras and social sites like YouTube, where Rob hosts, he can teach how to construct quilts and the basic skills all quilters want to know. Keeping himself motivated with fun fabrics and the creative process has pushed him to bring that energy into each episode’s studio. Thankful for the following he’s gained on YouTube that keeps him going!

Rob at his studio with the J-350QVP & J-150QVP

He recently created a new quilt, the “Synergy Remix,” designed by Kristie J. Smith in her pattern book, “Splice Magic,” that he loved! Always excited to try out new and different quilting techniques, like he encourages his viewers, Rob locked himself in the quilt shop, Stitchin’ Heaven, his latest collaboration where he’ll be hosting new quilting episodes, and went to work! In one night, he created a quilt and video, maligning the entire project and finishing it. Yet, this project places a smile on his face when he thinks about it.

While Rob has gone on to try other ventures, like his work in textile design with Free Spirit Fabrics, he vouches for his love of quilting. Sharing his love of fabric and free motion quilting, he focuses on his desire to quilt the top to push him through the construction process. Recently, he’s begun focusing on improving his precision in his patchwork! By creating little half-square triangles and trimming them up, he’s found joy in practicing his skills.

Always learning and growing, Rob has begun a new journey in his quilting career with Stitchin’ Heaven! As their new YouTube manager and Content presenter, he’ll be able to create a team of quilt lovers like himself who can share their passion for the craft while teaching others worldwide. Stepping back from handling all processes by himself, he’ll now have quilting friends who will help him create new and exciting projects for viewers like you. We’re excited to see the different techniques and quilting styles that will emerge from this new partnership!

“The thing I love most about the quilting industry is that there is so much for everyone.”

With the quilting community constantly growing as new members find their passion for the hobby, we asked Rob what advice he has for JUKI Quilters. “Get to know your machine, spend 7me learning the nuances, understand what the different feet do and when to use them. Then, remember – this is a hobby, not a race. Please slow down to enjoy the process.” When you enjoy the steps to what you’re creating and take a moment to appreciate each technique you’ve picked up, you’ll truly enjoy the finished project. As Rob mentions, so many people need something positive in their lives. Take the time to find your passion, teach and work with others in your quilting community, and enjoy the process.

We hope you enjoyed learning more about Rob with us, and we hope this inspires you to join him on an online video one day and check out quilting! A hobby for everyone, we hope everyone enjoys National Sewing and Quilting month with a fun new project!

Quilting Basics with JUKI

Today we’ll go over some essential tools and presser feet you’ll need to create a quilt from start to finish. When we start a hobby, we might want to grab every item we see at the shops, so follow along as we share the important ones you should grab first!

Tools to Have in Your Kit

Rotary Cutter: Shaped like a pizza cutter, the rotary cutter is perfect for cutting out your fabric pieces. If you’re using patterns for your work, using a rotary cutter is an easy and quick way to correctly cut the fabric piece to the size and shape you need. These come in different sizes, ranging from small cutters that are great for tight cuts and a large one for big projects! For quilting, we recommend purchasing a medium-sized one.

Scissors: Besides your rotary cutter, ensure scissors are designated for cutting fabric. You want to keep these separate, so they stay sharp for cutting thread and fabric cleanly. So often, when we mix our scissors and cut items like paper, cardboard, or more, this dulls the blade, fraying your material in the long run when you use them.

Seam Ripper: Make sure to keep a seam ripper on hand for those mistakes! Advanced and beginner quilters benefit from this in their tool kits since it is perfect for fixing those little mess-ups.

Self-Healing Cutting Mat: Keep your workspace safe from scratches and find yourself a self-healing cutting mat! This will allow you to use your rotary cutter safely and can be found in many different sizes.

Fabric: Sewing isn’t complete without fabric! There are many options out there for quilters to choose from. You can choose to buy fabric by the yard or purchase bundles! We recommend sticking to 100% cotton. Choose from mini charm packs, jelly rolls, jolly bars, and more, depending on the size of the quilt you want to create and what form of designs you envision.

Thread: Like your fabric, look for a thread that suits your project, like 100% cotton for quilting. Look for options that are durable and not too cheap. Here you’ll want to find a thread that won’t birds nest on you in the creative process while sticking to your budget. For quilters, we recommend Aurifil! Like we use in our JUKI Studio when creating, Aurifil is 100% Egyptian cotton and comes in many colors, perfect for your project needs. We recommend purchasing neutral colors when you begin, like tan, white and black; this way, you can easily bind most of your projects without worrying about the thread color.

Pins and Pattern weights: When you want to keep your fabric in place, using quilting pins and pattern weights is a great solution! Use quilting pins when piecing your quilts to keep the fabric from moving, and use pattern weights when cutting out the fabric with your rotary cutter! These two accessories will make your cutting and sewing experience easy and help you create a professional finished product.

For pins, try and look for longer options, as this will help you hold the fabric better when sewing through those thick pieces, and they are also much easier to grab! You can also purchase safety pins, which come straight and curved for the finishing stages of your quilt process.

Rulers: Clear-gridded rulers are important in quilting because measuring correctly matters! Helping you quickly and accurately cut fabric for your project, rulers come in an array of size options suited for your needs.

Presser Feet for the Average Quilter

While your machines will come with presser feet, let’s go over some basic presser feet you should have on hand when quilting and what they’re for!

1/4″ Presser Foot

Essential for piecing your quilts together, the 1/4″ Presser Foot allows you accurately piece your quilts together quickly and efficiently. This accessory is perfect for when you’re piecing and don’t have time consistently mind the bottom measurements on your plate.

Walking Foot

A Walking Foot is basically used for putting a set of feed dogs on top of the quilt sandwich, working in conjunction with the bottom feed dogs, and evenly helping you pull your quilt through the sewing machine. Quilting with a standard presser foot on thick fabric or hard-to-feed material like the ¼” Presser Foot, for example, could lead to tucks and uneven stitches; this is why we use a Walking Foot!

Free Motion Quilting Foot

Want to add designs and texture to your quilts? You’re going to want a Free Motion Quilting Foot! With a Free Motion Quilting Foot, you will drop, or lower, your feed dogs and begin moving your quilt under the foot, free motioning the design yourself! While it takes practice using free motion quilting and controlling the quilt yourself, it can be an enjoyable and rewarding skill to learn!

We recommend checking out an Open Toe Foot when looking for your Free Motion Quilting Foot. With a small space left open on the presser foot, you’ll have a better eye on the needle and be able to easily create your designs!

Get To Quilting!

As you begin your quilting journey, research what tools you’ll need when creating! These listed are perfect for setting up your workspace and machine, so keep these in mind while you’re at the shop. If you’re an experienced quilter, what presser feet and tools do you think quilters should keep on hand? Let us know down below!