Are You Ready To Upgrade Your Sewing Machine?

As we grow our sewing and quilting skills, we sometimes wish we had more features, feet accessory options, stitch options, and more. It can be hard to decide when it’s time to upgrade our beloved sewing machines, but an upgrade may be needed if you face issues like needle breakage, your machine stalling on large products, or not having enough space to create.

Today we’re going to cover upgrades in JUKI. From our beginner machines to more advanced options, we recommend the best upgrade options depending on your current JUKI. Whether you’re a quilter, garment creator, or focus on home décor, creating is best done when your machine is ready to handle your projects.

Things to Consider Before Upgrading

Before you search for a new machine, sit down and think about what features, presser feet, stitches, and more you’ll want to use on your sewing machine. Keeping these notes in mind, you’ll be able to begin your search with a clear idea of what you need, and then you can focus on the more bell and whistle options that you want.

Workspace

Do you have a dedicated space for your sewing and quilting? Or are you commonly moving your machine around to create? An important thing to remember when shopping is your machine’s size and weight. For example, if you’re a quilter with a designated room, you can plan for stand-up or sit-down machine options with large workspace areas. However, if your workspace is your dining table on the weekends, consider a machine that can be easily moved and put away.

Features and Accessories

If you’ve been working on a simple beginner machine, chances are you’re working with a small number of stitch options and a few features. However, sewing machines are now equipped with many features and capabilities that can make your sewing experience fun and easy!

Depending on the type of projects you want, features like button sewing, zig-zag stitch, and more can help you build your skills and create professionally finished projects. If you enjoy quilting, finding a machine with a dual feed function can be extremely useful when creating, helping you enjoy the process better. If you’re a common user of heavy fabrics, you’d want to find a machine that offers durability and semi-industrial strength.

Completing a Test-Run

Don’t forget to try it out before your buy! If you can test-drive your dream machine options, you can see if you like the features, power, and size of a machine before purchasing. When we upgrade our sewing machine, we’re looking for one that will be durable and long-lasting, which means this can be an investment. Before purchasing, you want to ensure that the machine can handle your current and future project ideas while allowing you to learn new skills and techniques easily.

5 Features to Keep In Mind

Finally, before purchasing your sewing machine, we want to share five features we believe sewists shouldn’t live without! Making your experience easier, these features were created to help you create your projects easier and faster while teaching you new techniques.

  1. Needle Down/Up

If you’re creating quilts, home décor, or even garments having needle up/down features can be essential in creating clean finished projects. By setting the machine, so it stops with the needle down in the fabric, you now have greater control and can turn or pivot the fabric you’re working on.

2. Automatic Buttonhole

Any project requiring a button can be completed faster and more efficiently with an automatic buttonhole. Machines that offer this feature usually come with a small variety of buttonhole options, allowing you to create pieces for garments, quilts, or decorations. Test-drive the machine before purchasing, test out the button holes to ensure you like the options available, and check out how easy this feature is to work.

3. Needle Position

While some sewists may overlook this feature, being able to change the needle position can help you achieve particular looks on your projects. For example, you can change the needle position from left to right if your machine has a zig-zag stitch. In addition, some machines come with multiple options for needle positions, like our DX-4000QVP, which allows you to quickly move the needle to the ¼ position with a tap of a button.

4. Automatic Tension

If you’re quilting or creating a garment piece, you know that changing tension between your project pieces can be a hassle and time-consuming when you first begin. A feature sewists appreciate is the Automatic Tension. Allowing you to switch between fabrics with ease, the machine will automatically pick up the tension it needs to be at for you to create your projects and lower the amount of work you need to do!

5. Dual Feed

Lastly, a Dual Feed feature is perfect for you if you’re a quilter. By allowing the fabric to feed from both top and bottom evenly, this feature can easily handle fabrics that shift or are bulky. So now, when you’re creating your family quilts, you’ll have less stress in dealing with shifty fabric or those thick seams.

Upgrade Recommendations

If you’re planning to upgrade your sewing machine, we’ve created a list below of machine recommendations depending on your current model. Whether creating quilts, apparel, or handbags, having the right features as you grow your skills will help you make those professionally finished projects you’re aiming for.

Quilting:

Suppose you’ve found more room to create and a designated space for your machine to fill, look into a sit-down or stand-up quilting machine! While a table-top quilting machine is perfect for many quilters, upgrading to a sit-down quilting machine will allow your projects to grow and flourish.

A sit-down machine like the J-150QVP offers straight-stitch and quilting like your TL-18QVP. This way, you can create your quilt pieces while working on other projects like your garment pieces and home décor. The throat space is larger on this machine as well! Now you’ll have a 12-inch spacious throat space and a 30″ x 30″ table where you can open optional leaves for even more room and easily create larger quilts!

For an even larger workspace, we recommend the J-350QVP! Like the J-150QVP, you’ll have a 12″ throat space for creating. However, your quilt space has just expanded immensely! You now have the option to convert your machine to a 5′, 7′, 10′, and 12′ frame. This frame will allow you to create quilts as large as king size.

If your focus is quilting, and you have a designated space in your home for your machine, we recommend checking out the J-350QVP Stand-Up! Upgrading from the J-150QVP to the J-350QVP will allow you to upgrade your quilt size and use new features like the Quilt Creative Touch 5.

The J-350QVP Stand Up offers options in 5′, 7′, 10′, and 12′ feet frames. From twin-sized quilts to king-sized, you’ll easily be able to free-motion quilt designs onto your quilts and enjoy the new digital aspect of quilting. Thanks to the QTC5 program that you can get as an add-on to your machine, you can now free-motion quilt with the tap of a finger.

The Quilter’s Creative Touch 5 is a user-friendly add-on that allows you to easily design and layout your projects using a Windows tablet or PC. Powered by quilt motion, the system will stitch designs onto your quilt with over 220 options. You can also master creating your designs and personalizing your quilts!

Sewing:

Creating apparel is fun and exciting, but it’s best when you have the right machine! If you’ve been working on clothing projects and notice you wish you had more stitch options.

Compared to the 70-HW, which holds 80 stitch patterns and five buttonhole patterns, the F Series begins with 106 stitches, including 16 professional buttonholes and three lettering fonts! Decorative stitches are a fun and easy way to add personality and texture to your garment pieces. Line your skirts, add them to your handbags or use them in home décors like table runners and pillows. The lettering options let you go the extra mile and personalize your projects!

Another bonus of upgrading your machine to the HZL-F or DX Series is the accessories available to you. Now you can use presser feet like the 1/4″ Guide Foot, Invisible Zipper Foot, Smooth Presser Foot, and more. These accessories will help your skills in garment sewing grow and allow you to test new techniques you couldn’t do on your other model machine before.

If you’re looking for a machine upgrade that goes the extra mile, we recommend the DX Series! Using a touchscreen, you can easily master the stitches and feature options on your machine. Beginners and sewists can enjoy the large selection of options available for decorative stitches, letter stitching, buttonhole options, and other features like needle positions and automatic tension.

The HZL-G Series is an excellent machine for a beginner sewist. Still, if you find your project skills outgrowing the capabilities of your sewing machine, we recommend upgrading to the DX series. While both sewing machines are computerized, the DX-4000QVP offers a 7″ touch screen that goes the extra mile for sewists testing new techniques.

While the G series offers excellent features like the automatic needle threader, free motion quilting, and powerful feeding for heavy projects, the DX offers these features and more that can ease the creation process. Now, with the DX series, you’ll be able to adjust stitch length easily, presser foot pressure, combine decorative stitching, and much more.

Designed to help you create everything under the sun, the DX series is perfect for the sewist ready to dive into their sewing journey! With the ability to make home décor, quilt, and sew garment projects, you’ll be able to excel in new techniques and project types while enjoying the ease of sewing due to the intelligent technology used in the DX machines. With features like a bobbin thread sensor and the visualization of stitches on the DX-4000QVP, you now have a concrete idea of your stitches and designs before creating.

Whether upgrading to a computerized or a stand-up quilting machine, finding the right one that can grow with you is crucial! It can be exciting to test our skills and create projects we’ve been dreaming of, so make sure to have the suitable machine and tools on hand when you need them. If you were upgrading your machine today, which one would you choose? Let us know down below!

To find a JUKI dealer near you, visit us here today!

Beginning Your Sewing Journey with JUKI

Have you been watching sewing videos? And find yourself interested in patterns and crafts? We’re here to help you find a suitable computerized beginner machine with JUKI! Finding your first machine can be daunting, especially with all the features and products out there, but we’ve all been there!

To help you learn about machine features, accessories, and more, we’ll dive in on some key things you should keep in mind when searching. Buying a suitable machine doesn’t mean buying the most expensive machine, but instead the best machine for you.

Let’s start this guide by reviewing what a computerized sewing machine is.

A computerized machine offers the most effortless experience for the new sewist in today’s world. Ran by a computer, all functions on the sewing machine can be easily controlled. Precise and loaded with multiple features, these machines can offer unforgettable experiences.

Every feature can now be controlled with a computer. From stitch length to the order of decorative stitches you use, it is all broken down at a touch of a button. For those that find themselves growing in their sewing journey, a computerized machine is an excellent tool for having versatile options for creating.

What Stitches Do I Need?

Choosing a suitable machine will depend on what projects you’re creating! This is why it’s essential to know what type of stitches you’ll need. While computerized sewing machines come with many stitch options, below, we’re going to list some key ones you should keep an eye out for, as well as some extras!

The Must-Have’s

The Straight-Stitch: Adjustable from 0 – 5mm, the straight stitch can be used for locking stitches at 0mm or moved to 5mm for basting and gathering. The average stitch length will be 2.5 mm for most projects. Remember, you’re going to be trying your hand at different projects when you first start, so make sure you’re versatile in your projects by changing the stitch length.

Zig-Zag Stitch: Adjustable in length and width, the zigzag stitch is used for stretchy materials.

The Add-On’s

Buttonhole Stitch: An automated version of the zigzag stitch, a buttonhole stitch will secure your buttons well when creating.

Stretch or Knit Stitch: Plan on sewing with knits? The stretch or knit stitch is the ideal choice. Stretch your knits without worrying about popping stitches once stitched using the feature. Zig-zag can get the job done, but stretch or knit stretch will make the job easier.

Blind Hem Stitch: No matter your project, a blind hem stitch is a great feature, which basically hides your hems on skirts, pants, and more.

Let’s Talk Features

After you’ve decided on what stitches you’ll want, think about what features you’re looking for. Now in days, many machines offer features that make sewing easy and fast. While these aren’t needed, think of those features that will improve your experience. To start you off, we’re going to go over some top features all sewist love!

  • Lighting: make sure to find a machine with good lighting! From needle threading to seeing your stitches, we want to be able to see our project come together.
  • Needle Threader: Make life easier with these features! This feature offers you a chance to thread your needle without the work.
  • Needle Up/Down: Use the needle up/down feature when turning fabric or pivoting.
  • Adjustable Speed Control is another feature that is perfect for new sewists wanting to experiment with different speeds.
  • Moveable Needle Position: Attach zippers and top stitching easily with the ability to move the needle position.
  • Built-In Free Arm: Attach sleeves, work on tight projects, and more using a built-in free arm, usually found when removing the accessories box.

Don’t Forget Accessories and Presser Feet!

Accessories from HZL-70HW-A

Depending on what projects you plan to create, it’s best to have the right accessories and presser feet on hand. So let’s go back to that question from earlier, what do you plan on creating?

If you’re working on apparel, look for presser feet like the Zipper Presser foot, Buttonhole Presser foot, and Button Attaching Presser foot. These three accessories will save you headaches in the future and allow you to create professional-looking garments.

Quilting is easier done when you have the right feel with you. So look for presser feet like the ¼ Guide Foot and a Quilt Guide. While your machine may not come with these two accessories, they will help you when you begin creating your projects.

Are you looking to create home décor? First, search for presser feet like an Invisible Zipper Foot, Applique Presser Foot, or Gathering Foot. As long as your machine is compatible with these feet, you can now add professional finishing touches to your table mats, pillows, and more.

Our JUKI Recommendations

If you’re looking at JUKI for your first electrical and computerized sewing machine, we have some great options all beginner sewists can enjoy!

The HZL-70HW-A and HZL-80-HP-A

Compact and easy to use, the HZL-70HW-A and HZL-80-HP-A offer easy storage and travel! So take this sewing machine to your classes and retreats as you begin your journey. With features all sewists enjoy, like the automatic needle threader, needle up and down, and dropping down the feed dogs to free motion quilt, it offers the chance to grow in your skills and make your experience fun.

Equipped with 80 or 197 stitch patterns (depending on the machine you enjoy best), buttonhole patterns, and a variety of accessories, it offers beginners the opportunity to create various projects. It also includes the zipper foot, decorative stitch foot, blind stitch hem foot, and so much more, helping you build your accessory kit from the first purchase.

The HZL-LB5020 and HZL-LB5100

What we like to call a beginner’s dream, the HZL-LB Series is user-friendly and comes with a complete range of features in a small compact size! Experts and beginners can enjoy features like an automatic needle threader, stitch control, drop feed, needle up/down, and more. So whether you’re focusing on quilt creation or taking on your couch pillows, it can help your projects become a reality.

Simple in its design, the HZL-LB Series offers 20 to 100 stitch patterns (depending on whether you love the HZL-LB5020 or HZL-LB5100 more), allowing quilters and apparel sewists to create seamless designs with ease on their projects.

The HZL-G120 and HZL-G220

Moving to a fully computerized machine, we’re moving onto an option some beginners might shy from, but it does include those features they’ll love! The HZL-G Series offers you the chance to take on big projects while being easy to use and beginner friendly. It also provides a box-feed system, allowing you to create beautiful seams even at a beginner level.

Still offering those features we love like the automatic needle thread and up/down. You also get a larger sewing space and a fine overcasting stitch.

The machine also offers the chance to easily work with heavy material, like denim, and has a large variety of presser feet options for garments, quilters, and home décor sewists to enjoy when they’re creating. JUKI even offers kits compatible with this machine curated for heavy users, quilters, and those that love adding a creative touch.

When It’s Time To Buy

Decided what machine you want to get and are ready to buy? Then, contact your nearest JUKI dealer here! We always recommend finding your local dealer when you can go for two big reasons: training and support.

Finding a dealer that can assist you in setting up and finding a suitable machine is essential when you’re entering the world of sewing. In addition, these shops can offer you sewing classes, maintenance support, technical support, and much more.

Now that you have a plan for what you’re looking for, we hope this helps you find the right machine for you!

Machines to start your business today

Starting a business can be exciting! When it comes to choosing the right machines for your projects, we’re here to give some pointers on which machines work best. Whether you’re creating quilts, or dog collars, having the right machine can make your business experience easier and better. Follow along as we go over different machines in our JUKI lineup, and which small businesses would benefit from having them in their studio.

Quilting businessMiyabi J-350QVP with QTC 5

When it comes to owning a quilting business, you need the proper room for creating, and the right tools to make it fun! The machine we recommend for a quilting business is the Miyabi J-350QVP, the stand-up version. The reason this machine has gained such a popular following is because of its size options, regulated stitching, programmable LCD touch screen and so much more.

The J-350QVP offers different options in frame sizes, ranging from 5ft to 12ft. it also offers 10” height, easing the tension on your shoulders and body while you quilt. If you’re starting your business, and expect to have a large number of projects and sales going, we recommend checking out the Quilter’s Creative Touch (QTC5) add-on!

The QTC5 is a quilt automation software, which means that it will allow your quilting machine, the J-350QVP, to move all by itself and do the quilting for you! The process for adding a QTC5 to your machine is simple: you add a motor to the carriage of your machine, add dry felts to the length of your frame (this is how your machine will steer), and a tablet to host your QTC5 program.

This software already includes a variety of designs, helping you stay away from the extra work of using stencils. You can also create and purchase new designs, import them onto your program, and resize them before beginning to quilt! Whenever it’s time to start working on a project, and you’re short on time, the QTC5 is the perfect addition to building your business.

Bag businessHaruka TL-18QVP with Throat Plate for Thick Fabric and Invisible Zipper Foot

If you’re a lover of bags and find yourself creating them, you know how important it is to have the right machine to handle those thick sewing pieces and materials! One of the top recommendations for bag creation, and even apparel, is the Haruka TL-18QVP, our high-performance sewing machine. Known for its durability, power, and industrial-like strength, the TL-18QVP is the perfect machine for bag creators, quilters, and apparel creators alike.

Using the same technology found in our industrial machines, this workhorse offers a 6” high by 8.5” wide workspace and includes an extension table covering 23” in length. Its industrial box feeding system is the selling point for bag makers, creating stitching that is strong enough to go through thick materials, and still creates beautiful stitches. This machine also includes button options for the needle up/down and slow-motion stitch, these features are perfect when bag creating as they allow you to move the needle up slightly, and get those tight corners.

These machines also come equipped with a Micro lifter floating function. This addition to the TL sits on the right side of the top of the machine and it’s perfect for handling thick fabrics. Floating 0 to 2 mm above the material, it can easily handle thick seams. This feature also prevents uneven sewing on velvet, and handling stretched stitches on knit fabrics. Ideal for bag makers, you can now comfortably go over layers of vinyl, denim fabrics, or faux leather.

Lastly, the accessories available for this machine offer you a versatile selection of projects you can create. From zipper attachments to buttonhole creation, the accessories available make sure you can create a bag from the first stitch to the last on one machine.

Fashion businessSayaka DX-3000QVP with Invisible Zipper Foot and Button Attaching Presser Foot

Creating fashion has never been more fun! In a world where trends are constantly evolving and growing, creating apparel is a business that many can come to love with the right machine by their side. Our recommended machine for apparel is the Sayaka DX-3000QVP. With its wide workspace area (12” throat space), digital tension, JUKI Smart Feed, and an interchangeable single needle system, this machine offer quality stitching for your garments.

The DX-3000QVP also offers the zig-zag stitch, allowing you to create beautiful seams, attach appliques, decorative stitching and so much more, bringing your pieces to life with texture. It also comes equipped with 351 stitch patterns, allowing you to decorate your fashion pieces, and freshen up old ones you love. Using the 20 professional buttonholes available you can also add button closers for blouses, button-downs, coats, and more.

Using its intuitive touch panel and bold technology, the DX offers apparel creators a vast array of options when it comes to producing their work. The DX also offers multiple feet accessories that apparel creators shouldn’t live without! Using the right foot, like our Invisible Zipper Foot and Button Attaching Presser Foot, is one of the reasons creators enjoy using the DX-3000QVP. Accessories like these offer sewist easy solutions for what’s usually a tedious task. Simplifying the work you need to do, this machine makes running a clothing business fun and exciting!

Starting Your Business

Once you have an idea of what machine you need to begin your business, it’s time to start creating! Whether you choose to create apparel, quilts, or something different like dog collars and raincoats, having the right machine will always make your work easier.

Are you ready to start your business? Learn more about how JUKI can help you here!

JUKI Spotlight: Designing with Kiana Bonollo!

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!

Photo Credit: Kiana Bonollo

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.

Photo Credit: Kiana Bonollo

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.

Photo Credit: Kiana Bonollo

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!

Check out more from Kiana below!

Learn more about Kiana here!

Etsy Shop: Click here to visit!

Instagram: Click here to check out her latest projects!

Tiktok: Click here to see behind the scenes!