Decided to buy a new machine anyway…

Sewing Machine

After all the angst brought on by my recent sewing machine mishaps (my fault entirely), I’ve decided to purchase a new sewing machine. Even though my Singer Quantum Stylist is working just fine. I bought the Stylist about 2 years ago, really as an interim machine, when I managed to destroy my HZL-600 by selecting a zig-zag stitch with a straight stitch presser foot in place.

I decided to move forward and buy a Juki Exceed HZL-300. I admit I really love Juki machines. Jukis are powerful, and even the home sewing models are built around the specs of their industrial machines.

Some reasons, i.e., features of the Juki that are not available on the Stylist (or most mid-priced machines):

  • The presser-foot tension on the Juki is adjustable. Probably 75% of the fabrics I sew are knits. Adjusting the presser-foot tension removes about 50% of the agony of sewing knit fabric! And of course makes sewing thin or thick fabrics much easier.
  • It has a box feed. Which means it moves the fabric under the foot uniformly on each side of the needle. On the Stylist, I often get pressure compression lines on the fabric to each side of the needle and feed dogs..
  • The upper thread/bobbin thread tension is excellent and dependably adjustable. Over the 55 years I’ve been sewing, I’ve had 5 Singers, and they have all had tension issues, including the Stylist. I’m a picky sewist, this has made me a bit nutsy from time to time with the Stylist.
  • The bobbin winder operates on a mechanism separate from from stitching motor. The bobbin load is glorious!
  • The buttonhole foot is connected to the machine by a plug-in sensor. Not by pulling down a flimsy foot that stops and starts the buttonhole stitching.
  • And then there’s the stitching – there is no comparison. The Juki stitches are beautiful.

Comparing price: the HZL-300 is currently $575, on SewingMachinesPlus, and it includes 100 needles and a passel of bobbins. The Stylist is priced at $500. I buy all my machines from this company – they have terrific prices and service.

My HZL-600 included 12 specialty presser feet, including a walking foot, which I still have. All set.

A note on the Exceed series, 300, 400, and 600. They are all the same machine, the difference being the number of available stitch patterns. I think 105 is enough for me 🙂

I’m excited! Coco

the last of the lizards…and that machine

Good morning! well, I finished the last garment in my 8-yard lizard fabric saga. I really love sewing this fabric, and the print is so much fun. Back story – I ordered 4 yards in the green color way, and 4 yards in a mocha color way. and JoAnn sent me all 8 yards in green. Refund, but I still had 8 yards of the same fabric!

My last post was all lizards, and this is the final make with the last yard or so. It’s one of my favorite combos, the Cali Faye Gardenia dress, with neckline and sleeves from New Look 6323. This neckline is just so gratifying…

A note on the neckband: I applied it twice, because the first one gaped. This is 100% cotton jersey – without a spandex element, I had to shorten the band. Which is OK 🙂 my seam ripper enjoys its place of precedence in the sewing room.

On another note, I recently posted (and deleted) a tale of woe regarding my sewing machine. The stitching rate had slowed to almost nothing, and I thought my power supply or presser foot sensor had failed. I got out my backup machine and ordered a new primary. But for some reason, before disposing of the faltering machine, I plugged the whole thing in once again. With coffee and morning brightness of mind, I found that the speed setting on the machine was set at its lowest point! I never touch this control, who knows how I managed to change it.

Anyway, machine saved and order cancelled. Whew. On to other projects with a lot of gratitude and humility!

Bye for now – Coco

One of those clean-out days

Do you do this? It takes me a while, but over time I get ‘restless’ with things in my closet and remnants in my stash. Time to purge…

Don’t be shocked – the plaid rya coat is really pretty, but the colors and plaid are so far off my palette and print wheels that I was actually uncomfortable having the jacket in the closet.

More – somewhere in the pile is a red/white Kaufman seersucker Patrica Rose dress that really bugged me, even as I was sewing it! I know I’d never wear it.

Also four rayon knit tops that pill so badly around the neckline that I’m disgusted and will never sew rayon knit jersey again.

Also in there are things never worn – a cordoroy blue Gerard Manteau, a lime green fleece jacket.

And the entire content of my remnant stash bin!!

Feels better…Ciao, Coco

Dueling sergers

I have two sergers and am replacing one! Juki MO-644D v.s. Janome 8002d.

I’ve had my Janome for about 8 years, and after trying other brands and models, I love it. In fact, I just ordered a second one, for more than I paid for my first, because it’s getting hard to find.


At the top, Juki, the threads from the cone to the tension bar. This stand swivels at will, and often catch fabric in it, disaster. The thread goes to open threading holes below the stand, and the thread jumps out like crazy. Maintaining tension is a challenge.

Janome has a much lower and stable stand, leading to closed thread bar holes above the tension dials. No problem ever!

The Juki has a top cutter blade. I often get chunks of fabric in the seam following the cutting. I think it’s a fabric feed issue.

Whereas, the Janome has a lower blade, which seems to feed better and give a clean cut. It’s also easy to replace.

Let’s talk about where the critical adjustment dials reside. On the Juki, they are inside the machine housing. Other than sticking my finger in the air and making a wish, the settings are elusive at best.

The Janome dials are external and very dependable. So much less angst, and in line with what I expect to do when prepping for a fabric.

So, end of story, I am donating the Juki machine to One Heart Woman and Child, complete with presser feet, user manual, cord, and so on.

My placement, a second Janome 8002D, is on order with an Etsy vendor. If you would like this machine, look now – it’s unavailable on the sites from which I would normally order.

Ciao! Coco

Love your machine – Sergers

Absolutely indispensable – a serger. Forget pinking shears and overlocking/zigzag stitches on a sewing machine. Nothing takes the place of a serger for fabric and seam edges. IMHO, a good serger is a great investment in sewing satisfaction and professional finishes.

They work so well – powerful little beasts – that it’s easy to forget that they need care and feeding just like a sewing machine. So, some tips from a lover of a good serger.

  • Simple stuff – clean it. I use both brushes and cotton swabs to get into every nook and cranny. Have you used it for a few hours or on a linty project? Clean it. I actually clean mine for every project, and I do recommend this. BTW, cotton swaps are great for cleaning the bobbin race on your sewing machine.
  • Intuitive stuff – oil it. That machine is pumping its heart out and has so many moving parts- oil doesn’t really last very long. Your serger will love you back for a little oil. I do this frequently, and I use a wonderful oil pen.Varieties are available, Sewing Machines Plus, Wawak, etc., all refillable. They have skinny needles for easy application. Just be sure to use sewing machine oil!
  • Easily overlooked – the needles. Serger needles take a beating, and they should be replaced! Most of the time I have a 90/14 in my sergers, but have changed them for different threads and fabrics. My choice: Klasse universal needles – again, MHO, do not spend money on a serger-specific needle!
  • Don’t drop a needle into the machine while replacing it! I have a nifty brush with a helper-hole on the end, I think it came with my Juki:
  • The tricky bit can be threading the loopers. Try a serger needle threader! it goes in and out all those elusive spaces.
  • Deep cleaning – About once a month I remove all the threads from my sergers and give them a deep cleaning. I’ve had mine for years, and I think a little love goes a long way. My machines, and I recommend them both, mid-price, heavy, quiet, obedient! and old friends. I have tried air-threading machines and ones with dial-tension. I like these. The tension knobs facilitate nuance changes, really important for the loopers and needles:
  • Last thought – cutting blades. When is the last time you replaced these? They are like scissors, but in one project do more than a pair of scissors over many years. And they are easy and fairly inexpensive to replace.

Bye for now – off to a project! Coco

Time out for a cold!

pillow Awful, right?

Finally after 8 days, I feel like I am emerging from this nastiness. Just enough to get going on a project that has been haunting me for a while.

I have 276 patterns! and only care about a fraction of them. They’re overflowing my  storage space and making me uncomfortable. Why do we hang on to things for so long?

I have my entire pattern inventory on Evernote, so today I went through it. I moved 172 patterns to a ‘Trashed’ folder, 2 to a ‘re-order’ folder, and left the balance.

Why trashed? style, size, indifference. Reorder? only two, loved, but the pattern is too big, and I don’t feel like re-drafting it. The rest,  much loved and not going anywhere.

I printed the list of my ‘trashed’ patterns, and tomorrow I will followup with a real clean-up in the loft. Meanwhile, it’s just me and the Kleenex, baby…

Hope no one else has a cold!! Coco