Posted in Tutorials

Picking The Perfect Sewing Machine

Are you trying to pick the perfect sewing machine?  I am sharing my sewing machine journey, what machine I use now, and how YOU can pick the perfect sewing machine for YOU.

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My Sewing Machine Journey

My First Sewing Machine

When I started sewing, I had NO idea what to look for in a sewing machine.  My budget felt huge at the time ($300.00).  I went to me local JoAnn Fabric store and got what the sales lady recommended.  It was a an H Class 100Q Husqvarna and I loved it!  It had everything I needed as a beginning quilter.

H Class Sewing Machine

The more I pieced and quilted, and the more I learned about sewing machines I learned of a few features my machine did not have that I desperately wanted.  Namely:

  • Automatic thread cutter
  • A warning when my bobbin was running low
  • A larger throat space to make quilting easier.

It was time to upgrade, but I had NO IDEA what machine to get.  Everyone was telling me, “Try this one! I love it!”  or “No, this one!  It’s amazing!”  I’ll be honest, I kept hearing people say Bernina’s were the standard in sewing machines and I saw a quilter I love being advertised as a Bernina Brand Ambassador.  So . . .  I got a Bernina.

 

DOWNLOAD YOUR CHECKLIST: PICKING YOUR PERFECT SEWING MACHINE

My Bernina Sewing Machine

This was the Bernina that I purchased.  It is a special Quilters Edition 570 and the cost was a whopping $5,000.00.  I got a bit of a discount from a local quilt shop at the time.  It runs for $5,399.00.  I was THRILLED, and wanted to love it because everyone said I should.  And dang, it was not cheap.  It DID have some of the bells and whistles I wanted.  But I’ll admit, when I sewed on it, it wasn’t smooth.  I purchased some add-ons and the prices were pretty high.  The machine was fine, but it was not the love story I dreamed of.

 

My Bernina QE570 and Why I got rid of it

 

Why I Switched

One day I had a friend over who is a quilter.  When she saw my sewing machine, she commented on the throat size.  I don’t remember the words exactly, but it made me look into similar priced sewing machines and what I could get for the price.  I had also heard another friend talk about her sewing machine and how it sewed “like butter.”  I knew I wanted a machine that was a better fit for me. DISCLAIMER: I know a LOT of people who love Bernina.  There is nothing wrong with the company or machine.  It is a matter of personal preference.  And it turns out my preference is not for Bernina.

But what machine DID I want?  I looked heavily at Juki, Janome, and Baby Lock.  All three had great reviews, so I went to some local quilt shops (and some not so local – hello road trip!).  It was important to me to sit down and try some machines to see what I liked.  What felt good.  How would it be to use the machine?  What was included?  How much would is cost to add extras in the future?

Having purchased a machine before, I knew what I wanted.  And I found it all PLUS some in the Baby Lock Crescendo Machine.

My Perfect Machine – Baby Lock Crescendo

  • The first thing I noticed about the Crescendo is how smooth it sewed.  I finally could say, “It’s as smooth as butter.”  That was an odd thing I really wanted.
  • It is SO easy to thread the needle of the Crescendo.  My Bernina had an automatic needle threader but I honestly found it so tricky I always threaded my needle myself.

    Baby Lock Needle Threader

  • The throat space was noticeably bigger than my Bernina.  I have my two machines next to each other here.  You can see the difference.  But to get technical, the measurements are as follows:
    • Bernina  – 8.5 inches from needle to machine.
    • Baby Lock – 11.25 inches from needle to machine.
       

  • The Crescendo has this amazing technology.   No need to worry about sewing a straight line or marking your fabric.  I even have used Cluck Cluck Sew’s washi tape to help with straight lines.  However, the Baby Lock Crescendo makes using any of these no longer needed.  I can simply hit the Laser Button and a red laser light appears and shows me where to sew for a perfect straight line.  I can even adjust where the line goes if I want to to be ¼”, for example.
  • Sound.  The Crescendo is super quiet.  It is smooth and silent and I love that.
  • Digital Dual Feed System.  This means my fabric is being evenly ‘fed’ to my sewing machine.  No long and short stitches.  There’s no slippage and you get perfect control of your stitches.
  • Separate Bobbin Threader.  Have you ever been sewing and you need to unthread your machine to wind a new bobbin?  No need with the Baby Lock Crescendo.  There is a separate spool of thread and winder so you never need to unwind your machine to wind a bobbin.  Game changer! 

    Baby Lock Crescendo Quilters Candy
    Notice the Baby Lock Crescendo has two spools of thread? The thread at the top of the machine is always there to fill a bobbin. The larger thread to the right of the machine is always threaded to sew with. You don’t need to unwind your machine to thread your bobbin.

 

  • The Baby Lock has these cute sad faces when something isn’t working.  They pop up and tell you what you need to fix.  Sometimes it’s the small things.  And I absolutely love this about the Crescendo.

    Baby Lock Crescendo

  • Included accessories.  The Crescendo included some of the presser feet I had to purchase at an additional cost for the Bernina QE570, namely the 1/4″ foot that I use every time I piece.
  • Cost.  I knew I could sell my Bernina and pay for the Baby Lock Crescendo.  Here are the two suggested retail prices from each company’s website:
    • Bernina QE 570 – $5,399.00.
    • Baby Lock Crescendo – Around $5,000.00
      • For the same cost, I felt like I was getting a much moue user friendly, bigger machine, plus it had cooler features.  I was sold.

What Is Your Perfect Machine?

This is my story, but we each look for different things in a sewing machine.  What’s important to you in a sewing machine?

I created a checklist that you can download for free.  Look over the features I listed.  Mark the ones that are important to you.  There’s also a place for notes.  Take notes when you look for a sewing machine.  And if possible, try them out first.  CLICK HERE to get the free Sewing Machine Checklist guide.

How to Pick The Perfect Sewing Machine


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Posted in Tutorials

Organize Your Creative Space

Want to organize your creative space?  Guest blogger Amarilys Henderson, a top teacher on Skillshare and fabric designer is sharing some free and amazing tips to get your creative space working for you.


Hello! I’m Amarilys, a watercolor artist focusing on surface design, and I want to help you organize your creative space.

Amarilys Henderson

What’s In The Way of Your Creativity?

Have you been creative all your life? I have.  Have you given your craft as much time as life permits?  I have.  Have you felt stuck knowing how to get into that happy, creative groove on a regular basis?  I have.  My creative passion felt elusive until I put a few things in order.

It turned out some things were in the way. And much to my surprise, they really were actual things.

The THINGS

Being creative means we enjoy seeing creativity done right. We see its beauty everywhere. There are things we collect that ignite excitement and awe in us, things we purchase with great hopes and joy. These objects are wonderful sparks for our imagination, but they’re not a kindling fire.

The only things that need your continued attention are your tools. Don’t worry, I’m not here to force you to Marie Kondo your every possession and bid it farewell.  On the contrary, I think it’s important to keep your quirky, sentimental, stunning, and varied collection of sparklers. But keep your sparks accessible.  Not visible.  Otherwise you’ll quickly feel overwhelmed or fighting for faith that you’ll ever create something so high.  It hurts your creativity to have a perfect pulse on what others have made and what you have NOT made.

How do I do it?

When you approach your creative space, be it an office, a studio, a den, or the basement, it should carry the fresh aroma of your next beautiful brush strokes or stitches.  It may not be as tidy as mine in this photo (ahem), but it feels peaceful and ready.

Organize Your Craft Room

 

Organize Your Space

They say new runners should put their sneakers right at the foot of the bed in order to be mentally ready for their morning jog.  You should be no different. Set up your space for your next rendezvous at the end of your current one. Fill that bobbin, thread that needle, and yes, clean up those scraps. Have everything out, eagerly awaiting for your return.

Organized Craft Room

 

Prioritize Your Creative Space by Reach

Sit in your chair and imagine circles around you. Your most important tools should be at your fingertips while everything else is pushed outward.  Prioritize not only by frequency of use (hello, seam-ripper!) but also place things that you’d like to use more often near you.  This was you are prioritizing your dreams, reinforcing your goals.

How to organize your craft room.

Arrange Your Creative Space by Hierarchy

“But how do I organize so many scraps??”, my mom often exclaims.  Mom, I hear ya.  But you need to get real honest with yourself.  There are several ways to organize but no matter which you choose, it won’t be perfect.  Select the one that suits you best.

  1. Grouping your materials is step one.
  2. Arranging them in a way that makes sense to you follows.

– For those who are project focused: Make each project its own little package. Group your thread, pattern, fabric, and all necessary tools into bins by project.

– For those who are visually stimulated: Ah, the beautiful color route. Grouping tools by kind and then arranging objects by color might be that needed eye-candy you need to get going!

– For those who are practical to the bone: When we don’t have time for fluff and want to get right to the good stuff ASAP, organize by kind and arrange by size.  A medium, 3 point, zigzag thingamajigger? Got it! Stat!

– For those who like to dabble:  You may resonate with the “jack of all trades” title, in which case you can simply group your items by kind. Perhaps you create different carts for each

But before we talk organization, you’ll want to better pinpoint your Studio Style! This fun quiz will help you do that. You might really resonate with your label and you’ll find other spaces that would inspire you easily.

My Creative Style Quiz

An Added Bonus

When you take my ‘Studio Style Quiz’ you also receive free access to my Creative Space class on Skillshare.  I share over an hour of lessons to help you continue on your journey to make your creative space serve you fully. Your creative soul deserves to be nurtured and catered to. It’s only wise (and even fun!) to invest the time in taking a hard look at your stashes, piles, and (cough) collections to squeeze out only those things that really serve your purpose.

Free Skillshare Class

Take the quiz now and let me know below what Studio Style result you got.

Studio Style Quiz

 

TAKE QUIZ HERE


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