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I do love machine embroidery but I appreciate that it is not for everyone for various reasons. I was intrigued therefore when I was browsing Jaycotts web site and came across these special machine feet.

These machine attachments are perfect for adding circular embelishing to clothing, table wear and anything else you can think of. They make beautiful quilts and make circular applique incredibly simple.
I also like the idea of circular pockets and felt coasters and tablemats.
This is the BROTHER CIRCULAR EMBROIDERY ATTACHMENT  (There is a video showing it in use on the above link.)

This BERNINA CIRCULAR EMBROIDERY ATTACHMENT comes in two models dependant on what machine you have, so if you have a problem deciding which is the best for your particular machine then do telephone Jaycotts.

What do you get in the box? The Brother set comprises of the attachment itself plus the screws ,a quarter circle template, a braiding foot and a cording foot as well as the manual.


The Bernina set comprises of the circular attachment, the necessary screws and a screwdriver as well as the manual.

I am using the Bernina attachment. The two brands work in the same way, but you do need to use the correct one for your machine.

You need to back the area you are going to work on with an iron on tear away stabiliser . Gunold Iron On tear Away Stabiliser is ideal. If you do not stabilise your fabric then the circle will pucker as you sew and you will not achieve a perfect circle.

Attach your circular attachment to your sewing machine and change your foot depending on what you want to achieve.
I found it easier to keep an eye on the stitching by using an Open Toe Foot
Another nice foot to have is a Braiding FOOT this enables you to attach braid or ribbon to your embelishing, or why not try a Cording foot  You may already have these feet in your sewing box, so check before buying new ones.

Keep an eye on the stitching as it progresses and make sure that the fabric doesn't bunch up under the foot. The Stabiliser will help to prevent this from happening.
You do not need a machine with fancy decorative stitches, you can obtain really nice results just with your utility stitches - zig zag,blind hem stitch, all make very suitable stitches to choose.
One thing you must do though is to test that your chosen stitch is not too wide for your machine foot.

There is a technical formula for calculating the number of pattern repeats needed to complete a perfect circle but you can do it by eye. Stop sewing when it looks like you are a couple of pattern repeats away from closing the circle and either measure each repeat and the gap left and use that to work out if you need to lengthen or shorten the stitch length to finish the circle, or just do it by eye.

These are two practice pieces I made. It is important to practice a little before  trying to go straight onto sewing a garment or using your expensive material. After a short practice session you will be able to use it with ease.
You need to make sure that you have enough stabiliser - if necessary use two layers, and you need to make sure that your stitches work well for your design and that you are happy with the effect, and that's all.

I found that a nice effect was obtained by sewing a circle with an ordinary straight stitch, carefully cut it out and use it as an applique. Do not move the settings so that when you start sewing again you will be in the correct place - right at the edge of the circle.   Stitches to use to attach your applique include  a blanket stitch, satin stitch or just a zig zag.  You can add more rows of decorative stitches as wanted.
You could also add embroidery or just a button to the centre of the design

This is my applique in progress. I have already sewn the circle in place using an open toe foot, and I am now adding another row of decorative  stitching.

This is the finished applique. It would look fabulous on table linen or cushions. You can of course add more circles and have them overlapping.There are no rules!

These are my test pieces completed, I am going to keep them for reference. It really is very good practice to make some test pieces then you can experiment with different stitches and threads.

I was browsing online looking for ideas when I came across this 1960's dress and it has given me some ideas of placement for circular embroidery or appliqué.

This attachment would make a really great present for somebody or a very nice treat for yourself, it is incredibly easy to obtain some really nice effects with it.

Do contact Jaycotts to check the compatibility with your sewing machine. Contact Jaycotts This is a fabulous attachment and you will not be disappointed.

Happy sewing round and round in circles
#sewing #sewingmachine #circularembroidery #embelishing #bernina #brother 

Posted By Blogger to #SewAngelicThreads on 12/13/2017 07:53:00 pm
I recently spent a day instore at Jaycotts finding out from owners of this wonderful machine just what it is that excites them so much.

What became obvious very quickly was the tremendous amount of enthusiasm and passion for this machine shown by both owners and staff, so I had to find out more!

I interviewed a group of  Jaycotts customers who all own this fabulous machine and have put their comments and thoughts together so that you can see it though their eyes

Quilt by Sue from Liberty Bell Chester
Ann has been sewing all her life and has not had the VQ2 for very long so she is still learning. She loves the electronic side of it, in particular the extra-large colour touchscreen which is so easy to use
All Ann needs to do is to simply touch the screen to edit stitches, customise the settings, change to one of 13 built in languages and set the clock. She also loves the on screen video tutorials and built in tutorials and help guides which recommend the perfect settings for her project.
Another feature which she loves is the lighting. This machine has ultra-bright LED lighting giving a crisp natural light, it is also adjustable, so it can  turned down or brighter as you require .The lighting is not just in the needle area as usual though - this machine goes better than that as the whole arm area is illuminated.

The VQ2  with quilting by Elaine
As soon as Elaine saw the VQ2 she knew instantly that she had to have it. She loves the way the fabric is fed through easily which was instantly apparent when she went for her demonstration.
Elaine recommends that when doing free motion quilting you practise first on a small sandwich of your quilting fabric, wadding and backing until you are happy with the effect you want to create.

Inside jaycotts 

The VQ2 has something called ICAPS, which is the fabric sensor. This senses the thickness of the fabric and adjusts automatically.
Please note that when your machine is delivered this is in the OFF position so you need to turn it on before use.
 This system helps to ensure a consistent stitch length on all fabric thicknesses because it keeps the presser foot pressure consistent even when sewing over bulky seams - jeans for example. If you have ever hemmed a pair of jeans you will know how difficult it is to keep the stitching even when crossing a seam, this machine eliminates that problem, but dont just think  jeans; curtains, home accessories, wool coats all can have very bulky seams so this machine comes into its own no matter what you are working on.
The VQ2 has a stunning 473 built in stitches.including 14 styles of buttonholes, extra wide decorative stitches (up to 40mm wide) crazy quilting and much more.
Another feature loved by the group is that the machine has a totally separate bobbin winder so that you are able to wind a bobbin whilst the machine is in use. It is actually a bit more than that because the machine has two motors, one for sewing and a separate one for the bobbin winder so it is is easy to use both at the same time.

This is the delightful Vivienne holding one of her inspiring quilts.Vivienne's only regret is that she didn't get a VQ2 sooner!
There are certain features which are vital to quilters and this machine has all of them. It comes with a range of standard accessory feet all neatly stored in an accessory compartment in the machine itself, so everything is conveniently at hand. Two of the feet are the free-motion open toe quilting foot and a 1/4" quilting foot with guide.Vivienne explained that because it is so easy to program the seam width accurately she can concentrate on the design without worrying that her seam width might not be the perfect 1/4"
The standard J foot is also longer than normal making for very smooth sewing

Another feature which is indispensable is the large sewing table. This does not come as standard with the machine, it needs to be purchased  separately, but comes highly recommended by everybody.

Another popular feature loved by all our quilters and sewers is the Lockstitch key. At the touch of a button stitches are secured at the beginning and end of a seam and the loose threads cut. A lockstitch is an automatic securing stitch, so at the beginning and end of a seam it will sew three back stitches before moving forwards to complete the seam. There is also the option of a spot lockstitch which sews three stitches on the same spot. This has a lot of applications for example securing darts, pleats, top stitching and many more.

Vivienne demonstrating how easy it is to position even the largest quilt 

As you can see the quilt is highlighted by the LED lighting and the large table supports the weight of the quilt so that you do not have to  struggle to manage a weighty project.
If when you are sewing you come to a part where you need to slow the machine down, that too is very simple, there is a slide speed control conveniently situated in the centre of the machine where you can adjust the speed whilst you are sewing.

The VQ2 has a large selection of buttonhole stitches as I explained previously. But one amazing feature is that it not only stitches backwards and forwards, it sews sideways and diagonally too! can you imagine the possibilities which are opened to you with this feature. Not only can you change direction whilst you are sewing, the function means that extra wide decorative stitches can be sewn with ease. You can also customise and store your own combinations and preferences by using the large LCD touch screen
 This makes embellishing your work so much more exciting and interesting. Imagine the possibilities - you could add borders to home-ware and bedding and add  decorative borders to garments, such as skirts, coat sleeves, and combined with decorative and heirloom stitches you can create beautiful blouses and lingerie

This is John from Jaycotts and he is fitting a motor-driven walking foot. This is actually an advanced dual-purpose drive foot which allows you to sew an incredible array of fabrics with ease. This again comes as an extra but is highly recommended.

This foot is unlike any other walking foot because it is belt driven which makes it far more efficient and effortless.
It allows you to sew multiple layers with complete ease, and handles varying weights of fabrics effortlessly.
It can sew different weights of fabrics together without the top layer stretching out of shape  as often happens no matter how secure your tacking stitches are.
Stretch fabrics, silk, bulky wool are all sewn together with no effort whatsoever

This is a quilt by Flo in the process of being made .
Another "nice to have" accessory is the open toe dual feed foot. This has all the functionality of the dual feed foot included with the added advantage of providing extra visibility to your project if required. It features a large opening to accommodate a wide range of left and right needle positions.


Diane came into store to look at a different machine but John from Jaycotts offered her a demo of the VQ2 and she instantly fell in love with it.She loves hers because the manual and sewing guides are so easy to follow and she finds that she is learning something new every day. She finds it easy to thread and its not surprising because it has automatic electronic needle threading at the touch of a button! So there is absolutely no need to struggle threading the needle - the machine does it for you.
Another feature which she loves is the extra long arm (11 1/4") which gives her all the space she needs for extra large quilting, clothing and home accessory projects.
She loves the basting (tacking) stitch too which I must admit grabbed my attention. The stitches pull out easily just as in hand basting.
Diane makes Historical costumes and finds this feature so very useful.It will even tack zips in place ready for permanent stitching ( yes the machine is a "normal" sewing machine too)

This is one of the beautiful Historical Costumes made by Diane, showing the versatility of the machine.

add Prym comment for me and jaycotts only - dont send pic to Melane

Jan was inspired by India to make this Ganesh cushion cover, creating the embroidery on her brother Innov-is V5 which is an embroidery machine.

She uses her machines to make clothing and household items. She came into store open minded about which machine she wanted and after demonstrations by John she fell in love with her new machine

She also owns a brother coverstitch machine and produces excellent results with it.
Jan has use the Brother aftercare in Jaycotts which is free to customers who have purchased their machine from them. She highly recommends the sessions because she always learns something new and goes away with lots of fresh ideas.
These days are also invaluable for those who  would like extra information or tuition.

Verona has this to say about her machine "Thinking about it and why I love it, it is so clever.The threading is so quick and easy. I particularly like the basting stitch as I make period costume, and because they are flat-lined it used to take ages to hand baste the lining to the fabric before the gown is sewn together. Now i whizz around the pieces in minutes."
The Pivot function is something which everybody mentioned because the presser foot automatically lifts as the needle remains lowered for fast and easy fabric manipulation.

"Quilting on the machine is a dream with the long arm but also with the extension table there is so much  room to move the quilt around "

"I have loads of exciting ideas bubbling around in my head, this machine is so inspirational"

Verona wearing one of her magnificent gowns

Verona belongs to a group called Heritage Costumes .There are four ladies who make the costumes using Brother machines from Jaycotts. There are nine members in all who dress in period costume and give interactive, fun and very informative talks.Watch out for more about them next year.
The  fact that this machine is used to make such beautiful historically correct garments is proof of its versatility wouldn't you agree.


Elaine is passionate about her VQ2
 "A main reason for buying the VQ2 as a Quilter is the harp/right of needle space. It is both wide and deep, necessary for quilting king size quilts which I have struggled to do at home with a smaller harp space.
 I have also found as each sewing project requires a new skill to be mastered, the VQ2 has ease of use second to none. This makes each achievement doubly confidence boosting and encourages the next new skill to be tried. The huge array of stunning decorative stitches simply spoils me for choice, it is like having jewels. The 'toys are enabling embellishments I have simply not been able to make before as sewing machine technology was not so so sophisticated or affordable .
I was amazed at the ease of the Couching, however I was overjoyed at the Free Motion with Metallic thread !! (I used Madeira textured from Jaycotts ) on the Brother King Spool Thread stand. Used in conjunction with a Titanium needle I found success. Metallic thread does require slower sewing speed but with the VQ2 I found the smoothness of foot control with the Multi Function Foot Controller and the response of the speed controller on the VQ2 enabled the perfect balance. Now I simply need to practice to improve"

Suzie Snowflake by Elaine 
Elaine again demonstrates the versatility of her  VQ2 by producing this beautiful fully dressed reindeer on her machine

Biased About Trumpets by Elaine

Elaine has further demonstrated the versatility of the VQ2 by making such an interesting and diverse
collection of quilting and sewing. Take this cushion cover for example. She loves the way that it handles multiple layers with ease and the decorative stitches are just perfect.She has a point, if you look closely at the cushion cover in the picture above you can see that each fold and pleat is stitched with a decorative stitch. Notice how beautifully even they are? That is the ICAPS sensor working at its best. It is detecting changes in thickness and adapting the foot pressure accordingly without you even realising it. All you notice are perfect results every time

Quilt by Elaine 

This is a fine example of some free motion stitching. Now, some machines cannot cope with metallic thread, but this one does it beautifully! A nice extra would be a thread tree to raise the spools of thread because metallic thread performs better when it is vertical - the thread performs better when raised as it has more space to unwind and therefore it is less likely to break.

Elaine's quilting 

I always find the backs of quilts fascinating don't you? All the quilts I looked at had fabulous backs, with some featuring  patchwork on the back as well as the front.

Elaine's cushion cover 

The centre of the cushion was hand stitched which gives another aspect of quilting on the VQ2 in that it can be combined with other methods to produce the look you desire.
Elaine also pointed out that the VQ2 does not allow you to make mistakes which could damage the machine. For example threading has to be done correctly and if you get it wrong it will tell you, it will also alert you if the bobbin thread is getting low etc

Flo's Jelly Roll Quilt

Finally, this quilt was made by Flo and you can actually see it being made on the pictures above.
Flo used the Direct Dual feed foot and the fabric sensor and said that she just loves the way that the fabric does not pucker at all.
She also reminded me that the machine has extra long feed dogs for superior handling of multiple layers of fabric.

I had an amazing day learning about this machine and I hope that you are inspired to contact Jaycotts to ask for more information regarding current prices and to book a few demonstration.
It really re

The Brother Innov-is VQ2 is available from Jaycotts.co.uk and you can go straight to the link on the web site by clicking here The Brother Innov-is VQ2 at Jaycotts





Having sold and serviced sewing machines for over 30 years I can honestly say the biggest headaches for customers are actually caused by mis-threading of the sewing machine!


Everyone does it from time to time whether beginner or expert - novice or sewing teacher 

Particularly with modern sewing machines that have an 'easy threading' take-up lever


the problem occurs when thread doesn't go all the way through the slot to the actual 'eye'

this causes the sewing machine to 'jam' or lock almost right away


the problem can be further exacerbated because it appears to be coming from underneath - the bobbin area

diligent customers then strip out the bobbin area, clean it, put it all back and try again (never thinking to re-thread the top thread) - but still a jam occurs: the top thread is still not correctly in the take-up lever!



Another threading issue is to do with the presser foot  - I call it the birds nest effect!


When threading a sewing machine its important to have the presser foot in the UP position

The reason in this opens the machine tensions discs - you can't really see the discs but its important because when the discs are open the thread can go right in and be gripped properly when sewing 

If you accidentally thread the machine with the presser foot down, the discs are closed and the top thread isn't gripped so when sewing you get an unholy mess on the underside of the fabric !


From there we move on to thread - a big subject!

Its surprising how many customers will pay a considerable sum for a lovely new sewing machine and then use old or cheap thread.

Its a bit like buying a new car then topping up the oil with old stuff from out of the shed !


Poor quality thread can break easily or can drag or snag as its sewing, causing tension problems, thread jams and other frustrating issues.

A quality thread such as Gutermann is smoother, stronger and actually gives off less lint, meaning it not only sews better and makes for stronger more durable seams - its actually better for the long term running of your sewing machine 😁


 So to sum up if you're having problems with your sewing machine - first have a break, maybe with your beverage of choice, then go back to your machine and take off the top thread.
Then following the points above

  1. use a reel of quality thread such as Gutermann Sew All
  2. make sure the thread has gone all the way into the take-up lever 'eye'
  3. have the presser foot raised

Hope this helps  

Best Regards



This is a Jaycotts.co.uk post using Simplicity 8391
This is such an easy outfit to make, with or without embroidery. It is suitable for beginners upwards.

Skills learned

  • Centred Zip
  • Pintucks
  • Pressing
  • Positioning of embroidery/applique 

When I first saw this pattern I wasn't sure if it would suit me or not. Wrong! I decided as soon as I tried it on that I love this outfit.It is perfect for holidays, flattering and easy to sew. I like the 3/4 length wide trousers, they are cool to wear in the sun - I like to cover up mostly and I want garments which are easy to wear and light to pack.
I have paired the outfit with a pair of navy wedges.

The pattern is by Simplicity and is available to purchase from Jaycotts Simplicity 8391  In the envelope are patterns for a top, skirt, pants and shorts, everything you need for your holiday in fact.
The fabric is from Minerva Crafts and is a linen look Cotton, Linen look Cotton fabric This fabric is cool to wear and very easy to sew.
The pattern shows the garments made up in cotton trimmed with eyelet fabric or lace, but I wanted to use embroidery on mine - of course!

If you are adding embroidery by hand or machine, or applique, you need to position it correctly onto your garment.
I chose a rope design which I wanted to add to the top and the trouser pockets. This is a very simple design from Ann the Gran.com some of the designs are free, others you need to pay for. Those of  you with a brother embroidery machine will know that brother have designs to download in addition to those stored on the machine itself.
I want to have a design running the length of the pocket so my first step was to measure the length needed and choose my design to fit ,tweaking the actual size on my machine settings.
you will notice that I have marked the cutting line but not finished cutting out.This just makes it easier to hoop.

mark the centre of the pocket and then mark where you want the centre of the embroidery to sit. I use a hole strengthener for this as they are easy to see and easy to remove.
I also take my tailors chalk and a ruler and gently mark a line parallel to the edge so that I could position the embroidery in line with the edge.

There are a lot of stabilisers to choose from. For this project I used GUNOLD Gunold easy tear stabiliser  with a temporary spray adhesive.
The area to be embroidered is to small to fill the hoop so I took great care to ensure that it was firmly attached to the stabiliser. I used a few links at the very edge in addition to the spray glue.
I used the embroidery hoop guide to position my fabric in exactly the right position, with my fabric markings matching the lines on the guide exactly. The circle is placed exact centre.

Once my machine is set up I can check that the needle is in the correct position and if it is the circle can be removed and the embroidery done. If not then the fabric or needle position needs moving a bit until you are satisfied that the embroidery will be in the correct position.
I chose a Brother Country thread 000 which is an off-white. Brother EmbroideryThreads  There are many more colours in stock than there are on the web site  so do ask if you have a particular shade in mind. Or better still call in for a visit!

I made sure that I altered the direction of my design so that it faced in the correct direction on both pockets.

I then did the whole procedure again and embroidered the sleeves.
Remove the stabiliser from all the pieces when the designs are done.

I am not going to talk too much about constructing the top as it really is simple to put together. The instructions and very clear. I cut out a size 12 which fit me quite loosely, perfect for summer garments. Please do take your own measurements and compare them with the pattern envalope . There is a really great size guide for patterns on Jaycotts web site Size guide for patterns
This photograph is showing the neck band being pinned in place before sewing.

To make the little loop which closes the back I used this fabulous product, it makes turning looks so easy. It is the Prym Turning set and I promise you that you will love it and will be looking for excuses to add loops to lots of garments.
Finish the top according to the instructions, but if you get stuck let me know and I will help you.

I want to concentrate on trousers because so many people are scared of them. I chose this pattern because the trousers are loose fitting and easy to construct. You may need to merge the pattern sizes from one size to another if for example you have size 14 waist and 16 hips etc. This is perfectly permissable and will ensure a great fit. I like my waist band to have a bit of room in it but I like a close fit over the hips. Luckily my pattern fit me with no adjustments but I feel that a lot of people may want to extend the waist line a bit, so do cut out a size bigger than you think and when it comes to fitting just take the pants in at the hips which is easy to do.

The first stage is to attach the front yokes to the trousers and press and turn them to the inside. This forms the front of the pocket.
Then the pocket lining is stitched in place. I used  my overlocker on all seams.

The pocket is now finished, it just needs a final press to turn the facing properly to the inside. Any top stitching should be done before the pocket facing is stitched in place.

The pocket bag has been sewn and overlocked. This strengthens the pocket and helps to ensure holes do not appear. If you do not have an overlocker then stich twice around the pocket bag and then zigzag around the edge.

Stitch the front leg to the back leg and then stitch the centre front and back seam. For strength once again double stitch the seam and then overlock or zigzag.

The facing has been interfaced with a medium to heavy weight iron-on cotton interfacing.Vilene cotton interfacing. It is important that you use the correct interfacing. A waistband needs to be firm enough not to crumple during wear. I prefer to use a cotton or a woven interfacing as they move with the fabric and give a good result. If you use a very cheap interfacing the result will not be so good and you will not be happy with how it wears. It is false economy to use a cheap interfacing for garments. See the whole range here Interfacings. When attaching interfacing use a damp pressing cloth with your iron and press the iron on one place, lift and move it to the next until you have attached all the interfacing. Don't slide your iron over the fabric.
More about pressing later in this post

One of the things I am told people hate sewing are invisible zips. They do require a bit of practice but once you master them you will be delighted with the result.
There are alternatives though and for this garment I am using an ordinary zip. There are different ways of inserting it and I am going to show you how to insert a centred zip. This is easy!
First of all choose a good quality zip in a colour close to your fabric YKK zips.
Suppose you cannot find the correct length? Did you know that they can be shortened very easily? Measure the length you need and go over that point a few times with several rows of machine stitching on top of each other. Then cut the end off below the stitching . And that's it.

Then tack the seam together using a tacking thread. Tacking thread is preferable to normal thread for this purpose, it is made from cotton and the fibres are rough which means that the tacking will stay firmly in place until you pull it out. Do try it, it really does make a huge difference Gutterman Tacking Thread
Once tacked press the seam open.

On the wrong side pin and tack the zip over the seam. The zip should be face down and the teeth centred over the seam opening. Make sure that the waistband seam matches on both sides.

Using a normal zipper foot, which should have come with your machine, stitch in a rectangle from the top of the zip, across the bottom and up the other side. You will probably need to release  the tacking in the seam at the top to be able to stitch past the zip pull. If you have not got a zip foot, Jaycotts have them. This is the foot for the Brother range of machines Brother adjustable zipper and piping foot if you need another brand then contact Jaycotts who will help you to choose the right one for your machine Contact details below.

That's my zip in place. Press it using a pressing cloth taking care not to melt the plastic teeth. If your zip does not finish exactly at the top of your trousers, or if your zip opens easily (YKK zips stay closed until you open them) you will need to add a hook and eye to close the very top.
Then attach the waistband facing. And press.

I top stitched both the top and the bottom of the waistband for extra strength and to hold it in place.

All there is left to do now is to finish the hem. Try the pants on and decide how long they need to be. 3/4 length trousers like these should be slightly above the ankle.
I used my overlocker ( Overlockers ) to finish the edge of the trousers.
Using a seam measure, this is the one I use, Clover seam gauge measure the depth of the hem all the way round and press the edge taking care not to scotch the fabric.
I use the fabulous little iron from Prym. Prym mini Steam iron. Don't let it's size fool you, this has everything you need in an iron and performs every bit as well as your large iron! If you are a person who takes a travel iron on holiday, then this iron is definitely for you.

You also need a pressing cloth. This is essential if you are to avoid scorching or otherwise marking your fabric. Prym pressing cloth I do like this one as it is transparent and makes it so easy to see what is going on underneath. Another essential are these finger guards Finger guards which help you to hold the fabric close to the iron without burning your fingers.

To finish the hem I decided to do a few rows of pintucks. I am always looking for nice finishing touches, it makes any garment look more original.
If you want to do corded pintucks then I have a blog post which shows you how to do them - My white lace pintucked blouse do take a look

You will need a pintuck foot and twin needles. Both are shown on this page Pintuck foot and twin needles
If you do not have a pintuck foot then you can obtain a similar result using just a twin needle, but take care to align your stitches up. The pintuck foot does make it easier.

After completing the first row along the bottom of each trouser leg continue with as many rows of pintucks as you want, it is better to have  pintucks along the whole depth of the hem to hold it neatly in place. You can see the slightly raised effect of the pintucks on the photo above.

These pintucks look so lovely don't you think? They add a bit of interest to a plain edge in any garment

Have you ever wanted to press a tiny part of a garment easily? I wanted to give the pocket a final press but did not want to leave an imprint on the fabric behind. To solve this I used this pressing glove Pressing glove which is so useful for this purpose and is also invaluable for pressing collars and cuffs and other small areas when you don't want to get your ironing board out.

This is my finished outfit. It looks equally great with the top tucked in or left out. The neutral embroidery means that each piece can be worn with other items. It can be worn as a casual outfit for sightseeing with flat sandals  or dressed up with heels for lunch. 
It is extremely comfortable to wear and the fabric being cotton is cool for warmer climates.
I did a slightly tongue in cheek video which shows you the outfit being worn. It reminds me of my much younger days when I did a spot of modelling, but that's another story! 

Jaycotts can be contacted here Contact Jaycotts. And reached by telephone during opening hours on 01244 394099  
Don't forget too that you can visit the showroom and test run the machines before you buy.

Thank you for reading this post. Please contact me if there is anything you would like me to clarify and don't forget to contact Jaycotts with any product enquiries and to place your order. Have you sent for your free catalogue yet? It's my favourite catalogue to browse through when having my morning coffee.




It's so easy to use your embroidery machine to applique garments, bags and household items.

My  Brother Innov-is 800E  not only does beautiful embroidery and makes free standing lace but it also creates applique easily and quickly. In other words this one machine does everything you need to embelish your sewing project. Or indeed a ready made item!
I am currently making a red jersey top ( watch out for it in my next blog post)  and wanted a simple embelishment to add to it. A small appliqué flower was the answer.

This is my embroidery machine. I do love Brother machines, they are reliable, innovative and come in a huge range of prices to suit all budgets. If you are interested in a Brother Embroidery machine, or any other machine, I suggest that you have a chat with Jaycotts, contact details below, to find the best machine to suit your needs and your budget.

There are various hoop sizes available to fit this machine, Brother Embroidery Hoops  Mostly I use the largest one but I have found when embroidering on stretch fabrics better results are achieved with a smaller hoop. It is really easy to view which of the inbuilt designs are suitable for each hoop as it is all displayed on the touch-screen. The hoop I am using for this project is 4"x4" and I find that it is perfect for this type of fabric.

You will need threads, embroidery needles and various stabilisers. More about stabilisers later.
Brother do their own range of embroidery threads which come in two forms, a matt and a sheen. You can buy them individually or in boxes here. You also need bobbin thread. A tip here is that I keep quite a few bobbins already filled with thread so that I can quickly change the bobbin when it runs out. The range of Brother  threads are on this link Brother embroidery threads
You also need a supply of embroidery needles. They do go blunt quickly so do remember to change the needle after every project. As I am putting any of my machines away at the end of the project I am in the habit of removing the old needle which reminds me to insert a new one when I start sewing again. Machine Embroidery Needles

There are a lot of Embroidery and applique patterns built into your machine, these are a selection of the applique designs. The design has a list of threads next to it which tells you what colour you need and the order you need it.

I mentioned stabilisers, for stretch fabrics in particular I like this iron on stabiliser by Gutterman  SULKY Iron on Stabiliser . What you need is a fabric which stays rigid whilst you embroider it, and this does the job. I found when using a larger hoop in a stretch fabric I also need a layer of a tear-away stabiliser, GUNOLD  underneath the hoop in addition to the  iron-on .Gunold tear-away stabiliser
When using a smaller hoop this problem does not occur for me, and when using a woven fabric either of the stabilisers works very well.

The steps needed to produce the appliqué are fully explained in the manual and also on the display screen.
The first thing you need to do is to hoop your stabilised appliqué fabrics , in my case a flower head and petals. The machine embroiders the outline and you cut them out. What could be simpler.

You then insert your stabilised main fabric into the hoop in the position where you want your appliqué to go. The machine then embroiders the outline of the design. Take the hoop out - all this takes seconds by the way, and glue your shapes exactly into the outline on your fabric. Do not take your fabric out of the hoop. I love this  little temporary glue pen by Prym, it washes out too. Aqua Glue Pen  It is actually one of my favourite products. It has refills too.

Once you have fixed your shapes in place then press the start button again and change your thread if the machine tells you to. The machine will affix the appliqué onto your base fabric, and complete any further detail and embelishment.
All you need to do then is to remove the stabiliser from the back of the design and it is finished.

I know that you all love to watch this machine working, it is fascinating, so click on the picture above to watch a short clip on YouTube. There are other clips of this machine in action on my YouTube channel too.

This is my very cute finished flower. It now adorns  a garment which I making and will blog about next time. I thought that the process of creating this simple but very effective appliqué was worth a blog post all to itself.

This machine produces free standing lace too, so take a look at how I used these lace pieces to embelish a simple tunic on a previous blog post My Tunic top with lace embelishment. For this I used a dissolving stabiliser and the process is very fascinating, please do read the post

The free standing lace can also be used to make stand-alone items such as Christmas stars and bookmarks and so on. I love this lace don't you.

Of course the main feature is embroidery itself. Just to show you how easy this machine is to use this is the very first embroidery I produced within minutes of my machine being delivered! Read about my first steps here My first steps on my Brother embroidery machine

This tunic is one of my favourite garments and you can read all about how I made it and how to embroider it on My Embroidered Tunic Top

If you are interested in this machine, or another model - and who wouldn't be! Then do give Jaycotts a call , the details are all here Contact Jaycotts you can also arrange to call in for a demonstration.
Once you have your machine safely home you are not left alone because Brother provide tutorial days where you can go along for help and advice and new ideas.

Thank you for reading this post. Do contact Jaycotts.co.uk with any questions about this machine and please leave me a comment too

Angela x

Posted By Blogger to #SewAngelicThreads on 8/05/2017 11:49:00 am



I have been longing to get into my summer clothes here at home and now that summer is here I want some quick easy makes that I can wear in a day or two.I know people who cringe at the thought of wearing summer clothes, assuming wrongly that the sun means baring skin. Not so, some of the coolest clothes to wear are those which offer some protection from the sun. My usual summer clothes consist of pedal pushers and tunic tops, but I guess that's more out of habit than anything else, so I am making myself some dresses.

This is a very pretty dress by Simplicity, available from Jaycotts Simplicity S8294 it is a vintage style dress with the option of having a collar, waist tabs and short cap sleeves. There are also two skirt options so this pattern does offer value for money.
I made a size 12 and it needed no adjustments. You will find that your pattern size differs from your commercial dress size, please do not be alarmed, just make sure that you cut out the size which most closely resembles your body measurements. If your top and bottom halves differ then this pattern allows you to cut out relevant sizes for your top half, and a larger or smaller size for your bottom half . It is easy then to merge the two sizes together at the waist.

I like the slightly lower back in this pattern and as I do not appreciate having burnt shoulders I was glad that one of the options is to include a cap sleeve.
When choosing your pattern think about any parts of your body which you would like to cover up and look for a pattern which will do that. For example if you do not like your arms then think about choosing a pattern with a sleeve - which could be a flutter sleeve, short sleeve or whatever length you prefer. To draw attention away from a problem tummy or hip then choose a flattering neckline to draw the eye upwards.

This is the pattern, as you can see there are a few design choices and the skirt is just above the knee.
The fabric I chose is a hand printed Batik which I had in my own stash, but printed cottons are widely available from places such as MinervaCrafts or Abakhan fabrics etc.
The pattern on this fabric looks as though it totally random, but if you look at the dress being worn you will see that there is a pattern which forms definate vertical lines. It is therefore important that you view your fabric from a distance and decide which direction you want the pattern to run and of course you need to cut the fabric out on the straight grain.
If you are new to sewing the best fabric to choose is a cotton, because it is firm and will not stretch out of shape, and choose a small print as this will not require pattern matching and a massive plus point is that the design will disguise any minor mistakes  and wonky stitching.

Whilst I do enjoy wearing short skirts, this is going to be a day dress for shopping and sightseeing and for me it would be more practical if it was six inches longer.
This is very easy to do. You can either add tissue paper to the bottom of your pattern pieces and measure the new hem line, or if you are confident you can do as I did and measure six inches (or whatever  measurement  you choose) from various points along the hem and make chalk marks, joining them up before cutting out. This is perhaps one of the simplest of pattern hacks. Just remember to continue the flare on the side seams  or it will be too tight around the bottom.

The first thing I am going to do is to get the waist tabs made,pushing the corners out with my Prym point turner By using this nifty gadget you can be certain that your points are sharp. Press the tabs then make the buttonholes .

Your buttonhole foot will probably look like this one. All you do is to select the buttonhole you want and put your button into the  recess in the back of the foot. It then sews the perfect buttonhole to fit your button.
Do mark the positions of your buttonholes with chalk first and do practise on a piece of spare fabric before you do it on the actual garment.

These are my finished buttonholes. These buttons are antique ones but there is a huge selection of buttons of all shapes, sizes and colours at Jaycotts .do take a look at these heart and flower shaped buttons which would be perfect for this dress Decorative buttons

It is simple then to sew the darts and joint the front and back at the shoulders and the left side. Join the top of the right side only as far down as the pattern marking. Then neaten the seams on your overlocker if you have one.
Don't own an overlocker?  Mine is the Brother 3034D but do view the range of overlockers available Overlockers if you are not certain which machine is right for you then do ring Jaycotts and they will help you to choose a machine which suits your needs and your budget.
Don't forget to sign up for the newsletter too as there are frequently special offers available on machines

The pattern says to use a neck band but as there is an actual facing included in the pattern I used that instead.
It needs a lightweight iron on interfacing . There are lots to choose from here Interfacing from iron on to sew in and all sorts of weights too. Choose the correct weight for your fabric and always choose the best quality you can find. Jaycotts sell Vilene interfacing which is perfect.

To allow the facing to turn to the inside of the neckline you need to clip the curves, press the seam open and then understitch the facings . This means that you need to sew the seam allowance to the facing as far as you can. It stops the facing from rolling out during wear. Don't forget to keep pressing as you go.
Don't be afraid to top stitch as well if you want to.

This is my finished facing pressed to the inside.you can just about make out the understitching which does not show on the right side of the garment.

Follow the pattern instructions iether for the sleeve or the sleeve band . I chose the sleeve which was very easy to prepare

You will need a sleeve board to press the sleeve without making unwanted creases in it. A sleeve board also makes it easy to preserve the shape you have put into the fabric. A sleeve ironing board Sleeve board is a necessary piece of equipment for any sewer. You will use it for every garment you make.
When you gather fabric or make a dart you are turning a flat piece of fabric into a three dimensional shape and you need to preserve that shape by using the correct pressing tools. A sleeve board allow you to reach into small areas to press them without flattening them

Did you know that zips can be shortened? This dress needs a side zip, but the only one I have is too long.
At the point where you want the new end of the zip to be, go over it a few times with your sewing machine. Then cut the end of below this point. As a personal preference I like to whip stitch the plastic teeth below the stitching purely so that it is comfortable against my skin.

I am using an invisible zipper. To insert if you will need a special foot which has grooves in the bottom which the teeth of the zip are placed whilst the zipper tape is being sewn on. The invisible, or concealed, zip foot is available for most sewing machines, Concealed zip foot if you are not sure which is best for your machine then call Jaycotts for advice.the most usual one is the one on the right which is for Brother machines, the one on the left is for my Bernina, the only difference really is the way they  fit on the machine.

It is better to tack the zip in place rather than just pin it. They can slip about a bit otherwise. Sew one side at a time and leave the side seam open for now, we will close the seam later. As you can see the grooves on the zipper foot are enclosing the zipper teeth enabling the machine to sew right up close to them, this means that when the zip is closed you will not see it at all.
For all your zips , at fantastic prices, just look at the wide choice here, Zips as you can see there is a high quality zip for everything and as I said the prices are the best anywhere.

Once the zip is sewn in then remove the tacking threads and then sew the side seam up to the bottom of the zip. I find it easier to use a normal zipper foot as it enables me to stitch right up to the stitching holding the zip in place
Neaten any loose threads and catch the bottom of the zip to the seam allowance if necessary..

All that you can see of an invisible zip is the zip pull which makes it a great choice for dresses.
All you need to do now is to finish the hem. I overlocked the bottom and then pressed it up by half an inch and top- stitched.

The tabs fold towards the back of the dress, so press them to the back and stitch the buttons on. You will only need to undo the buttons which cover the side opening.
The buttons show on the back of the dress and add a bit of interest.
The tab would look great in a contrasting fabric, which is an option on the pattern envalope.

I am sure you will agree that this is a very nice fitting dress, easy to wear and practical for almost every occasion. 
When I make it again I am going to add the collar which I feel would look great from the back, and I am going to make both collar and tabs in a contrasting fabric .
It is totally suitable for beginners, there is nothing too difficult about the construction at all and the instructions are clear.
To obtain more information on any of the products mentioned or to place your order then fill in the contact form Contact Jaycotts 
Or telephone them on 01244 394099 during office opening hours Monday to Friday 8.30 am to 4.30 pm
Thank you for reading my blog. if you have any sewing questions or comments then do please contact me
Happy sewing
#dress #summerdress #beginner #sew #sewing #simplicity #tutorial 

Posted By Blogger to #SewAngelicThreads on 6/20/2017 07:52:00 am



Lining a dress

There is nothing quite like a fully lined dress. It feels special and it looks special. Adding a lining to a dress makes it feel wonderful, it hangs better, it lasts longer and when you choose the right type of lining it swishes when you walk. As a bonus your dress will look just as good on the inside as it does on the outside.
It is definitely something which you must do for a special occasion dress but why not line a day dress and see how wonderful you feel when you wear it.
This pattern includes a lined bodice and if you choose the straight skirt a lining is included. It is however very easy to add a lining to the full skirt version

I chose a bold printed linen and cotton mix fabric which is widely available. This particular fabric was from Abakhan Fabrics. Linen on its own creases badly but the addition of cotton helps to prevent it happening quite so much. Other fabric choices are cotton lawn and viscose. Whatever you choose for this full skirted version it needs to drape well. If you are going to make the dress with the straight skirt then your fabric choices are almost endless, why not try a brocade for a cocktail dress or a slub silk for a wedding?
I used the same fabric to line the bodice and sleeves for coolness and comfort but I chose a good quality lightweight woven lining fabric in Navy for the skirt. This gives a swing to the skirt and makes that delightful swish as you walk.
You can use lining fabric for the bodice but remember that it will not be as cool to wear unless you pick a lining fabric made from natural fibres such as a pure silk or a cotton voile.

The pattern is by Simplicity and it is New look 6447 available from Jaycotts on this link  NewLook 6447
There are options for a wide skirt or a pencil skirt and cap sleeves or sleeveless.
I cut out size 12 and it did fit well. I have a narrow back and needed to make a small adjustment during fitting, more about that later.

I like to get all the preparation out if the way first so the very first things I did was to stay stitch around the neckline on the bodice,this stops the neckline from stretching out of shape. Stay stitching is done just within the seam allowance.

We now need  to interface the neckline of the bodice lining. For this you need a good quality iron on interfacing Interfacings. For this type of fabric I would choose a lightweight iron on. It is useful to purchase a small supply of various types and  weights so that you never have to delay a project because you do not have any to hand.

The pattern instructions are very easy to follow and explain each step in great detail. These are the cap sleeves which are also lined.
Remember to press every seam as you go, it honestly does make a huge difference, we want our garments to look Handmade not the dreaded homemade.
There are some pressing tools which you definitely need and some which are nice to have
I have written a blog post dedicated to Pressing, do read it and decide which tools you need. I suggest that you need
A sleeve board Sleeve ironing board 
A pressing cloth Pressing cloth 
A sleeve roll Sleeve pressing roll
 Other items which you can add to your collection are a Tailors ham, finger guards, mini steam iron and more can be found on this link Pressing tools

If you would like to read the blog post for some handy hints and tips then it is on Jaycotts blog Pressing Matters , and also on my own blog Reviews of pressing tools 

I cannot stress enough the importance of pressing, I always set up my pressing station whenever I get my sewing machine out, pretty soon it becomes second nature.

The pattern instructions are very clear and explain how to sandwich the sleeves between the bodice and the bodice lining. I do like the fact that even the sleeves are lined.

When you have stitched the bodice to the lining it is necessary to understitch the seam allowance to the lining. This helps to keep the lining in place during wear. I suggest that you grade the seam allowance by trimming the seam allowances making the side nearest to the lining slightly shorter. You then clip into the seam allowance to make sure that it lies flat she turned right sides out.
When you come to the actual stitching make sure that everything is lying flat and smooth. You will not be able to understitch the entire seam so stitch as far as you can.

This is the inside of my dress bodice showing the understitching

I wanted to give you a little tip. I always keep my pattern instructions fastened to a clippy hanger along with the pattern envalope to make it easy to refer to when I am sewing.

When it comes to trying the bodice on for fit, how do you temporarily close the back? This is what I do. I pin and tack a zip to the back of the garment. It doesn't matter about the length of colour or type of zip,all that matters is that you can close it. It doesn't take long but does help to create a good fit.

I have a narrow back and I suspected that the dress may not fit at the back. I was right! I adjusted the positioning of the zip until I was happy and drew a new seam line. Do be careful not to take off too much of the seam allowance or the garment will be too tight.
This is the only alteration I needed to make to this pattern.
Jaycotts have a huge selection of zips, I used a concealed zip but you may wish to use a lapped or centred zip. ( More about them in a future blog post) do look at this huge selection of zips for all purposes Zips , zips and more zips 

The dress was made up according to the comprehensive pattern instructions. So the bodice was lined and the zip inserted. For the skirt lining I cut out the skirt again but this time in a good quality taffeta lining. This was then stitched to the waistband and pressed.
As you can see the dress looks really good on the inside.

I suggest that you sew a narrow machine  hem on the dress, there is a lot of fabric and it would take forever to sew it by hand. Then reduce the length of the lining by a good inch and hem that by machine in the same way.

The lining is so fine that it adds no bulk to the dress whatsoever but it does support the skirt very well and gives it a really professional finish. The skirt hangs exceptionally well with the inclusion of a lining.

I like the back neckline, the front neckline is perhaps a little high for my usual taste but the lower back made me appreciate this pattern and how flattering and comfortable it is. I love it and will wear it a lot.
Most patterns can be lined. It does away with the need for facings and is in some ways easier to make.
Do incorporate a lining into your next sewing project, you will be impressed at the huge difference it makes!
I hope that you have enjoyed reading this post.
I have started to think more carefully about the type of clothes I make. At one time my wardrobe consisted almost entirely of business suits, but now I tend to wear very casual outfits of jeans and tops. I am currently experimenting with clothes somewhere in the middle. I do have a need for a smart dress or two, for lunches out and holidays, so this dress will be a very useful addition to my wardrobe, as it will be to yours.

For help and information in any of the products mentioned in my blogs please do not hesitate to contact Jaycotts. The contact details are in this link Contact Jaycotts 


#dress #lining #simplicity #jaycotts #zip 

Posted By Blogger to #SewAngelicThreads on 6/28/2017 08:59:00 pm


This is a continuation of my previous blog post, Making free- standing lace....  I have made exactly the same top but this time I have embroidered it instead of putting applique lace on.
The pattern is as before by  Simplicity -  Simplicity 4149

When I find a pattern I like I keep it in a large plastic envelope to use again. I liked​ the Navy Blue top on the previous post so much  that I wanted to make another one straight away.
The fabric is a length of embroidered Indian cotton from my own stash of fabrics. I have been looking for an opportunity to use it for a few years!

I am using my Embroidery machine Brother Innov-is 800E which is one of a range of embroidery machines from Jaycotts. I absolutely love it.
I also used Gunold tear-away stabiliser on the embroidery hoop underneath the fabric Gunold stabiliser. It really does tear away from the fabric very easily indeed .
The threads I am using are from a box of 40 satin finish embroidery threads by Brother Satin embroidery threads . Everything is from Jaycotts.co.uk and the links take you directly to the product on their web site
I chose a heart design for on the sleeves and on the bottom of the right  front. This is the reverse side as you can see I am picking away at the residue of stabiliser with a pin and some tweezers. It is very easy to remove 

The finished design is rather pretty. When I was choosing my designs I looked for something which would echo the embroidery on my fabric, but the important thing is for you to choose something which you like!

I tacked the front darts in place and marked the cutting line and stitching lines on the tunic front before placing my embroidery.
I then measured carefully where I wanted the centre of each design to be, marking the grain lines and centre with tacking thread which I did not fasten off.
After placing the fabric in the hoop it was then easy to align the centre of the design with my markings which also allowed me to ensure that it was straight and not off-grain. This is important if you are thinking of mirroring a design on a life of fabric, because kept one is off centre or crooked it will be instantly noticeable.
Pull the tacking threads out once you are certain that your fabric is hooped correctly.
The designs are differnet from each other but I did carry some colours through each, for example!e I used the same pink and the same yellow and blue to provide a little bit of continuity. Please don't get too hung up about it at this stage,but where there is an obvious substitution then do make it.

Instead of the French seams on my previous top I used my overlocker throughout. This enables speedy construction! By that I mean just less than two hours after the embroidery had been completed.
My overlocker is very easy to use and more importantly easy to thread  it is the Brother 3934D Brother overlocker Do telephone for the best price and to discuss other options the contact details for Jaycotts are at the end of this post.

To hold the facing down I am using one of the embroidery stitches on my Bernina Sewing machine Bernina 350PE  Again do telephone to find out current prices and other options to suit you and your budget.
If you are using embroidery thread in your regular machine then you do need to swop to an embroidery needle
There are various choices depending on what you are sewing on Embroidery needles 

Did you know that your needle needs to be changed after almost every project? When I am using my Embroidery machine I remove the needle after I have finished using it. Then when I come to use it again I insert a new needle as part of setting it up ready for use.
The pattern is very easy to make. There are no fastenings to worry about and it has nothing complicated about it whatsoever. It is suitable for all abilities from beginner upwards.

This is my finished top. It is very different from the last one don't you think, I like them both!

Please do not hesitate to contact Jaycotts with any questions about their wonderful products and If you have any general sewing questions I am happy to help you too. There is a contact form on the right hand side of my own blog.
Contact Jaycotts by telephone or by completing the online contact form and why not pay them a visit and see and try out  the machines for yourself?
Contact Jaycotts HERE
I hope that you are interested enough to consider purchasing  an embroidery machine, you definitely will not regret it!
 And I hope that you are inspired to explore how you can get the most out of your sewing patterns by re making them with subtle alterations .I do recommend Simplicity Patterns, they are a good fit, easy to use and fashionable Simplicity Patterns at Jaycotts
We would love to see photographs of your makes by the way!

Posted By Blogger to #SewAngelicThreads on 5/28/2017 04:55:00 pm
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