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You are invited to an event with Sweet Pea Embroidery from Australia who are visiting Jaycotts and a very limited number of other places in the UK. 

Sweet Pea Embroidery Australia

This is a unique event so make a date in your diary and come along to the Chester showroom and meet Alison, Annette and the team from Sweet Pea.
You will also meet Melanie who is the Regional Manager and Product Specialist  for Brother Sewing Machines.
Alex and the team from Jaycotts  will be there and of course myself.

Booking is not necessary.
10am to 4pm
Chester Trade Park, 
Unit D2 Bumpers Lane,
 Tel: 01244 394099

Sweet Pea Embroidery specialises in "in the Hoop" embroidery and examples of just some of the designs you can make are shown on this post.

What is " in the hoop" embroidery? Well, usually embroidery is done on a finished article or a part made blouse front for example, but with this method you are making an actual piece of work which is fully or partially completed in the embroidery hoop.
The designs are perfect for people who want to expand upon the normal activities done on an embroidery machine. You need to see it to believe it!

It is incredible to imagine that all of these designs were made on an ordinary domestic embroidery machine, even this soft toy.
Sweet Pea go to endless trouble to produce thoroughly detailed instructions so you can follow each step closely with words and photographs.

There are designs for all sorts of cases and purses as well as tote bags, sewing kits, and handbags

There are panels which can be used as table runners or wall hangings, quilts, table mats and coasters. Bunting, bibs, hats - the list goes on!

And do look at this, what child of any age would not be delighted with it?
One point which I found interesting is that Sweet Pea allow you to sell your finished designs, something which a lot of companies forbid.

There are such a lot of beautiful designs to choose from so do go to their web site and take a look Sweet Pea website
Don't forget to sign up for their mailing list too.
Sweet Pea recommend BROTHER sewing machines which is why Brother are accompanying them on the  tour

This bunny purse is so cute don't you think? One thing I find amazing - and you won't believe this - but the zip is inserted in the hoop by the embroidery machine!

There are a few free designs to try on their website and Facebook sites so there is no need to purchase a design initially. Be warned though, Sweet Pea designs are very addictive as I am finding out!

I have of course tried a couple of designs myself. This is a pillow. I used a good quality craft cotton, wadding and a stabiliser. It is vitally important that you take care to hoop your fabrics tightly because the fabric needs to stay taught in the loop. If you don't then there will be a lot of wrinkles around the embroidered areas.
The instructions tell you step by step how to prepare your fabrics.

The first thing which happens is that the embroidery machine sews around the outside of the design to hold all the layers together.
Then the outline of the hill is sewn and you then need to take the hoop out of the machine and place the fabric for the hill over the outline, put it back , stitch it in place and then trim the fabric before satin stitching the applique in place. Each piece is added in the same way.
It is a little bit fiddly but the results are really worth it. It is not difficult and once you get used to working differently you will work through the designs quickly. It is so pleasurable you won't want to leave your craft room!

This is my finished design. I was amazed to find that the embroidery machine sews the side panels on too, still in the hoop!
Once the design was finished all I needed to do was to add some lace trim and sew the backing on with my regular sewing machine.It was simple enough to then  stuff it and slipstitch the opening closed.

And this is my finished pillow. I have some more designs to work, and I'll let you know how they progress.

About Jaycotts and Chester

If you have never visited Chester before you are in for a treat, so why not turn your visit to this event into a short break?
The Chester lifestyle website gives lots of information on things to do and see, places to eat and stay and where to shop.
It is certainly worth staying for a night or two,there is plenty to see and do in addition to visiting Jaycotts

It is a very pretty city and you will find that it caters for everybody from history lovers to boating enthusiasts. Chester Lifestyle has some Hotel Ideas and will be pleased to tell you more about Chester if you contact them - details are on the website.

Brother sewing machines

Jaycotts are proud to stock an extensive range of Brother Sewing Machines and accessories. Senior staff are always on hand to talk you through the various machines and let you try them out.
If you love Sweet Pea embroidery, and I know you will, then you will definately need an embroidery machine, or a machine which does both embroidery and normal sewing
Take a look at the range of Brother Sewing machines on Jaycotts web site and make a note of what type of machine would suit your needs best. This is a great opportunity not only to say hello to the famous Sweet Pea ladies but to take advantage of the expertise of Melanie from Brother and the wonderful Jaycotts family.
So, I hope that you will save the date in your diary and come along. I'm willing to answer your sewing questions too. So don't miss out! 
The contact details for Jaycotts are above, but there is an online contact form on Jaycotts web site where you can also register for the newsletter and be the first to hear about special offers, events and new products.
I look forward to meeting you on Thursday April 12th at Jaycotts.


I do have rather a lot of Brother machine feet to get through so I am going to go through them all for you one or two at a time, showing them being used on a garment or other project.


Machine Embroidery is such a massive subject that I will be coming back to it frequently.
In this post I wanted to talk more about it because I know that some of you are still undecided if an embroidery machine is something you will use.
I will be honest and say that Embroidery machines are only as complicated as you want them to be. They come with designs built into them so you are ready to go as soon as you take it out of the box. Furthermore if you are reading this then you have enough computer knowledge to download and use designs off the internet too. You may then want to further your new passion and create your own designs using specialised software - more about that later.

In this post I am making a dress and simple unlined jacket in black cotton, but you will excuse me for not going into detail about the construction of these garments as there are plenty of instructions elsewhere on my blog and the instructions inside the pattern are excellent too. If you do want more detailed information then please let me know.

My embroidery machine is the Brother Innov-is 800E  but there is a choice of other embroidery machines depending on if you want a stand alone Embroidery only machine or a machine which does normal sewing AND embroidery. This might be a good choice if you only have space for one machine
Take a  look at the range of Brother sewing machines at Jaycotts Don't forget that the very knowledgeable staff are on hand to guide you through the process of choosing the correct machine to suit your needs and pocket.  Brother machines come with aftercare and tuition should you want it.

You will also need a basic supply of accessories including thread, needles, stabilisers and so on which we will discuss  a bit further down the post.
Your new embroidery machine can seem daunting at first but I hope to show you some useful tips to get you started. Whatever you do please don't be afraid of it! These machines are very clever, they are designed for domestic use and they won't let you do anything wrong, so you are very unlikely to make a mistake and break it. If something does go wrong for example your needle is in the up position when it should be down, or your thread breaks the machine will tell you exactly what the problem is.
I strongly advise you keeping your manual next to you at all times when you are sewing so that you have it to refer to.

To start off, plug your machine in and take a look at some of the inbuilt designs. The design you have chosen will appear in an LCD window which gives you all the information you need to enable you you sew the design.
The green cross on the picture shows where the machine is up to in the embroidery , on the top left it shows how many stitches the design takes to stitch out, how many stitches you have sewn already, the total time the design takes to sew and the time spent sewing it already. It tells me I am using my second colour in the sequence and shows a diagram of the shape being sewn in that colour, it shows too the next threads in the sequence.
The icon at the very bottom allows you to go back or forwards a chosen number of stitches, and there are many other functions once you get used to the machine. For example it is simple to rotate the design, to mirror it or to make it larger or smaller. This is so easy to do on the touchscreen LCD display
In case you are wondering how to transfer designs from your computer to your embroidery machine, this is easily done with a USB stick. The manual explains how to do it, but I will go over it in a future post

I am not going to talk too much about construction of this lovely dress and jacket NewLook Dress and Jacket , but I will give you some tips for altering the pattern slightly. For example I wanted a short sleeve in the dress. Cutting a sleeve pattern was easy in this case as when I came to compare the dress and the jacket patterns I found that the armscye was exactly the same in both garments so all I needed to do was to shorten the sleeve in order to use it for the dress

Once you get the embroidery bug, and you will - you might want to create your own designs. The PE Design 10 software for Brother embroidery machines is fabulous. the good news is that as with all Brother products there is expert tuition available to help you. I have just taken advantage of this and have recently spent a day learning more about this incredible software.
The software deserves a post all to itself, so watch out for a blog post in the future. This software enables you to do so much more and combined with your embroidery machine you have literally thousands of designs at your fingertips. You can create your own designs, monogram, applique and more, the possibilities are endless. The software comes with a comprehensive manual which is also available to use on your computer as you plan your project

This is one  design I chose. I wanted to increase the size without stretching the stitches, the software keeps everything in proportion so that I could make the design larger whilst keeping the design just as dense.
It was easy to alter the curve  so that it complemented my dress shape. It was also very easy to drop my finished design onto a memory stick and transfer it to my Embroidery machine.
There will be much more to come about this incredible product, there are so many functions which I want to tell you about, it really does deserve a post all to itself!

I have cut my dress out and marked the position of the darts but not stitched them as the fabric needs to be flat. I have also used a ruler and tailors chalk and marked the centre front. These lines will be used to position the embroidery so that it is dead centre and level.

There is a grid for your hoop which you use to position your embroidery.
You need to stabilise your fabric or it will pucker as you embroider it and spoil the effect. I always advise doing a test run to make sure that your chosen stabiliser is firm enough for your fabric and the  design. 
Your stabiliser is crucial and you need a supply of various types. More about them in a minute 

You also need Embroidery thread. You may start by just using a few colours but in my opinion boxes of thread are much better as then you have a good selection for your project. There are individual threads you can buy of course but I like this Brother box of embroidery thread It contains most of the colours that Brother use in their designs.

You will also need Bobbin thread , I suggest filling several bobbins when you have some spare time so that you never have to stop to fill a new bobbin part way through your project.

Embroidery needless are a must. You will need a couple of different Embroidery needles Some for normal embroidery and metallic ones if you intend to sew with metallic thread. Embroidery needles have a different shaped eye to ordinary sewing needles to accommodate the embroidery thread. The eye is larger which helps avoid friction and therefore reduces the risk of your thread fraying or snapping.

One of your stabilisers should be this Gunold easy tear stabiliser This is hooped with the fabric and is great for most woven fabrics. It tears away very easily when you have finished your embroidery.
It also comes in an iron on version Gunold iron on Stabiliser which again is a medium weight.

Another very useful stabiliser is Filmoplast self adhesive stabiliser. This is useful when you cannot fit your entire fabric into your embroidery frame. I had this happen when making my dress because the neckline did not reach the edge of my frame, son this stabiliser was perfect. It tears away after embroidery.
You may need water soluble stabiliser if you intend to make free standing lace. Other stabilisers are available but these are enough to begin with.
Always make sure that your stabiliser is enough to support your fabric and do a test piece before you start your garment.
Stretch or jersey fabrics can be used for embroidery and I have used them successfully but I would start with a medium weight woven fabric so that you are not put off as you need to stabilise the fabric so that it does not stretch at all during embroidery and this can be a touch challenging at first with some knits.

Other threads available are Brother Country threads, which you should request details of from Jaycotts. These are lovely as they have a mat finish and look lovely on heirloom sewing. I like them on blouses and bed linen too.
Brother has a large range of beautiful Embroidery Threads

Other threads you may like to try are Madeira Potpourri which has a lovely little speckle in it
And  they do a range of Madeira Variegated threads which I also like.

This is an example of the variegated and potpourri threads. the effect is more pronounced in larger areas, I was experimenting with colours on my normal sewing machine.

Going back to the dress. The pattern has a bound neckline but I do prefer a facing. These are easy to make,just draw around the paper pattern neckline at the front and back and mark a curved line from the shoulder to the front (and back) and then cut out your facing. These need interfacing. Do choose a good quality interfacing such as Vilene stretch lightweight interfacing cheap ones will spoil your garment.

Before we start any embroidery it is a good idea to mark the position of the darts on the back of the fabric . I have used a combination of chalk lines and a tailors tack at the dart point, this will help me to position my embroidery in the frame. Don't stitch the dart yet as the fabric needs to be flat.

Again, with my chalk and a ruler I marked the exact position of where I want my embroidery to go, and I marked vertical and horizontal grain lines so that I can ensure that my design is perfectly aligned.
Earlier in the post I showed you my design being altered by using my PE Design 10 software, what I didn't tell you is that there is a ruler function so you can make a note of the design size before you send it to your memory stick. If it is the wrong size for your project you can amend it. This measurement is important to know as it ensures that your embroidery design is the correct size.

This is my completed embroidery still in the hoop. You can still just about see the chalk lines marking my grain lines and the tailors tacks marking the points of my darts. You can also see where my neckline does not reach the edge of the hoop, and  the thread left behind when the embroidery machine moves from one area to another. These threads need to be trimmed away.
We now need to remove the embroidery from the hoop and tear away the stabiliser. The small pieces inside the various parts of the design can easily be picked out with tweezers.
When you press it out the embroidery face down on a soft towel and use a pressing cloth, otherwise the design will flatten.

This is the finished dress - with sleeves, and with a row of embelishing done on my regular sewing machine around the edges of the sleeves.

If you remember I cut facings for the neckline instead of using a binding. In order to turn any facing to the wrong side you need to clip the curves. You can either cut out little triangles of fabric as on the left or, and this is the only time I use them, you can use pinking shears. Cut close to your stitching but not through it. This works best on woven fabrics which do not fray very much .

Another important step is to understitch the facings. Do this after you have inserted the zipper. Simply press the facing upwards and stitch the seam to the facing only. Press the facing to the wrong side again. Your under stitching will only show on the wrong side of your garment and will prevent the facing from rolling out during wear.

I chose a different design for the front of the jacket but used the same colours. You can of course choose your own design.

Do you purchase ready made bias binding? Please don't, it's so easy to make your own and it will be of a much higher quality too.  Because my jacket is unlined I needed  to make the inside look attractive. I debated Hong Kong seams but thought them unnecessary on such a small garment So I opted for edging the hem and the facing with a pretty binding to match my Embroidery.
All you need is a Bias binding maker and an iron. For small jobs like this I use a Mini steam iron and a sleeve board it saves getting the large ironing board out .
Do you know how to cut your fabric on the bias? Fold the (straightened)  edge of the fabric to the selvedge forming a triangle, and press the crease. This line is the true Bias and you measure strips in the required width along this line and cut them , joining them as necessary to make a strip the length needed.
Then pass the end through the bias tape maker and pin the end to your ironing board. Pull the tool and press the binding as it emerges. It's quicker than going out to buy some and you will always have the colour you want.

This is my facing edged with my hand made binding. Don't you think it pretty?

I did the same with the hem, edging it with my binding and I think it just lifts the jacket
The final thing I did was to add three black hooks and eyes to close the jacket front.

This is the jacket nearing completion. I am still trying to decide if it needs small shoulder pads inserting. If it does, I will make some very small ones out of an oval of thin wadding folded over and covered with my fabric.

If you like my blog and found it helpful would you please leave me some feedback? It takes me a couple of days to write each blog post which is often longer than it took to make the item so I would really like some positive comments! I  do not make any money from my blog so it would be extremely rewarding to read some positive feedback

All of the items on this post can be ordered directly from the link highlighted on each product.
Alternatively there is a Contact Jaycotts form
Or you can telephone them on 01244 394099
Or you can visit them, the Address is here and whilst you are on their page do request a copy of the latest free catalogue and sign up for email alerts so that you are the first to hear about special offers, new blog posts and new products.

Please do not hesitate to contact Jaycotts for more information on any of their products or to book a " test drive" and try out their beautiful machines. 



The Brother Innov-is 1300

An introduction.

This is one of the most amazing domestic sewing machines I have ever used, and of course it is by my favourite brand Brother from my favourite store Jaycotts. 
 The Brother Innov-is 1300 ticks all the boxes both for versatility and ease of use. It is packed with so many features that I cannot hope to go over them all in this one post, so I am going to concentrate on getting you up and running.
It is fabulous for both dressmaking and quilting having just over 8" workspace to the right of the needle, quilters will know the importance of this.

It has an advanced square feed drive system (SFDS) which delivers a really good feed on all fabrics but - and this is my favourite - it enables the machine to sew sideways as well as backwards and forwards and it means too that it has the capacity of sewing extra wide decorative stitches.

 This is my machine which I unpacked as soon as it was delivered. I know some of us feel out of our comfort zone with a new machine, but please do not worry, take it slowly and you will be fine.
Don't forget that Jaycotts can arrange tuition for you from Brother which I do recommend you take advantage of if at all possible.

I was really pleased that it fits into my horn cabinet even with its hard case. The  extension table for the machine, available separately is not shown.
There are many styles of Horn sewing furniture so there is bound to be one which suits the style of your decor and the size of the sewing space you have available. I love the fact that I can put everything away in a matter of minutes and the room is totally tidy.

There is storage space built into your machine both at the front and the rear so you can keep your spare feet and bobbins safely where you can access them.
There is space in the hard cover to hold you foot control, knee lifter and  manual etc.

All of the instructions are displayed clearly on a large LCD screen. It is from here that you access and amend all of your utility and decorative stitches.
These are the basic utility stitches which you access just by touching the buttons shown. The other features are in "folders" which are again accessed from this screen.

The machine itself has a list of all the stitches it is capable of actually printed onto them inside of the top cover. But don't worry that they look small, they are printed in the manuals too!

The machine comes with a comprehensive instruction manual and also a quick start guide.
It is important to thread the machine and bobbin correctly so follow the instructions in the manual to the letter. There is also a blog post Troubleshooting your sewing machine by Alex Jaycott which explains the importance of correctly threading your machine and choosing and replacing machine needles and much more, so do have a read.

Can you guess which feature I was desperate to try first? Really a normal straight stitch is a good place to start, but I longed to know how the sideways function worked.
The instructions were easy to find in the manual, so armed with some thread and a piece of cloth I set off on a mission to sew sideways!

This function has so many uses, it can be done in a straight or zigzag stitch. Imagine the ease of adding a decorative patch or new pocket  to a pair of jeans or a sleeve ! There is absolutely no requirement to turn your fabric as the machine stitches a perfect square.

Each stitch has its own section in the manual, for example these are the utility stitches. Don't forget that these are easily accessible by pressing the relevant button on the home screen.

Some of the sections are rather longer as there are 182 built in stitches and 10 styles of buttonholes to choose from but the manual breaks down each type of stitch into sections and numbers them  which makes it easy to find them and program them into your machine.
The instructions really are very easy to follow, don't forget this is a Brother machine we are talking about, and Brother machines are very user friendly.

The manual is yours to keep and forever, so don't be afraid of writing in it. Mark the pages you will want to refer to and write down notes and suggestions. Keep it handy at all times so that it is always available when you want to try something new.
 Another thing I often do is to print off certain instructions and fasten them to the cupboard door in my sewing room.( I also do this with my current pattern instructions so I am not hunting around for them )

I was exploring other functions too. I especially like that when you are using a decorative stitch there is a button to press which stops the sewing exactly when the end of the pattern is reached. This is especially useful on garments when you want exact placement of your design or when you want to combine designs

The machine is the easiest one I have ever used for programming characters. It has a massive memory too which is easy to access so when you produce something you like you can save it very easily.

This character embroidery took seconds to program and stitch. And don't forget that this I the first time I have used this machine 
It is easy to combine letters and patterns to make your own designes in fact up to 70 patterns can be combined into one design
 There are so many other things I want to tell you about this marvelous machine but I am going to stop here for now, but I will come back to it very soon when I make my first garment on it, which is going to be a blouse .
Jaycotts as you know sell a large variety of machines, habberdashery and patterns. They sell online but are extremely helpful and knowledgeable if you want to pay them a visit to try out some of their machines.
The   Contact details for Jaycotts   are  on this page or you can telephone them on  01244 394099
Why not sign up for the newsletter and be the first to read the new blogs and to hear about special offers and new products? Newsletter sign up
Thank you for reading this post, if you found it helpful do let me know.
#sewingmachine #jaycotts #Brother # sewingblog #blog #newmachine #sewing #sew 

Posted By Blogger to #SewAngelicThreads on 2/11/2018 05:05:00 pm

I don't know about you but I read a lot of blogs and I see a lot of people showing themselves wearing lovely hand made clothes which quite frankly just do not fit.

What's the point? Why go to all that trouble and expense only to end up with a garment which is either too big, or worse far too small?
I bought some stretch denim Stretch Denim from MinervaCrafts as I wanted to make a skirt. Some stretch fabrics - as this one does, just stretch across the width, some stretch in all directions. You need to ensure that with a two way stretch fabric the stretch goes across the garment.

This is a pencil skirt which needs to be fitted close to the body,  so a fabric with some give in it is perfect. The design has a centre back pleat to make it easier to wear and a long exposed zip down the centre front.

I used the pattern from the Bernina Inspiration magazine which is available to purchase from Bernina UK
The sewing machine I used is a Bernina 350PE from Jaycotts.co.uk

The design in the book has an open metal tooth zip, but I couldn't find an open zip anywhere near to the length I wanted ( it is possible to shorten an open end zipper by removing teeth from the top of the zipper)
I altered the design to accommodate an exposed closed end zip instead.

You will have come across these patterns before, all the various designs and sizes are printed onto both sides of the paper and you need to trace the design you want to make onto tissue paper. Tracing Paper. The easiest way to do it is to identify the pieces and size you require and go over the outlines with a coloured pencil before you attempt to trace anything
You will find the measurements for each size on the pattern sheets. So take your measurements carefully and make a note of them. Identify the size closest to your actual measurements using the larger size if you fall between sizes. Don't forget if your hips and waist fall between two sizes you can merge the seam line between the two sizes and use both.
You will find it much easier to keep your tracing paper still if you use Pattern Weights

You will also need a ruler and a pencil.

This pattern does not have seam allowances so you need to add them. I love this handy and inexpensive gauge to measure my seam allowances which in this case are 5/8" You also need some Tailors Chalk to mark your cutting line.

Cut your pattern out at this stage and mark the pocket positions and darts with tailors tacks using Tacking thread

I wanted to add some pockets to the back of the skirt. There is a lovely product on the market which is a set of Pocket templates, marking and ironing set
This pack contains sets of templates to make  three sizes of pocket. One template is to draw around , the other is to use with your iron to enable you to press perfect corners

I am going to embroider a simple design on each of the pockets so I am not going to cut them out yet.
Instead draw around the template and mark the seam lines. Then measure and mark the centre of the pocket as shown.
This will ensure that your chosen design is dead centre.

There are many Embroidery stabilisers but for this project I wanted to use an iron on stabiliser to ensure that the stretch fabric remained taught during the embroidery process. The product of choice was Gunold iron on stabiliser

The embroidery I chose is by Brother which I got from their website. You will find that there are a lot of free embroidery designs available .
The machine I use is the Brother Innov-is 800e embroidery machine I have written a few blog posts about machine embroidery, but if you would like advice on choosing any machine then do contact Jaycotts on the contact details below.
Do not forget to flip the design for left and right pockets.

When you have finished embroidering your pockets pin and press and put them to one side  I love this pretty Magnetic pin cushion
And you need a supply of Various types of pins . Don't forget that they go blunt with use and need replacing every so often. When disposing of your old ones put them inside a tightly closed container.

 At this stage I tacked the skirt together to check the fit. It was far too large. In the end I pinned and tacked it three times until I was happy with the fit.
I do not understand people who omit this stage. I understand not making a toille for some garments, I usually only do them for a bodice I admit, but please always fit your garment to your body each and every time.  This is the only way you will produce something which is flattering to wear.
Once you have pinned and tacked as many times as it takes carefully remove the garment and mark your new seam lines.
My skirt was reduced in size by a total of eight inches! So can you imagine what it would have looked like on me? And by the way I measured myself carefully and cut out the correct size so please don't take the pattern measurements for granted!

There are limited pattern instructions in the magazine, and if you are reasonably competent at sewing you won't find them a problem.
I repositioned the pockets and darts as I had taken the skirt in so much and then I started working on the front.
The first thing I did was to insert a long exposed zip down the front and then I started work on the side pockets using pink Top stitch thread and a Topstitch needle to add a decorative touch along the pocket opening.

You will need to choose the correct size of needle for your fabric. Topstitch thread is very thick so you definately need one of these needles as they have a large eye.
Topstitch thread comes in lots of colours to blend with or contrast to your fabric.
Then I worked on the back, stitching the pockets in place at the base of the dart and forming a large pleat for wearing ease at the back.
Time to try it on again, so tack the sides and make any last minute adjustments to the fit before attaching the waistband.
I did one buttonhole and used a silver button to match my zip.

I chose not to use a contrasting top stitch to attach the pockets, instead I did two rows of stitching for strength.

The side pockets were also attached with two rows of stitching .

This is the exposed zip in closer detail.

I am delighted with my skirt. It fits me perfectly - as it should do!

The exposed metal zip makes it look a bit different to the rest, and it would be easy to insert into most patterns
This is a very slim fitted skirt, called a pencil skirt. They look very classy in a wool or crepe fabric which I would line.

Have a go at taking a pattern you have not used before and see how well you can get it to fit you. A skirt is a really good garment to start with.
To contact Jaycotts telephone them on 01244 394099
Or fill in the contact form Contact Jaycotts  . You can also pay them a visit and sign up for the newsletter and be the first to hear about new products, sales and so on.
Thank you for reading this post. Feedback is always appreciated


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



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