Janome Maker – Annie Mollison

 

Growing up on a farm on the North West Coast of Tasmania, Annie Mollison is one of seven children. She has lived in Sydney and Canada, where she studied Fashion Design, and finally settled in Melbourne about twenty years ago. Annie recently opened a studio in Elstenwick, Melbourne where she teaches sewing.

 

How did your sewing journey begin?

Sewing is a skill passed down from my mother when I was 12. She thought it was a much more economical way of clothing us all, which it was at the time. I loved it instantly and remember the first time I started sewing on my mum’s sewing machine which she would bring out to the big old dining table between meals.

Sewing was one of my subjects at school for two years which I joke about now as my teacher kicked me out a lot for talking too much. It turns out that talking is a great skill for teaching sewing! If only she could see me now…

After leaving High School I worked in a fabric shop. This is really where my sewing journey began. I remember learning everything there was to learn about sewing from an older sales assistant. I started collecting my fabric stash and bought a very expensive sewing machine and overlocker (which I had to put on lay by).

During my two years at the shop I was inspired by many experienced sewists and experimented with my sewing. I still have a few dresses that I made from this time; one being a lovely lavender taffeta dress with puffed shoulders (inspired by Lady Di)!

What do you make these days?

I like to sew dresses with a hint of vintage and I am not afraid of prints and colour. My style is definitely fun and feminine.

I started designing PDF patterns four years ago and have recently opened a studio where I teach sewing. I also received an award this year in the Dressmaker of the Year Awards from Simplicity patterns.

Do you have a dedicated room in your house for sewing?

I used to use the spare room in our house until recently when I opened up my little sewing studio . Even though I have this new space I prefer to sew at home as it’s an escape for me and I find being at home really lets me switch off.

What’s a typical day like for you?

After dropping of my boys at school and walking our gorgeous dog Roxy, I either head to the studio to prepare for classes or head back home to catch up on the never ending housework routine. Once that’s all done, I try to get some of my own sewing time before picking up the kids from School again. Most nights and weekends, I’m in the studio teaching lessons.

Do you find your sewing style or technique have changed over the years?

My sewing style has definitely slowed down over time. When I was a teenager I just wanted to sew my clothes as fast as I could and I didn’t really care about what the insides of the garment looked like. Now, I love hand sewing and couture techniques.

What are you currently working on?

I’m trying to finish a faux fur jacket, which I plan on finishing today! After that, I’m going to sew the Ginger Jeans by Closet Case Patterns.

Any future plans?

The plan is to begin to offer a wider variety of workshops such as pattern making, embroidery and specialty classes like jean making and corset making at my studio. I would also like to invite local and international expert instructors to join me in one off speaking and teaching workshops.

Your best sewing advice is…

Don’t strive for perfection and just enjoy sewing. Just be happy that you’ve made something and be proud rather than being too hard on yourself when things don’t always work out.

Share something people don’t know about you…

Fitness is a passion of mine as well as fashion. I still race in A grade women cycling races and I work a few hours a week at a gym as a Pilates and Spin instructor.

Follow Annie on Instagram and her website Sew This Pattern.

 

What Makes a Quilting Machine Different from a Sewing Machine?

 

Whether you’re an advanced free motion quilter or just dipping your toes into quilting for the first time, having the right machine makes all the difference.

While you can use just about use any regular sewing machine for quilting (a quilting machine is a sewing machine after all!), a quilting machine has a variety of add-ons and capabilities that really separate the two.

On our blog today, let’s take a look at some of the most important features you’ll want to consider if you’re planning to quilt on a regular basis.

1) Work space

One of the most obvious differences between a standard sewing machines and a quilting machine is the amount of workspace on the machine.

This is measured by the “throat” of the machine, which is directly determined by the length of the machine itself – the longer the machine, the wider the throat, the larger the workarea.

For basic sewing needs and easy home décor projects, a large table with ample work space/throat is more of a luxury than a need. But with bulky projects, such as quilts, the throat space becomes pretty important, hence quilting machines generally offer a much larger work area.

2) Extension Table

If you want even more workspace on your machine, an extension table will give you that room to move and maneuver as you’re quilting.

Designed to fit snugly against your sewing machine, the extra work surface is perfect for machine quilting and sewing on borders and bindings.

Many machines in our quilting range come with the Extension Table accessory, however it’s also available as an optional accessory within the Janome range of genuine parts and accessories.

3) Janome AcuFeed™ System

Ever find your sewing machine stitching everything perfectly from the top but upon flipping over your work, you find bunching or puckering? That’s not entirely uncommon for quilters who often work with multiple layers and heavy fabric.

Janome’s exclusive AcuFeed™ System is designed to move layers of your project together under the needle with perfect precision from both the top and bottom. This feature works great for everything from piecing to hemming to quilting and any sewing requiring precise control.

The AcuFeed™ System is available on MC15000 Quilt Maker, MC15000, MC14000, MC12000, MC9400QCP, MC8900QCP, MC8200QCP, MC8200QC, MC6700P, MC6600P, Skyline S9, Skyline S7 machines.

4) Foot Option: Quarter Inch Foot

When machine piecing a quilt top, a quarter inch seam allowance is ideal. The quarter inch piecing foot helps to achieve quilting accuracy and is also used specifically for quilting projects that typically have a narrow seam allowance.

Many machines in our quilting range come with this foot, however it’s also available as an optional accessory within the Janome range of genuine parts and accessories. Also, available is an AcuFeed Quarter Inch Foot.

5) Foot Option: Darning or Free Motion Foot

For free motion quilting, the most effective foot to use is the free motion or darning foot.

This foot ensures proper stitch formation, minimizes skipped stitches and puckering and also protects your fingers while you move the fabric freely under the needle. It’s especially beneficial to those just learning how to do free hand quilting. The open toe version greatly improves visibility of stitches and is especially popular with quilters. To achieve the best results when free motioning, set your needle to left needle position.

Many machines in our quilting range come with this foot, however it’s also available as an optional accessory within the Janome range of genuine parts and accessories.

6) Foot Option: Walking Foot (also known as Even Feed Foot)

If your machine doesn’t have AcuFeed™ System, don’t fret; let the Walking Foot save the day.

The walking foot is essentially a second pair of feed dogs for the top of your project to give you the extra help needed to feed through multiple layers, heavy fabrics and those difficult to sew slippery fabrics . It’s also fantastic to use when quilting in straight lines!

Many machines in our quilting range come with this foot, however it’s also available as an optional accessory within the Janome range of genuine parts and accessories.

7) Number of Stitches

Decorative stitches may not be your go-to stitch for quilting, but they can be just the thing that takes your quilt from, “That’s very nice,” to “Wow! You made that?”

Quilting with decorative stitches is a great way to add an accent to your quilt especially along a border. You can also use decorative stitching to quilt your quilt sandwich.

Some of our machines in the quilting range have over 200 built-in stitches to choose from including MC15000 Quilt Maker, MC14000, MC9400QCP and MC6700P machines.

8) Sewing Speed & Stability

If you are a serious quilter or quilt for a living, then a high-speed machine is definitely worth considering.

Some of our fastest machines in the market includes the MC6700P, MC6600, 1600P-QC, MC15000 Quilt Maker, MC14000 and MC9400QCP with the capability of zapping through projects at speeds of up to 1600 SPM.

Because these machines can sew at such great speeds, the machines themselves are designed to be extremely sturdy and built to withstand the speed of the motor. They offer stability features like extra wide flat bed and a generous workspace – all great features you want in a quilting machine.

From the casual sewist to the seasoned seamstress, there’s a sewing machine for every maker. Discover Janome’s huge range of products designed with an array of intuitive features to suit every budget and skill level. Visit an authorised Janome stockist today to find out more.

 

AcuFil Quilting Embroidery Kit – Accessory Of The Month August 2018

 

This AcuFil™ Kit allows you to perfectly stipple your quilts or quilting projects giving you a professional quilted finish. As the process is carried out using the embroidery machine it also means that you can comfortably embroider curves and feathers if you are not the most confident quilter. Simply use the software on a PC to design a single hooping or all over stipple, print the template and start the quilting process. The software allows for many different options and includes designs already loaded to select from to get you started.

This Accessory of the Month has a bonus project for you to make using the AcuFil Quilting Embroidery Kit.

Download brochure here

 

Janome Maker – Ange Hamilton

 

Happily married with two children and living in a converted shed on acreage about an hour outside Canberra, Ange Hamilton dreams about building an energy passive house and being self sufficient. She’s also a passionate sewist with a home full of handmade comfy cushions and snuggly quilts!

Ange found time to take five with us and share her sewing story.

How did your sewing journey begin?

I had sewing lessons in high school but didn’t enjoy it in the slightest. We spent two months sewing a pair of shorts in horrible fabric that in the end didn’t fit me and went straight to the bin!

After the birth of my daughter, I struggled to find dresses in prints that I liked, at a price I could afford. So I decided to try my hand at making my own clothes again and bought my first sewing machine 8 years ago.

I enrolled in a basic dressmaking class at a local fabric store – which was a great introduction to sewing – and spent the next few years making clothes for my children. It was also a great skill to have after my 18 month old daughter was diagnosed with hip dysplasia and needed to spend 6 months in a hip spica cast (a cast from chest down to both ankles) and then a brace.

Unfortunately along with having a little toddler stuck in a frog leg position we also couldn’t find any clothes to fit her. So I used my sewing skills to make her pants that we could pull over her head like a skirt and then button up over her cast. It was wonderful to have a hobby that I loved and also meant I could help my little girl gain her confidence back as it stopped strangers staring at her whenever we left the house.

What do you make now?

As my children got older they preferred shop bought clothes over handmade ones which meant I was free to discover a new type of sewing – patchwork!

One of my favourite fabric designers Tasha Noel , had a great blog which had links to lots of other fabulous patchwork bloggers like Amy Sinibaldi from Nana Company and Kerri Horsley from Lovely Little Handmades. From their accounts I discovered the quilting community on Instagram.

I initially made small projects like purses, cushions and single quilt block wall hangings which is why when I joined Instagram I named my account A Little Patchwork. I still love working on small scrappy projects, using lots of fabric from various collections but in the last year I have also started sewing larger projects such as quilts.

Where do you sew?

Living in a tiny space in a converted shed means space is at a premium. For the first few years after we moved I sewed standing up at the kitchen bench and would have to pack everything away to prepare meals. I now have a dedicated space underneath our stairs in a corner of the lounge!

Ikea has made this very workable, as I use the Norden drop leaf table for my sewing machine (when I’m sewing I prop both sides up so I have space for my cutting mat) and all my fabric and tools are on Raskog utility carts which I can push under the lower stair section when I’m not using them.

Where do you get ideas?

Instagram is a huge inspiration for me! I don’t have time to attend quilt guild meetings but the quilting community is so generous and supportive I feel like I am part of a global guild. It’s a great platform for being inspired by the fabric or project choice of others but its also fantastic if you want advice on how to learn a new technique or pattern.

I also borrow a lot of quilt books from the library and spend way too much time on Pinterest.

What’s a typical day like for you?

On weekdays I get up at 5am to get my children ready for school and myself ready for work. Then we spend most afternoons racing to after school activities like swimming and ballet.

The weekends are our family time and often spent working on our home or garden. However everyday I always make time for sewing, whether that is grabbing a few minutes on the sewing machine while dinner cooks or hand sewing in the evenings on the couch while we watch TV.

Then and now – has your sewing style/technique changed much?

Practicing sewing every day has meant my sewing techniques have definitely improved. I have also come to understand the importance of using the right tool for the right job (like the difference using a rotary cutter and a 1/4 inch seam foot make when it comes to getting accurate quilt blocks).

What are you currently working on?

I am looking forward to making a Christmas themed quilt using Heather Ross’ latest collection Sugar Plum. I also want to start making gifts like foldover pouches and totes for Christmas, as this year I’m hoping to be super organised rather than panic sewing on Christmas Eve…

Any future plans?

The next technique I want to learn is free motion quilting – it was one of the main reasons I was drawn to buying a Janome Memory Craft!

Your best sewing advice is…

Embrace the imperfection.

When you fixate on getting a perfect finish it can often prevent you from finishing which means you end up having a pile of unfinished projects in a cupboard rather than a slightly wobbly finished quilt for your family to snuggle under.

Share something people don’t know about you…

I am a huge fan of Kylie Minogue – I have been ever since she first appeared on Henderson Kids in the late 1980s. My love for Kylie has now been passed on to my children and we are all hoping she’ll tour Australia again soon!

Follow Ange on Instagram and her blog – A Little Patchwork.

 

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