Sunday, March 24, 2019

All about my sewing machine - a Juki TL-2200QVP mini review

The question I'm most often asked by people, both during classes I teach and in messages online is "what sewing machine do you have"? So I thought I'd give you the answer to this question as well as let you know why and how I chose this machine, and what my thoughts are now once I've used her for 6 months.

Since august 2018 have a JUKI TL-2200QVP MINI, she is what they call "a portable 1 needle straight stitch machine".  But I like to say she is right between an domestic machine and an industrial. Her industrial quality build combined with the domestic size and ease of use is just amazing!

A little background/my sewing machine history 

When I started my sewing career about 12 years ago (yep, I've not been sewing for longer than that, if you'd like to read about how my sewing journey started, this article from Rikstäcket is lovely) I had an Emerald Husqvarna 118 that I received for my 18th birthday from my lovely parents. While this is a great little machine, the space under the arm was a little too small once I started quilting, so I bought a Janome Horizon 7700.

That machine was my everything, it was sooo expensive to me back then but I wholeheartedly wanted it (it was the same machine the owner of the quilting retreat me and my mother attended had) so I splurged; not knowing anything about the brand, other brands or what options there were. I'm so happy that I did as that machine has allowed me to grow with it and learn with it for so long. But I apparently was lucky with mine as several friends who bought the same machine has had so many issues with theirs, while mine just kept on working.

However, after 10 years of hard work she started to give up and my dad who nowadays is a sewing machine repair man (I'm a lucky girl!) said it was not worth trying to save her as she was basically just too tired and worn all over. So the hunt for a replacement started!

Deciding on a machine 

I can honestly say I tried almost every big brand out there. Which I also recommend you to do if you have the possibility. As each brand has their own great features, uniquenesses and perks. Husqvarna and Pfaff (absolutely lovely machines in many aspects, my second machine is a Husqvarna Opal 690, but they in my experience nor after testing everything from their Epic to the cheaper options don't handle thick layers well unfortunately. My parents sell this brand, I was almost disowned buying a Juki *lol*), Bernina (they too have fantastic machines! But they're quite expensive and quite digital and advanced which isn't great when you live in a country almost completely without any qualified repair men on computerized machines. And they're a little to fuzzy and particular for me I realized after borrowing my friends fantastic machine to try for last years quilting retreat, thanks again Maria <3 ), Janome, Brother and so on. After reading up so much, testing soo many machines during the spring and summer of 2018 I pretty much only had Juki left and made an appointment with awesome Marie and Henry of

I had brought some thick vinyl fabric folded 8 times (as you can see in the photo above) to test with as I'd done for all other brands, and the only other brand which had managed this test of mine somewhat successfully was the Bernina 570 (which costs about three times more than the Juki), so I was so excited to see that the Juki managed it without a moment's hesitation. I also tested free motion quilting with it of course and it was a breeze.

When I then realized that industrial presser feet could be used, I was ecstatic and felt like a kid in a candy shop looking at all the options available to me in the presser feet drawers!

Review of the Juki TL-2200QVP mini

I've now been exclusively sewing on my Juki for 6 months and she's been thoroughly tested, both for quilting and for sewing bags. And I LOVE HER! I could literally not be happier with this machine. She has everything I need, a super strong motor and feed (I broke so many needles on zippers before I got used to her strength! *lol*) that feeds so evenly.

She literally sews everything I've put before her so far, I've tested 10 layers of vinyl and even that she feeds like a champ and makes beautiful stitches! Doesn't matter if it's two thin layers of cotton or all the layers of a bag, the stitches are always perfect and so beautifully straight! Here I'm using one of my favourite feet the 1.5mm compensator foot, which makes all edge stitching a breeze and always perfect!

She has a big "lever" for backstitching which is easily used and she does cut my thread for me, which is something I just can't be without. you can actually have the pedal cut the thread for you by pressing the front part of it (which a lot of people love I know), that however was not for me so I use the plastic protection thing to disable that function as I just cut the thread accidentally too many times.

The knee lift is something I got use to with my Janome Horizon and I'm so happy to have one on the Juki, it's so convenient no matter if I'm free motion quilting or sewing bags. The knee lift also lifts the presser foot higher than the regular lift, which can be good to know. However, I do find the placement/angle of the knee a little less than optimum as it's so close to my leg when sewing that it's easily touched by mistake. That along with the relatively poor lighting are the only two little things I can say negatively about this fantastic machine.

At first I found it so difficult to not be able to move my needle sideways when sewing to use the presser feet as I was used to, but now when I have got a proper foot for everything, I don't even think about it anymore.

She's amazing for quilting, I bought the acrylic extension table and I'm so happy I did! You just turn the machine 90° and suddenly you have like a mid arm! Look at all that quilting space!

I also bought the turned open toe free motion quilting foot to make this easier and I'm so glad I did, so convenient! Here you can see the turned one on the left next to the regular one on the right. This way I see my stitches just as well when having my machine turned.

Here you see it in action.

Such a clever solution! I have sooo much space to move my quilt sideways!

I also absolutely love that I don't have to unthread my machine to wind a new bobbin (yes, I'm lazy!), I just plop down a new one next to the other and wind away!

So, do I recommend this machine? The answer is a resounding YES!! I'm so, so happy with it, I literally couldn't not have gotten a better machine for me! If you have any questions regarding this machine, please don't hesitate to ask them below.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Singapore Sling Bag - Pattern Release!

I've been so EXCITED for today! The Singapore Sling Bag is finally released! And I can't wait to see your version!
The Singapore Sling Bag is the perfect everyday handbag, super stylish and just big enough for all the necessities. It has a zipper pocket in the lining which you turn the bag through, as well as open slip pockets. The gusset free design makes it super easy and quick to sew, you'll easily make it in an afternoon. And if you're like me, you'll be making more than one!

The Singapore Sling Bag pattern has both INCH and CENTIMETER measurements and is available in both English and Swedish HERE.

I love this design soooo much! Literally it's the most ME bag I've ever designed, I think it even wins over the Denver Double Zip Bag as my new favourite everyday bag (and I have over 10 of those for my own personal use, so that's not saying little *lol*).

This bag is sewn with Tula Pink's GORGEOUS Zuma line, the little unicorn seahorses of the "Sea Stallion" print are just so adorable and I love them, they fit so beautifully on the flap! The exterior is a matching cotton solid I quilted and the lining is the "Sea Shells" print from the same line. 

The back is simple and smooth.

Here is where the magic happens! This zipper pocket is not your average zipper pocket! It's oh so discreet and is made in a different way to let you avoid the regular zipper openings, which so often for the beginner bag maker can turn out uneven.

Of course there are sea stallions in the zipper pocket lining too!

It's just the perfect size for an everyday bag:
 ~6” (16cm) high, ~9” (23cm) wide and ~2 ½” (6.5cm) deep at the base. 

I have a hard time deciding if I prefer the blue or the yellow one, both makes me sooo happy! So once my sewing room is unpacked I'll have to make another one so I have even more difficulties to choose for sure! 

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As always, this pattern wouldn't be a reality without my amazing pattern testers making sure everything is absolutely perfect before the release!
Thank you all!  Here are their gorgeous bags.

Tania Chanroux - of Smart Made Designs on Instagram made this breathtaking faux leather and cork version! You can't help but smile when you open this bag I think, such a perfect lining choice!

Noor Rats - Whom can be found here on instagram made this absolutely stunningly beautiful faux leather and cotton Cotton and Steel version! 

Pia Jestin - can be found here on Instagram made this classy, beautifully quilted cork and cotton version! Look at those freemotion quilted wood patterns, so stunning!

Annette - Made this absolutely insanely cool faux croc skin version! The choice of a chain strap makes it even edgier and I love it!

Eva Arthursson - made this absolutely gorgeous faux leather and cotton black and turquoise version! Such a classy looking bag. 

Cheryl Wright Simmerman - of Adarra Handmade with her usual amazing speed made not one, not two but THREE gorgeous versions! One stunning  quilted cork flamingo one (oh so me!) and one super fancy, pink sequin version and a beautiful, all cotton one - making beautiful use of the Effervescence border fabric! 

Becky McCoy - of Simply Memorable Bags made this super pretty, bright and cheery all over quilted cotton version! 

Ann-Kristin Kristoffersen - of Kinnas Lappteknik made this insanely sweet suede and cotton version with the most adorable lining! 

Marita Tjulander - of Valsanhäxan Syr/Quiltar made this  gorgeous faux leather and suede version! Doesn't it just look so expensive?

Michelle of MEW Designs Australia - whom can be found here on Instagram and  here on Facebook made this super cool gold and blue version! Love the perfectly matched Alison Glass lining!

Anja - whom you can find on instagram here made this stunning cork version, can you believe it was her first time working with cork, and her first time installing a turn lock!? Me neither!

Anette - Made this beautiful denim version, and look at that quilting, soo pretty! She used her embroidery machine for it, I think that was a brilliant move!