Face Mask

I decided to have a go at machine sewing. I have a Janome heavy duty machine which is from 1984, yes its an old one, but it has never let me down. I need to do a bit of maintenance on it i.e. oiling and service cleaning, but apart from that it works like a dream.

I am a hand sewer, so using a machine is quite the different experience, especially since I have not used the machine in over 20 years, in fact about 1997. I made draped blinds back in 95, and even though I had the machine I like the process of hand sewing. The draped blinds were for a huge bay window, and I was rather proud of them, but it would have been faster to machine sew.

The machine was my Aunts, and she taught me how to use it, and I did very plain straight sewing from the age of 14. However, I am not all the proficient with it, I am happy to keep practicing. One of the problems I had was the cotton broke quite a few times, and the feed dog tangled with the top threat a few times when beginning the the lines. But I did manage to sort it out in the end, just frustrating when things go wrong.

This is my first go, and I don’t think it looks all that bad. It is lined with blue non-woven material, but in all honesty it is a little to thin, but I have left it with a pocket so a filter lining can go in there.

If there are any experienced sewers out there who want to pass on any tips and help, especially with the above snags I had to deal with then please drop me a message.


I knit as you all know, and I can hand sew too. The last few years I have thought about learning to machine sew properly. This year after watching the Great British Sewing Bee I decided that this is the time to start and learn a new skillset. Luckily, I have a sewing machine which my Aunt gave me back in the early ’90s. Every now and again I bring it out if I am sewing something large, but it’s rare, as I tend to sew by hand. This evening I got it out. It has a hard shell carry case that goes over it and clips onto the machine base, but, for some reason, I looked inside the hard shell cover and discovered it had an extension fitted to it in the photograph. I have had this machine for about 26 years and never knew it was there.

This is my machine, The Janome New Home 632 Heavy Duty

As well as having the instruction manual, I also have all the tools for it and the original oil dispenser, complete with original oil. I plugged it in and tried it, just to make sure that it was still in order, and off it went. I need to do a service on it by cleaning the moving parts and oiling it, but apart from that, it is ready to go. I have tried to find out when it was made but to no avail. However, I have emailed Janome and asked if they could tell me so I will update when I find out. I read an article that talks about machines post 1975 and roughly suggests 1985, if so it is 34 years old, and indeed vintage.

I have quite a few old things upstairs that I can use to get used to using it like clothes and bedding, but once I have mastered it I will experiment and try a few simple patterns, then finally make some shirts for myself.

I have been looking about for a new machine and found two lovely Brother machines, the FS40 (below left) and the FS100WT (below right). After watching Brothers videos on them both I am more inclined to go for the FS100WT. It is a lot more expensive than the other, but it does so much more, and 100 pre-programmed stitches and letters as opposed to just 40 stitches on the other.

Does anyone reading have experience with sewing? What route would you suggest I take in order to learn? I have been watching “The Jason of all Trades” on YouTube. A male sewer who shows you how to sew like a pro, including little projects and a fab looking backpack. Let me know your thoughts, and any guidance will be greatly appreciated.

I will still continue to do my knitting, but I need a new skillset to get my teeth into this year. I may never get to the level of Savile Row, but hell, I will give it a go.

Bloody Sewing…

pexels-photo-340012.jpegI decided I would sew up my sweater.  I finished it over a month ago, and left it there in my Booths bag, waiting in anticipation at being finished and worn.  But, for some reason I did not feel compelled to finish it, no real reason, well, maybe a bit of laziness was to blame, okay, a lot of laziness was to blame.  I am sure dear friends you have had the same feeling in the past of “Oh, I just can’t be arsed”, I had done the hard work and just hoped that a miracle would happen in the bag, and it would be all done for me by the faeries, alas the only faery that will be sewing is me.  So, I sat at my lovely Indian Rosewood dining table and started with the sleeves.  I did one up to the armhole, then pulled out the iron and ironing board and ironed the front and back in order to have a straight line to sew.  Sitting down I started sewing the armholes together, after getting halfway round I realised that being distracted by nothing of importance I had sewn the blooding thing the wrong way, in that it looked like a deconstructed garment and rather than being a lovely seam it was inside out.  Bollocks was my exclamation and quickly cutting the yarn I then undid it and decided to fold it up and put it on my office desk and do it tomorrow.  At least I have one sleeve done.

One of the things I was not sure about was which stitch I should use as there are so many of them.  I have edge/selvedge stitches at each end, so there are many possibilities, so far I think mattress stitch seems to the stitch of choice, so tomorrow, I will be going at it like a loon so I can finally wear it.