Pink Castle Blog

The Best Sewing Machines for Teaching Kids

Posted by Katie Remski on Sep 19, 2017 9:41:08 AM
  

Teaching kids to sew can be a fun and rewarding experience with a little patience and the right tools. Since "kids" sewing machines often found at a toy stores are typically poor quality, a basic sewing machine is a much better investment (on the same note, a real, effective sewing machine isn't a toy and should only be used with adult supervision.) Here's a few things to look for and keep in mind when choosing a sewing machine for teaching children:

1. Size

Just because the child is small doesn't mean their machine should be tiny-- a small/medium sized machine will accomodate a wider variety of projects such as quilts and apparel while still being light enough to stash away when not being used. 

2. Speed

A machine with adjustable stitch speed is helpful for teaching kids, especially because they tend to be rather "lead footed" on the pedal at the begining! Adjusting the speed lets you start them slow and gradually increase speed as they get the hang of sewing straight seams. 

3. Features

Having a machine with limited options may seem like a good idea to keep things simple, but there are a few features that will make sewing more fun and more efficient for kids just starting out. Decorative stitches help kids learn to sew straight lines with a big reward in the pretty pattern, and an easy buttonhole tool gives them the opportunity to practice sewing buttons and make easy closures for pouches and pockets. 

Here's a few machines we like for teaching children how to sew: 

Janome Sew Mini

The Sew Mini is the smallest, most basic and affordable of the Janome lineup, but it's still a great first machine option! With its compact size and cute colors, the Sew Mini has just a handful of stitches and would be good for teaching young sewists. 

Janome Sew Mini at Pink Castle Fabrics
Janome Hello Kitty at Pink Castle Fabrics

Janome 18750 Hello Kitty

Though it looks cute as a button, this is no joke of a sewing machine-- it's got all the features of a good basic machine, with a decent selection of stitches and a clear LCD screen. This one isn't sold online, but if you're near our shop in Ann Arbor, feel free to stop in or give us a call to try it out! 

 DC2015

The Janome DC2015 is a machine that combines simplicity and efficiency in one snappy red package! with a wide range of stitches and feet, plus a speed adjustment slider, the DC2015 could easily be anyone's everyday go-to machine. 

Janome DC2015 at Pink Castle Fabrics

Janome 6100 at Pink Castle Fabrics

Janome 6100

This one's a brand new member of the Janome family! The 6100 is similar to the DC2015, but updated with new stitches and also has the speed adjuster. 

Anna Maria Horner M100

While this is no beater machine, the AMH M100 is a beautiful investment machine that makes you wonder why anyone would want anything different. 99 stitches, removable extension table, speed adjuster, and automatic thread cutter are just a few of the features of this lovely machine. Am I biased because this is the machine I own? Maybe, but look at those roses! Any young girl would be happy to have this machine out on display. 

Janome AMH M100 at Pink Castle Fabrics

Remember, if you're not sure which machine will best fit your needs and budget, contact us and ask! We're always happy to help, especially newbies just getting introduced to the sewing world. 

See all Janome machines online!

Topics: anna maria horner, hello kitty, Janome, kids sewing, kids, m100, beginner, beginer, new to sewing, sewmini, 6100, dc2015, teaching, learn to sew, amh m100

How and Where to Use Decorative Stitches

Posted by Katie Remski on Sep 6, 2017 12:08:12 PM
  

DSC03799.jpg

Welcome back to Sewing Machine School! For a lot of modern sewing machines, it's common to have decorative stitch options, from scallops to stars to simple swirls. These stitches can add a lot of character to projects with minimal effort, but how do you use them?

The mechanics of using decorative stitches varies from machine to machine-- always check your manual to see what the specifics are before you jump in and try one out. No matter what the make/model of your machine, there's a few questions to consider before you start sewing:


1. Do I need to use a specific foot? Decorative stitches are typically wider than the average straight stitch and need a foot with enough space for the needle to move. 

2. What tension/stitch length should I set my machine to? The Janome 6700p used for this article (along with most other Janome machines) automatically adjust the tension and stitch length for the selected stitch, but other machines may require you manually change the settings. 

3. Does my machine need to be oiled? This goes for all sewing, but the repetitive and concise needle movement/placement means a well-oiled machine will preform much better. 

Now the fun part-- what kind of projects work best for decorative stitches? For me, anything that requires topstitching is prime real estate for some fun stitches. Curtain or skirt hems, purse flaps, tote bag handles, patch pockets, cuffs, wallets, zipper pouches, headbands, cloth napkins, and pillowcases are just a few examples. 

Now let's see how it's done-- again, I used the Janome 6700p, a machine that's perfect for both quilt/apparel sewing and heavy duty applications (like sewing through thick canvas and free motion quilting) and as a bonus has a lot of beautiful decorative stitches!

 Janome 6700p

First, thread your machine. The color is up to you-- go for a subtle, monochromatic look with a color that matches your fabric, or use a fun contrasting shade (like neon or varigated thread!) 

Leaf Stitch on the Janome 6700p

Leaf Stitch on the Janome 6700p

Pick your design and type the number into your machine with the keypad. If you have a Janome, the screen will tell you which foot to use with your design. For this stitch, we need the "F" foot, as indicated in the upper left of the screen. 

Leaf Stitch on the Janome 6700p

Leaf Stitch on the Janome 6700p

Attach the designated foot for your decorative stitch. This foot has a little red arrow to indicate where the stitch will be centered as to make following lines easier. 

Leaf Stitch on the Janome 6700p

The machine we're using automatically adjusts the tension and stitch length for the selected decorative stitch, but if yours doesn't, adjust accordingly. Now you're ready to start stitching! 

Leaf Stitch on the Janome 6700p

If your machine lets you adjust the speed, start off slowly and make sure to feed the fabric evenly through the machine to avoid skipped stitches. If you have a start/stop button instead of a food pedal, this is a great place to use it since it will maintain a smooth, even pace. 

Leaf Stitch on the Janome 6700p

When you're done stitching, backstitch just once or twice to lock the seam in place. 

Want to see which Janome machines offer decorative stitches? check out these models: 

Anna Maria Horner M100

Janome 6700p

DC2015

NPCF50

Skyline Series

 

Topics: Machine Embroidery, anna maria horner, Janome, skyline, Sewing Machines, 6700p, 6700, m100, decorative stitches, stitches

The Janome Skyline Series

Posted by Brenda Ratliff on Sep 22, 2016 3:13:00 PM
  
Janome is known for making easy-to-afford machines that last. Pink Castle Fabrics is dedicated to sell our customers only the best, and we feel that Janome is one of the best!

The Skyline Series is certainly no different! All of the Skyline Series are great machines for everyday use, no matter if you're sewing garments, home decor, or quilting.

All four models have the same body, so they are all the same weight, have the same amount of work space, and one-step needle plate conversions.

 
S3
Skyline S3


The Janome Skyline S3 is the only one of the Skyline series that is able to be sold online. You can find it on our website for a very reasonable $999.00! It's a great sewing machine for beginners and intermediates that you won't have to worry about them growing out of any time soon.

The Janome Skyline S3 Features:

  • 120 Stitches
    • 7 of which are bottonholes!
  • 8.25 inches of throat space
  • One-hand Needle Threader
  • Easy-Set Bobbin
  • 7 mm maximum stitch width
  • 5 mm maximum stitch length
Here is a video demonstrating the One-Handed Needle Threader 
that comes on the Skylines S3 and S5
 
[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gctjQLd4sA8&w=320&h=266]

In the Pink Castle Fabrics Shop in Ann Arbor, we have the rest of the Skyline Series out on display for your test driving pleasure:

Skyline S5
S5
Skyline S5


A step-up from the Skyline S3, the S5 includes a knee lift and 2 mm more of a maximum stitch width. It's a bit more bang-for-your-buck with more stitches all around, too!

The Skyline S5 features:

  • 170 Stitches
    • 10 Buttonholes
  • 9 mm maximum stitch width
  • 5 mm maximum stitch length
  • One-hand needle threader
  • Easy-to-navigate touch screen
  • Easy-set bobbin

 

Skyline S7
S7
Skyline S7


Is one of our personal favorites here at Pink Castle Fabrics! We use it for our Glamp Stitchalot Retreats for those in attendance that wish to rent a machine. It's the perfect sewing machine for apparel and quilting with special built-in applications for zippers, quilting, and piecing,

The Skyline S7 features:

  • Colored LCD Touch Screen
  • 240 Stitches
    • Including 11 buttonholes
  • 9 mm maximum stitch width
  • 5 mm maximum stitch length
  • Superior needle threader
  • Easy-set bobbin
  • Acufeed Flex 
  • Built-in Applications
In this video, Brenda reviews the Skyline S7 and all of its 
amazing features!
 
[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZLhs-e2vGc0&w=320&h=266]




Skyline S9
S9
Skyline S9

The Skyline S9 is the only Skyline to be capable of machine embroidery! It is brand new as of September 2016. It has all the same sewing features as the Skyline S7 and then some! Really, you're not going to want to pass up this amazing machine.

The Skyline S9 features:

AMH Embroidery
This is just one of the many
AMH embroidery designs that
come already programmed into the
Skyline S9!
  • Colored LCD Touch Screen 
  • 300 Stitches
    • Including 16 buttonholes
  • 9 mm maximum stitch width
  • 5 mm maximum stitch length
  • Superior needle threader
  • Easy-set bobbin
  • Acufeed Flex
  • Built-in Wifi capabilities
  • 250 Built-in Embroidery designs
    • 40 of which are designed exclusively by Anna Maria Horner! (Not available for individual purchase elsewhere!)
  • Comes with three sizes of embroidery hoops: 
    • 6.7" by 7.9"
    • 5.5" by 5.5" 
    • 3.9" by 1.6"
  • The ability to taper specific stitches to create beautiful borders
  • You can purchase a professional straight stitch plate to turn it into a straight stitch machine! 
 
S9
Skyline S9 with Embroidery Unit Attached
 
*The first five people to purchase a Skyline S9 from Pink Castle Fabrics will receive a free gift worth up to $180!
 
Call the shop today or e-mail our Resident Janome Sales Girl, Molly, with any questions, comments, or concerns at Molly@PinkCastleFabrics.com 
We can't wait to hear from you!
 
 
Did you know that October is Embroidery Month? We'll be posting throughout October with machine embroidery tips and tricks while also highlighting many of our amazing Janome Embroidery Machines. Stay Tuned!

Topics: anna maria horner, Embroidery, Janome, skyline, Sewing Machines

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