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Saturday, 17 March 2018

Jaycotts are delighted to be hosting an event with Sweet Pea Embroidery Australia

Sweet Pea Embroidery Australia

You are invited to spend the day 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 Account 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.



Chester Trade Park, 

Unit D2 Bumbers 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.


Saturday, 10 March 2018

Starting to explore some Brother Sewing Machine feet and accessories.

This is a blog post

Starting to explore different machine feet.

As you know I recently started to use the Brother Innov-is 1300 .If you have not yet read my first impressions of this incredible machine then I urge you to read the blog post. Introducing the Brother Innov-is 1300

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.

The pattern I chose to make is McCalls M7657
The fabric is Plain combed cotton Lawn from MinervaCrafts
This top is tunic  style which pulls over your head. There are two sleeve options but I adapted the pattern to make the sleeves in a different style.
You will need Gutterman Sew All thread in white
You also need a new Sewing machine needle For Lawn I would choose a Fine one. This link is to a large box of machine needles which is great value but they are also sold in smaller packs.

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

The Grainline Studios Farrow Dress

This is a MCBN post.

What a lovely dress this is. Made in a Ponte Roma in a trailing leaves design it hangs beautifully, does not crease and can take you to the smartest of events.

Do read the post on the MinervaCrafts web site where you will be able to order the fabric and pattern to make your own version
The Grainline Studios Farrow Dress is suitable for beginners with some experience onwards.

Thank you Minerva for this lovely pattern and fabric. I can't wait to wear it!

#sewing #grainlinestudios #farrow #ponteroma #stretchfabric #MCBN

Sunday, 18 February 2018

The Personal Embroidery Design Software System for your Brother Embroidery Machine

Introducing the Brother PE Design 10 software 

Just suppose that you have had your Brother Embroidery Machine for a while now and you have been downloading additional Embroidery patterns from the internet, and everything is going fine but where do you go from here?
You may want to create your own designs from a photograph or clip art, perhaps you want to add lettering to a design and create your own logo, with this software you can do all that plus add colours, change colours, change hoop size, arrange several patterns to make one design and much more 
If this appeals to you then this software is for you.

The software is easy to install and there are full instillation instructions in the box with step by step pictures showing each stage. You cannot go wrong.

The software is actually run by  a Key and you need to keep it safe as it is needed every time you use the software. You will be unable to use the software installed on your computer if this key is not plugged into a USB port. 

 Assuming you have installed the software and opened the system with the key you will see the Startup Wizard. This screen enables you to choose your hoop size and fabric type which is the part I always start with.  It shows the design you previously worked on and much more besides
You may also want to go directly to a template which is quickly accessed from here.
I find it so useful to start here as it makes everything simple, and by choosing my hoop size now it saves trying to work out which size hoop you need later.

I do love the fact that the instruction manual can be accessed very easily from the main screen and it opens in a new window so that you do not lose the work in progress.

 For example I wanted to know how to centre my design and the answer came up immediately in a simple to understand diagram.

The project I wanted to work on first was a logo that I could embroider onto a garment to be worn if I am giving a sewing class or similar event.
First I needed to find a picture. There are plenty within the design software itself or you can download from the internet or use a disc or pen drive. Another option is to convert a photograph or clip art into embroidery.

I have quite a few designs of Angels saved into my computer so I wanted to try a few of them to see which I liked best.
This one was easily transferred from my computer onto the design page by selecting it in the import pane and dragging it onto my grid.
I then entered some text, just my name in this instance and played around with colours fonts and sizes . That's the best way to learn incidentally, by playing around with various designs until you achieve something which pleases you.

This is my first design and although I do not want to embroider it yet or choose it as my logo I do want to save it.
There are two choices and you can choose either or both. In this photo I am saving the design to my computer by clicking on "Save As" and choosing a file which I had already created on my desktop.


The other option is to choose "Send Embroidery Design" and choose your USB stick.
The USB stick can then be inserted into your embroidery machine ready for stitching

This is one of the designs I finally decided on. I wanted the design quite small so ensured that I chose the 4x4 hoop size in the start up whizard.
I also need to mention that there is a sewing order pane where you can easily adjust the sewing order so that the number of thread changes is minimised .
There is also a stitch view or realistic view to see how the finished pattern will appear and you can actually watch as the machine simulates the actual embroidery.

You cannot use your PE Design key in your embroidery machine so you will need a USB stick. I use a normal one with a large memory to store a copy of all my designs on and the fun scissors one to transfer just one or two designs into my machine.

This is the first logo embroidered. I also added a border as you can see. As this is only a practice logo I wasn't too worried about the colours, they can easily be changed according to the colour of the garment it is to be embroidered onto. There are some changes to be made before I embroider it for real but doing a test run, for me, is very useful.

This is another little logo which I came across and saved into my embroidery file.

I am doing another logo. This time starting with the text. There are a lot of text design patterns to choose from and a huge library of fonts.

This is one of my Angel designs I have in my folder and again I saved the design into my computer file in case I want it in future

I quite liked this one though and I wanted to see what it looks like embroidered so I transferred it to my memory stick and into my machine.

And this is my finished design. It is clear to see that the lettering needs centering and it will need a border, so I am going back into the design to make these alterations before I use it properly.
When I practice my embroidery I use my sheets, pillowcases and table wear! I don't see the point of doing all that work and just discard it, so now my linen is covered in random embroidery which I actually love.

My embroidery machine is the Brother Innov-is 800e so do contact Jaycotts for the latest prices and to discuss other embroidery or embroidery / sewing machines combined.

There is a whole lot more that I can tell you about this incredible software but the best thing for you to do is to try it for yourself. You can flip and duplicate patterns to make large designs and you can create your own shapes, changing the sewing direction whenever you want to. In this way you can create your own unique designs.
I could talk forever about the benefits of this software It really adds a lot to the value you will gain from your machine.

The product information from Brother is;-

Embroider, Embellish, Enjoy
Expand your creative possibilities and streamline your design work with the new PE-DESIGN® 10 Embroidery Design Software. PE-DESIGN® 10 truly is the "Perfect 10" of embroidery software, with new and enhanced features for everyone - from the hobbyist to the home business entrepreneur.

• 130 built-in fonts
• Easy user interface
• New functions (chain stitches, net fill stitches, multiple stitch direction and more)
• Over 1000 built-in designs
• See design previews in Windows Explorer  
• Intelligent colour sort
• Enhanced photo stitch quality
• Enhanced Applique wizard
• Enhanced Split stitch tool

This incredible The Brother PE Design 10 Embroidery Software is available from Jaycotts Telephone them on 01244 394099 for more information.

Or you can fill in the Contact Jaycotts form or call in of course.

Do sign up for the Newsletter and be the first to hear about special offers, promotions and to read the latest blog.

Thank you for reading this post.


#machineembroidery #embroiderysoftware #Jaycotts #Brother #sewing #embroidery

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Sunday, 11 February 2018

Introducing the fabulous Brother Innov-is 1300

The Brother Innov-is 1300 from

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 

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