Monday, 21 May 2012

See you next year!

You may have noticed my blog posts have gone very quiet in the last few months. I'm so sorry about this, but I have a good reason... I'm having a baby!
Although I have been well throughout my pregnancy, I haven't had the extra energy to write regular blog posts. I have now started my Maternity Leave and I will be returning to Janome sometime in 2013.
While I'm away, please follow all Janome news via our main website and check out the Whats New page for lastest events and products.
So, until next time.... happy sewing!!!!!
Heidi xx

Friday, 16 March 2012

Maureen Brown retires.....

On the 23rd January 1978 Maureen joined the New Home Sewing Machine Company as a Sales Consultant at Kendal’s Department Store in Manchester. Having enjoyed almost 34 years with the company and experiencing many changes, including the name change to Janome UK in the mid 1990’s, Maureen retired on 7th December 2011.
I had a little chat with Maureen, who told me about some of her highlights during her time at Janome UK lTD.Maureen worked in Kendal’s for just over six years, and in April 1984 won a trip visit to Janome in Tokyo. (The photograph above is from Japan, Maureen is in the pink top, with trainers from America, Australia, Canada and New Zealand). These included visits to Janome HQ and factories, but also to Kyoto, (which was once the capital city of Japan), take a trip on the famous Bullet Train, see Mount Fuji, and experience the amazing Japanese culture. She told me of bringing back so many souvenirs that thought she would get stopped at the airport for excess baggage!
It was during this time in Kendal’s she was asked to become involved in Exhibitions, including “Daily Mail Ideal Home Exhibition” at Earl’s Court in London. During the years that the company exhibited at the Ideal Home Exhibition, Janome were awarded three of the coveted “Daily Mail Blue Ribbon Awards” for new products which was quite an achievement.
Maureen has continued to be involved in sewing exhibitions ever since, sometimes up to 30 a year, and no matter how busy or demanding they could be they were always a favorite part of her job.
After six years at Kendal’s Maureen was offered the post of Training Supervisor to be based at Janome Head Office. This role was to train the demonstrators, Janome had concessions in department stores all over England, Scotland, and Wales, and also to support Janome independent retailers with training and promotions within their shops.Maureen, in the middle of this photograph, also set up a training room at Janome Head Office. Machines were advancing so much, especially the computerized ones, and it was this range of machines that customers really wanted help with. The machines had so much to offer but people felt that they were not using them to their full potential and were also a little nervous of them. So with this in mind, Janome decided to offer a one day free tuition course for the top of the range machine, which at that time was the Memory Craft 7000 in 1989. (Today, Janome still offers the one day free tuition course for their Horizon Memory Craft 12000, our top of the range Computerized Sewing and Embroidery Machine).Maureen was then promoted to Training Manager and responsible for co-ordinating all the different aspects of training and also to coordinate exhibitions and educational programs.
Customers loved the sewing classes, and when Janome moved into new premises, a larger training room this enabled the Janome Sewing School to be launched 1992. Experts, such as Alison Smith, Betty Foster MBE, Lynne Edwards MBE, Maureen Whitmore, Terry Fox and many more were involved. Classes were held on Dress Making, Tailoring, Quilting, Home Furnishing,
Free Hand Embroidery, Millinery and even Teddy Bear Making.
As sewing machines advanced, customers were calling Janome seeking help and advice about which machine to buy and help with their sewing problems. Customers wanted hints and tips that could help them with their projects, and where to buy certain sewing items they needed. And so the Janome Customer Service Department was established with a dedicated Customer Service Helpline and Maureen moved over to that department as the Customer Service Manager.
Maureen has been involved with many other projects over the years, as the company continued to grow, including helping to produce tutorial videos and DVD’s. She also produced a company Newsletter from 2005 until 2009 (copies of which can still be found on
This is Maureen last day in the Janome office, and can be seen with Ann White on the left - Customer Service Advisor / Training Co-ordinator, then Elaine Bennett- Customer Service Manager, Maureen and then Peter Barrett - U.K. Service Manager /Software Support.
told me “Over all my years with Janome I have been fortunate to work with a great team, people who are so totally professional and whose support I will always be grateful for. The Regional Sales Managers who are constantly out on the road supporting retailers and customers alike, the Service, Spares and Administration Departments and of course the Training and Customer Service Department. I was also very fortunate in having a great MD who gave me the opportunity to grow within the company during those years and will always be grateful to him for his support both professionally and personally. I will miss them all.”But it’s not a total goodbye, as I am delighted to say that Maureen has agreed to continue with the company on a freelance basis. She will be joining us at the larger sewing exhibitions around the UK, and we look forward to seeing all her sewing projects now she has all this free time!

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Munkee Creations - Patchwork & Quilting in Long Eaton, Nottinghamshire

Sharon opened her fabulous shop, Munkee Creations, last summer. Based in the small town of Long Eaton, about half way between Nottingham and Derby, this shop is a heaven for patchwork and craft sewers.
With a huge range of patchwork fabrics, you can't help but fall in love with some of them! Sharon has lots of personal experience within sewing and quilting and runs her own workshops in the shop. (of course on Janome machines!)While I was visiting the shop a couple of months ago, just to say hello and take a few photographs for my blog... I signed up for a workshop! I have made various small sample quilts, but never attempted anything full size. Munkee Creations is only 10 minutes away from home, and with my need for nesting (you may not know this, but I am expecting our first baby in June!) I just couldn't help myself!
So a couple of weeks later... I was back.. and ready to sew!!! Firstly, I had to choose from the gorgeous range of Moda and Freedom patchwork fabrics.
I decided on a colourful mix of blues, greens, pinks and reds in a Jelly Roll. (Jelly Rolls are a quick way of quilting... which I'll explain as we carry on). First I had to sew all the strips into sets of five.. the Janome 1600p is perfect for this job, at 1600 stitches per minute, I was finished in no time!
As Jelly Rolls are designs especially with quilting in mind, all the strips are cut ready for you to start sewing. (you buy them when they look like circular rolls of fabric.. see a few photographs up). Once they were stitched into sets of five, the cutting starts. (I can't tell you all the secrets, you'll have to go one one of Sharon's workshops for that!)
But, after a couple of hours, my patchwork blocks are starting to come together! Don't the colours look so retro! I then took my blocks home, and finished on the quilt in my own time....
With my Janome Horizon 7700QCP, I had to embellish my blocks with some fancy embroidery stitches. I haven't done every seam... just most of them!
Then the blocks are stitched together, and the huge space on my Horizon makes this so easy. It took me a few evenings to do the quilting and binding and then dar................
my first finished patchwork quilt! This is my first item I have made for the new baby nursery.. I'm just so excited to make lots more!

Thank you so much to Sharon for her wonderful Jelly Roll workshop, and teaching me some fabulous patchwork secrets!

For more information on Munkee Creations, please check out their website and facebook page.
Janome Machines are available locally from Ilkeston Sewing Centre.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Running with Scissors @ Sheffield

Last week I visited the Janome stockist in Sheffield, Woodseats, who told me all about Emma and her sewing workshops. I contacted Emma for more information, and she kindly sent me lots of details to share with you and some fabulous photographs.
"Running With Scissors, Sheffield’s first craft lounge, was set up in 2009 by Emma Kent to help others learn new skills and share her love of all things crafty. I wanted a business name that reflected the ethos of experimenting, taking some risks, and having some fun, which are all part of the Running With Scissors experience. At the moment we do lots of sewing based workshops and after lots of research decided to buy 5 Janome Machines for people to use at the workshops (they are very reliable, robust enough for beginners and people absolutely love the automatic needle threader!). I run about half the workshops myself and the others are run my guest tutors who are specialists in their particular craft, such as dress making or patchwork and quilting. Sewing Machines for beginners is our most popular workshop where people get to learn how to thread up a machines, do basic stitches and get to make a cushion cover (see above). People are so thrilled with what they have achieved at the workshop it never fails to give me a little buzz of excitement. Sewing is hugely popular at the moment and people want to make their own clothes, do alterations and make projects for the home. Some of our other workshops include ‘Zips and Buttons’ (we make the little purse above), ‘Curtains for Beginners’ and ‘Make your own Patchwork Quilt’. Our ‘A-Line skirt in a Day’ is so popular we are also going to run a ‘Dress in a Day’ workshop, this will be a bias cut dress (all will be explained at the workshop) which is flattering for lots of different body shapes.

My Gran made lots of clothes for me when I was a child and she taught me how to use a sewing machine back in the early 1980s, my early projects included a red and white spotted A-symmetrical top and a red pencil skirt with a zip down the centre front (eat your heart out Pepsi and Shirley!). Now I’m a bit more grown up my sewing project list is never ending, currently on the list are curtains for our lounge (bay window!), a green linen tunic top, a draft excluder (possibly a 1970’s sausage dog style), some cushions…….

Workshops are mainly held at the Meersbrook Park United Reformed Church, Chesterfield Road, Heeley (about 3 miles form the centre of Sheffield). We also offer private tuition in your own home, craft parties, hen parties and workplace lunchtime sessions. It looks like 2012 is going to be a busy year…

For more information on Emma sewing workshops, visit her website

For more information about our Sheffield Janome stockist, Woodseats Sewing Machines,check out their website

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

English Couture Company Open Day!!!

Have you ever fancied learning how to make stunning tailored trousers, a gorgeous boned bodice, or the perfect size bra.... but a little nervous of getting started and signing up to a workshop? Well, this is the day for you!Michelle Pye will host an open day at her shop and training centre, English Couture Company in Syston, Leicestershire on Saturday 4th February 9am - 1pm.This is an informal opportunity to meet Michelle, have a look around the classroom and shop, and enjoy and lovely cup of tea and maybe a little something sweet as well.
Michelle has been teaching tailoring, dressmaking and lingerie courses for 12 years and moved into her current premises in June 2010. The shop stocks a huge range of couture fusible interfacing, interlinings, lingerie fabrics and haberdashery... if Michelle doesn't stock it, it's not worth having!
Her fully equipped classroom has everything you might need to make your perfect trousers, bra or even wedding dress... including Janome 6600p... one of our most popular professional sewing machines.
For more information, check out English Couture Company website, facebook page and twitter.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Christmas card and embroidery design created in Digitizier MBX!

Every year I like to give handmade Christmas cards, last year they were using bits of fabric and free machine embroidery to create a bunting card, have a look here.

This year, at Janome, we have had a wonderful new top of line machine, the Horizon Memory Craft 12000 and new embroidery software Digitizer MBX. So, what a great time to see what I can make!

As always, time is in short supply on the lead up to Christmas, so my cards had to be something simply and quick to make... and I decided on a slightly different concept this year. I will create the Christmas card in CorelDraw Essentails X5, which comes as part of the Digitizer MBX package and use the same design to create an embroidery design for my MC12000!We have just had our technical training on CorelDraw Essentials X5, and many thanks to the wonderful Suzanne, who showed us all the hints and tips to use this fantastic software package!
So I used this package to design my Christmas Card. I have to confess, I didn't design the Christmas Tree from scratch, I used Istock website, which has 10000's of images for you to download. The Christmas Tree design was in .EPS, which is a vector format, this means you can edit the design piece by piece and also, it's makes converting to an embroidery so much better quality. Once my card was created, my Canon printer became very busy!
Then onto the embroidery design....
Using my Christmas Tree vector image, I went into Digitizer MBX, and into Graphics Mode, and selected "Convert Selected Graphics to Embroidery". This instantly converts each part of the image into embroidery, and now we are using a vector image, the software understands layering on elements of the embroidery design.
My Christmas Tree is now embroidery....
I then edited the design by changing some of the textures of the fill areas, by using Embossed Fill Patterns. My design is then ready to embroider in my Grand Hoop on my Horizon Memory Craft 12000.
Remember I said when using a vector image, it understands layering of embroidery elements... look at the bird, the body of the bird has been embroidered first, then the wings and eye is on top, this is the best way of using embroidery to give a quality finish.
The same with this bauble, the star is on top of the bauble, giving a great finish. Older software packages would have tried to make a hole for the star, making the stitches uneven and awkward looking.
I embroidered my tree on 100% linen canvas from Fabrics Galore, this is a gorgeous natural looking fabric and embroiders beautifully.
On the back I added some green buttons in different sizes to compliment the Christmas Tree embroidery design.
And... a Christmas Card and embroidered Cushion to match!

For more information on Digitizer, have a look at our website and, for the Horizon Memory Craft 12000, look here.

If you would like to use my Christmas Tree embroidery design on your Horizon Memory Craft 12000, please email me and I will send it to you as a 'jef file.

Have a wonderful Christmas and a very merry New Year!!!!

I'm adding to this blog post on 9th January 2012.

Joan Kopp emailed and asked me for the .jef embroidery design of my Christmas Tree to use on her Memorycraft 11000 (using Digitizer MB to alter the size of the design) .... and look what I received this morning! A photograph of the fabulous table runner she made using the design!
Thank you so much Joan for sharing this with us.
Remember, if I have emailed you the design... please share with us your finished Christmas Tree projects!

Thursday, 15 December 2011

New sewing studio opens in Yorkshire.... The Design Suite!

I met Angela Feather a few weeks ago at the Knitting and Stitching Show in Harrogate, and I'm so glad I did! She told me all about her new venture, The Design Suite, which is based in Tockwith, roughly half way between Weatherby and York.
Angela was first inspired to sew by her Grandmother, who lived next door to the family home in New Zealand. Her Grandma would always be making her the latest fashions, and soon Angela got the sewing bug! At first using her Grandma's sewing machine, she finally got her own at age 12... and has never stopped sewing since!
After moving back to the UK, Angela studied textiles for five years, first with a Art & Design Course at York College and then Foundation Degree at Cleveland College of Art and Design in Hartlepool.
It was after this training, she realised there was a definite lack of suitable facilities in the area she lived..... and The Design Suite was born!

The Design Suite is made up of three studios, Studio One, Two and Print Studio.

Studio One has a gorgeous relaxed feel, with confortable seating and inspiring surroundings. This Studio is for the sewing and craft workshops, and can be hired for your own use for £50 half day.
Studio Two, is more formal, and is designed mainly for meetings and talks. It can be hired for your own use for £25 per hour.

The Print Studio is an open plan area to allow space for screen printing on fabric and wallpaper.Angela is running workshops in various subjects from dressmaking - basic and advanced, design and pattern cutting, free machine embroidery techniques, Christmas crafts, book binding, knitting, bunting making, and fashion drawing.
You don't need to take your own sewing machine to workshops, as the Studios have their own Janome Sewing Machines for you to use... and tea, coffee and cake is included with every workshop!
I can't wait to go and visit the Studio's in the New Year, and soak up the creative atmosphere... maybe a cuppa and cake...and hopefully join in with a little sewing while I'm there!

For more information on The Design Suite, visit their website, Twitter and Facebook page, and full list for workshops click here.

If you don't live in the Yorkshire area, why not check out our full list of recommended Janome Learning Centres all over the UK.