Grace Answers :) Sewing Machine FAQs

Hello All,

If you want to know the post with max comments in my blog, then it is this one.
Usha Janome Allure – My New Sewing Machine

Being a curious time tight novice, I purchased a automatic machine but I have not tried much in my machine. But this posts gets different comments regarding sewing machine details which I was not aware.
But by this post only I came to know Grace. Grace is an avid seamstress and has been sewing from long time and has so much experience with different accessories and purposes.She has tried many things and has lot of information on the needles and the presser feets.

I’m consolidating and posting the information Grace has commented on my above post. The answers are by Grace, I’m posting them in blog post so it reaches wider audience and information is made readily available.

So here goes the FAQs

1) The question was about Usha Janome Accessories -Ruffler or Gathering, Pin Tuck, Even Feed Foot, asked by Kim

Yes, Kim, I’ve had plenty of luck! A couple of months ago, I acquired a Ruffling foot, an Even Feed (walking) foot, a pintucking foot, a binding foot which makes and attaches bias binding in one go, a three-way cording foot, an overedging foot, all online from ebay india. Then, on Saturday, I found and purchased a gathering foot and a ribbon/sequin foot from the local (Dehradun) Usha dealer. Have spent nearly 7000/- on these. I also took advantage of the Diwali deals and purchased a Janome Dream Maker 120 for Rs.26,099 (the marked price is anything between Rs.32,000-35,000) and this came with 8 more presser feet, so am feeling very rich indeed! My hearing impaired daughter and I do a lot of stitching/tailoring.

The name of the supplier at Ebay is Usha Sales Corporation or Usha Machine and Electricals and their contact details are :
Phone No: +919503503444
Email : care@ushamachines.com

Or you can go to ebay india, google sewing machines and accessories. Let me know how it goes. All the best!

I think almost all these presser feet will be compatible with your Allure, but no harm in contacting the supplier and making sure. Of the two feet I bought last, the gathering foot says it’s compatible with Oscillating Hook Models (your Allure and my Stitch Magic – front loading), and the ribbon/sequin foot with Horizontal Rotary Hook Models (my Dream Maker – top loading). As I have both types now, the feet will fit at least one of them. But if the foot is not compatible with your machine, then it will be a waste, and the parts are rather expensive. I have no idea why they are not universal/standard. I will try out the ribbon/sequin foot on my Stitch Magic though, to see if it works there!

Grace
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I just googled and saw the list of foot available for Usha Janome machines.

http://www.usha.com/sewing-machines/accessories/janome-attachments
Have a look if you are interested. To my knowledge, we cannot order from Usha website.
It only lists the product.

2) Another one, this is from Vani
How Usha Janome Allure sewing machine is different from singer merrit manual machine

Responding to Vani’s query: I am quite a veteran seamstress. I’m not very sure what additional features you have in Allure (I have a Stitch Magic), but I think that whereas your Singer Merritt will do just the basic sewing, with your Allure you can : (!) Use the decorative stitches to do the bottom of the salwar, (2) Use the zigzag or “ladder stitch” to do the overlocking of both the salwar and the kameez so that they don’t fray, and (3) use the decorative stitches to beautify your kameez by just making rows of the stitches in one or more colours! Your Allure with give you much more joy, creativity and enjoyment than the humble Merritt!
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3) Fariha asked this question
which number needle is used in usha janome allure
And Grace answers,

To nsangheetha for Fariha: In all sewing machines, a whole range of needles can be used. The appropriate one depends on the type of material you are stitching. For ‘normal’ i.e. everyday stitching – cottons and some synthetics, no: 14 is usually used. If the fabric is thick, use a number 16. For curtains, I use number 18. For delicate material use number 11. If your sewing machine does zigzag stitching, you can even use “twin needles” to make interesting designs. For knitted material (hosiery etc. a ‘ball-point” needle should be used.
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4) As follow up, Sreeja asked this question about Ball Point needle.
Sreeja: Hi sangheetha I have usha janome allure. I have tried stitching cotton hosiery material on it but the stitches do not come on the fabric. I bought a foot for quilting which the technician said would help to stitch hosiery material as well but it doesn’t work. Also you said in your previous blog you mentioned about ball point needle what is it and where can I procure it pls help

Grace:
For Sreeja: You were given a pack of needles along with your machine. The blue tipped needle is the ball point needle which you must use for any kind of stretch material (which includes hosiery). Try it out, it will work wonders. Unfortunately, ball point needles are not freely available in India. PONY Industries does manufacture special sewing machine needles, including ball point/jersey needles, but they are willing to sell a minimum of 100 needles only. I even asked for a quote for 100 needles of each kind of several different types of needles, but have not had any reply from them. As you live closer to where the PONY company is situated (I live in North India) you may try to procure them directly from the manufacturers. Until then, use the blue tipped needle you have been supplied, and see the difference! It will save you from loads of frustration of encountering skipped stitches!

Sangheetha and Sreeja: After reading your post, I looked up the list of accessories that you got with your Allure and was quite dismayed to see that you got a pack of just 3 needles (I got a pack of 5 with both my Usha Janome machines, including a ball point (blue tipped) and a twin needle, and a pack of 5 with my old Singer which had 2 ball point needles in different sizes). Since then, I have been furiously hunting online for special needles – ball point, embroidery, and quilting, but have had no luck. The ones that ARE available are way too expensive – Schmetz (German) needles are over Rs.1000 for a pack of 5 needles and they will sell only in bulk! Today, I tried a regular sewing needle size 11 with hosiery and it worked reasonably well. Just try it out (I’m pretty sure you have one of these), and if it works for you, I would advise you to keep a stock of them. Singer needles would cost about Rs.20 for 10 needles and Organ (Made in Japan – I read some reviews about them that vouch that they are better than Singer and German needles) are readily available in India for about Rs.40 for 10 needles. IF you are able to get size 9, buy a couple of packets as this size would be even better for hosiery and light weight material, but they are not easily available in India – I happen to have 3 of them – I have no idea where I got them from, but am keeping them for when they will really be required! Hope this will be of some help!

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This question is by Vaibhav for his Mom.. How sweet..
Ma’am my mother wants a machine having interlocking feature with Piko facility which machine can I buy for her in Usha.

Vaibhav, any sewing machine with zigzag stitch will do as far as picot is concerned. A special picot foot will be required – it is inexpensive, and every lady who owns a sewing machine should have this. For overlocking, you can use the same zigzag stitch, but there are other suitable stitches too, like E, F, G in the Allure Model (you can look for the same symbols on other machines also to see if they are available). For the Instruction Manual of Allure model, google allure_excella.pdf. The stitch symbols are shown on the last page. For overlocking too, I would strongly recommend an overcasting foot. This costs under Rs.300, but is optional. It is very useful for keeping the overcast edge flat, so that it doesn’t curl inwards. Both feet are available at Ebay.in. Mind you, the overlocking will not look like the overlocking done by a special overlocking machine used by tailors. However, it will solve the purpose of interlocking, which is to give the garment a neat finish and keep it from fraying. HTH.
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And Priya asked this one..
Can i make H, I, J, K, L,patterns which are in Usha Stitch Magic. with purchase separate pressure foot in my Usha ALLURE, I have Usha Allure but I want patterns H, I, J, K, what can I do for this ? please help me…….

Sorry, Priya, that is not possible as those stitches are not programmed in your Allure. However, the Singer I have used for many years has the same limited patterns as your Allure. They too are quite pretty. I have used them in both ordinary mode as well as SS mode for the bottoms of my Salwars and also for decorating. My advice to all the owners of sewing machines is to make a sampler using all the decorative stitches on your machines, as a ready reckoner. They look quite different when actually used on fabric than they look as symbols on the machine! Then you can decide which one(s) you want to use with which project. By the side of each different stitch, you can make a note with a ball point pen, on the fabric itself, regarding the different settings you used (such as stitch width, stitch length, tension etc.).

There is a foot which can use D, E, F, G on your Allure to make small flowers – 1/4″ to 1″ in diameter – 3 sizes per pattern. It is called Flower Stitch Attachment, and is available on Ebay.in for about Rs.1100. You do need to iron on a stabilizer to the wrong side of the fabric. The stabilizer is available at Rs.14 per metre and is available at shops selling tailoring material like buckram, lining, etc. If anyone is really interested to know what the “flowers” look like, please post a comment. I will then send a picture of the sampler I have made, to Sangheetha, and perhaps she can post it on the blog. Or you can check this foot out on Youtube. The flowers look very cute. I am using them to embellish handtowels and hankies.

There are feet available, such as cording feet, which you can use with the stitches available on your machine. Look them up on Youtube. Also, you can purchase double sided satin ribbon (1/2″ wide is the best and costs about Rs.4 per metre – it is thick and does not require stabilizing, you can also wash and iron it, but try out a piece first), and make a row of the decorative stitch of your choice on it, to use for trimming your projects. You can also make rows of decorative stitches on a strip of fabric to attach to the bottom/sleeves or the neckline or button band of kurtas etc.

Hope this helps!
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And my question on the foots and its purpose

here are some tips regarding presser feet (that’s the correct term for them though even on foreign sites you may come across “pressure” feet – they are the feet that “press” your material down for stitching. Among the accessories supplied to you with your machine, you would be having:
an all purpose foot

a button hole foot

a zipper foot (which you can also use for “cording” that is, attaching piping with a cord, as around cushions and also your bags. An ordinary foot will not be able to “climb” the thick cord and will move away from the cord, making the stitching untidy, whereas with the zipper foot you would be able to sew very close to the cord embedded in the piping).

a picot foot (which you can use for a rolled hem using a zigzag stitch or a flat hem using the straight stitch, as for the edges of dupattas, sarees, and frills).

a foot for straight stitching (it just has a hole for the needle to pass through), useful for ordinary stitching as it holds the fabric down more firmly than the all purpose foot and has one quarter inch “leg” specially useful for piecing together quilting squares.

Besides these, you can consider buying the following feet, which you can order from ebay, as and when you feel the need for them (and these are quite inexpensive), if they are not already in your accessory box:
1. Satin stitch foot (F)(turn your all purpose foot over and see if there is a wide groove under it. If so, this will do the job. If not, a satin stitch foot is useful for satin stitch embroidery (that is, using the zigzag stitch) and monogramming (I often give towels as gifts with the person’s initial monogrammed on it – they’re really appreciated), and for applique work which you may like to use on your bags too).

2. An overedging or overcasting or overlocking foot. If you use the all purpose foot for overedging (to keep the edges from fraying), it serves the purpose but the edges become curled and it gives an untidy finish. The overedge foot has a bar running parallel to the stitching, which makes the stitch a bit looser so it doesn’t pull and curl the fabric, thus giving it a neat and professional finish Overedging is essential for clothes, bags and everything that will fray. I used to hate doing it but had to. Now with the overedging foot, I have become addicted to it! My Dream Maker is the 3rd machine I have at home now and I was planning to give away the oldest which is a Singer I have used for nearly 11 years now, but my daughter had the bright idea of putting the overedging foot “permanently” on it so we can go to this machine for all overedging tasks required instead of having to change the foot again and again.

3. An embroidery foot. It is used for free motion embroidery (on our ordinary machines, we don’t have automatic embroidery – only decorative stitching – I did consider buying an embroidery machine but the Usha people were advising me to go for the higher model costing Rs.80,000 – software to download additional designs costs another Rs20,000 – the entry level embroidery machine costs about Rs.45,000 but there have been a lot of complaints about it – and I felt that such an investment for a machine that does only embroidery and nothing else was far too much). I have not used my embroidery foot yet for any embroidery as such, but have tried it out to check it out. The advantage of this foot is that when the needle is in the down position, the embroidery frame will not move, so there is less chance of the needle breaking (the frame will move only when the needle is up). It can also be used for darning.

4. A 3-way cording foot. This is not essential, but such a fun thing. It has 3 holes through which you can put upto 3 cords (or Anchor type 6-strand embroidery floss), there’s a spring to hold down the cords in position, and you can use decorative stitches over these cords (as in couching). You can do this kind of work on your daughter’s frocks, on your own kurtas, on bags, table mats, and the list is endless!

Each of the above is available in India. Your Usha dealer may have all or some of them. I bought two from mine here in Dehradun. Each of them costs under Rs.300 (I think) and these are all original Janome parts. You can see tutorials for all of them on Youtube.
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And one small tip from my experience.

Please do not buy any plastic/computer tables for placing sewing machine.
Sewing machine needs a very sturdy table. Proper wooden table.

The reason is I bought a computer table kind of table for keeping sewing machine and it vibrated a lot.
it is a great disturbance to see the entire table shaking and also lot of noise.

A proper dining table kind of table is required for sewing machine.
Hope it helps.

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I sincerely thank Grace for allowing me to put these in blog post. Her knowledge in sewing is unlimited and sometimes I feel ashamed to be using the machine only for alteration. And then console myself, that I atleast use for alterations 🙂

Please feel free to comment or ask questions.

Thanks All,
Sangheetha.

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2 thoughts on “Grace Answers :) Sewing Machine FAQs

  1. Hi Sangeetha. Im looking for a automatic Machine for regular use and not for Alternate ! Since you posted Grace knowledge is well abt machines, can you provide me her mail id?

  2. Hi Sangeetha, since grace hasboth the models that I’m considering, Usha Stitch magic and Usha dream maker 30, I need hersuggestions on which model do I go for? With regards to durability, ease of use, robustness, troubleshooting etc. If you can ask her and let me know that would be great. Or if you can provide me her email ID, I will email her myself. Thanks a ton.

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