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Dec 14, 2008

So You Want to Sew? Part I

I have heard from many of you over the past several months about my stitching. You want to know HOW I get it so straight. I assure you I am NOT a seasoned seamstress. In fact, I have only sewn on fabric a handful of times and the results were less than desirable. :)

I will be doing a series that I have named, "So You Want to Sew". I will be posting several tutorials showing different ways to sew on paper.

I hope my tutorials will help you with your sewing-on-paper creations.

I use the Janome sew mini. It retails for about $60. I got it on sale for $39.99 with free shipping. Watch Hancock for deals. That is where I ordered mine from.

I think the Janome Sew Mini is the perfect choice for paper crafters. Here are some features:
  • lightweight (only about 5 pounds)
  • small, portable
  • is a "real" sewing machine
  • offers 8 stitches
  • includes foot pedal that is an ON/OFF switch and does not control speed

A few things I don't like about it:

  • does not have a light attached
  • only offers 8 stitches

So, you want to sew? Let's get started! Today, I am going to show you how to sew a strip of paper to a larger card base sized piece.

Here is my finished product

I started with a piece of card stock that I stamped houndstooth on with Versamark. I always add some adhesive to the piece I am on sewing on. I don't want it to shift during sewing and it give me one less thing to think about as I am stitching. Add the adhesive where you are not stitching (usually the middle). I use mono adhesive for this.

Stick the strip of paper where you want it.

I am going to use the biggest zig zag, H. Turn the dial until the H is even with the little nib.

On the presser foot (the clear thing that guides the needle) there is a "split" on the front of it so you can slip your thread through it. THAT is going to be your best friend when zig zag stitching 2 pieces of paper together. You are going to place your paper exactly as shown in the picture below. Make SURE that where your 2 papers meet, is EXACTLY aligned with the split on the presser foot. Place your paper so that the needle will begin at the edge of your paper.

Now, press down on the foot pedal and start stitching. DO NOT WATCH THE NEEDLE. You don't want to be hypnotized do you? Or get motion sickness? LOL ONLY watch the split in the presser foot and the area where your 2 papers meet. Your goal is to keep that centered AT ALL TIMES. Put your hands lightly on the paper as it glides through the machine. You can make subtle corrections by LIGHTLY moving the paper if it starts to get off course.

Here, I have gotten almost to the edge of the paper. When you are getting close, take your foot OFF the foot pedal and start turning the wheel on the side toward you until the needle is *almost* to the end of the paper. This will give you more control and make it less likely for you to sew THROUGH the end of the paper.

See how close it is? That's where you want to end.

Now, lift your presser foot and PULL some thread out. I didn't even cut it, I just pulled enough thread to be able to turn my paper around and sew on the other side of the strip of paper. Remember to start right at the edge of the paper.

Keep it nice and centered with the split in the presser foot.

Here I am at the end. Now, pull your paper and snip the thread leaving at least 6 inches of thread hanging off your piece of card stock.

Oh look, I finally found a use for my SU arrows punch. LOL See that area (follow the arrow). The thread is pulled through to the back already. (no thread is sticking out on the front side of the card stock)

Flip your paper over and scotch tape the loose thread tails to the back of the card. I typically try not to tape over the holes because *sometimes* you can see the gloss of the tape through the holes on the front side.

This is how it looks after you have tapes the tails to the back side. Nice and clean.

On this part, we have a thread tail sticking out on the front side of the card stock. DO NOT snip it off.

This is what the back side looks like right now. You know that preschool worksheet activity where you follow the balloon strings that are all mixed up to find the balloon it is attached to? Well, that is what we are going to do with the thread.

Start tugging lightly with your paper piercer in the general vicinity of the thread tails. You will find a loop. Watch the front side of your card as you pull on the loop. When you find the loop that makes the thread tail on the front of your card start being pulled to the back, go ahead and pull it all the way through to the back side of the card.

Now tape those thread tails down.

See? No snipped off ends, no funky wrapping it around to the back, just nice and clean. Now, do that to the rest of the ends.

When you are done pulling the thread tails to the back of your card, this is what it looks like. Give it a hair cut. Just snip off all the loose stuff.

Here it is all nice and trimmed on the back side.

Here is the finished piece. See how there is no crazy threads popping out anywhere? YAY!

So, what do you think? Can you sew a strip of paper on and keep it straight? Can you keep all your thread tails hidden? Give it a try! :)
I have more installment of "So You Want to Sew" coming soon. :)
I hope you enjoyed it. If this helps you, please leave me a comment and let me know. Have a specific question you would like answered? Leave me a comment! :)
Have a wonderful day!


  1. WoW! Thanks for a great tutorial. Very easy to follow and can't wait to see the others. I never get my sewing machine out, but I might have to now. I usually do it my hand.

  2. Excellent tutorial!!!

  3. Wow. This makes it seem so easy. Thanks.

  4. I so love your stitching and was hoping there was some great big secret method you used where anyone could make it look like yours. No magic, but I really appreciate your step by step tutorial and I plan to give it another go using your method. Thanks so much for all the time to put this together.

  5. Thanks for the great tutorial - that makes it so much easier to understand. I have a Janome non-mini and will have to give it a whirl soon!

  6. Mizz Jody---I've had my lil' Janome sewing machine for, gulp, two years and haven't even taken it outta the box! I KNOW Ö But after reading your post, I'm going to get that puppy out and try it today, yes TODAY! I sewed in home economics, so why sewing on a card is so "out there" for me I have no idea. I'll let you know who I do!
    P.S. Might need to show me how to thread duh machine next Ü

  7. sure do a nice job of explaining and taking pictures..Most helpful..I bought my sewing machine a year ago and have not been brave enough to try it out. I think I will dust it off....what kind of camera do you use...nice clear pics...

  8. I need a Janome Sew Mini so that I can put your tutorial to good use!!

  9. Wow! Jody, you make me want to go out and buy a sewing machine(almost LOL!). You make it look so easy ...

  10. I have the same machine and appreciate the tutorial. I snip and it's not pretty!

    What is the tension that you keep the stitch at?

    Thanks much!

  11. Thank you for the sewing lesson! Can't wait for more! I purchased the Janome when you gave us the heads up that it was on sale and it is still sitting in the box so now I have to get it out and play.

  12. I bought a Janome mini based on your usage alone...LOL...still haven't used it after six or seven months....NOW I WILL! Can't wait for more tips to come!


    The Janome Mini is one of my presents this year. :)

    This tutorial is fabulous -- I think I'll have to print it off --

    I look forward to the next one--

    Thanks again

  14. Perfect tutorial!!! Easy to follow step-by-step instructions with great pictures.....It certainly took the fear out of messing up my card. Thx for all your work putting this together.

  15. Perfect tutorial!!! Easy to follow step-by-step instructions with great pictures.....It certainly took the fear out of messing up my card. Thx for all your work putting this together.

  16. OH this looks so easy its my machine that doesn't like me cause I can't even Thread the darn thing! lol.. OHHH MAN! lol I dream of one day actually sewing on my card.. *SIGH* :)


  17. THANKS SO MUCH for sharing your talents and tutorial with us -- it helped immensely!!! Please keep the tutorials coming !

  18. This is Fabulous! Thank you for showing which of the stitches you chose. I seem to have this problem picking the right zigzag stitch and making it work on the paper but this tutorial has solved that problem!! Thank you so much! I look forward to seeing your next tutorial!

  19. I have never sewn on cards before but have always wanted to. Now at least I have an idea of how to even try. I really do appreaciate the tutorial.

    Have a wonderful day.

    pscole3467 at gmail dot com

  20. Oh this is so awesome! Thanks for making such a great tutorial! Makes me want one of those machines now! How easy is it to thread?? I have long nails and can't stand to fight with thread; trying to figure out how to thread a machine is daunting.....any clarification? :)
    Thanks again for sharing your sewing techniques!!!

  21. Thank you SO much, Jody! I am incredibly grateful to you for posting this awesome tutorial. The Janome sewing machine is the only item on my Christmas wishlist, but I have really been wondering whether or not I'll be able to figure out how to use it. Your tutorial is very clear and precise ~ just what I need. Yay!

  22. Wonderful tutorial! I've asked Santa for a sewing machine this year, and while I do plan to sew fabric, I know I'll use it on paper as well.

  23. Thank you for inspiring me to take our my Janome mini. I lost the instructions manual ( or I can't recall having one....) and for the life of me can't remember how to thread or thread the bobbin.??

  24. Fabulous Jody! Wish I could get this machine in Canada :(

  25. Jody, thank you so much! I am saving this tutorial. Thank you so much for so much detail.... You are da' bomb!

  26. Jody, thank you so much! I am saving this tutorial. Thank you so much for so much detail.... You are da' bomb!

  27. Jody, thank you so much! I am saving this tutorial. Thank you so much for so much detail.... You are da' bomb!

  28. Great tutorials Jody! I bought my Janome after seeing some of your work and love it!

  29. Oooh, love it! I bought my Janome and don't use it enough. I need to leave it out so I will use it more. I am not a sewer, and figured out most of your tricks already, but you have a few more things I didn't know or figure out yet! Love it! Keep it coming!

  30. LMBO about the arrows..."Oh look!..." Bwahahahaa! You crack me up.

  31. Jody, thank you sooo much... because of you I am now an owner of the same machine :-D You can find my little write up about it here if you fancy a read.

  32. Just wanted to say thanks for doing this I had started sewing on my projects and than we had some work done in the house so had to put things away soon I will be getting back into it and this will help so much since I am not a sewing type person LOL

  33. Who knew this kind of sewing machine even existed? Janome makes a little cheapie! So speaks the Bernina snob! [snort!] Will have to keep my eye out for one. Great tute, marvelous instructions, super pics. TYFS!

  34. I'm back! As I said in my comment above, I asked for a sewing machine for Christmas. It's not just for cards, but here's my first attempt! A HUGE thanks for your tutorials :)

  35. What a great Tutorial. I certainly hope that you received some kudos for this. I am an experience seamstress but sewing on paper is way different, so thank you very much

  36. Excellent tutorial !Thanks so much now ready to attempt to sew paper &card.As received sewing machine for my birthday month agao been dying to have ago.
    thanks again judex

  37. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  38. Thank you for such an awesome tutorial! Your photos were fabulous and such a huge help! I am off to try this and see if I can do it as well!!

  39. And 2 years after posting someone is still watching it! Love it, love it, LOVE IT!!! Just bought the machine and it will arrive tomorrow. Jody, you are a true miracle card maker. I adore your wonderful, beautiful, amazing cards and your very funny comments! Will be following your blog till the end of time :-)
    A HUGE fan,

  40. I already know how to sew and do sew on cards, but your tutorial is excellant for people who don't. You really put in all the details that someone really needs to pay attention to, yet made it simple and easy with your step by step process. Wonderful job.


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