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Mar 26, 2010

Sewing Machine Information and Q & A

Hi everyone and thanks for stopping by today.  I don't have anything stampy to show you today.  I have been busy with my family during spring break and when I did get a chance to steal away some stamping time, it was done with 4 girls in the room.  They needed help and I am ALWAYS up for recruiting the future stampers of America.  LOL

I have been getting LOTS of e-mails about sewing on card, which machine I use and what type of thread I use... also for you HECKLERS out there that commented on my obsessive thread buying... I will be providing some more "material" for you, so read on! *wink*
Question:  What sewing machine do you use?

Answer: I use the Janome sew mini.  I bought it at Hancock Fabrics online store on sale for $39.99 with free shipping.  It is the best $40 I have ever spent on stamp supplies.  I LOVE stitching on cards and if you are looking for a justification statement: it will save you money on adhesive.  I say that jokingly, but it really will.  LOL

Here is my Baby Janome:

Question: What tension do you set your machine on?  What do I do if my tension leaves my stitches loose?

Answer: I never set my tension.  It came set "around" 3 and I have never touched it.  I am afraid to.  It has always worked for me.  Once, I had a problem with loose stitches, but I had just changed my bobbin.  I took the bobbin out, switched it around and my stitches were fine.  Not sure what that all about, but check your bobbin if you are having problems.  ALSO, use ONLY Janome bobbins.  I think I read that in the manual somewhere.

My tension level:

Question: What stitches do you usually use?

Answer: I use the D straight stitch, and the G zig zag stitch.  I occasionally use the H zig zag stitch.  All the other stitches are too tight and can perforate your paper.  You MIGHT be able to use the next size down, but I prefer the longer stitch.  Also, with smaller stitches, you have to keep your paper SUPER still while sewing or you'll look like you were drunk sewing and that is NOT a good look... unless it's crazy on purpose stitches... then THAT is ok. :)

My preferred stitches:

Question: What kind of thread do you use?

Answer: I use Coats & Clark Dual Duty XP Heavy thread.  It comes on spools of 125 yards (114 m.) and is 100% Polyester covered Polyester (whatever that means LOL).

After I got my sewing machine, I went out and bought a bunch of different colored threads from Walmart and used that until I came across the thread mentioned above.  I was looking for a different color at Hobby Lobby and came across this thread.  It looked SO thick and rich and I HAD to get it.  While I was satisfied before, I didn't know this thread existed.  It looks way different on my cards than the cheaper stuff.  Sometimes with thinner thread, you can actually see the bobbin thread hooking into the top thread on the surface of your card.  I didn't like that.  While the actual difference in thickness can't be THAT substantial... it sure seems like it when I am using it.  One negative about using the thicker thread is, it seems to pull at my card stock a bit when I am stitching.  You need to keep your hands on the card stock and gently guide it as it goes along.  With the thinner thread, I didn't have to be as diligent about guiding the paper.  I will liken it to pulling a piece of fishing line and then pulling a length of chain.  It definitely has a different feel.  LOL  That being said, I now ONLY use the C & C Heavy thread. 

Here is the thread I use:





Now, for all you "hecklers" in the audience... you'll notice I have white thread again.  Well... my order of 14 spools has not arrived yet!  I went to Hobby Lobby a couple days ago and decided that I wasn't patient enough and wanted some NOW, so I bought 4 spools of white, 4 kraft, 1 natural and 1 cream.  LOL  You know what drove me crazy?  It was 40% off!  So, I just ordered 14 spools for $25, and I COULD HAVE gotten more than that at Hobby Lobby for the same amount of money.... *sigh*... a bargain lost!  Good thing I have a large stash now and won't be needing to deal with this again anytime soon huh?  LOL 

Number of total spools I'll have once my order arrives from 36 (18 of which are white).  Excessive?  Maybe... but, I LOVE it and that makes it ok.  LOL  How long will it last?  Not long enough I am sure.  LOL  I like to be WELL STOCKED!

Please note that the price of this thread is pretty excessive when compared to other threads available. 

  • Coats & Clark, 125 yards per spool, $1.89, $.01512 per yard

  • Coats & Clark "regular" thread, 300 yards per spool, $2.05, $.00683 per yard

  • Wal Mart thread, 500 yards per spool, $.50, $.001 per yard
For me, the added cost is worth it and $1.89 per spool won't break the bank. 

The competition:

Here are some online sources for the Coats & Clark Dual Duty XP Heavy thread I use:
  • (google for a coupon code, I found one for free shipping with a $25 purchase, but that one is expired already)
I hope you found this helpful.  Here are some past sewing tutorials you may be interested in viewing:
Thanks so much for stopping by and see you soon!


  1. I don't mean to be a downer, but I HAD to comment. I purchased the Janome after reading on your blog about it around a year ago when my other machine broke. I HATED it. I'm not sure about yours, but mine had NO light source. Difficult for older eyes and I'm not that old. Mine also would spontaneously sew "upside down" then magically correct itself. I can't tell you how many cards I ruined with this machine. I love your advice Jodi and most everything you have ever said I find most helpful. This machine, however, was a constant source of frustration for me. I was able to purchase a refurbished Brother machine on Overstock for even cheaper than my Janome and it works sooo much better. I just had to share. Maybe I had a lemon, but even so I think the fact that there is no light to see what you are doing is worth mentioning.

    I like to be a positive person so I will end by saying that I love all your creative cards and am so happy with my new stamp cleaner...The Absorber:)

  2. One more thing.... I am also so happy that I found a wonderful replacement for my SU dimensionals sold by YOU!

    Do 2 positives counteract a negative???

  3. No worries, Nikki. :) This machine is not for everyone. I did mention the lack of light in an earlier post. I stand by my love of this machine, but I am sure I would be happy with another one too. I have had a really strong experience with mine, but I do know some of my friends have also not loved their machine. Thanks for sharing your experience! I think everyone should make an informed decision. Of course, I am not paid or compensated by Janome, so I am not "attached". LOL Have a great day!

  4. O.k. your timing is amazing - because I just walked in the door from buying thread! Seriously! But I think I bought too heavy. I'll let you know how it goes! Oh and btw, you ROCK!

  5. *is jealous* My machine is a lemon too but it worked great for awhile. I should try your thread and see if it makes a difference.

  6. Thanks for this Jody...I've been thinking about getting a sew-mini to replace my giant machine! (it is now sewing about 2-3 inches and then breaking the top thread!) Gotta watch for a good sale I guess! :-)

  7. I have a Janome, too, but not the mini. I was wondering which needle you use with the heavier thread. I don't like the look of the thinner thread on cards either - your cards always look wonderful!

  8. This is so funny. I just e-mailed Gina K. this afternoon about her machine and Where to find it. Your information couldnn't have come at a better time. Thank you. Also thanks for the added advice on threads.

  9. You attention to detail and SHARING of the deets is what makes me love you THAT much more!!! :)

    Saving for if/when I get brave enough to try it...if I stay with this stuff!!!!

  10. Thank you so much for all the sewing info. I have had a new sewing machine in the box for over a year. I think you have given me the courage to get it out and start creating. Thanks! Nancy

  11. Fab info, Jody! Thanks for sharing! Now if only I could get a Janome mini in Canada, I'd be set! LOL! Next time I holiday in the States, I'm going to plan ahead and have it shipped to where I'm staying! haha!
    You know I love your cards!!!

  12. Great information, I used mine tonight with the settings you suggested and it worked like a charm. I'm thinking I was using one of the settings that may have been too tight, although my tension was set at 3, I used one of the other ones. Thanks for the thread information as well!

  13. Awesome info about the fat thread! FYI, if you ever need to adjust your tension on the Sew-Mini, or any other machine, Gina K has an excellent series on how to use this machine along with a series of StampTV videos. Gina K blog post on setting the tension

  14. I just bought some of that thread and will be trying it out, the one question I had for you is do you use it on the bobbin as well or just for your top threading?

  15. I love that thread too! I have found that my machine does not like the "cheap" thread. It kills me to pay a little more but it is SO worth it not to have it break or jam-up during sewing!

    Also, another lady said her thread would break...try, loosening the bobbin is on the side of metal bobbin cases. A lady at a fabric store told me about it and saved me from buying a NEW machine(even after I took it in to the repair people, it only took one helpful lady to save me!)

  16. *headed for the local Joann's!* :)

  17. Thank you for the detailed information on the thread you use! It really does stand out in a GREAT way on your cards. Tammy Hershberger turned me onto your post and I will definitely be on the hunt for this thread...and back later to read the other tutorials you linked to. I received a brand new sewing machine last Christmas that I have YET to touch! I also have no clue how to use it, but I'm determined to figure it out before this Christmas!


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