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Old 03-28-2014, 07:52 AM   #1
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Default Janome Sew Mini - sewing straight?

I just (finally) set up the Janome Sew Mini I bought six months ago. I don't know why I waited so long, because I know how to use a full-size sewing machine, although I have not owned one in years. Once I decided to take the thing out of the box it took me all of ten minutes to set it up.

I like this little guy, although after using a regular machine it does feel slow and a bit labored. And the lack of a light on it is annoying. But I think it will be fine for now.

But here's the only real gripe I have and I'm hoping some of you other Sew Mini users have some tips that can help me: On a regular machine there is a plate next to the presser foot that has lines on it so you can use them to keep yourself sewing straight. This machine has not got that. There's very little to line anything up with if you want to sew in a straight line, other than the slits below the presser foot.

I'm wondering if I could draw some parallel lines on a sticky label and stick it on the bobbin cover for at least something to use. Has anyone done this? Or some other workaround?

Or is everyone else having no problems sewing straight lines? Maybe it's just practice. ???
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Old 03-28-2014, 10:52 AM   #2
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My daughter borrowed my Sew Mini and never brought it back, lol. So I don't have it here to look at. I think I know what you mean, though.

I think you could easily make a "grid" with some lines on it with a ruler and stick it on the plate of the machine.

Good luck! It is a nifty little machine, especially for paper crafting, but other sewing tasks as well. (That's why my daughter borrowed mine. )
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Old 03-28-2014, 11:18 AM   #3
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Thanks, Bugga. I guess I'll try making some little guide thing on a label. (And of course there's always the distinct possibility that I am expecting to sew far more perfectly straight than is reasonable. Being the sort of person I am.)
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Old 03-28-2014, 11:29 AM   #4
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Could be your expectations are high, Rachel, lol. If you haven't sewed for a while, it will get better with practice.

The reason my daughter loves the Sew Mini is because it sews at just one speed, and slowly at that. She has always felt that my regular Singer machine "runs" away from her.

When I got the Mini a couple of years ago, I followed my normal pattern with some of my papercrafting tools. I was so excited to get it, and really was all stoked up about sewing on my cards. I sewed up a storm on a lot of cards, and then.....I didn't. Sewing on cards turned out to be a technique that just didn't stick with me.

In my defense, at least I did use it for a while. I still have a Cinch binding machine that is in the box, unused.

I hope you enjoy using yours and look forward to seeing some of your projects when you're done.
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Old 03-28-2014, 11:41 AM   #5
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Well, I'm kind of figuring out if sewing on cards IS going to be a technique I can use. That's why I got the Sew Mini. I figure if it ends up not working with the kind of cards I generally do, I'm not out much money. I love how it looks on other people's cards, but whether it will work with what I do... only time will tell.

The fact that I'm so hung up on it being dead straight is probably not a good sign, though. Although think of the personal growth if I could embrace the imperfection and go with it! !
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Old 03-28-2014, 11:55 AM   #6
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I use coloured electricians tape as guides for sewing seams. I just tape it down on the base of the machine. I leave it there if it's a common width to use or just pull it up if it's a one time width.
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Old 03-28-2014, 12:15 PM   #7
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You could use a piece of window sheet or cardboard to make a sewing guide.
Mark your lines in different colors for a 1/4" (red), 3/8" (blue), 1/2" (green), etc.
Then tape the guide to your machine in the correct position from your needle.
I don't have the Janome Sew Mini, but I do teach sewing to kids and this seems to work for them. Perfection is not always wanted. I've seen some great cards with a more "doodling" free form.
One other tip: keep a needle just for paper crafting as opposed to sewing on fabric. Paper dulls the needle faster than fabric.
Hope you enjoy sewing on your cards.

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Old 03-28-2014, 01:32 PM   #8
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Thanks for both of those suggestions! I'll give them a try.
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Old 03-28-2014, 01:37 PM   #9
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Quote:

Originally Posted by RachelroseView Post
Well, I'm kind of figuring out if sewing on cards IS going to be a technique I can use. That's why I got the Sew Mini. I figure if it ends up not working with the kind of cards I generally do, I'm not out much money. I love how it looks on other people's cards, but whether it will work with what I do... only time will tell.

The fact that I'm so hung up on it being dead straight is probably not a good sign, though. Although think of the personal growth if I could embrace the imperfection and go with it! !
I hear you, Rachel. I am inclined to want things straight and lined up, too. I have tried and tried to get into the "grungy" "shabby chic" thing and just cannot do it. I like looking at all the Tim Holtz stuff, but all the blobs and smears drive me crazy. My style is for things to line up straight and look as balanced as possible.
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Old 03-28-2014, 01:51 PM   #10
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I'm collage-y but not vintage. I'd like to be more comfortable with a distressed style of card, because I admire them. So I keep trying!
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Old 03-28-2014, 05:06 PM   #11
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Quote:

Originally Posted by jemurView Post
I use coloured electricians tape as guides for sewing seams. I just tape it down on the base of the machine. I leave it there if it's a common width to use or just pull it up if it's a one time width.
This was going to be my suggestion too! My mom used this method on her sewing machine.
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Old 03-28-2014, 05:14 PM   #12
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I use elastics around the base of my little sewing machine. I like the idea of putting a piece of tape down since it wouldn't move - unlike my elastics...
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Old 03-28-2014, 05:34 PM   #13
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Elastics are an interesting idea because you can kind of lean the cardstock against it.

I think the painters tape is going to be my first thing to try. I have rolls of it. Thanks for that!

And I do realize that I need to practice.
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Old 03-28-2014, 06:30 PM   #14
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I suppose you could use both. I would write the measurements on the tape - like a sticky back tape measure - and then place the elastic where you want to butt the card up to. With my old sewing machine, which happens to be made of all metal, I have a guide that is magnetic that I can use like that. I love that thing when I am sewing, but the new machines are all plastic so I can't use it on my new machine...
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Old 04-02-2014, 08:28 PM   #15
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Use a Sharpie to mark on packing tape and stick it on.
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Old 04-03-2014, 04:08 AM   #16
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Just spotted this now.
Robin - I would definitely say don't get hung up on dead straight! If that's the case, you're also going to experience angst at every single corner, LOL, because paper doesn't have the same "give" that fabric does to allow you to stretch it so that corners are precise, and you may end up with the stitching along one edge being further in from the edge of the card than it is along the first edge before you turned the corner. And corners with zig-zag stitching are even harder to get looking perfect OK. Hence the fact that I very often go for two or three sets of slightly wavy stitching .
I think it's definitely one of those things when practice helps tune your eye.
But I'm just thinking on the fly here - you must be sewing quite far in on the card to need any guide on the footplate? I think I just use the presser-foot as my guideline.
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Old 04-04-2014, 02:54 PM   #17
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Not EXACTLY on topic: I have this Janome Sew Mini and I can't adjust the tension. Top needle tension is too tight. I have changed from #1 to #5, and done it with presser foot up and down...and it does not change. I have hardly used the machine since I got it 2 yrs ago, and now the stitches look really bad. Anyone know how to adjust this?
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Old 04-04-2014, 04:30 PM   #18
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Sabrina, I'd love to be able to do the wavy lines like you do! I love the way that looks. I definitely have had to conclude that there really is no getting a perfectly straight line, much as I would like to. So I'm practicing my wavy lines. But I'm not good enough to risk ruining a card yet. I can't get my lines to look fluid and I sometimes run right off the side of the card. I have your card in front of me as an inspiration. Do you draw out any kind of guide before you sew or do you just run off those lovely curves on the fly!

Yes, sewing on paper is not like sewing on fabric.

As to the tension adjustment - I'm glad you brought it up, Harvestmoon. I know that you adjust tension up or down according to whether you can see the bottom thread from the top or visa versa. I tried working with black thread and a red bobbin and I could not get the machine adjusted so that I could not see black from the bottom or red from the top. But this, again, might be because it's paper and so the holes the needle makes don't close up around the thread like they would with fabric. Someone else weighing in on this would be helpful.
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Old 09-26-2020, 07:59 AM   #19
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I am thinking of buying a sewing machine. I usually do everything with a needle. Is a mini sewing machine suitable for small DIY home decor objects?
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Old 09-26-2020, 11:42 AM   #20
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Quote:

Originally Posted by jemurView Post
I use coloured electricians tape as guides for sewing seams. I just tape it down on the base of the machine. I leave it there if it's a common width to use or just pull it up if it's a one time width.



I was gonna suggest trying painter’s tape to start - that way, you can easily move it if you need to make adjustments. Maybe using electricians tape when you’re sure where you want it to be??

Oops - I didn’t see the date this thread originally started. The OP has probably long since figured things out.

LisaHunteriQy18 - have you looked at reviews online for the machine(s) you’re considering? I’m curious cause I have a really old Singer sewing machine and have been debating having it tuned up vs buying something new. I don’t really sew so a fancy machine is not needed.


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