September 28, 2011

DC 4030 Review/Testing

Kids are asleep. My husband is at school.
I'm enjoying this "me time" to test out my new Janome DC 4030 sewing machine.
As I started to go through the manual, I'm just "woooooohooa."
So I figured I'll write some comments/impressions as I go through the manual.

1. It comes with a plastic cover! It looks so professional. :)
Weight isn't too bad. It's like my last Brother LS2125. (which I already sold it on craigslist, the first day I posted!)

2. Foot pedal. The cord retracts. How nice. :)

3. But more than the foot control... Woooow, the Start/Stop button!!!
I was intimidated by this function...
"what, it sews on it's own? That's just too scary. I'll just stick to my good o' foot control..."
But I just pushed it, and it's just COOL!!!
There's a speed control slider to set your desired speed (which is also cool).
Once the start button is pushed, it starts slowly then up to the speed you selected.
You push the button again, and it slows own then stops.
I'm still scared to use it, but If I have a loooong straight stitch to do (like the shirred dress), I'll definitely use this.
By the way, on the speed control slider, "slow" is reeeeally slow, and "fast" is scary fast.

4. Up/Down needle position.
Push the button, and the needle goes up or down. Cool.
****After actually sewing for a bit, I realized this is one of the best function for me. You don't need to crank the hand wheel just to get the needle out once you're done sewing... Seems like a small thing but makes a big difference!!!

5. Auto-lock button/Reverse stitch button
I still don't really know the difference...

6. Presser Foot Lifter
It goes up & down, and then a little (1/4") higher as well.

7. Thread cutter
I use scissors so I don't really care for it.

8. Extension Table
It detatches to show the free-arem and the table has accessory case.

9. Pressor Foot Pressure Adjusting Lever
Its inside the face cover - which just slides opens. It's so nice after having Brother LS2125, which I needed to screw open it every time. ...which caused me to clean/oil less often. (excuse)
The lever has 0-3 levels that can be easily changed.

10. Changing of the Pressor Foot
Push a button - foot drops. Put a foot under neath the holder. Lower the presser bar. Attached.
This is sooooo cool!!!!
I was always so frustrated with attaching a foot on my Brother LS2125... You had to hold the bar while matching the pin to the groove.

11. Winding the bobbin
I first had a trouble with it - It seemed to keep winding below the bobbin (annoying!) but I just had to make sure that the thread was firmly around the first thread guide.
It was going slow, and I realized I had the speed control lever on slow-medium. I put it on fast, and it was done fast. I've gotta remember to check the speed control lever.
Winding was also quiet!! :)

12. Setting the bobbin
Easy enough. The light is right on it, which helps. So this is what the top-loading bobbin is all about, huh??

13. Threading the machine
Pretty easy again. Similar to Brother LS2125.

14. Needle Threader
This is the function I was waiting for - My eyes are so bad, it always hurt my eyes to thread the needle.
First attempt... What the...?? Did I say my eyes are so bad?
Just by looking at the instruction on the illustration hurt my eyes.
It's too late today... I need to find this manual and enlarge this illustration to see it better next time. I just threaded through the needle hole.

15. Drawing the bobbin thread.
Push the needle up/down botton. Voila. The bobbin thread is up. Nice function!!! :)
No more cranking up the hand wheel to do this job!!
...Except the space between the foot/plate was too small, I needed to use my scissors to pick up the bobbin thread. Am I doing something wrong?

16. Auto-Thread tension Dial.

17. Start sewing.
....My thread jammed!!!! UGGGHHH!!! Already!?
The thread jammed in the bobbin holder. i had to open the needle plate to clear the thread out.
It's also because I used the start/stop button.
I couldn't react fast enough to prevent the thread from jamming until the machine stops. If I was using the foot control it would've been an instant stop.
See? I'm not ready for this start/stop button...

OK, I just realized I threaded the needle thread wrong... I just missed one thread guide. I actually had it in there, but when I was fussing with the auto-threader, it must've came off. Now it's sewing beautifully.

AWWWW I can't wait to actually start sewing!!!

September 27, 2011

DC 4030 Received

My new sewing machine is here!!! :)

...But I haven't been able to play with it. :(
Since it's brand new, I figured I should just use my old Brother (LS-2125) to finish the project that I'm working on, since it's almost done.
It ended up taking me longer than I expected, and it's already 10pm.
I figured I should get some rest.
There's always tomorrow...

Just by looking at the machine & manual, I'm a little intimidated.
I've never used computer sewing machine.
Just the fact it has start/stop button scares me. What, it sews on its own!?!?

One thing though, it's a little rocky.
I don't know if it's missing a foot (not the presser foot, the foot for the machine) or something, but it rocks.
I'm scared it'll be shakey when I actually sew.
I don't know if it's defective or all DC4030 is like that.
I really don't want to return it, it already cost me $50 s/h and I didn't really like the seller. :(

September 20, 2011

Self-Drafted Suede Bag Pattern (- to-be...)

Once again, I have a project in mind.

Although I ordered the given amount of fabrics, because I made the HotPatterns Hobo bag smaller, I have so much suede fabric left over.
Hobo bag was really cute, but I think it's more for the youngens... (therefore I'm making them for my teenage sister-in-laws and cousins)
I wanted to make something for the older generations, as this suede is really nice.
I looked around for good patterns... especially free ones... but nothing that caught my eyes.
So I decided, why don't I just come up with a pattern myself?
I've made enough bags, I think I can make something simple on my own.
So I first came up with a design that'll look nice with suede fabric.

And then I thought...
Well, if I'm coming up with it myself, why don't I sell the pattern on Etsy?
But if I do, I want the pattern to look professional for others to use.
...That means it needs to be computer-generated.
Hmm? Do I use Illustrator?
I have Photoshop and I'm pretty good at it...
Then I found this post on BurdaStyle how to make your pattern PDF.

I think I'm gonna use this tutorial to import my hand drawn pattern into Photoshop, then clean it up.
Hopefully I can do it...

Janome DC 4030

So, I got a call from the sewing machine vendor, and he told me that Janome TB30 is not available.
I kinda expected it, as I couldn't really find any online.
He offered me a "better" Janome machine for $499. AND he said the s/h should only be about $25.
He said it's DC 2011 - which isn't actually "better" to me...
It had more stitches, but I'm not interested in different stitches.
It doesn't have the presser foot adjuster, as it's probably more important for me when I sew knits.

I told him that I have another vendor who supposedly carries it, so I'm gonna call the other guy and call back.
He told me, "Hun, he won't have it. This machine has been discontinued for 2 years."

I called the other guy, and he didn't have it either.
But he offered me DC 4030 for $399, which is exactly the same as TB30 but the newer model.
It's actually the one I saw at the local store, so I told him I'll try to cancel the original seller and call him back.

I called the original vendor and told him what happened.
He said "I have DC4030... How much did the other guy quote you?"
I told him $399, +$50 s/h.
He said "We have it for $499. Ok, I'll give it to you for this price."

It sounds good when I just write it down, but I wasn't too happy with the experience.
First of all, why do all these vendors still have TB30 on sale, when they don't even have it?
And as for the first guy, they even charged my credit card when I first ordered, and then tried to sell me a different model.
And hey, whatever happened to $25 s/h talk??

The second vendor (I won't say who the first one was, but the second one was was alot nicer, and I would've bought with them, but since the first guy already charged my CC, I didn't want to go through the refund process.
It might've taken alot more sales talk from the guy.
Since it was the same price & shipping, plus it's $300 cheaper than the local store, I decided to just go with him.

Anyways, I should be getting the DC4030 within 2 weeks.
Now I know how that machine runs, I don't fell like using the Brother to sew anymore...

September 19, 2011

New Sewing Machine...

My birthday is coming up.
Not that I don't like my sewing machine, but I decided I wanted to get a new sewing machine.
I had my machine for almost 10 years. It's been working great, but since I sew almost every night and learning more and more, I thought it would be nice to have a sewing machine with more functions.

So I researched, and my jaw dropped over how much functions newer sewing machines have.
Of course it costs more... When I got my Brother machine from Walmart, I wasn't planning to sew much so I got the cheapest thing available.

I decided on Janome Threadbanger TB30.
I liked all the features it has for the price...and of course the graphics on it!
I read that it actually didn't sell well, because of the graphics.
I'm assuming they targeted the younger crowd because of the audience, but I think the people who could afford a nicer more expensive sewing machines are probably older and not much into the graphics.

Since it's been few years since this model came out, it's already been discontinued, and it's harder to find.
I found a couple of online vendors having this, and one of them was offering free shipping, I ordered it 2 days ago. (Saturday)
Today is Monday, and I got a call from them, telling me to call them back.
I'm assuming that they're gonna tell me that they don't have it anymore, or they're gonna charge me shipping because I'm in Hawaii. :(
I checked the other websites and they have it for the same price $399 + $50 shipping, so if the first vendor can give me this price I'd go with them.

It's still cheaper than DC4030, which is supposedly the same model except no graphics.
I went to the local sewing machine store (one of few in Hawaii) and he offered $699 for it. :(
I actually went there to see how it works, because I knew it was the same as TB30.

I just couldn't believe how smooth it looked...
He showed me the different stitches (which looked more even), how to use buttonhole foot (one step!), and automatic tension adjustment.. He sewed organza right after sewing a denim without touching anything, and the stitches held great.
It also had an overlock foot, that made it look like a serger.
Since I'm having a hard time adjusting my serger thread tension, this was so attractive.
I asked him if it could replace a serger - and he said no, because TB30 only works with midweight fabrics.
I was almost drooling over it...

I can't wait to get my hands on it!!!!
I really hope I get it... even if I have to pay shipping!

September 3, 2011

Shirred summer dress

We're going Wakiki for "staycation" this Labor's Day weekend.

I wanted a cute summer dress for this occasion.

One of the fabrics I bought from was turquoise blue stripe knit.

I decided to make shirred summer dress, using Threadbanger blog.

Considering how cute it is, it's soooo easy.

It's basically a rectangular fabric with rows of stitches using the elastic thread in the bobbin.

I originally wanted to make a maxi dress.

I bought 1 1/2yd, and it would've been enough if I was to cut it along the salvage.

But I forgot that this is stripe, and I HAVE TO cut it against the salvage if I wanted the horizontal stripe.

It barely made it to knee length, so I used the extra material to make a gathered ruffle.

Ready for the beach! :)