Sunday, October 28, 2012

My First Juki Project

I finally have the Juki working very, very nicely. It is exactly what I needed. It goes through so many layers of canvas or leather. I have been delaying using it for a project because it is in the basement and my sewing room is on the 2nd floor of our house. (You just don't bring a machine that contains a litre of oil into a nice room with a hardwood floor). But yesterday I tackled a new hobo bag with a beautiful lambskin leather with a reptile print and used my Juki to sew up the leather components.

I forgot to take a photo at home before I brought it to the Arts Market where Daniel kindly took a photo to put up on Facebook for me (thanks Daniel!). You can take a look at the bag in person there - it is a buttery soft leather!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Designing is hard work!

I have been so busy lately trying to come up with my own product line. By this I mean a specific set of styles that I will make over and over in different fabrics and materials. This is difficult in so many ways:

  • I am a busy Mom. Mr. Blue Calla works very long hours so I can afford to stay at home to work on my little business and take care of our 2 very spirited kids. Which means I pretty much do it all - cooking, cleaning, laundry, taking kids to school, after school activities, play dates, etc. And I run Blue Calla. So yes, pretty much everything.
  • Deciding and designing specific styles of bags is tons of fun but also stressful. What if no one likes and wants to buy the styles I choose? It is a huge investment in time and money that could be completely wasted. On the other hand, it could be EXACTLY what my business needs. Only time will tell.
  • Coming up with a design that I have not seen elsewhere. You would be surprised how many times I've thought that a new bag idea is genius and then I accidentally find that very style of bag while browsing the internet. It happens - a lot! Whether it be a design accent on the outside, or a feature on the inside, it has almost always already been done. 
  • Finding the time to create. It's practically impossible at this time in my life. But the kids come first so I will do my best!
Last night I finally decided what most of my collection will include. I am still stuck on a design for a smaller bag. I want a bag that can convert from a short shoulder strap to a cross body strap. 

I've purchased so many interesting new materials including some japanese imported fabrics like these:

These lovely fabrics can be found here.

And I've also bought a new selection of jacquard ribbons like these:

I've purchased these from Les' Bon Ribbon which I've purchased from before and have not been disappointed.

In terms of fabrics - I will be continuing with canvas, lambskin and cowhide as well as denim. And whenever I can get some nice colours, corduroy like this shoulder bag:

Pleated Shoulder Bag in Corduroy

Enough typing - time to get sewing!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

A Juki for my birthday

It was my birthday on Friday and I've reached the point where I don't care to celebrate very much. (The big 4-0 is approaching way too quickly for my liking!) I spent some great time with my little family and my mother came to visit which was the best part! And let's not forget the cake eating part. I love cake!

AND, I finally got something I've been wanting for a long, long time now. I was going to get a brand new industrial sewing machine but I accidentally came across a Kijiji ad for this used Juki DDL-555 and I couldn't pass it up.

After sewing with regular machines for a few years now, I must admit that I was a bit intimidated by something that has a separate, very large and noisy motor. BUT, I'm good now. It was extremely difficult to get information online about buying, setting up and using an industrial machine so I wanted to share what I have learned so far.

Before you do ANYTHING, get the manual for your machine. I learned so much from the manual that I searched for FOREVER and finally found here. If I had not purchased this manual and read it, I probably would've broken this machine before using it once. 

Industrial sewing machines sit in an oil pan. The oil get sucked up and splashes around inside the machine and keeps everything working smoothly. If the oil pan is empty, this is very bad and you can break the machine if you try to run it.

Second, find a sewing machine dealer who can provide you with service and parts for your machine. I am lucky to have found Paul at The Sewing Machine Centre and I am always amazed at how much he knows about every single sewing machine in the world. He does not service industrial machines himself but he has someone who does. He also has a contact at another sewing store who will be ordering any parts I need including needles. 

I figured out how to thread the machine, wind a bobbin and adjust tensions quite quickly but I am finding it to be very fussy. The tension has to be "just so" for the bobbin and the top thread. I have finally figured everything out and just sewed through 12 layers of duck canvas like it was butter. 

I am in love.