A while back I entered a giveaway on a favorite blog, girl.Inspired. I NEVER win giveaways; although I've entered probably over 1000, the only thing I've ever won was in a giveaway I didn't realize I was entering, and was something I didn't particularly want.... so I wasn't expecting to ever hear anything about that giveaway again. But I did! I won it! Have I mentioned yet what it was? A gift card to Joann's, for $500!!!!!! And Stef is really sweet, and packaged it prettily, and sent it to me along with a lovely handwritten note. =)
Most people would probably spend the gift card on fabric, but I have quite a lot of fabric that I need to use up. Having admired coverhem machines ever since I first heard of them, I decided that one of those would be my first item. Joann's only carries one coverhem machine, the Singer Quantumlock, which is a serger and a coverstitch machine. It wouldn't have been my first choice, but since choices were limited, I went with it.
Joann's was skimpy on the details of what was included, so here is a layout of everything: the actual machine, an extra knife, extra needles, a set of 6 extra feet (elastic, taping, blind hem/lace, shirring, beading/sequin, and cording), spool caps (also cone holders, currently inside the thread cones), thread nets, basic toolkit of hex screwdriver, flathead screwdriver, tweezers, oil, and lint brush, a serging cover that swaps out for the coverstitch cover currently on the machine, a box to hold it all in, a scrap bin, a manual, and a dust cover (not pictured).
I was pleased that the feet were included, although I do wish there was a folded hem foot.
So far, I've only tried out the safety stitch, three needle coverstitch, and two needle coverstitch. The loopers are ridiculously difficult to thread unless you remove the throat plate, but once threaded I haven't had any problems adjusting tension, length, knife, or differential. The manual isn't particularly clear, but I managed to figure out the setups without too much difficulty. Although it's not the easiest to use, setup-wise, it's been beautiful to actually serge/coverstitch with. With 5 thread cones and 5 needle positions, there are quite a few different stitches you can make, even more than pictured here:
Overall, I'm satisfied, although I'd recommend buying something else if you are shopping at some other place than Joann's, just for ease of setup. =)
The second machine, which I would also recommend buying somewhere other than Joann's, is a Silhouette Cameo (affiliate link). This is another one I've had my eye on for years, and just couldn't justify getting it until now. I did end up paying a little out-of-pocket for this one, but still much less than the usual price.
Not much was included in this one... there was the machine, a cutting blade, a cutting mat, a basic manual, USB and power cords, 50 free designs, basic software, and a $10 download card. It sounds like a lot, but I've seen bundles for the same price that also include a tool set, extra mat, an extra download card, and vinyl, as well as the designer software. In fact, Massdrop has a deal going on like that right now. If you are in the market, it's worth checking out.
This machine also has a learning curve. So far though, it seems that the easiest mistake to make is just loading the cutting mat crookedly. If you do that, everything cuts crookedly, or worse, the rollers don't grip the mat and it swings wildly back and forth, destroying all the previous cuts. That said, if you can load the mat correctly and set the blade depth and cutting speed right, you can cut amazing, intricate designs from a huge variety of materials. Like this cardstock lace:
I haven't had much of a chance to use this one yet, but I'm really looking forward to seeing what else it can do!
Now that I've rambled for 30 minutes about machines you probably didn't want to hear about, here is something I made using both of them:
I know, it's all lumpy and crooked. That is because it is full of stuffed animals. I've been constantly frustrated with stuffed animals everywhere, and I think this will help. It also doubles as seating for messy-haired little girls. =)
I dyed some drop-cloth pieces a dusty rose color with the intention to make a stuffed animal storage cushion about 6 months ago, then cut out the pieces and left them sitting, because I wasn't sure if I wanted a vinyl window or not. Yesterday, when I was searching for my black knit (I think I accidentally threw it away with a bag of scraps. So careless. I know!), I came across the pieces and decided to finish it up. I decided against the vinyl window, because I thought it would be less durable and also look more cluttered.
First, I cut a few freezer paper stencils with the Cameo and painted some daisies on the top piece. It seeped under the edges in some places, because the freezer paper adhered rather imperfectly to the canvas, and I painted a little too vigorously in some spots, but overall it turned out decently.
It took a while to set up the safety stitch I used to sew this up, and in the process I forgot that I had a pile of piping waiting to be inserted, so I failed to add it in the lower seam. In the top seam, there is piping and a zipper for animal addition and removal. It isn't easy to add a zipper and piping in the same seam! Next time I'll hand-baste the zipper on before sewing it. And the piping! I had 2.5 yards. I was exactly 1/2" short. Which means there is a small gap in the piping in the back.
The basic shapes here are two circles and a very long rectangle. I had to cut the rectangle in two pieces, since I was using leftover pieces and didn't have a single piece long enough. The construction was simple enough, since I was stitching and finishing the edges in one pass. If you'd like more detailed instructions though, check out this post or this post. Mine is kind of a cross between those two. Turns out, it's good for more than just sitting on... there was a whole lot of this going on:
I wonder how long it will last. ;-)
I have several other things made and waiting to be posted about, but since Beckers is both mobile and in the throes of separation anxiety, I haven't had much hands-free time for typing. It's much easier to snatch 5 minutes to sew than 5 minutes to blog, somehow. Hopefully I'll get a chance to share everything else soon! =)
Thanks for stopping by!