Sew, What's New?

Curating sewing and quilting talent, techniques, and tutorials, since 1997.

Machine Sewing - Never to Old to Learn Something New!

I have had my Janome DC3050 4 years this month, and I'm still discovering things it can do!  It has 50 pre-programmed stitches.  I soon got used to using the the locking stitch and moving the needle to the left for zips.  I use the zigzag stitch for my applique, and have used the automatic buttonholes.

I made samplers of the 'decorative' stitches so I could see them 'in the flesh' and refer to them when I wanted a certain effect.  Didn't know anything else about them, as the manual covered some but not all of them.

Moving on from stitches to needles, when I decided to make my own Sewing Needle Organizer, I read up on all the different types of needle now available.  Mostly they are named for what they are designed to sew.  Here's my index for the organizer.

Needle Index


Twin Universal

Triple Universal

Quick/Self Threading

Double Eye


Twin Ballpoint

Overlocker (HAx1SP)


Twin Stretch



Twin Embroidery






Twin Metallic









Twin Jeans






Twin Hemstitch


I made up a page for each type, with clear pockets to store the new needles in their packets. Then I made a second page with a little information, and a piece of felt to store a 'used' needle according to its size.

Page out of my Machine Neele Index

Universal - These I was familiar with, and I was gifted a Twin Universal by my Service Engineer when I bought the new machine, unused to-date. However, I have recently seen posts on using them for perfect topstitching, pintucks and hemming knits, so they might see some use soon!

Ballpoint - I'm not sure why I've got these, as I haven't stitched any knits that I can think of!

Stretch - I bought these for my Craftsy Course "Sewing with Knits"

Embroidery - I bought these for a workshop on free-motion embroidery

Topstitch - Not sure when or why I got these either, have yet to use one!

Metallic - I bought these on a workshop "Make your own fabric"

Microtex - bought these as they were recommended by Erin of Dogundermydesk when I made her Two Zip Hipster.  I used them for the lining of my vintage faux leopard skin coat.

Leather/Vinyl - I bought these for vinyl when I made sun visors for my pick-up truck!

Denim/Jeans - I buy a lot of these as I recycle a lot of jeans!

Quilting - have just bought these to try out

Wing/Hemstitch - WHAT ON EARTH?!?  Never heard of that before!  What is it for?


I found out this is for doing Heirloom Stitching.  How intrigueing. I also discovered (thanks to Google and that my beloved Janome has 25 Heirloom stitches in it's repertoire!  I re-read the manual, but there was nothing there about doing heirloom stitching.

I sent an e-mail to Janome U.K. and they told me stitches #33 - 50 were suitable for heirloom.  So I bought Wing needles,  read some tips on "How to" pulled some linen out of my stash, and here is my sampler, using all 25 stitches!

It's subtle, it's beautiful,  I love it and I want to make myself a waistcoat out of it!

I have bought myself the book "Fine Machine Sewing" by Carol Laflin Ahles and I am gradually reading it cover-to-cover.  She has lots of useful tips for improving all my machine sewing, and has helped identify several of the Heirloom Stitches by name.  I was a bit disappointed that the manual didn't name each stitch and say what it was for.  This is the stitch chart with my notations so far, gleaned from the manual and other sources.


I went to babysit for my niece last week.  I asked her to leave her machine out for me to play with. It's another Janome, but a more basic one.  I made this pencil case, following Lisa Lam's tutorial from "The Bag Making Bible".  

I started by pieceing together some denim patches, then trying out all the decorative stitches she has on her machine, using 2 spools of different red thread through the same needle (it was just a universal, not a denim or topstitch by the way).  I think it is very effective, and she had never used any of them!

On the other side I did an applique heart, the idea being to make it match the Denim School Bag I made for her daughter.

So learning more about needles has also taught me more about my sewing machine's stitching ability (and my niece's).  Did I mention I was going to try the twin needle for topstiching?  I also have the Twin Wing to try out yet!  I hope I'm never too old to enjoy learning something new!  

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Comment by Kelly McDonald on February 16, 2014 at 7:32pm

Thank you so much.Really handy to know..xx

Comment by Carol Fryer on February 16, 2014 at 3:30pm

This is wonderful. Thank you bundles. 

Comment by Kerry on February 16, 2014 at 9:06am

Thanks for teaching this old dog some new tricks.  Great post!

Comment by Valerie Carroll on February 15, 2014 at 11:37pm


Comment by Lynn on February 15, 2014 at 12:34pm

What a wonderful idea.  I have a 6600 and there are still lots of things I don't know about it.  Going upstairs to start my sample of stitches.  Thanks so much.  Lynn

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