Friday, August 13, 2021

To Buy or Not to Buy?

 There are many opinions out there in the home sewing community about cover stitch machines. The number one question is: Do I need one? The answer to that, of course, is NO. Just like you don't need  a serger/overlock machine to sew knits. But they are really nice to have. And what about a combo machine? a combination serger and coverstitch machine. Well, that is what I want to discuss today. I have a Juki MO-735. It is a 2/3/4/5-Thread Overlock (serger) + Cover Stitch Sewing Machine. It is a workhorse and offers 24 different stitch patterns, everything you need to help you create more professional results with your home sewing. Here is a photo of mine set up for a narrow cover stitch:

The number one complaint about combo machines is that you have to convert them from one use to another. Yes, it does take time. Yes, there is a learning curve. But, honestly, it isn't rocket science. And like anything, practice makes perfect. The more you actually convert it, the easier it becomes. To convert from serger to cover stitch, you have to deactivate the upper looper, raise the knife arm, remove the knife guard/replace it with the cover stitch extension plate, replace the multi-use presser foot with the cover stitch presser foot (optional, but I find it gives better control), change out the needles, and re-thread. The first few times it probably took me about 10 minutes. Now I can do it in less than 5. I found the Instruction Manual adequately explained the steps, but Juki has videos on YouTube for visual learners. JUKI MO-735 - Chapter 10: Coverstitch and Chainstitch - YouTube

MY number one complaint about the MO-735? The lack of throat space. I knew this before I bought it. Most (though not all) stand-alone cover stitch machines have more throat space, as they do not have a knife taking up space. However, I don't usually need a lot of space. Honestly, the ONLY time it has been a problem was when I was trying to topstitch a rather wide elastic waistband. Even then, I just worked slowly and adjusted carefully as I sewed.

The main advantage of a combo machine? SPACE. If you have limited space, a combo machine is a smart choice. I actually had a nice Juki serger before I purchased my MO-735. However, I decided to go with the combo machine instead of a stand-alone cover stitch machine. Though I have a rather large studio space currently, that may not be the case in the future, as we hope to downsize soon-ish. My serger was passed on to my son, who apparently needed another hobby. 😃  Plus, did I mention 24 different stitch patterns? Everything from rolled hems to numerous overlock stitches to flatlock to chainstitch (hem your jeans with professional results) to cover stitch. And with the 5-thread capability, you can stitch and finish your seams in one step. This is especially useful when making jeans and other pants.

Here are some photos of the hem of my latest make, a knit shirt. 

So, if you sew clothing, especially knits and jeans, and you are interested in having more professional-looking finishes, consider adding a serger and cover stitch or a combo machine to your sewing arsenal.

Until next time,


Friday, May 5, 2017

Mexican Bean Soup (An Instant Pot Recipe)


It’s Cinco de Mayo. It’s cold here in Upstate NY….well cold for this southern chick! I have an Instant Pot that I love. Take all that and what do you get? The perfect day for Mexican Bean Soup!

*Photos taken with Kindle Fire, so please excuse the quality….or lack thereof.

Instant PotMexican Bean Soup

For the recipe go here. You don’t need an Instant Pot for this recipe. You just need an appropriate sized slow cooker. However, the Instant Pot makes this a one-pot meal. Therefore, clean-up is much easier.


Now that supper is cooking away, I can get back to fun in the studio!


Until next time,


Thursday, September 1, 2016

Red Gathered-Back Tunic

Where did summer go? It seems like it only arrived last week. But sweater weather is just around the corner.  While I do love sweaters--especially cardigans—I HATE cold weather. 

Summer likely flew by because I have been BUSY! Not overly so. Just steadily working on projects. Not that you would know that from my slack blogging habits. {hangs head in shame}.  This morning I finished my third indygo junction Gathered Back Tunic.


red gathered back tunic front

It is a great piece for transitioning from summer to autumn. Who am I kidding? I wore my second one all summer long. It was especially nice for the over air-conditioned grocery store.


This tunic was made from Parsons Grey Boro Naha Bandana that I bought from Craftsy MONTHS ago. I lost 35 pounds this summer, and wanted to wait until I wasn’t losing at such a rapid pace before cutting this fabric. Still, I made this too big. I knew better from my previous GBTs than to do it. My bust measurement is a 42 which put me between a L and an XL. I KNEW that the Gathered Back Tunic is ROOMY. I KNEW that I had lost 35 lbs since making the 2nd one……and still I erred on the side of going larger. It is fine…..It doesn’t hang off of me quite as bad as the 2nd one does, but I should have trusted myself enough to go smaller. Especially since I need to lose more weight. Live and Learn! If I make another, I will definitely size down to a large.


All in all, the Gathered Back Tunic is an easy make. The hardest part is getting the gathered back attached to the straight edge properly. The first two that I made came together perfectly the first time. This one? not so much. I took it apart several times. Reread and reread the instructions, thinking that I must be doing something wrong. In the end, I just could not get it to look as nice as the first two. With that said….I finally decided that it was GOOD ENOUGH. I have found much worse problems with RTW!

red gathered back tunic back

Next on the agenda? Shredding zucchini! It is still summer, after all—for a little while. May as well make the most of it.


Until next time…..



Thursday, June 30, 2016

Italian-Style Magic Dinner

Wouldn’t it be nice if there really was such a thing as Magic Dinner? Maybe Jetson’s style? Push a few buttons and dinner magically appeared! Yes, you can grab something from the freezer section of your grocery store and let the microwave magically make dinner. But let’s face it, most of those options are not exactly healthy. Therefore, I try to limit those meals. Then you have those wonderful meals in a box just waiting to “help” turn ground beef into a meal. You know the ones! I used to buy them by the dozen in the early days of my marriage. My husband LOVED them. Seriously… was a bit insulting to the cook in the house. Ego aside, they are easy and relatively inexpensive……but they are not healthy!
So what’s a girl to do when she is trying to serve healthier meals to a “helper”-loving man? Make it herself, of course. And it is easy and even more affordable. Win, win!!!!
You can mix up your own Magic Dinner mix and store it in the pantry until needed. While the ingredients are out, mix up several. They can be stored for a long time….just use the “best by” date on your ingredients as a guide.
Now on to the recipe….

Click here for printable version

Italian-Style Hamburger Magic Dinner

Prepare your pantry meals:
(each recipe make 1 meal of 4 servings)
  • 2 cups uncooked penne or macaroni 
  • 2 tbsp. dried onion flakes
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder or granules
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
Combine all ingredients in a ziptop bag or quart canning jar. Seal. Store in pantry until ready to use.

To Cook:
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 recipe of Italian-style Magic Dinner (above)
  • 15 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 3 cups water
In a large sauté pan or skillet, brown the ground beef. Drain off any fat. Add water, tomato sauce, and Magic Dinner mix; stir. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover. Simmer for 12 to 18 minutes, until pasta is al dente. Stir often to prevent sticking while simmering. Let sit a few minutes in pan, but off the heat, to allow the sauce to thicken slightly.

* I start checking the pasta after simmering for the pasta's recommended cooking time. Since it is simmering, instead of boiling, it usually takes several additional minutes to cook; but it never hurts to check. If the sauce is too thin, remove the lid from the pan during the last few minutes of cooking. If the sauce to too thick, add more water a little at a time to the desired consistency.
Until next time,