Wendy Gardiner creates a colourful coat with the help of Brother

Another of the many projects I’ve made on my Brother 1800QC in recent months is this colourful coat, made from fabric I had sitting in my stash for many years. I decided I wanted a new winter coat but couldn’t find what I was looking for – a hooded A-line coat with front zip – so I raided my stash, unearthed this colourful wool coating with couched yarns, and set to!

The pattern is McCall 7848 which is an easy design to construct with princess seams in the bodice, a waist seam and A-line bottom. 

Using fabric from my stash meant I didn’t have enough for the sleeves and hood, but this wasn't a problem as I had some fur fabric left over from a fleecy blanket I made for my son. That was another fun project, made using his old Band T-shirts – I cut the motifs from the fronts, stabilised them with strips of interfacing down the edges and then joined them in a jigsaw for the front, with occasional strips of fabric between as sashing to make the different sizes fit. I backed it with a blac…

PE Design 11 Beginners: Using background fill wizard with Julia Ashman

I am completely new to PEDesign Software, but want to learn to take full advantage of my Brother embroidery machine. As an introduction, I decided to pick one feature to focus on to allow me to become familiar with the layout of the program. My inspiration came from the Background Fill feature, available on the XV.

I will explain the process and options within the Background Fill Wizard to complete a quick and easy mini quilted pillow project. I have ensured I have the current version of the Software, inserted the Software Key and opened the program.

First, you need to design a template by selecting the hoop size appropriate for the project. The ‘fill’ will completely fill the hoop, so be mindful of your design size and project requirements. I have selected hoop size 200mm x 200mm as I want to make square quilted blocks. 

From the home tab, select the Shapes button and choose your desired shape. I’m using a square with inverted rounded corners. Draw the shape in the middle of the design …

Denim jacket makeover with Wendy Gardiner

My Brother Innovis 1800QC has been a real boon in my many varied sewing projects over the lasts few months. Let me share how I altered a denim jacket on this fab machine.

Prepping the jacket I was hosting some Upcycle Challenges at the Knitting & Stitching show at in Olympia, so decided I needed to do my own Upcycling to show I can do what I teach!

I had already used an Embellisher machine to appliqué some large roses on the back of the jacket some time ago. These were just cut from a patterned fabric, held in place and attached quickly with an embellisher machine - fitted with five barbed needles that mesh the fibres together.

Applique with the Innov-is 1800C  I then bought the 1800QC into play. To ensure the applique stayed in place through repeated wash and wear, I free motioned over the design using the free motion foot. No problem. Done in ten!

Next, I added ric rac ribbon trim down the vertical seams on the front and stitched them in place with a zigzag stitch – this meant st…

V7 heirloom sewing with Julia Ashman

I’m a dressmaker, sewist and a seamstress, so the sewing side of the V series is an element that really excites me. I’ve been gradually doing more of my everyday sewing on the V7 and already been impressed by the quality of stitch it performs, even on the most unpredictable stretch jerseys.I have also managed a successful customising job on a bridal gown, using many layers of slippery linings and corded lace, without fault and with great precision.
Ultimately, I would love to up-cycle some cotton shirts I purchased from a charity shop, so I’ve been collecting various supplies. I have always wanted to try heirloom sewing, using traditional, typically hand-sewn sewing methods to create decorative finishes, but I have some new presser feet and needles so wanted to give it a go on my sewing machine.

In my stash I have: lace edging, insertion lace, 20 count cotton linen, 30 count cotton lawn, seven groove pintuck foot, edge joining foot, ribbon (various widths), stranded cotton, wing needle,…

Making embroidered and quilted bags on the XP1 with Angie Lawrence

One of the things I really enjoy is making bags of all shapes and sizes – from make-up bags to clutches to shoulder bags to handbags, I love them all.

Up to now I have contented myself with using commercial patterns or buying 'in the hoop' designs – which I didn’t always like as I found them fiddly and wasteful.

I had long admired ready-embroidered fabric in the shops, but it can be expensive. I was confident that with this fabulous machine I could reproduce something similar – or even better – and it would be exactly what I wanted.

I began by embroidering a piece of fabric in the usual way – adding the design and free-motion quilting around it before taking it out of the hoop, cutting out the shape I needed and assembling on the sewing side.

Here’s an example of a piece of piece of embroidered fabric cut from a larger piece I created using one of the in-built quilt fills. It worked but, again, a tiny bit wasteful if you are just cutting a shape from it.

So I thought – hang on…

Wendy Gardiner reviews the Brother Innov-is 1800QC

Let's start by saying I love the Innov-is 1800QC! I have had it now for a few months and it just keeps on giving. I’ve made all sorts of very varied things – from many craft projects for the two books I am writing, to garments for the shows I attend, to samples for display at trade shows. It has coped beautifully with everything I have thrown at it! But back to the beginning.

Out of the box It might be aimed at quilters (hence the QC and the range of fab quilting accessories) but as a dressmaker and general sewist, I love all the extras too! The machine comes with a whole host of attachments and feet including a large extension table – perfect when sewing big projects such as quilts or coats (as I did) – and a flat bed attachment that holds the tray of feet well thanks to its nicely wide design. The handy lift-out tray has numbered positions for the utility feet, making it easy to identify them and use the recommended foot for the stitch selected. There are also spare bobbins of co…

Exploring character and decorative stitches on the XP1 Luminaire with Tim Cooper

One of the many new features of the Luminaire XP1 sewing and embroidery machine is the ability to adjust the size and aspect ratio (height versus width) of character and decorative stitches, allowing greater control and creative flexibility than ever before. As with many of the machines in the Brother range, there is also an onboard custom stitch creator, allowing you to create your very own stitch designs if what is provided isn’t quite what you need. On the XP1 there are also now even more character and decorative stitches that can be used 'in the hoop' on the embroidery side of the machine too, allowing even more creative fun.

In my experience, one of the most overlooked features of many machines in the Brother range – including the XP1 – is the ability to combine stitches to create your own pattern. On the XP1 (and other machines), you can combine different stitch patterns, mirror them, combine those of different lengths and also create stepped patterns. These can then be …