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Upcycle Your T-Shirts


A t-shirt quilt history and directions to make your own quilt. You may have a dresser drawer or wardrobe packed with old t-shirts.

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Jack and Jill Market


jack and jill marketNot a new concept, selling and upcycling second-hand goods but, with daughter and I having used the Jack and Jill Market to purchase most of the items baby Lilly has needed I decided to write about the experience. this is a great way to make some money as a seller or save money as a buyer.

What is the Jack and Jill Market?


The Jack and Jill Markets are based in Scotland and are regular indoor markets where you can buy and sell second-hand baby and children’s goods (up to 9 yrs). A community-based initiative, it started in 2010 when a group of Mums got together and came up with the idea. From large items like prams, cots and car seats to clothes, toys and maternity wear, you can find just about EVERYTHING you need and at a fraction of the cost! There are markets across Scotland and most weekends have a market going on somewhere.



How much of your baby stuff did you put up the attic, or in the shed? Booking a stall at the baby market is a great way of making some money and decluttering. To book a stall, it costs £25. This includes advertising, both online and off, all indoor venues, a 6ft table, a couple of chairs, a table cover, and 4 x spaces in the gallery for large items. No commission is taken, any money earned is all yours!

I’ve spoken to many of the stall holders about their experiences and they were all positive. Most said they made over £200 and 1 lady was delighted with her £600 profit. She had sold some larger items, a pram system, cot and high chair.

You need a very early start to get organised and should check all the details, terms and conditions. Rusting, badly worn items aren’t allowed but you get a free guide when you book with tips on how to set up and sell. Staff can be contacted by email or phone so there’s plenty of support.



Firstly, if you’re looking for a larger item like a pram you need to get there early, these items are hot and go first!

jack and jill market queueDoors open at 10.30, I usually go with daughter and baby Lilly and get there around 10. The queue is always massive, round the corner and down the street. You can either get there early and be first in or, go at 10.30 and be at the back of the queue, either way, you’ll have a 30/45mn wait. If you’re taking children with you be prepared, have snacks, and suitable clothing for the weather.

It costs £1.50 for entry and depending on the venue there’ll be a cafe or vending machine. If you can leave children with a babysitter then do. The Jack and Jill market is a noisy busy place. Navigating around the stalls and trying to look at goods pushing a buggy and/or watching young children is challenging, I’ve seen a few frayed tempers on my visits!

jack and jill market large gallery systemIf you’re looking for a large item head off to the Large Item gallery first, as I said, these items go quickly. A good system is in place for this. Each item has a ticket with the price, description and stall number:

  • go to the relevant stall holder
  • pay for the item
  • get the receipt
  • take it back to the staff manning the Large Gallery area
  • the sold ticket will go on the item


You can safely leave the large items in place till you’re ready to leave.

Now it’s time to move on and browse the stalls and I was stunned on my first visit, You can buy EVERYTHING baby related, even breast pumps and pads! We (daughter and I) decided to walk round the stalls first for a quick glance then get the shopping list out and look for specific items.

The prices varied and some items were clearly overpriced, £4 for a teeny pair of second-hand booties? I don’t think so! The sensible stall holders were willing to negotiate and usually had realistic prices from the start. They didn’t want to be taking a pile of stuff back home with them again!

The stall holders who had taken the time to organise their goods into age groups and had sensible prices were the busiest. Some had offers like buy 3 items for £2, or had put together complete matching outfits.

Tbaby in highchairhis Graco highchair was £10 and in pristine condition, not so pristine now though! The coverall apron was also a baby market item, £!



All the clothes Lilly wears have mostly been purchased at the Jack and Jill market. We’ve also bought disposable nappies, chicco baby carrietoys, steriliser, weaning cups, cutlery and the latest purchase was a back carrier.
Not the first size but for hiking over rough terrain with an older baby/toddler. Only £15, she’s a little bit small for it but loves it anyway!

As it gets nearer to closing time at 1pm some stall holders will drop their prices and you can pick up even better bargains. As I said earlier, they don’t want to be carting a load of stuff back home.



A word of warning, it’s easy to get carried away. Make a list of what you need and try to stick to it. On our first visit, we bought so many clothes and much of it has never been worn. Of course, we can always go as sellers and resell these things!

The Jack and Jill market really is one of the best ways I’ve seen of buying all those essential baby items for a fraction of the cost. Yes, it’s busy and you have to queue but it will save you £100s on retail prices. For more details and to find out about the Jack and Jill markets in your area pop over to their website. They even have an online market now too!

Have you been to a Jack and Jill market? Share your experiences in the comments section below, I’d love to hear from you!



















Dress For Sewing


Not quite what you think! Not a dress to sew but a question, do you dress for sewing? Do you prepare yourself mentally?
dress for sewingIn the 40s and 50s, a woman’s place was very much in the home and there were lots of articles and advice on how a housewife should comport herself.

Some of the advice from this Singer sewing manual made me laugh, but there are a couple of useful tips in there!






Mentally prepare yourself for sewing


Tprepare mentally for sewinghe Singer manual advises “never approach sewing with a sigh or in a lackadaisical manner. Good results are difficult when indifference predominates.” Well, I guess if you’re sighing and viewing it as a chore you’re not really going to produce your best work! If I feel like this about a sewing project then I’ll change the project to something I enjoy doing. If I do have to do a particular project then I’ll put myself in the mood by playing some upbeat music and thinking about how I’ll feel when it’s finished (prepare myself mentally). Does some lively music put you in the mood for sewing?

Do the Housework

do the choresCan you concentrate if you have a sinkful of dirty dishes or unmade beds?
I can live with unmade beds, dirty dishes annoy me so I would do these! According to the Singer advice, your mind can be “free to enjoy sewing if all the household chores are done.” It depends what they mean by household chores. A bit of dust here and there, carpets unvacuumed, bath not cleaned? I could sew quite happily without giving these “chores” a second thought!

Dress for Sewing


The advice from Singer is to “make yourself as attractive as possible.”  What does this statement mean to you, full makeup, best dress, killer heels? I don’t think I’d get much work done dressed like that! The reasoning behind this is that you’ll be distracted from your sewing if you are not “neatly put together.” You’d be fretting in case your husband came home or you got unexpected visitors. You are also advised to have some french chalk close by to dust your fingers occasionally, (it doesn’t say why!).

Things have changed a lot since those days! So how do you dress for sewing? Do you care if you’re not “neatly put together?” Does the housework have to be done, including unmade beds? I’d love to hear your stories, please leave comments below!




Upcycled Clothing Blogs


I’m always looking for inspiration for sewing and new ideas for upcycling so I thought I’d share my favourite upcycled clothing blogs. I’ve also got a few sewing and upcycling blogs I’ve subscribed to too, love the newsletters and free patterns that drop into my inbox!

Criss cross baby dressOne of the first projects I made for this blog was a criss-cross dress with ruffled pants to match. (you can see it here). The pattern was free, delivered to my inbox from Melly Sews. You have to subscribe for the free patterns but don’t get bombarded with emails. Around one a month, usually with a free pattern included. The patterns are well written and with easy to follow instructions, worth the sign-up for me!




free baby dress sewing patternAnother favourite of mine is Sew Kate Sew where I got the free baby dress sewing pattern. I didn’t need to subscribe for this one, it’s freely available on her site. I decided to subscribe anyway and again, not too many emails, only every couple of months.




Diaper BagI made this diaper bag from a tutorial at Karen’s blog. It’s probably one of the most useful items I’ve made for baby Lilly and has been in constant use since she was born. I plan to do another one for my latest expected Grandchild, a boy this time! Karen has some neat ideas for kids clothes, not many tutorials or free patterns, but I like her ideas.






the thrifty coupleOne of my favourite sites for upcycling and thrifty living is The Thrifty Couple. It’s easy to spend hours on there looking at all the great ideas! From tips to saving money on diapers to DIY around the home and printable guides it’s a great resource for upcycled living.




diaper cakeThe Tip Junkie is full of ideas and tutorials for upcycling and where I got the idea for making a taggie blanket. I have a long list of projects I’d like to make starting with a diaper cake!







kids activity blogIf you’ve landed on Upcycled Baby Clothes you’ve more than likely got kids or grandkids. Keeping them amused can be a challenge, especially during the winter months. Kids Activity Blog is loaded with ideas for keeping the kids happy. There’s also ideas for outdoor activities. The kids menu is sectioned into age groups making the site easy to navigate. I particularly like the printable colouring pages, a great resource.




Make baby sewDelilah at Make Sew Baby has built a great collection of printable patterns and tutorials. She covers everything from clothes to accessories for the nursery. She also covers baby food crocheting and knitting. I love the baby peasant top pattern and have made that one myself.





These are just a few of my favourite upcycled clothing blogs and other resources I use for helping me craft. Please leave a comment below if you’d like to add to this resource.


Bernina 330 Review


Bernina 330 Review

I am a HUGE fan of Bernina sewing machines and still use one that was made in 1969, the Bernina Record 730. Bernina is still a family run business who build their own quality machines. This is my Bernina 330 review, a domestic sewing machine and part of the Bernina 3 series. It has an array of great features and is also seen on the popular “Great British Sewing Bee” tv programme.

Functions and Features


  • Bernina 330 LCD DisplayBright, easy to read LCD Screen.
  • The CB Hook is a patented Bernina system based on the oscillating hook system, great for perfect stitches on all types of fabric and suitable for thicker threads.
  • 97 different stitches to choose from:
  • 15 utility stitches
  • 3 cross stitch programs
  • 23 decorative stitches
  • 3 stitches for quilting
  • 1 one-step buttonhole
  • 1 alphanumeric font
  • 30 memory locations to save your stitch creations. Your favorite or most used combinations of stitches are available at the push of a button.
  • Needle plate has seam guide etched in.
  • Drop feed ideal for free motion quilting and embroidery.
  • Free arm for those awkward places such as cuffs and hems.
  • Bernina 330 automatic needle threaderBuilt in needle threader, a nifty function that will save you time!
  • The stitch length and width are adjustable.
  • 9 different needle positions.
  • Automatic and manual buttonhole and comes with the buttonhole presser foot. Buttonholes are my nemesis and this function, because it is automatically saved means, all your buttonholes are identical!


Watch this video and see how easy it is to do a buttonhole on your Bernina B330.

  • Quick reverse button
  • Start/stop button
  • The speed control easily lets you adjust your speed to suit the sewing project you’re doing.
  • Bernina 330 LED light2 spool holders.
  • Thread cutter.
  • Fast 900 stitches per minute.
  • Programme for sewing on buttons.
  • Needle up/down stop positions.
  • Bright LED light.
  • Ability to change the stitch settings while sewing.
  • Bobbin winding can be done while sewing.



And here is another video to show the simplicity of the Bernina 330 by doing applique.

Standard Accessories

  • 4 metal bobbins
  • 5 Presser feet
    • ThenReverse pattern foot for sewing forward and reverse utility and decorative stitches.
    • The overlock foot lets you overlock seams easily and neatly.
    • The buttonhole foot determines the desired buttonhole length for identical sized buttonholes.
    • The zipper foot with slide with its narrow, centrally positioned toe, it can stitch very close to the zipper coils.
    • The blindstitch foot lets you sew so you can hardly see the stitching from the front.
  • Screwdriver
  • Seam ripper
  • Lint brush
  • Owner’s manual


Optional Accessories

There is a range of optional accessories available for the Bernina 330:

  • Embroidery presser foot.
  • Tailor tack presser foot.
  • Jeans presser foot.
  • Darning presser foot.
  • Edgestitch presser foot.
  • Cordonnet presser foot.
  • Bulky overlock presser foot.
  • Straight stitch presser foot.
  • Braiding presser foot.
  • Button presser foot.
  • Free motion presser foot.
  • Appliqué presser foot.
  • Braiding presser foot.
  • Cording presser foot.
  • Gathering presser foot.
  • Pintuck presser foot.
  • Invisible zipper presser foot.
  • Roller presser foot.
  • Piping presser foot.
  • Eyelet embroidery attachment
  • Circular embroidery attachment
  • Plexiglass extension table (included in this package).



As you would expect with a Bernina machine, I struggled to find any.

Including some extra feet given the price bracket would have made it a better purchase. I’d like to have seen the walking foot included, probably one of the more essential items in a sewers armoury!

Perhaps more expensive than some, like the Singer 7258 but you do get the superior quality of the Bernina brand.


The Bernina 330 produces excellent stitches, hard to find at this price. It’s light enough to be portable, great for taking to sewing groups and friends. I like the all round functionality, the ability to embroider, quilt and dress make. The machine is simple to set up and suitable for beginners through to advanced sewers.


I love this machine and there is that old say “you get what you pay for!” With Bernina you are buying a quality, made to last sewing machine, the pros far outweigh the cons.

If you liked what you’ve read in this Bernina 330 review you can pop over to Amazon!

Buy the Bernina B330 Domestic Sewing Machine + FREE Extension Table!


Free Sewing Patterns for Beginners


Thousands of sewing patterns are available on the Internet, but it can be tricky to find free sewing patterns for beginners.

I decided to have an in-depth look over at, part of a group of websites that offer free patterns for most crafts.

First Impressions

free sewing patterns websiteWhen first landing on the start page you see a “search” in the middle of the page and a “join” form to the right. You’ll be prompted to join when you do a search and try to download the pattern. It’s easy to find the type of pattern you are looking for as the navigation is well laid out.

  • Accessories
  • Apparel
  • Babies & Children
  • For the Home
  • Seasonal
  • Patterns to Buy!

As you can see, It’s easy to find the kind of pattern you’re looking for and there’s a section with free quilt patterns for beginners.

Joining Up


free quilt patternsThe procedure for joining is a pretty simple process. You get the normal fields to fill out that you would expect and there’s an opt-in for email updates.

After filling in these details, you are taken to the next screen. You are asked if you want to subscribe to the Sewing World magazine.

There’s no such thing as a free lunch, but it’s easy enough to check the box that says “no thanks” box. If you are interested they are offering a free magazine without any obligation to buy more.

Before you get your activation email there is one more step, optional subscriptions to Annies Craft store newsletters. then you finally get the prompt to go check you email for the activation link!

Finally, you get the prompt to check your email for the activation link!

Free Sewing Patterns for Beginners


baby buntingbaby bunting sewing patternI scrolled to “apparel” then chose “Babies & Children” the “Baby Bunting II” pattern. You can also use the search facility to find the type of pattern you are looking for.

Once downloaded the patterns can be printed or saved, hover your mouse to the bottom right and the selection window appears. The skill level is shown on all the patterns. On the first page, you are again invited to participate in something, online classes in Annies Store.

There are step by step instructions clearly laid out with accompanying diagrams to help. This pattern is simple, and ideal for beginning sewers. Made with the very forgiving plush fabric it would make an ideal gift. You could also make my plush baby toy to match

bunny flight easterA cute seasonal one is this Bunny flight basket! I think the children would be thrilled to receive this on Easter morning.

After downloading a few more of the patterns, I could see they were all well written, good free sewing patterns for beginners.



Is it Worth It?


I would say it’s worth going through the sign-up process. It doesn’t take long for you to start having access to some great free sewing patterns.

All the patterns give the skill level needed (most are for beginners) and there are over 400 to choose from. Pop over now and grab some free sewing patterns for beginners!





Sewing for Charity Projects


Sewing for Charity Projects


sewing for charity projectsIf you’re anything like me and many others who enjoy sewing, you’re going to end up with a large stash of extra fabric and embellishments. Do you go to the craft store and buy reels of ribbon from the bargain bin, off cuts of fabric at 75% off? Charity shop bargains you plan to cut down and upcycle?

You walk into your craft/spare room and start to wonder what you’re going to do with it! Of course, this is all done with the best of intentions and your stash grows to mammoth proportions. Making things for charity is a great way to upcycle and use your stash, so I’ve come up with some sewing for charity projects.

There are numerous charity organizations all over the world that would be grateful to receive donations you’ve sewn yourself. Using your sewing skills this way is a win win situation, you get to do something you love and at the same time you’re helping those less fortunate than yourself.

There is a sewing for charity project out there that will fit your skills and which you’ll enjoy making. You could be a quilter, stuffed toy maker, make baby clothes and toys or just enjoy sewing generally! You can make items, like blankets or pillowcases, for use around the home, anything you might make for your friends and family you can make for a charity organization.

Quilts and Bedding


There are many charitable organizations who accept quilts and other bedding items which are handmade. These organizations range from your local homeless shelters to orphanages around the world. With a Google search you can find charities local to you; or larger organisations who organise shipments of useful items to places torn apart by war, catastrophic weather etc.

If you can sew 2 pieces of fabric together then you can make a scrap quilt or “crazy” quilt. These are made from a variety of fabric scraps like old clothing or fat quarters left from a project and are very easy to make. You don’t need any special sewing skills to make these and by following my simple tutorial you’ll have a useful patchwork quilt made in no time.

Another simple project is making pillowcases and I’ve found this great tutorial video (from the Missouri Quilt Company), making pillow cases for charity. I love the technique used to create the pretty trim!


Stuffed Toys and Fabric Books


fabric bookThere are charities all over the world that help neglected and abused children, donating toys and books is a great way to help. Sewing for a children’s organization is a wonderful opportunity to help others.

Some local police officers and fire fghters carry a supply these toys and books in their vehicles, ready to give comfort to children when a tragedy happens. Children’s toys can be simple to make; like this plush baby toy and handmade fabric books can be easy to sew too; as demonstrated in the video below.

Clothing Projects for Charity


pillowcase dressThere are various types of clothing needed for charity which are easy to sew (and knit if you’re also a knitter). This article gives you 25 ways you can make a baby/toddler dress, including one from an old pillow case!

Search in your local directory for charities you can contact for donating your projects; and also for advice on what is needed more urgently.



Chemotherapy patients appreciate head coverings, and this article describes the importance for self-esteem during these debilitating treatments. Contact your local health authority to find the place to donate these items to. This is another “how to” video on how to make a simple head covering.


No matter what your sewing ability, or your financial status, you can sew (or knit) for charity. Whether you make crazy quilts out of old cast-off clothing, or you make chemotherapy caps for cancer patients, your items will be used and appreciated. So why not start today, dig into your stash and start sewing for charity.

I’d love to hear about you your sewing for charity projects so feel free to leave a comment below or contact me and I’ll update this post with your creations.


Easy Make Burp Cloths


Baby Lilly needs burp cloths, she goes through so many! I made this project up as I went along but they really are “easy make burp cloths!” I followed the same simple method that I used for the taggie blanket, only difference being I didn’t add the tags. I made 2 and it only took me 30 mins, including the ironing.




make burp cloths

I used some face/wash cloths my Mum gave me when she was having a clear out for the back. A simple square shape and perfect for making a burp cloth. For the top I had a couple of fat quarters left from the bundle I’d bought for a previous project.






iron fabricFirst, most important, iron your fabric. I repeat this on every tutorial because I used to take shortcuts and think it didn’t matter, wondered why pattern pieces were the wrong size! Another tip, keep your iron clean and if its past it’s best and keeps sticking, think about replacing. There’s nothing more annoying than ruined fabric because of sticky iron.



Fabric pinnedLay your fabric on the table right side up then pin the face cloth to it. Cut around the edge so you have equal size square of face cloth and fabric. I didn’t bother getting the rotary cutter and cutting mat out for this small project, just used the ironing board and scissors.

Do you like my cute pin cushion? My sis crocheted it for a Christmas present, I love it!





trimmed burp clothsYou’ll now be ready to get straight to the sewing, your fabric is already pinned from the previous cutting step. Sew 3 side and halfway up the 4th leaving an opening for turning right sides out.

Trim the cotton edges with pinking shears to stop fraying. The face cloth already has bound edges so won’t need to be trimmed. I could have taken my overlocker/serger round the edges at the start but wanted to demonstrate how you could make this with basic tools and a basic sewing machine.


Turn the fabric right sides out through the gap left in the previous step. Press, turning in the ends of the open gap then top stitch all the way round.


easy make burp cloths

I plan to run up some more this week, make sure Lilly has a good supply!

If you’ve any questions or suggestions feel free to contact me, or leave a comment below.


Janome Atelier 5 Review


Janome Atelier 5 Review


This Janome Atelier 5 review will give you all the info on the latest from Janome’s computerised sewing machines. The idea behind the design of this machine is to make it suitable for all your sewing needs. There are 3 optional kits you can purchase depending on what you use the machine for, quilting, home furnishings and fashion sewing. It comes with that all-important extra throat and added arm space perfect for larger projects. Let’s take a closer look and see if it’s worth the price tab.

Functions and Features

Comuterised sewing machine The Atelier 5 is fully computerised and can memorise combinations of your stitch and alphabet designs. The video below shows the memory function in action.





Maximum speed control sliderThe Maximum Speed Controller lets you set the speed for comfortable sewing. The easy to use slider allows you to easily set a slower speed for more intricate sewing such as applique and a fast speed for straight stitching. Lowest speed is 60 spm and the fastest is 100spm.

A programmable needle down/up feature sets the needle to stop in the up or down position. You can set it in the down position for free motion embroidery and for easy pivoting on corners.

lock sitchThe lock stitch button means you don’t have to use the reverse stitch for securing the ends of the stitch. A press of the button and your ends are secured.




start stop buttonYou can sew without using the foot pedal with the start/stop button. An exclusive feature to Janome is the speed control at the start and end of your sewing. Press and hold to accelerate slowly, press and hold to slow down, then release to stop.



built in stitchesThe Janome Atelier has a generous 170 built-in stitches including the alphabet and numeric stitches. The width (up to 9mm and length (up to 5mm) of the stitches are variable and there are also 10 buttonhole style.

The lift up lid gives convenient access to all the stitches

automatic button hole footThe buttonholes use an automatic, one-step process. Using a special foot the button is placed into the gauge and the machine’s sensor creates the perfect buttonhole. The included 10 buttonhole styles go up to 9mm wide

A button is placed into the gauge of a special foot for buttonhole formation. The foot works with a sensor on the machine to create a perfectly-sized buttonhole. This creates quick, easy buttonholes of an accurate size for the button of choice. 10 built-in buttonholes, including a 9mm wide style.

thread cutterYour thread cutting is done by the simple push of a button. The auto thread cutter feature is conveniently placed in front of you, no need to reach for the scissors!




One of the most useful features on a sewing machine for me is an automatic tension system.  When selected the tension is adjusted based on the fabric thickness, great for switching between layers and fabric types. If required, you can set your own tension using the tension dial.

bobbin caseThe easy set in bobbin case and cover also features a special design where you don’t need to pull the thread tails up and through when you’re threading the machine. It has built in cutting blades for trimming the thread.





7 piece feed dog systemThis model/easyazon_link] comes with a unique 7 piece feed dog system called the “superior Feed system Plus (sFs+).” This feature ensures that the feed dogs always maintain contact with your fabric as it stays parallel when moving up and down. You can use the drop feed function when doing free motion quilting or embroidery.



Janome ergonomic knee liftThe presser foot can be controlled with the conveniently placed ergonomic knee lift. This means you can keep your hands on your project while raising the presser foot, great for quilting and applique work.
There is also an adjustable foot pressure function, perfect for using with different fabric types and layers.







free armThe free arm feature lets you easily sew cuffs, trouser legs and tubular shapes.

Because the Janome Atelier 5 comes with a horizontal full rotary hook bobbin, you no longer need to worry about the thread jamming. The clear cover lets you see when the bobbin thread is running low.




Another unique feature from Janome is the One Step™ Plate Converter. There are 2 plates included as standard accessories with this model, the normal straight stitch plate and the enhanced stitch plate. The enhanced stitch plate allows you to easily sew a small 1/4 seam. No screwdrivers are required and the internal sensor means you don’t have to worry about breaking a needle.

There are a whopping 91 needle positions with the Atelier, allowing for really fine adjustments in your decorative stitch.
No more headaches from working in dull light with the 6 ultra bright LED lights! These lights mean all areas of your work space are well lit.

The ultra large work space 220mm x 310mm (8.70” x12.25”) with 210mm (8.25”) on the right of the needle, plenty of room for any project. It’s unusual to have such a large work area in this class of machine.

Included Accessories

Lint brush
Seam ripper
Knee lifter
Instructional DVD
Hard Cover
Instruction book
Standard foot
Rolled Hem Foot
Zipper foot
Satin stitch foot
Blind hem foot
Overcast foot
¼” Seam foot
Darning foot
Auto buttonhole foot
Even feed foot
Button sewing foot
Quilting guide bar
Spool holder
Straight stitch needle plate
Touch panel stylus
Spool holder – large
Spool holder – small
Power Cable

Other Information: 

Weight – 16KGs,
Dimensions – 52cm x 32cm
2 years manufacturers warranty

Using the Janome Atelier 5

The video below shows you the Atelier in action. You’ll also get a better idea of the size of the machine and how much space you would need for it in your workroom.

I don’t like

There’s isn’t much I don’t like but think [easyazon_link identifier="B00OLNM9WY" locale="UK" tag="upcybabyclo00-21"] could have done better with the feet, which are plastic. I would have like  to have seen quality metal ones on a machine in this price range. I’m not a fan of plastic bobbins either, but the machine seems to run smoothly enough with them. It’s too bulky to be portable so you won’t taking this out and about to sewing groups and friend’s houses.

I like

Janome Atelier convenient buttonsThere’s a lot to like about this machine, it’s loaded with features and Janome has put great thought into the button placements for ease of use and the location of the ergonomic knee lift.

Even though this is a large machine all areas are well lit due to the 5 LED lights. I also like the unique 7 dog feed system, great if you like experimenting with of different fabrics. I haven’t seen the One Step™ Plate Converter system before and like this addition, much easier to get those tiny seams straight! The 3 optional kits make it a versatile machine.

I haven’t seen the One Step™ Plate Converter system before and like this addition, much easier to get those tiny seams straight! The 3 optional kits make it a versatile machine.


This is a sturdy well built machine with some great features unique to Janome. Janome are well known for building quality machines and the Janome Atelier 5 is no exception. It’s in the higher price bracket but the build reflects that. If it’s out of your price range you might want to look at the Brother cs6000i Computerized Sewing Machine

 Buy the Janome Atelier 5 Computerised Sewing Machine




Sizzix Big Shot Machine Starter Kit


The Sizzix is a cutting and embossing machine described as “The Ultimate Crafters tool!” It cuts paper and fabrics into predefined shapes and also creates embossing effects. It can be used for home decor, scrap-booking, quilting and card making but my main interest is in the fabric cutting capabilities.

Why would you need one? 


If you’re anything like me you collect a Sizzix upcycled booklot of fabric from
various sources and of various types; like curtains, ties, jumpers, dresses etc. I already have good dressmaking scissors and a rotary cutter but the accuracy I was looking for just wasn’t there when I made this quilt. With a Sizzix Big Shot Starter KitI would have had perfectly sized squares and in a fraction of the time. Sizzix have just announced the debut of an a book specifically for upcycling, great news, more ideas for projects! 

Upcycle with Sizzix: Techniques and Ideas for using Sizzix Die-Cutting and Embossing Machines – Creative Ways to Repurpose and Reuse Just about Anything (Cut It Up)


As always, before making a purchase, I like to do my research and this is what I found out about the Sizzix and where to buy for the best price.



  • Cut fabric shapes accurately – my main reason for wanting one.
  • Depending on the thickness, shape and fabric type you can cut several layers at once, this will save lots of time!
  • Steel precision dies for years of use and no sharpening needed.
  • Maximise fabric by aligning to the blades edge.
  • Wide range of different shaped dies available.
  • It’s portable so you can take it along to friends or groups.
  • This special offer from AmazonSizzix Big Shot Machine Starter Kit, Powder Blue/ Teal
      • die-cutting starter kit.
      • includes 4 different die types
      •  6 x 6 Craft Aslyum paper included
      • pair of Standard Cutting Pads and an Extended Multipurpose Platform included
      • Cuts designs up to 15.2cm wide and 33cm long.


How does it work?

The Sizzixis a hand operated roller machine which takes your fabric/paper/card through the machine cutting whatever shape you’ve chosen.

This is an excellent video from Amanda Evans, from opening the box to cutting shapes with paper and felt she takes you through all the steps. The second video is taken from the Sizzix official website and shows what the Sizzix can do.


The only negative comment I found was this one and I had to really search hard to find it!

“The dies come fixed to the packaging with sticky tape which, unfortunately, does not peel off cleanly. So all the dies that came with this pack (and others I have bought separately) have a sticky residue which is very difficult to clean off, especially if the dies are detailed.”

Other Information


Warranty – 3 year warranty (limited)
Machine Size – 14 1/4″ x 12 3/8″ x 6 5/8″
Construction – Solid core steel rollers, solid steel gears, unibody cast roller housing, plastic ABS exterior
Weight – 7.5 lbs


Will I buy it?

In a word, yes!  With the solid construction and the versatility, this machine will be perfect for getting accurately cut fabric pieces. I can see all kinds of ways I can use it from a small piece of applique on a bib to a complex quilt block

Buy the  Sizzix Big Shot Machine Starter Kit  here

Share your Sizzix stories with me in the comment box below, I’d love to hear them!