Janome XS50 sewing machine review

After a hellish few days my machine decided to also give up! I can’t cope with not sewing and had orders to complete so it was the dreaded credit card purchase. I have spent the last 5 years paying it off so was  hard using it again but for sewing it’s worth it.

I chose the Janome XS50 due to the stitches it provides, its computerised, a great make and out of the 2 I liked it was the cheaper one. So after a week of using it here is my review.

It’s a simple looking machine with no complicated buttons and controls. There are about 50 stitches which normally I don’t use all of them but I like the option and when you get a machine with less it doesn’t have the stitches I like to use on it which is 24 mainly. (2).

The plate has more seam allowances marked on it then I’ve ever seen (5) and this is fab news for me. I love the option to make bigger seams without needing to sew perfectly straight and hope for the best. I also like how they are marked on the bobbin cover as allows me to see more comfortably.

I have a couple of gripes the ‘extenstion’ table which is usually something that is used for all sewing and not an extension as such is tiny. I’m used to a draw I can use but this is no good for storing anything in as have to remove to get inside and usually everything flies out when try (3&4)

It comes with 2 spool holders and unusually the stand up one is at the front of the machine which isn’t something I’m used to but doesn’t effect the sewing one bit. (9) The bobbin winder however is naff its the worse thing going and needs tightening left to wind it goes loose, winds around under the bobbin and wastes a lot of thread. I combat this by holding the thread as it winds to give it some tension.

The digital display shows your stitch number, length and width (7). Underneath is a speed control and handy button to have needle up or down at end of sewing. The width and length isn’t always able to be changed but for some stitches it can and is very simple. The speed button is great but not something I find myself using much.

The machine also features a start/stop button so you can actually sew without the foot pedal should it break, you hurt yourself or are unable to use a foot pedal. I gave it a go and preferred using my foot.

It also comes with accesories such as a dust cover, seam ripper, bobbins, feet and needles. The zipper foot is one I’ve never encountered before and I love it (8). Depending on what side you want to sew depends on if you pop it onto the machine on the left or right. This saves picking a stitch and needle position that won’t smash into the foot and it holds down well unlike some I have used.

Other all its a great machine for the price and the service at Sewing Machines Direct is fab. I emailed a question got a reply within hours with an extra note that the machine I was asking about had good stock should I wish to go ahead with an order. This was all outside of opening hours too. I ordered and it came next day so no extra waiting. I am still getting used to it and miss my old machine a lot ( which is getting repaired) but I would fully recommend this.

 

 

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Setting up a Bullet Journal

I got into bullet journals as someone described it as a better way of writing lists, more fun, more organised and I was hooked! I started off with a normal lined notebook to see if I liked it and soon knew it was for me. My next journal was a Dingbat which I love. Great paper, great cover and a little pocket in the back.

I’m soon due another so treated myself and got the Scribbles that Matter journal. I love the cover and like my dingbats is a lovely leather type cover. As you can see from photos below there is an elastic to hold it all together, 2 ribbons which is fab one for my index, one for current page and an elastic tab for a pen.

The first step for me is to create a key and index. As can see my book comes with its own for you to fill out but I prefer mine set up in my way so I bypassed those pages to make my usual style.

The key accompanies the index and creates an easy to see guide of what your page contains. This is fab when you remember something useful and know you recorded it but can’t find it, or things you use a lot like birthdays you can create an easy to follow key so can check only a few pages and not your whole book.

This is a good time to create any pages you feel you would use all year not just per month. I personally don’t use many and like the odd page here and there but I do like a Google page. This is for the reminders of things to look at you don’t have time for when think of it and forget later!

It’s nice to chose a theme each month and as mine will start in July I went for summer flowers.

I like to add important dates like birthdays, appointments, pay day in here. A monthly to do list like paying something on time, things around the house or other important things i must attend. With being a crafty person I love a good check list for my to dos and a book list so I can look back at what I read plus its good fun filling it out. A wishlist is a must also I write craft items, gifts, household or treats on here it enables me to budget better too.

I noticed there was a not about pen test page so I gave it a go with my brush pens and as much water as I dared and nothing at all showing on other side.

Recently I feel I’m not achieving many goals so I’ve set myself challenges. This could be to save up, clean an area of the house, a craft project or life goals something to tick off and feel progress. Lastly as it will be the month the children break up for summer a page to plan what we can get up to during the loooong august month.

Overall this is a fab journal no pen showing through the paper as can see on many of the images including when I use water. It’s a bright colourful book to add to my collection.

Bujo books can be pricey but after using a cheap notebook you are paying for a good quality book that you are pouring you into. You are paying for great paper that gives your journal the nice look of a book without pen bleeding through and where the pages stand straight and aren’t flopping over. I’m slightly addicted to leatherette style covers too they just feel so nice to pick up and flick through.

This is a personal journey and this is only one idea to starting your months what you add to this is up to you

 

 

Gender Stereotyping

Yes I’m off again about this but bear with me .

I have a few questions why are the following deemed girly: cupcakes, cats, bows, polka or any uniform dots, Peppa pig

My boys love cake. Sure they’d not want one on a top or socks but why do girls want them on clothes either? Cats can be either gender but tend to only feature on girls clothing usually pink, pink and with a bow or two.

Polka dots are generally a girl pattern. You don’t find boys polka dot anything but if you were to search for spotty dinosaur clothes it suddenly turns into a disorganised spotty boy fest. Well once you’ve rifled through a few girl bits because dinosaurs aren’t just for boys but cupcakes are definitely just for girls (unless you’re talking about real cake then its pretty even. Anyone see the logic here? please explain if you do…

Bows are another thing. Add some tails to a boy and its for girls and girl cats only. Take the tails off make it in black or blue and bingo it’s a boy’s bow tie which again girls can wear too! Tailed bows girls only, tailless bow ties both genders.

Lets move on to Peppa Pig. Now I’m not sad I can only find mostly girl Peppa pig clothing and it’s a relief in all honesty however she is a prime example of gender stereotyping. Girl pig on girl clothes, boy pig (George) on boy clothes. Why? What if a boy likes Peppa but not George is it tough cookies wear George or nothing?

Another thing that irritates me why is it automatic boys are into cars, trucks, bikes, pirates etc etc. Don’t get me wrong my boys loved car tops but more so the youngest than oldest. He was more into kitchen roleplay and glitter, but god forbid I would try to buy a food theme top (think cupcakes). Glitter is severely lacking in boy departments too!

Animals. I know we mentioned cats but animals in gender are subject to heavy stereotyping. Girls as we said get vats but they also get cute pale puppies, sweet fluffy penguins, butterflies, ladybirds, bunnies, leopard print, owls.. you need me to go on? Boys get lions (which I adore btw), tough looking dogs with grumpy faces or pirate outfits on, tigers, occasional panda, elephants, dinosaurs, snappy crocodiles and dark looking penguins and not so fluffy bears. Why are girls the only ones allowed pale fluffy animals and boys get bright or dark very clean-cut animals.

Ladybirds are another bug bear (you have got all day to read my rant right? good!) lady doesn’t mean only girls can have these spotty insects on their belongings. We don’t need to weed out the non-existent, unpink, inoffensive items. By offensive I mean ‘Little Lady’ or Pretty Little Ladybird. Now some of you are thinking jeez she’s touchy but I’ve always hated phrases which define kids in a certain way which adds to my current rant.

For boys: Little man, handsome like daddy, mummy’s little star. For girls: Pretty little thing, beautiful flower, daddy’s angel, cute like mummy. My son is NOT a little man I know this isn’t the worse thing in the world but it makes me cringe so so much and I refuse to call my child a mini/small/little man! He is handsome but my sons are also beautiful with gorgeous curls and pretty eyes. MY daughter is pretty and beautiful but she isn’t a thing (yes I did buy a top with this on purely for the colour despite the wording), she is no more a beautiful flower than her brothers and in fact her brothers were and still are regularly mistaken for girls because of the curly hair and sparkly eyes.

Cute like mummy for girls but boys can’t be cute and look like mummy? Try it on google images put cute like mummy in and 99% is pink clothing that pops up. Whereas Mummy’s little star is mostly gender neutral or boys clothing. Odd.

So at what point were dinosaurs and trucks for boys, rainbows, toadstools and cats for girls. There is so much emphasis on allowing girls to have dinosaur clothing, trucks on their pjs but it still conforms and ends up pink and purple. There however is nothing to allow boys to have flowers on their tops, rainbows adorning their trucks and a splash of pink glitter without it being pointed out .

Colours I have spoken about but they are another issue ok I understand and I think we all get pink is mostly a girl colour but why is purple? It’s near impossible to find purple boy clothing, at least without spending a fortune on alternative clothing or the odd Little bird item. Trust me I’ve tried! Its made up of blue and red which are classed as boy colours just as much as girls so why is the mix of the two suddenly girly.  Similarly green is often in the boy section and not so much the girls unless it’s very pale or teal then you can guarantee a puff sleeve and a bow renders it useless to boys.

I’m tired out now and still could go on! If I had the money and the energy I would love to create a boys clothing range that challenges gender stereotyping. I fear though that I too would succumb to the usually downfalls of clothing and would use minimum pink, minimum flowers and no butterflies.

tracy

Baby Wish List

I may be having my 4th child and I may need nothing but it doesnt stop me wanting stuff! So here’s my I have everything wish list.

Chicco Next to me Crib

My first baby slept well but didn’t ever seem to love the moses basket, regardless we used it a second time and this baby positively hated the thing!! So this time I’m not risking it I’m going bedside crib. My bedroom is fairly small so this over a cot is perfect plus I hope to breastfeed and both my sons liked a cuddle in bed but I never felt comfortable doing that.

Im tricking myself into believing nights will be a doddle with this bed.

Carseat Raincover

I had a car for 6 months with my first child and not since till now. I took him out maybe once or twice in the carseat so never  needed a raincover. However now I have 2 kids im dropping into school and no desire to wake a sleeping baby. He is due during spring rainy season so I’m getting one.

Tektake Changing Table

I had on with my youngest son. It was a set of drawers just wide enough to pop a mat on so this time I’m getting a proper table because as much as seasoned mums say oh i just do it anywhere I’m not sure my back, hips and knees could take it now.

I read reviews too and if you plan to buy this same unit buy a separate change mat.

Mummy Hook & Stroll

I’ve had these each baby and yes the velcro does wear out which I have replaced but they still last a god 3-5 years from m experience. However I’m treating myself to more. They are perfect for one bar prams and if you pop one either side you can spread the weight of the bag by popping one handle on each. I’ve tried a few versions and apart from the velcro wearing thing they are only pram hooks that haven’t eventually snapped on me or are just generally awkward to use by falling off all the time.

Little Lifestyles Pram bag

This bag is fab fab fab and although it’s on my wish list I already own one. I own a Graco symbio and although I love it and I’m excited to use it again the basket is rubbish and small. Once your raincover is in that’s it gone. So I make a bag to pop that under the foot rest (more on that again) and use this pram bag on the frame. I place it near the back so it gets muddy from use but its waterproof  never worn out and is fairly roomy. I can fit change mat, wipes and up to 3 cloth nappies.

Another thing I hate change bags so for me this is a must have but it’s also good for spare stuff. Use it as a backup bag with spare clothes, bibs and toys in. I used to pop a bib or two and a spoon or two in when we were weaning as I always forgot something!

Pram Caddy

Great for everything especially when you already have kids. Drink for mum, bottle, dummies, small toys, sweet wrappers, sticks you name it it’ll go in your caddy. It’s also great for those quick trips out when you can just throw in an emergency nappy and your purse.

That’s it….. for now.

tracy

 

MBJM Jacky V tee Pattern Review

Please note I chose to review this pattern after testing it and using it for my own use. This was not asked of me.

I know I know another MBJM pattern! I had the chance to test this one or admittedly I wouldn’t have bought purely because I have too many patterns already!!!

Again this is another pattern with a few options and is a great summer tee.

I made a v neck full tee for my tester and was my first time making a v neck. The instructions really assisted me and I only made it slightly wonky.

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You have the option of a rounded neck if you prefer despite being called the v tee. You also have the option for long sleeves and a funky asymmetrical section.

GOOD POINTS

  • Great size options meaning I can make same styles for both boys.
  • Few options to make this worth while buying with 2 neck styles, 2 sleeve lengths and a funky blocking option too which you can extend to the sleeves.
  • Easy to follow photo instructions.
  • Unlike most of MBJM’s patterns this one has the neck band pattern piece included
  • Great for fabric panels or using small amounts of expensive fabric. It’s also great for those fabrics you don’t want a whole outfit made from but want to show off anyway.

BAD POINTS

  • Although you get some great options this is basically the same pieces size wise and shape as the eclipse tee which I own.
  • If I was buying I would have preferred the option of having the v neck and blocking added on to existing patterns (such as the eclipse and pick and mix) for extra instead of full price of a different pattern that is only slightly different to at least 2 others. Saying that I wouldn’t say it should put you off as it’s a great pattern on its own and I do use it separately to the eclipse.

I made a plain normal t-shirt and it looks so nice. Well received also! This time I turned the hem to the outside and top stitched it in place for a slightly different look. I got the v part spot on this time which is a relief.

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Using the colour block option is super easy just remember to cut ONE back AND ONE front not 2 fronts like I did!

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tracy

 

MBJM Harem Pants and shorts

Please note I chose to review this pattern after ‘purchasing’ it and using it for my own use. This was not asked of me.

MBJM again!!! I know I know you think I’m boring or much be being commissioned to write these reviews but honestly I’ve yet to find a pattern designer I can use the pattern straight away without mega adjustments or issues. They are so quick and easy too that I find myself buying more and more patterns. Best bit I’ve just one more for you after this…. then I’ll stop I promise… for a bit.

Anyway I came to this pattern after trying out the Domi Joggers. I couldn’t face using it again and seeing post after post after post of people making these I thought damn I’m going to need this one too so I did.

I made my biggest 2  pairs of shorts. He’s size 8 in height but size 6 in waist. I tapered by the waist so the size 6 waist band would  fit onto the size 8 pants.. I made the mistake of making size 6 leg cuffs as well don’t so that it’s not needed!

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You can make long version and include a faux pocket. i haven’t done the pocket but looks a great option to make them a little less pj looking.

As I mentioned on the romper pattern the harem style doesn’t mean kids have a huge baggy crotch area. Big calls them wobbly pants (haha). Due to the less baggy nature they are a great easy to wear fit with room but without  extra fabric bunching up.

They fit great and you have the option of cuffless trousers too.

As with the speedy pants you don’t need any elastic as the waistband is sewn to size to keep the outfit up.

Good Points

  • So fast to make
  • Easy to follow
  • Despite being harems they don’t have a huge baggy crotch so are a great fit
  • Size options are fab for newborn up to age 12!
  • Great fit. I had zero issue getting these to fit first time and look sooooo comfy!

Improvements I’d love

  • As I always moan about I’d love the waistband and leg cuffs as a pattern piece rather than chart
  • A quick section on tapering to size and using multiple sizes would be great as this is a fab beginner pattern but may confuse newbies needing to use multiple size pieces.

If I make again I would be tempted to make the shorts cuffless to give a  looser leg fit and I wouldn’t make mistake of doing the wrong size cuffs either.

As shorts these can be long so you could also do them cuffless for a shorter fit.

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tracy

Duck Butt PPT Pattern Review

Please note I chose to review this pattern after purchasing it and using it for my own use. This was not asked of me.

This week I had a go at the Panel Pocket Tee by Duck Butt Designs. I ended up wanting to give this a go due to previously using fabric panels for tops but finding the width of them only good up to age 4 and with an 8 year old I needed a better solution. The PPT is it! Of course there’s other patterns that could work also but this was enough funky style and area to show off the panel without being outrageously difficult to make.

The pattern uses a fair few pattern pieces but you do have option of full sleeves and no pocket to reduce those down. As in my usual style I had to give it a go in miniature. First up was 7 inch doll and I will never make this top that small again! It was hard work, which wasn’t helped by the fabric I used. I adjusted it to fit with shoulder fastening and eliminated the pockets.

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Then I tried 14 inch and this was a great size! In fact duck butt sell an american girl version for $2 so you don’t have to do any of the resizing yourself. The pattern has great range of sizes that was recently updated to include pre teen sizes. They also sell a separate adult version.

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This pattern does require following the instructions but once you’ve done one it’s really easy to remember the process and the next ones tend to be really fast despite all the pieces.

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GOOD POINTS

  • Easy and fast to make once you’ve practised.
  • Full clear instructions that presented no issue.
  • Great for panels
  • Great for using up scraps and smaller bits of fabric , or expensive fabrics you don’t want to use too much of
  • Great options if you want to reduce the work a little.
  • Excellent range of sizes
  • Comfy fit that looks casual but stylish too and a little funky!
  • Free pancake recipe included in pattern

BAD POINTS

  • Even with the full sleeves and no pockets you have 6-7 pattern pieces and with pockets and split sleeves that shoots up to 10 pieces! This isn’t an issue but  may put some off.
  • You need at least 3-4 different materials which is great if you have scraps but not so great if you’re buying especially for this project. Of course there’s nothing saying you need contrast sides or pockets but it’s kinda the point of this top.
  • No option for short sleeve despite being called a tee, however this is easily done using the full sleeve pattern piece.
  • The extra sizes were added by scrolling sideways on the PDF this can be rather confusing when viewing on a screen and not automatically printing out.

Watch this space for my panel version.

tracy