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Best Foot Forward - Quarter Inch foot

Wednesday, 28 January 2015  |  Shelley


The Quarter Inch Foot

We sell lots of sewing machine feet here at Brighton Sewing Centre - for example Janome offer over 80 different types!  

Most people get into a routine of just using a couple of feet, not realising the other types that are available that can make their sewing easier, and get better results.

So, here on the blog each week we will be focusing on a different foot, starting with those from Janome.

Week one is the quilters essential; the quarter inch foot (this links to cat A foot)  


What is it used for?

Most quilt making patterns require a seam allowance of 1/4 inch.  This foot has a guide, which when you sew alongside it, gives you a perfect 1/4in seam allowance very time.  

Many quilters now also use this foot when sewing other items, such as home furnishings and children clothes, as the foot helps you to sew a very straight seam.


How does it fit on?

It snaps on, so is easy and quick to change - no need to get the screwdriver out.


How much is it?

The foot costs £15.  

Before ordering a foot, make sure you know whether you need category A or B/C as they are slightly different (although the same price).  The category corresponds with whether the bobbin is a top or front loading, so if you can give us your machine model number, or even describe it, we can match you with the right one.


Any other info...

This is not a standard foot, and only comes with some of our quilting machines, or with the additional quilters set that you can buy to go with your sewing machine.

Lots of quilters use what they call a "scant" quarter inch.  This means they make sure their fabric is flat, and next to the black guide on the foot, about a thread width away.  If you take the fabric past the edge of the foot, or bunch it up your seam allowance will be bigger than a quarter inch, and your patchwork will not fit together as well.

Never set your machine to a zig zag or decorative stitch and forget to change the foot.  The quarter inch foot is designed for straight stitch only, and the needle will hit the foot and break.






Double Gauze Baby Sleeping Bag

Tuesday, 27 January 2015  |  Shelley

We have been having a play with our new double gauze fabric!



About the fabric

Double gauze has quietly been becoming more popular with sewists over the last few years.  In case you have never come across it, the fabric is suitable for a wide range of uses, including clothing, crafts and quilts.  

It is constructed from two layers of gauze (a light, open weave fabric), however the layers are joined at regular intervals, so you use it like one piece of fabric, and it is not as transparent as one layer would be. In the photo below you can see where the thread joins the layers.



We have two prints in stock at the moment, both made in Japan by Sevenberry.  

Aqua car print

Fruit Print



The sleeping bag

Double gauze is very soft and the weave means it is light weight which makes it ideal for making clothing and accessories for babies.

The pattern for this sleeping bag was downloaded from the Burda website here and was just 99 cents.  Melinda made it from double gauze and linen, with a piece of cotton wadding in between.  It is lightly quilted, so has a lovely drape to it.  It was very easy and quick  to make, and we think the mixture of fabrics would make it a useful and luxurious present for new parents.


Burda 148 - Baby Sleeping Bag


Inner fabric - car double gauze 
Outer fabric - Kaufman Essex linen in aqua
Thread, bias binding, button and cotton wadding from stock


Baby Coat

Tuesday, 27 January 2015  |  Shelley


When we were browsing the Burda website after making the baby sleeping bag, we came across this lovely quilted jacket.  We were attracted to this pattern as it looks like something new parents would love to receive, and it looked so cosy.


It is a downloadable pattern, and cost just $5.99.  The pattern covers five sizes,  from age 6 months to 2 years so if you are making for a baby, you will be able to make more of these as they grow, and the seasons change.


What we used

The pattern suggested using sweatshirt material for the outside, and brushed cotton for the lining, however a quick peek outside the window made us feel we wanted to make something a bit warmer.  We chose a Kaufman shetland flannel for the outside, and a lovely retro poodle print for the lining.  The traditional weave on the outside contrasted really well with the slightly kitsch lining - and there is nothing more lovely than a pretty lining?!



Another little alteration we made was that we quilted the lining and the wadding, but did not quilt through to the front of the jacket.  This flannel has more body to it that the suggested sweatshirt fabric, so felt structurally it didn't need it, and that the herringbone didn't need any more texture or pattern on it.


Easy to make 

Despite the way it looks, the coast was very easy to make.  Once the pieces are together, the front and the hood are just finished off with binding. We used our linen effect one to add to the texture of the flannel, however this coat would also be lovely in spring made in bright colours with our gingham bias binding.



We choose buttons to match the herringbone fabric, but the black on the back makes them pop.  They are faux - so no buttonholes to sew, and the popper fastenings mean the coat is easy to get on and off. 



Pattern used 
Burda quilted baby coat 143

Fabric used 

Outer fabric - Shetland flannel herringbone
Lining - Aunt Grace Poodles
Bias Binding - Linen look - coral



Sewing Machine small parts

Monday, 19 January 2015  |  Shelley


For sewists, there is nothing more annoying than a sewing machine that you can't use.  

If the issue is mechanical, we repair and service machines, using our engineer who has over 30 years experience. 

See here for servicing and repair info

However, some sewing machine issues are easy and quick to fix, for example a lost piece of the machine, or broken part (see below..!).  We tend not to have these on the website as there are so many different parts, however pop in or give us a call and we can match you with the right one.


Naturally prices can vary according to the type of sewing machine, but here is an overview of our popular Janome parts:


Bobbin Cover

These are clear, which makes them handy for watching how much thread is left in the bobbin, but not so handy to find when you put them on a cluttered sewing surface.  We have also heard of the story of the bobbin cover dropped on a floor and then trodden on and broken.  However, these are easy to replace, and currently retail at £4.50, so not too scary.  

We have these available to buy online.



Spool Pin

These fit on top of the machine for holding thread - and again can easily be mislaid. They are just £2.00 for a replacement.  We also stock the little piece of felt that goes underneath, this will set you back £1.30. Find both in store.



End stopper

To keep your reel of thread in place - a small end stopper costs £1.20, and large one £1.50.



Lint Brush

A clean machine is a happy machine, and a small lint brush is 80p.



This gets a bit technical, as the screw depends on what type of machine you have, and where you want it for.  However, they start at 70p, with the majority under £2.00.



Screw Driver

These flat screwdrivers are handy to have, but can again can get mislaid, or you can inherit a second hand machine that doesn't have it's complete kit.  The three pronged one is £4.50.



Rubber Feet for underneath your sewing machine

We occasionally get calls asking if it is possible to buy these.  It certainly is, and the majority are in the region of £2, they stop your sewing machine wobbling about!



Janome bobbins are 70p each, so there is no need to keep wasting thread by taking what's left off the bobbin when you want to use a different colour or type.   We sell these online.


Slightly trickier to fix, but can still be done at home...


Thread Cutter

You know how the cutter on the side of the machine can go blunt over time (and get quite annoying)?  Well it is a cheap part to replace, and it just pulls out.   These are £4.50 each.



Needle Threader

Sometimes the thin piece of wire can get bent out of place, so you cannot use it anymore. This is fairly easy to replace, and the part costs £7.50




No need to sew in the dark - these range from £2.99 to £15.00 depending on which sewing machine brand.


Replacement Manuals


Range between £8 and £26, however, these are available online.  We have heard of some people taking theirs apart, laminating and then binding it so it stays lovely and pristine.  An idea for you perhaps...

Photos taken on Robert Kaufamn Linen, £16 a metre.

See all our Sewing Machine Parts on our site.


Jersey Infinity Scarf

Monday, 19 January 2015  |  Shelley


Infinity scarves have been around for a while, but with the temperature rapidly dropping this weekend, we have been prompted to have a go.  In store we have quite a few different knit fabrics, and liked the idea of using them to make a scarf to take us from winter to spring.


There are quite a few tutorials on the internet, but we used this one from Simplicity and found it so easy we made three!


Afternoon Gingham Quilt

Sunday, 11 January 2015  |  Shelley


We love Lotta Jansdotter's work (see previous post) and when we unpacked Follie, thought the oversized prints would look fab used on their own to make a wholecloth quilt.*

As the resident quilter, I squirrelled away some of the oversized gingham, and there was an intense staff meeting at which the only topic was deciding which colour to do the binding.  The citron was chosen as it complements the grey, and creates a contrast, however it would look great using any colour (as proved by the discussion!)

The quilt was easy to make, the perfect project if you have a quick baby quilt to make.  I didn't mark the quilting lines, just used the print as a guide, put the radio on and got down to work.


If you want to make one too, you will need:

90cm Fabric for front (I used Lotta Jansdotter oversized gingham)

110cm Backing Fabric (I used Kona Ash)

Binding Fabric (I used Michael Miller citron pin dot)

110cm square of wadding

Threads - for machine quilting and binding

Quilters safety pins

Sewing Machine - set up with a walking foot


It is also good to have a rotary cutting set for squaring up the quilt top, and cutting the binding, however scissors could be used.



  1. Press the fabric for the quilt top, then cut so it is 90cm square.  Press the backing fabric
  2. Layer the quilt.  Place the Backing fabric on a surface (right side down if you are using a print), then place the wadding on top.  Smooth, then place the gingham fabric on top, in the centre.  Smooth so there are no bumps, and place safety pins through the layers every 4 inches, working methodically from the centre out to the edges.  
  3. Thread up the sewing machine, and set the stitch length to 3 (or to your usual machine quilting setting).  Starting with a middle row, quilt along the centre of each of the printed lines.  They are slightly wavy so use your eye to guide the quilt though the machine. 
  4. Trim the backing and wadding level with the quilt top.
  5. Bind the quilt.  Cut four strips, each 2 1/4in wide from the binding fabric.  Join them together to make a long strip, and at one end fold in about 1/4in of fabric to make a small hem.  Fold the strip of fabric in half, wrong sides together and press.

    Starting about 1/3 of the way down one side of the quilt, sew the binding to the front of the quilt, using 1/4in seam allowance.  Leave a tail of binding, about 1in, when you start as you will tuck the end into this later.  Mitre the corners, and when you get to about 2in before the place you started, stop sewing.  Trim the excess binding, leaving about 1/2in overlap, and tuck the raw end into the folded end and pin. Continue sewing the binding to the quilt, stitching over the join, again with a 1/4in seam allowance, and take the pin out just before it goes under the presser foot.
  6. Fold the binding to the back, and slip stitch by hand, using a thread that tones with the colour of the binding fabric. 


The quilt has been receiving some lovely comments about the design and colour fitting in well with modern interiors.  I have wondered how a larger version would look on a bed - the design is easy to modify.

Happy Quilting!


*Wholecloth quilt - A quilt in which the front is one piece of fabric.  



Need help choosing a sewing machine?

1 CommentThursday, 13 November 2014  |  Nicole

We've created a fantastic guide for you to download & print out

Through the shop we sell lots of machines that go out to lucky recipients as gifts. A new sewing machine makes a lovely gift, something that gives the ability to make lots of things… clothes, curtains, quilts, the list goes on! Gift buyers, particularly in the run up to Christmas, can pop in to buy a machine and quickly be confused by the variety of machines on offer these days.



We use our experience in selling machines to try and match the buyer with the right machine for their needs, but thought we would design a handy printable guide to help the process. It is filled with simple questions about what the machine will be used for, and the recipient can fill it in then hand to the buyer.

For a friend?

For a surprise present it can be filled in by one of their sewing friends. Then bring the guide into the shop or give us a call and we can talk you through the best machine for your needs.

For yourself?

Alternatively, if treating yourself, fill it in and get in touch with us and we will help you find your perfect match.


Can't make it into our shop?

Remember we do sell online with free delivery, so if you can't pop to our shop in Brighton give us a call if you need advice.

We are open Monday - Saturday between 9.30 and 5.30.
Call us on: 01273 621 653




Some of our most popular sewing machines

Here's a quick overview of some of our most popular sewing machines:






Get started

So download our pdf guide now and start filling it out!
Please call if you have any questions - 01273 621 653



Chevron baby quilt

5 CommentsTuesday, 23 April 2013  |  Nicole

We fell in love with Aneela Hooey’s latest fabric range Posy and wanted to make something modern that would show the lovely colours and patterns well.
See the Aneela Hooey’s Posy range

We got our inspiration from something we found on Pinterest and we just loved the idea.

We made it ever so slightly different from the one we had found and obviously we like ours more!

This is a great cot size - Finished quilt size 85cm x 120cm ( 33.5” x 51” )

To make

We used 12 different fabrics from the range or you could use a jelly roll.

You need 2 x 2.5” wide - strips of each fabric. If buying off the bolt you would have to ask for a long quarter of each fabric and you’d have some fabric left over.

Once you have cut your 2 strips of each fabric you need to arrange them in a colour order that you’re happy with.

You only use one of the strips to work out the colour order but when the strips are joined up you will need 2 of each fabric.

Join strips together lengthwise with a quarter inch seam. 

One of your strips is joined to the previous fabric in the colour order and the same fabric strip is joined to the next fabric in the colour order.

Then you will need to cut them into 4.5” strips.
See in the picture above how you have 2 of the same fabrics joined to different fabrics, you need to keep to this pattern to make the chevrons take shape.


Lay your blocks out to see the chevrons forming, start with the first block and repeat across, then turn the adjoining block to form the chevron. Once you have laid your blocks out you can see the pattern and then separate into strips so you can sew them together in vertical strips.

Keep checking that the pattern is working as it only takes one around the wrong way to throw the whole quilt out!

Start sewing

Once you have sewn all your blocks together vertically and then all the rows, you can trim off the edges to make a rectangle. Then put together with your wadding and backing, quilt and bind! We quilted this one with vertical lines to keep with the theme but there are a world of possibilities for quilting.

This was such a lovely quilt to make :)

It had just the right amount of challenge and lots of satisfying ‘Ooh’s and Aah’s’ when we’d finished.



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