Sewing for the Holidays

It’s been a busy December for many reasons. This month always has my Janome Skyline S9 seeing a flurry of activity. I am definitely someone who works to deadline, and Christmas and the holidays is always a hard and fast deadline in my books!

I had several sewing projects on the go over the last few weeks – including a special little holiday dress for my favourite little. It’s been a tradition for me to make my daughter a holiday dress. I try to get in as many wears as possible to make it worthwhile as she will definitely outgrow it by next year. This year’s dress was destined for a daycare party, a few family gatherings, and we had hoped this year a first experience at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet to see the Nutcracker. Sadly, that has just been cancelled due to new health restrictions, which we fully understand.

Making gifts and sewing for family and friends is one of the reasons I love to sew. I get so much joy in making something for someone else. One of the inspirations for this year’s dress were these beautiful Madeira metallic threads. They are so gorgeous and I knew I needed to use them with this year’s fabric choices.

Look at all those pretty threads! I love sewing with Madeira threads. I never have to worry about breakage or tension issues which sometimes happen with other thread.

I like to lay out the thread on my fabrics to try to get the best match possible. When an exact colour match isn’t possible, I was taught to go a little bit darker versus lighter, as the darker colour is likely to blend better. And, I always unravel the thread from the spool to test against the fabric.

I used my favourite foot/plate combo for this project – The Janome Professional Grade (HP) foot and the Janome Professional Grade (HP) needle plate, which is an optional accessory for the Janome Indigo Skyline S9 and updated original Blue version. The Part Number for the HP needle plate and HP foot set is 865803006.

The dress fabric I choose was pretty slippery but the Janome HP foot handles that really well. The narrow width and all metal construction of the Janome HP foot ensures resistance with the fabric is minimized. It also handles curves with ease and the slit at the front allows for clear visibility of the needle.

This foot/plate combo is available as an optional accessory for a number for different machines, including the MC6650, and Version 1and Version 2 of the MC15000 if they’ve been updated to Version 3 Quiltmaker.

Janome Skyline S9

The Janome HP (High Performance) foot is most well known for precision straight stitching. In fact, it only does a straight stitch! The foot and the shank are an integrated unit, which means it is a screw-on foot making it very secure and very stable. Because it offers such a precise straight stitch, I love to use it for so many projects. It was particularly lovely to work with when finishing the double hem on this dress.

It also made a lovely basting stitch which I used to make the gathers in the dress (which were both at the top of the sleeve and the waist).

The Janome HP foot handles thick fabric fabric with ease. That jumbled mess below is my armscye. I needed “all clips on deck” to make sure my fabric didn’t slip around.

I used metallic silver thread to topstitch the hem on the bottom of the sleeves. I never have any issues using the Madeira metallic threads and that straight stitch is dreamy.

Finally, my last step in completing this holiday project was to make the buttonholes. It’s so easy to do using the Automatic Buttonhole foot (R), which sews the buttonhole the exact size needed for my buttons.

To use this foot, I switched out the Janome HP foot and HP needle plate for the Automatic Buttonhole foot and the regular zig-zag needle plate.

I selected which buttonhole I wanted to make as the Janome Skyline S9 has 11 different buttonholes from which to choose. The touch screen on the Janome Skyline S9 makes it so easy to get set up.

And, there you have it. Perfect little buttonholes!

A perfect little dress for my girl who was absolutely delighted that I made this for her! Hopefully her joy in receiving a new dress made by Mom remains for many, many years to come.

AND, if that weren’t enough for last-minute sewing…….

Just a quick little share of a last minute project which came together using some excess fabric, thread and my sewing machine. I actually first saw this technique here on the Janome Life blog several years ago.

I was madly putting together teacher gifts for my daughter’s daycare when I realized we didn’t have enough cards to go along with the gifts! I first I figured I’d just need to pick cards up and drop the gifts off later, and then I remembered I had a stash of blank cards.

A quick search through my fabric stash for some green fabric, a little scissor work and some gold metallic Madeira thread and voila! Five personalized, crafty cards for our daughter’s wonderful daycare teachers.

Once I had everything cut out, the cards came together really quickly.

Don’t bother to use a brand new needle for this project. The paper will dull the needle, so it’s a good time to use a separate needle for “paper projects”, just like it is to keep our fabric scissors separate from our paper scissors.

I was pretty proud of this, even if it left my husband wondering what the heck I was doing at 6:00 a.m.! I see adorable Valentine’s Day cards in my future… and Easter cards… and birthday cards… and… and…

Confession time, what’s the craziest thing you’ve sewn on your sewing machine? And… how late have you stayed up “sewing to deadline” to get an important sewing project finished in time?

Happy Sewing, and soon to be, Happy New Year!


Janome Canada Artisan Trina Gallop
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5 Responses to Sewing for the Holidays

  1. A great post, Trina, and such a cute little dress for Elliana. Happy New Year!


  2. Henriette Calkins says:

    The HP foot and the HP2 feet are game changers for anyone doing quilting or garment sewing.


  3. Gayle Booth says:

    I loved your article. What a beautiful dress on your darling daughter. I identify with the flurry of activity to meet deadlines. I helped my grandchildren (ages 7 & 10) make a jelly roll rug for their parents Christmas gift. I was behind on projects and we had an 8 hour road trip to pick up my mother-in-law for the holidays. So, I loaded my sweet Janome Beachcomber and a sturdy cutting board into our Subaru Assent with an AC outlet. I sewed the already prepared strips as my husband drove. It may not have been the safest activity as airbags could launch the machine into me if we crashed. But, we made the trip safely and I was ready for our grandkids to zig-zag the strips together to complete the project before Christmas. Their parents love their new rainbow colored kitchen rug! And, I helped create a new generation of sewists!!!


    • janomeman says:

      Thank you sew much for your very fun feedback, Gayle! It’s always fun and exciting to hear what sewists will do to get their projects done and to share the love of their craft – even sewing in the car! lol! It’s wonderful the presents got done in time, and especially wonderful of you to help a new generation of sewists, who’ll hopefully fall in love with the craft and hopefully grow up to share in the Janome Love, as well! Happy Sewing and Happy New Year!


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