Tag Archives: sewing machine

Sewing Machines 101 and Servicing


Psst – We know a man named Allan.  Now Allan is a very good man to know as he services sewing machines.  No matter what brand, Allan is the fixer/servicer guy-who-knows-what-is-going on.  That is his main business – servicing machines.  Sure you can also buy Babylock or Bernina machines and accessories through him, but his magic with understanding any machine is fabulous.  And since he actually sews and quilts as his hobby, he knows what you are expecting the machine to do!

Have a machine you want serviced?  Well we can fix you up with him.  He operates out of Red Deer, but has made ACQ a drop-off, pick-up joint.  You bring your machine to our store, and we will let Allan know it is here.  When he is back in Calgary, he will pick it up and have it back to us in approximately 2 weeks.  Typical servicing without additional part requirements will range from $100-$130.  And he will contact you directly with any concerns.  Your dealings are with him, and nothing goes through our till.  Have any questions you would like to ask him first?  If so, call him at 1-403-309-2774 or email him at ake2sew@yahoo.ca.

Sewing Machines 101 with Allan

Now while we are on the subject of sewing machines, I know just how few of you really know much about them.  Sure you know how to change stitches, thread it, and wind a bobbin.  But customers and students are often frustrated with their machines, complaining about their tensions, thread breakages, and multiple other “everything was fine until I came back from lunch” scenarios.  Here’s the test – if you started sewing tonight and had issues with your thread breaking, do you know what to do?  Would you just pack it in and say you have to get it serviced, resigning yourself to no more fun for awhile?

Taking 2 hours on Saturday, September 17th and learning how your sewing machine operates and how to maintain it can save you lots of anguish and exasperation.  Consider it your “driver’s education”.  In this class, Allan will cover:

  • Basic sewing machine lingo.
  • How to perform basic maintenance on your machine.
  • Learn how to troubleshoot problems with your machine.
  • Learn the differences of needles and which needle to use for the purpose and fabric/thread being used.
  • Learn how to adjust tension and bring tension back to base.

Register by calling our store at 403-253-4419 for one of the following 2-hour time slots on Saturday, September 17:

  • 10 am-12 noon
  • 1-3 pm
  • 4-6 pm

The price is $35.  Bring your machine just the way it is – no cleaning or servicing ahead of time.  And remember, this is non-denominational – any brands, any age – we aren’t going to be trying to talk you into a new machine.

Along Came Quilting
6432 – 1A Street SW
Calgary, AB  T2H 0G6
toll-free:  1-877-745-6445

Can’t make it in?  Shop anytime at:  www.alongcamequilting.com



12 Days of Christmas Wishing – December 10

“On the Tenth Day of Wishing,
I need to clean my sewing machine.”

And when you go to do so, are you frustrated with the screwdrivers that came with your machine?  I have never found a screwdriver that came with a machine that actually fit under the head of the machine so you could get the torque needed to easily remove the throat plate.  Some machines come with a coin-shaped screwdriver, and they are impossible to get a grip of to manipulate to turn.  Yet, you should be removing your sewing machine’s throat plate regularly and cleaning out the build-up of dust, fibers, and threads that accumulate in and around your feed dogs and bobbin area.  It should be done much more regularly than at an annual machine servicing.

This little screwdriver is perfect for this job.  It can fit under the machine head, and has a regular-size flathead driver for unscrewing the throat plate.

Mini Flathead Screwdriver

Mini Flathead Screwdriver

  • Handle is ¾” long.
  • Comes on a keychain and is available in blue or purple.
  • $3.49.

“I could use a pair of thread snips at my sewing machine.”

It is much faster to use a spring-loaded thread snip than a small pair of scissors for cutting your threads.

Thread Snips

Thread Snips

  • Approximately 5 ¼” long.
  • Super sharp stainless steel blades.
  • Soft-grip ergonomic handle.
  • Comes with a protective cap that accommodates a lanyard (not included).
  • Available in neon colours of green, orange, or pink.
  • Gets the thumbs-up approval of Linda B. who loves her pair.
  • $11.99.

Taking care of the details at the sewing machine,
(Bet you never thought you’d be putting a screwdriver on your wishlist.)

The fine print:

  • Click on the item’s picture to find it on the webstore.
  • All prices referred to are in Canadian dollars.
  • We happily ship world-wide.
  • Quantities are limited of some of our products.  Early shopping = happy faces.
  • Sorry, no holds on featured products without payment.

12 Days of Christmas Wishing – December 10

“On the Tenth Day of Wishing,

E is for ease & economy
L is for lifetime too
N is the newest in sewing machines
A means absolute value for you

 One of the staff here at the store, Pat A., purchased the new Elna eXcellence 740, and when she took it home and showed her hubby, Al Owchar, who is a country musician man, he immediately broke into an old jingle of Elna’s that he remembers from the CFCN Old Timer’s radio show from the early ‘50s.  How neat is that!  Such memory – and faith to the brand!  He’s a keeper.  Looks like Pat knows how to pick ‘em.

Here’s a video of Al’s rendition of this jingle:

 If you would like to see more of Al’s performances, check out YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Al+Owchar&aq=f
You’ll notice he is listed before Lady Gaga!!! 

This past year our store became an Elna dealer.  Most people don’t know that Elna has been made by Janome for approximately 17 years now, and just a few years ago, was purchased by Janome.  So it has the same great quality of Janome, and many of the machines are similar.  Feet, accessories, and bobbins are the same. 

I’ve uploaded to our website the machines, feet, and accessories we have in-stock.  I know that many sewers buy or receive new machines for Christmas, and if you are looking, I recommend you check out what Elna has to offer. 

 The newest machine by Elna is the eXcellence 740.  This machine is a game-changer with its very large throat opening, integrated adjustable feeding system, and the many feet and accessories it comes with.  And no, it does not have an embroidery component in it, allowing it to be sold for a reasonable price. 


This machine has 11″ to the right of the needle, and 4.7″ of height space in its harp (a.k.a. throat, arm space), which makes working on any project a dream.  You’ll have no problem fitting a king-size quilt or ceiling-length drapes through it.

  • Integrated Adjustable Feeding (IAF) system.  This works like a walking foot – but better!  And you can purchase extra IAF (known in the Janome work as the Acufeed) feet for special purposes, such as ¼” seam, ditch quilting, and open-toe work.
  • Differential adjustment dial for the Integrated Adjustable Feeding system.  
  • 3 storage spaces, including the innovative tilt-forward accessory compartment.  (This part of the machine is so fun – it reminds me of a Barbie case, where you can store the shoes.)  You’ll be able to store all your feet in the machine.  Even the straight stitch plate, which is included, has a storage space.
  • 245 stitches with 11 one-step buttonholes, 2 alphabets, and 26 exclusive Elna stitches.
  • 2 alphabets in lower and upper case, including special European letters and symbols.
  • LED touch screen and tactile jog dial.
  • Thread cutter with memory capability.
  • Programmable up/down needle key.
  • Adjustable speed control up to 1000 stitches per minute.
  • Adjustable knee lift allows you to lift the presser foot with your knee so your hands can remain in control of your sewing project.  This is fantastic when you are stitching machine applique.
  • Large acrylic table.  (You can purchase a table for this machine as well, so the bed of the machine is flush with the table.  This is a wonderful feature when you are quilting.)
  • Patented angle line and needle plate markings.
  • 3 banks of LED lighting for better illumination.
  • Adjustable pressure foot.
  • Automatic thread tension – but can be also adjusted manually.
  • Comes with 15 feet, including the convertible free-motion quilting foot with 3 extra interchangeable quilting toes (this foot is not a hopping foot – you can adjust the height of it so it just touches the top of your quilt). 
  • Straight stitch plate; circular sewing pivot pin; semi-hard fabric cover with pockets for foot control, extension cord, knee lift, and manual.
  • Cloth guide fits on the free arm.
  • Adjustable stitch width to 7 mm, and stitch length to 5 mm.
  • 20 memory banks.
  • Auto-lock key with memory capability.
  • Start/stop button (sew without the foot control!)
  • Personal settings capability allows you to store your adjustments and have them automatically recalled when you return to that stitch (even after shutting off the machine).
  • Start over key.
  • Edit key.
  • Face-to-face and mirror-image capabilities.
  • Elongation of satin stitches.
  • Built-in needle threader.
  • Free Arm.
  • Twin needle key.

 There are other great machines as well; the 5200Q is fantastic class machine or beginner machine. 

 All our machines and accessories are found on-line at:  http://webstore.quiltropolis.net/stores_app/browse_dept_items.asp?Store_ID=487&Page_Id=17&Categ_Id=149&parent_ids=0

 We cannot put pricing on the web.  So if you would like pricing, please call us locally at 403-253-4419, or toll-free at 1-877-745-6445. 

 Sew on,
Linda Goh (Bet you now know how to pronounce snow!)