A Winter Top

I loved this fabric when I bought it and it's been in my stash for ages. It's a jersey knit, with plenty of stretch. I liked the feel of it so I bought it...It was really enjoyable sewing this fabric, I was really careful pressing it as I didn't want the fabric to stretch any further.

The one and only problem I had, and it was my own fault. I overlocked the hem, then used a twin needle to top stitch the hem (too lazy to change the thread on my Janome cover-pro). This was a big mistake...Firstly I should not have tried to twin needle stitch over an overlocked edge...The whole hem had major tunnelling. Actually I didn't know why I did this because usually I just sew without overlocking the edge if I'm using a twin needle.

Lesson learnt...I re-did the hem with the cover-stitch machine and it turned out perfect.

Unpicking started off well, I use cheap snips to do this...Though in
the end I cut the hem off and started again.
The cover stitching was perfect, no missed stitches. I used my 'Humper
Jumper' to go over the seams.
Vogue 8634 Size: M. Easy sew a little big fitting wise, but I would definitely sew
this top again.
Long top made to be worn with tights...not over this A frame skirt. I had
a reluctant model who didn't want to change into tights for the pic.
It looks lovely and warm for winter but I think I could have made it
slightly more fitted...
Side view...
The fitting of this top is a bit big  because my model had 2 layers
of clothing underneath when I did the fitting so now it looks slightly loose!

McCalls 7130 Skirt

A Sewing Disaster

I've just tried out McCall's 7130 skirt pattern,  Size  L. All went very well until I pinned it together, then it started to stretch bigger, and bigger. I think it had ended up more like a XL. Otherwise it's a great pattern and I'd use it again definitely.

What a surprise for me  I made most of the skirt on my Elna 745 overlocker with no problems at all..In fact it was a dream to sew with.

Finished skirt hanging on the line looks more like a coffee sack and not really
true to's much brighter.
Unfortunately though I had a bad Janome cover-pro day. I fixed up the stitch tension the other day so everything was set up ready to go, and I was sewing happily away until the stitches broke...Then the Janome Cover-pro didn't make any stitches and then it did. In fact this is the worst cover hem I have ever done...

So much for my three thread cover-pro. By the way I have never ever had success with using 3-thread stitch on the Janome the thread always breaks. What a mess my hem became, it was it was just plain ugly and chewed up... Don't you hate that?

What a mess! No I'm not unpicking it, much too hard to do...I'll have
to cut it off!
The finished skirt is wearable, but the photo doesn't do it justice as it's not so sack like when wearing it. The hem is not good though and I've left the hem for now.  I'm going to decide whether to chop it off and start again using the 2-thread stitch.
The finished hem...and a plain stretch stitch hem using the Juki on another
skirt. The other skirt look much better. I knew I should have just used a 
plain stretch stitch and not bothered with the Janome Cover-pro.
In the midst of it all the fat cat sat and the brown dog watched...
Behaving themselves for once...they love to be where I am, just watching.
After all this trouble I'm now playing around with the Janome. I  have now changed the Janome Cover-pro back to a narrow two thread. The stitches below look perfect. So I will see how It all goes on the next knit garment I sew.

Perfect! Do you find that when you set your machine up to sew in a couple of
 days/ Then when you use it, it seems like Gremlins have been at it and all the
tensions are changed. The numbers no longer work...

Wow Spring is Here!

It has been a long cold winter....In my garden my pink Magnolia Tree is pretty.

A shame it wasn't planted as a stand alone tree...a feature in the garden. 
So pretty...
Stuck too close to a Camellia...But what do you do ?I don't like to dig
it up.
'The worried man' is falling apart...glue is his friend now. Some oaf landed
in the bird bath and knocked it over. Yes... it has four legs and a tail!
You know I nee a new bird bath to place him in...

Cut-off Gloves

I have warm mitts...thanks to my mother for making me some cut off gloves out of scraps of yarn. I actually like them (the bitsy look). These gloves are so warm and made of pure wool...Just the washing to watch out for now.

Trouble in Paradise: Elna 745

I knew it was too good to be true....that Elna 745 always causes me grief! Well for almost two hours, could I re-thread this overlocker after changing to grey thread? No, I didn't take my own advice to completely re-thread the machine when changing thread. I left the two needles with the threads on and re-threaded in any order. Big mistake the Elna 745 stitches became a tangle of grey with no chain stitch in sight!

This new thread cost around $30.00 for 5 cones with postage, made in India
bought in NZ. Has anyone used this brand before?
Lesson learnt...You must, yes you MUST re-thread in  the order stated not tie knots in the thread and take the easy way out. This machine does not like it. Well mine certainly does not, others may differ. I found out what the problem was, I needed to start back at the beginning and re-thread the Elna 745 correctly. Yes it was all my fault, I also forgot to put the thread through the clamps at the top of the machine as well.

Sewers of a young age...make the most of your young, sharp eyes, because these are the stupid mistakes you make when you are old, though not old, old yet. Not having so sharper eye sight, and two hours to spare you miss the obvious. Oh I wish I still had the eye sight of my youth I could sew black at night, see every little stitch.

Now in NZ it's almost spring and I feel like sewing, not sure what yet so I'm getting my machines ready for a hive of activity...Well I hope so I've had a long drought of no interest in sewing whats so ever.

Thanks goodness it wasn't the thread that upset my Elna's stitches..
All good now Elna 745 5-thread all ready for action.

Elna 745: 5-Thread Stitch

You know I only use this machine to sew a 2- thread rolled hem....It's rather a waste of a machine. But I have never been able to make friends with this overlocker. I either hate it, or just tolerate it.

Though I must say it's ability to power through the fabric is way much more superior than my other overlockers. I know I'm rather spoilt for choice, and that comes with age. I have been lucky enough able to try different machines as I have got older. Hence I have more overlockers than I should.

Today I dusted off the Elna 745 and decided to once again try and fix the 5-thread stitch. I bought the overlocking machine for the 5-thread only. Except the chain always kept breaking and it just would sew a 4-thread stitch.

Now to try and fix the 745 I went back to basics and did a total re-thread in the order suggested. Then changed the needles and oiled the machine.

Hmm...the spool holders won't slide to the bottom...
Are they supposed too? Maybe I have mixed up machine cones.
It's easy to oil...Just oil here
I did it I can't believe it worked. I loosened off the tension on the lower
looper which is used for making the chain stitch. It was that simple.
Next I wrote everything down that I did and  then glued a sample in a sewing book. So if it does not work again I will have a point of reference. Are we friends the 745 and I? Maybe for now...

More on The Merrylock 740DSA Overlocker

Do you struggle with looking for information on the 4-thread Merrylock 740DSA? It seems to be almost invisible on the Internet, my country New Zealand, doesn't have a lot of information either. Though it can still be bought off trade me  at (Direct Sewing Machines-Auckland) or here.

Juki MO-50/51e, any information you find on this serger/overlocker will also apply to the 4- thread Merrylock 740DSA.

Here are my latest findings...The Juki 50/51 MO-e  can now be bought in New Zealand through trade me  (Auckland Sewing). So If you wanted a Merrylock and can't get one you can get a Juki or visa versa. The Juki comes with the DVD.

Also the facade of the Juki MO-51/50 is different to the Merrylock but the three of them still have the same workings, threading, stitches etc.

Images © Sew Sister and Google
 You can see the facade on the Juki is totally different to the Merrylock
which is just straight and flat. Image© goggle

A video I like a lot on you tube gives you very specific instructions on the Juki MO-51e, and the instructions are suitable for the 4-thread Merrylock 740 DSA also. These are exactly the same instructions for learning to use the 4-thread Merrylock 740 DSE. 

One important lesson I did learn was the Merrylock overlocker/serger must be re threaded in order all the time. You will laugh at this one...I only discovered where my accessories were a few months back. They are hidden within the machine, nice and tidy...

Image © Sew Sister
Instruction Manual For Juki MO-51e:

To download the manual PDF go to This website takes a moment to open. Use this manual if you have not got a 4-thread Merrylock Manual it's the same instructions.

Juki Household Sewing Machine, Japan shows accessories that can be bought for the Juki MO-50e overlocker/serger, and I would say these will fit the Merrylock also. See here for MO-50e attachments.

Another Blogger has done a good review on the Juki; blog post-review Juki MO 50e/51e . This is worth having a look at too.

Optional Attachments For Juki and Merrylock:

  • Blind Stitch Foot
  • Elasticator Foot
  • Beading Foot
  • Piping Foot
  • Gathering Foot
  • Taping Foot

Merrylock 740DSA Tension

Not my favourite thing but here we go....
Here is the tension setting I usually use for my Merrylock 740DSA Overlocker. I've tried other settings, but I usually come back to this one. It seems to work on cotton, and stretch fabric okay...Never tried it really heavy fabric but for mid-weight fabric the stitch seems fine.

Stitch length dial setting.
Keeping a record...
Cutting width adjustment.
Differential feed dial setting.
Using these tension numbers at present.
Overlocker Thread on Cotton Flannel fabric.

Jaile Circle Skirt 2456

Jaile sewing pattern 2456 was pretty easy to use, plus sew.  I should have used one size smaller to give the tiered skirt a much tighter fit. Unfortunately I sewed the rolled hem first (lesson to be learnt here). This made it impossible for me to take it in without losing the length of the skirt. You can't unpick my rolled hem without cutting the fabric, hence it's best to cut off. Because the person is tall whom I'm sewing this skirt for it would have been too big a sacrifice too lose some of the length. Also I never made the pants that go underneath so the length mattered...

I did lengthen the waist band slightly, and then doubled it as I did on the red skirt...Next time when sewing this skirt I certainly won't sew the rolled hem first. Also I think I won't double the waist band to attach to the two tiered skirt. This made the seam bulky because of the thickness of the Lycra.


Pattern: Jaile 2456, Download from Jaile
Fabric: 4 way sparkly wet look stretch Lycra
Cost: Around $30.00 per metre for fabric only
Size: AA (14)
Style: Pull on tiered circle skirt

A Cushion Cover Sruce-up

I've never been one to be afraid of colour I can live with it easily...If nothing matches in the house it doesn't worry me. So when choosing the fabric off-cuts to recover my cushions (the others went shabby real quick) my bright yellow walls didn't come into the equation at all.

Anyway I can't do much with the walls they have to stay yellow, my house is still not fixed from the Earthquake. So no renovating, or painting until the claims settled...Would you believe it's almost five years on and I'm still living with a broken slab etc. Very cold in winter...

I made the cushion covers envelope style with a sewn border around the edges...With no zips to sew it was a very happy sewing day. I must say the cushion covers with the invisible zips did not last. Too many pets and a dog that thinks it's a pony, not a Labrador that it was born to be, plus with little and big children all adding to the wear and tear...So basically I went back to my old style of making cushion covers, easy with no fuss. Washing these covers is a breeze because they just slip off.

From my experience, buying the most expensive material at $60.00 a metre is not good either when you find out that cushion cover fabric still falls to bits...I now settle for cheap, or buying fabric in the sales.

Sewing my First Jaile Pattern

Finally I have found myself behind the machine sewing....

This adult sized circular skirt was sewn up in an evening and I was very happy with the pattern. It fitted well. I did lengthen a couple of inches onto the waist/hip band and left the pants out...Perhaps I could have gone a size smaller for fit around the waist band though.

I had a few scraps  left so I made little skirts for the girls in a size 4, that's the only pattern size fitted onto my left over scraps of fabric. A size 5 would have been better....The sparkly Lycra was a hit. I must say I enjoyed sewing the Lycra fabric it was a nice weight to sew. Sometimes Lycra can be tricky (well for me anyway).


Pattern: Jaile 3025, Download from the Jaile website.

Fabric: 4 way Sparkly wet look stretch Lycra

Cost: Around $30.00 per metre

Size: AA (14) for adult skirt

Size: H (4) for child's skirt

Style: D-Circular skirt

Fabric covered in small glittery a wet look to it.

More MerryLock Musings

I managed to source some more useful information from the Internet. This will help with using your Merrylock 740DSA overlocker. This is so there is really no good information out there for Miss Merrylock 740DSA! 

The information for using the Juki MO 51e overlocker shows almost identical instructions that I have for the Merrylock 4-thread overlocker.

This review is very helpful,  especially if you were given no machine instructions, or you bought your Merrylock 4-thread machine second hand. The instructions include clear photos. which demonstrate the workings of the Juki MO 51e (which is the same as Merrylock 740DSA workings).

Check the review for the Juki MO 51e  here at

Merrylock 740 DSA on the left. Rubina 740 DSA, middle and Juki MO 51e on the right.
All images © Google

Is the Merrylock 740DSA The Same as Juki MO 51e Overlocker?

I think it is, and I have found another You Tube video to follow. It's on the Juki MO 51e...This has certainly helped me. I now have my Merrylock 740 DSA 4 Thread overlocker's tension just proud! Well until the cat finds the machine and all the cotton and I'll be trying tp get the tension perfect again...

Merrylock 4 Thread740DSA : Aka Rubina 740DSA

I found this video by chance when I was looking for more information on the Merrylock 740DS 4 Thread Overlocker. This video's is in Russian I think, (forgive me if I have this wrong). I found the this video really good to follow, even though it is not in English my native language.

It seems that the Merrylock 740DSA goes under another brand name of 'Rubina 740DSA Overlocker'. Who would have thought? Now I know...

Our Fluffy Easter Bunny

Easter isn't complete with out an Easter Bunny  this is our bunny's big day! Here he is, almost two years old....We don't decorate him, because he would eat the decorations, then the chocolate, and then get sick. He gets a lot fluffier, but he has haircuts often because his bottom is much easier to manage without all that fluff....'Happy Easter'.

Easter Bunny Diet: Pellets, Grass, Hay and that is all!
His other job when he is not the Easter Bunny is
to be a compost maker for the garden...

Our Easter Hunt

The girls this year were the 'stars of the show' for the Easter Hunt. My grandson declined, his age is in double digits now, I guess he's become too grown up for the Easter Hunt. He just wanted his chocolate eggs in a big brown paper bag, he was happy with that.

The Lindt Bunnies were a hit.The band and bell from the bunny, was used
as a bracelet by the girls.

Easter Cake

This years Easter cake is a Lemon Yogurt Cake,  page 176, from the cookbook 'fast, fresh, simple' by Donna Hay (2010). I did not make this delicious cake, my daughter did. I just gave the orders as to how I wanted it to look for the children. She did do a good job too, it was exactly how I wanted it to look...Lucky I wasn't banned from the kitchen!

'Donna Hay's' Lemon Yoghurt Cake

Rubee Red Apple Tree

This year we had lots of apple's... Rubee Red this apple tree is called, and it's a cross between a 'Pacific Rose' apple, and a 'Liberty'It's a very crisp, sweet eating apple, perfect for lunch boxes because it is small and not too big.

Apple bred by NZ Motueka plant breeder Roy Hart

Here's our semi-dwarf 'Rubee Red ' apple tree, a bit neglected and it needs a new stake. It's a grafted tree and supposed to be very hardy. The birds have been eating the apples too, must be the lovely, sweet, red fruit. Is that why the Blackbird is always on the fence and on guard near the tree? The two red apples by the top of the fence have been eaten to the core. I'll blame the Blackbird, you can just see a flush of red on the branch that is hanging over the fence. They once were apples...beautiful red apples, the best ones in the crop and I was watching them until...

The tree is growing crooked...better get a extra stake soon.
Bee friendly Cosmos keeps our tree happy! Plus the Waxeyes they like the seeds

This is our 'Rubee Red' apple harvest this year, and the tree is pretty much organic. We use Bee friendly sprays when we remember to spray, or else the tree doesn't get sprayed at all. There is not much information out there on the 'Rubee Red' apple tree. Has anybody else tried growing this apple? What do you think of it? It is not in our New Zealand supermarkets that I know of.

What's my opinion of the apple...I  really love it,  it's just so sweet to taste, and there is nothing like growing your own fruit and eating it straight off the tree...

The tree is fed with Organic Blood and Bone, Plus Citrus Feed and Manure.
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