[Unleash Your Inner Artist With Free Motion Embroidery Using the Oekaki Renaissance} – I’m sorry for my tiny bit of radio silence on this space. I’ve been busy. Writing and editing manuscripts on tight deadlines is no mean feat. During the pauses in between there’s my new thing; sewing. Yes, ma—if you are reading this(P.S. I hope you’re enjoying your holiday overseas)I’ve rediscovered my love for fabrics and threads again! Question is—is it possible to go from being ‘rubbish’ at sewing to being able to flaunt rather than hide away your sewn creations on Instagram? Entirely and utterly, as I’d discovered since getting the computerised sewing machine–the Oekaki Renaissance for Mother’s Day. Hurrah for the best husband in the world.
The Oekaki Renaissance. What a tool when you’re not an ace with the sewing machine! What a renaissance (pun completely intentional) of a craft I once loved but managed to get put off from how daunting it all was. I don’t know about you but I get paralysis from trying to figure out the hows of buttonholes, zipper installations and the like. But now, I actually feel all armed and ready. Unbelievable, but this thing has made me want to get up and sew.
What exactly can the Oekaki Renaissance do besides looking all spunky like the Beyonce of sewing machines, only clad in shiny Ferrari Red PVC? Simply put, this isn’t quite your average sewing machine! It’s more like a rock star to boot.
Calling all illustrators and painting aficionados, well, anyone who loves to draw, doodle and sketch, this is a real dream. Yes, it allows you to draw and paint in threads. I think I’ve finally found my new go to medium of artistic expression.
My other sewing machine also happens to be a Toyota which is great since I’m already familiar with its basic mechanics. However I was a little unsure if I would warm up to this much more sophisticated number since it was hard to find many existing user communities either in Australia or overseas. It’s not a popular choice perhaps due to its higher price point and I’d say a shortage of information available for new users. Actually I could hardly find an English-speaking user on You Tube so I had to spend a sad couple of blocks watching many uneventful (and mute) You Tube videos. These mainly featured excited foreign ladies unboxing their machines. It wasn’t hard to figure they were extolling the virtues of the Oekaki by the way they were chattering away in their native tongues looking rather wild-eyed as they excitedly waved their arms around, touching this button and that. I couldn’t understand a single word except of course ‘Oekaki’ which means ‘to draw’ in Japanese.
Speaking of which, the draw for me was my initial intrigue on watching how this sewing machine could actually allow me to do some freehand embroidery. Look, which mum on earth ever has the time for hand-stitched embroidery? I’m thinking…embroidered His and Hers pillows, embellishments on cushion covers, names on the kids’ personal items, appliqués, sewing dates or messages on little stuffed toys I make my kids and even adding a wee bit of bespoke touches on my own clothing.
The surprise was that it took me less than a day to figure out how it all works and then I fell completely and hopelessly in love with it. While it may come with most features imaginable that are present in higher-end sewing machines for quilting and garment designing, the main best-selling feature has to be its free motion embroidery function. That, together with its unique Super Jeans technology i.e. a pretty revered ‘kick-ass ability’ to sew through 12 layers of denim without splitting a needle or two, says a lot about how durable this powerhouse can be.
I haven’t even tried all of its 50 fancy decorative stitches that’s all mine to choose from. That’s because I’m not even done playing with the free motion embroidery. It’s so satisfying to be able to control the stitch width by varying the amount of pressure I’m putting on the foot control pedal, however, it took some practice to master…much like learning how to drive the first time.
The whole package doesn’t come cheap, but then which powerful tool does? I’d invested more in my Kitchen Aid and the Oekaki R has now joined it as one of those well-worth investments that become heirlooms my daughter shall inherit one day.
In case you were wondering, a host of excellent accessories are included with a list of handy foots: zipper, buttonhole, non-stick, overcasting, super jeans, zig-zag, blind hemming. My favourite of course is the free motion embroidery foot which I use the most at present. You also get a vinyl cover, spare bobbins, extra needles (including ball-point needles), an unpicker, power lead and foot controller. You’ll have to purchase any extras online from its Australian distributor. I can’t wait to get the flower stitch foot!
For a full original description you can find more information at: Toyota Oekaki
Ready to check out my first makes from this awesome machine? I think I’m pretty happy with these for a start. Do please feel free to share your Oekaki renaissance projects with me if you’re the proud owner of one yourself! I’ll feature them on my blog once I’ve collated a few. Tag me on Instagram with #oekakimakes @outofmanblog
1)Stitched ‘Be Brave’ Calligraphy (inspired by a Rachel Basinger print)
Fabric – natural cotton
2)Embroidered stag head pennant with tassel finish:
Fabric – from Spotlight
Grey Tassel – handmade from my stash of yarn
Wooden dowel (sawn to required length)