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FAQs About Sewing with Janome Machines

Q: How do I use an Even Feed Foot? And what is the advantage of using it?

A: An Even Feed or Walking foot is used to keep all layers in a quilt from moving out of position when being sewn. It works in conjunction with the feed dogs to make sure the layers don’t shift. There is usually a quilting bar which attaches to the back of the foot for even spacing between quilting lines. The Even Feed foot is also great for sewing with plaids. It keeps the layers of fabric together so the weave of the plaid remains even while sewing seams.


Q: How important are the spool caps, and how do I determine which size to use?

A: Spool cap covers prevent thread from catching in the spool notch, and assure even delivery of thread. Ordinary spools require the large spool cap, which is larger in diameter than the thread spool, and thinner spools use the small cap cover, which is larger in diameter than the spool, and yet not too large as to impede thread delivery. When using metallic threads, it may be more desirable to stand the spool on the auxiliary spool pin or on an accessory thread stand, with the large spool cap underneath the spool, with the flat side to spool end.


Q:  I like to finish my hems with a double needle straight stitch, but on fabrics with any stretch, the hems “bubble” out of shape. How can I prevent this?

A: Hems that have a tendency to stretch can be stabilized in several ways. Since each fabric has its own characteristics, it is best to do a test before using any stabilizer on your actual garment. Try one of these methods. #1) For sewing machines – Wind your bobbin with wooly nylon and use the “F” foot included with Janome machines. The wooly nylon thread is stretchable and very strong; it will help eliminate puckers. The “F” foot will provide a tunnel for the double needle stitch to feed through. You may also get better results by decreasing the pressure on the foot with the Pressure Release Dial. #2) For sergers – Use the 4 thread serger stitch to serge the raw edges of the hem, then turn up the hem and press with an iron. For many fabrics, this is enough to prevent stretching. If the hem is an “A” line you will need to set the differential feed to a setting of 1.5 or more to ease in the excess fabric. For very stretchy fabric, iron on a 1/2″ strip of a lightweight lining, such as knit fuse, before serging.


Q:  How can I add Scalloped Tucks to a garment?

A:  Dress up a simple nightgown with several rows of scalloped tucks down the front. This easy embellishment technique adds an elegant finish.


Q: To “neaten up” the underside of Janome Embroidery designs, I clip all connecting and dangling bottom threads. Will this weaken my design and is there a danger that my design will unravel?

A:  If the travelling underside threads do not interfere with the look of the design on the front, such as thread colour, I do not normally clip them. When changing thread colours, The Memory Craft sews a knot to secure. When you clip the travelling threads, you could clip the knot. If this happens, problems may occur when laundered.


Q: I’ve not been able to conquer the rolled hem foot. Is it for hemming dresses and blouses, etc. only? Is it possible to start from the beginning edge of the fabric? Can the rolled hem foot be sued for making napkins or dresser scarves with square corners? If it can, would you please explain how to do the corners?

A:  Janome makes three different sizes of rolled hem feet: 2mm, 4mm, and 6mm, depending on the weight and desired rolled hem depth you wish. The 2mm rolled hem foot is for lightweight fabric and makes a narrow hem approximately 1/16″ to 1/8″. The 4mm rolled hem foot is for lightweight to medium weight fabric and makes a little wider narrow hem, approximately 1/8″ to 13/16″. The 6mm rolled hem foot is for light to medium weight fabric and makes a 1/4″ hem.
Normally, a straight stitch is used but a zigzag stitch also looks nice. A rolled hem is normally started at a corner. Finger press approximately the width of the hem desired by folding over and folding over again. To help get the fabric started, clip the corner at a 45 degree angle to insert into the channel of the foot. With the presser foot up, insert the clipped corner into the channel of the foot. With the presser foot up, insert the clipped corner into the channel of the foot. Press the needle Up/Down Button so that the needle is inserted into the end of the fabric. Start sewing slowly, holding the fabric up slightly to help feeding into the foot. Sew the length of the fabric.
If the fabric is very lightweight, a little spray starch is sometimes helpful to give the fabric a little body. Only spray starch at the end from which you are beginning to sew.
To roll hem all four sides of a napkin, first roll hem two opposite sides. To finish the other two sides, create a small mitered corner before sewing the rolled hem. To the wrong side, fold under approximately 1/4″ at the corner and straight stitch across the fold. Complete as before. Hold on to the thread tails to gently help sewing over the “hump”. For napkin weight fabric, use the 4mm or 6mm rolled hem foot for best results.


Q: When I need to adjust my embroidery hoop to continue embroidering a word, my hoop shifts slightly. No matter how hard I try, the hoop slides a little and my words are always uneven. How can I prevent my hoop from shifting and achieve straight embroidery?

A: If you are using the rectangle hoop, before beginning to sew the baric must be taut. If needed us a small screwdriver to tighten the screw.
If you are having a difficult time keeping the line straight as you place the fabric  in the hoop, try the round embroidery hoop. It is sprig loaded and sometimes easier for positioning. Once the fabric is in the hoop and placed on the Memory Craft 9000, if the position is not exactly where you want it to be, use the Edit Embroidery Key and move the hoop to your desired position.
*  For Memory Craft 8000 owners, press the Space Check Key, then move the hoop so that the needle lines up with the previous row.


Q: What is the best way to use “Sliver” or “hologram” thread on thread-intensive embroidery to prevent breakage?

A: Unlike traditional threads that are round or twisted, “Sliver” or “hologram” thread has a unique flat design structure that is similar to ribbon. This property produces a lovely effect with stitches that simulate wide satin stitches, such as on the lettering choices on Memory Card #101, Letter & Monogram Series. I have also had great results with many left and floral patterns and several patterns on Memory Card #118, Border Designs. Try the leaves on design 11 and the scroll design 38 on this card to test the stitch formation.
However, this same flat surface, in combination with the layer of fine film that covers the thread core, means that “Sliver” and “hologram” thread will not produce the desirable results for designs with dense weaving stitches.
For best results:

  •     Test a portion of the desired pattern on a scrap of your chosen fabric.
  •     Use a new needle. Select either a Blue Tip, Metallic or Ballpoint Needle, depending on the fabric type.
  •     Place the thread on the Janome Thread Stand 832420003 (or an auxiliary thread stand) for snag-free delivery from the spool.

Q: I need a baby gift in a hurry, but I know my friends are expecting something handmade. Do you have any suggestions?

A: Baby gifts are my favorite way to show off the special capabilities of my Memory Craft 9000 and Janome 634D serger.
One idea is a flannel receiving blanket and matching burp cloth. Buy one yard of 45″ flannel in solid or print and trim 9″ off the width of to make a 36″ square. Fold the piece that you trimmed in half with wrong sides together. This will be the perfect size for the reversible burp cloth. Round the corners of both the square and rectangle and serge the edges using Janome Rainbow thread for decorative serging (#J-306). Set your serger for 3 threads and tension on 3 for needle and loopers. Adjust the stitch length to 1. This will give the look of a bound edge and in no time you’ll have a darling gift for the new baby. You also may want to embroider the baby’s name and/ or use decorative stitches on the diagonal of one corner of the receiving blanket.


Q: I have quite a collection of rainbow embroidery threads but I need some ideas for using them where they look best.

A: The Janome Acrylic Rainbow thread (#J-205) comes in 4 bright and bold combination’s and looks fantastic with any decorative stitch, especially the ones with very close stitch length, like the heart design. This is a very pretty look for making a border around a hem or cuff. I took a blue denim work shirt and sampled all of my decorative stitches on it. It’s a great conversation piece. I was able to try all my stitches and see how they actually looked on a garment.
You can also use the Rainbow threads for embroidery designs, like any of the florals or butterflies. Sometimes I do the whole design with rainbow thread; no need to change colours. On the American Series, Memory Card #U1, use the Rainbow in Colour M70 for the fireworks – it looks fantastic. Try it for a favorite design – you’ll love it!


Q: Recently, I was sewing very heavy cording for some slipcovers I was making. I tried to use my zipper foot, however the zipper foot that comes with my machine was not narrow enough to get close to the cording. Any suggestions?

A: The zipper foot that comes with many Janome sewing machines was designed specifically for sewing on zippers. For making your own cording or piping, try the narrow base zipper foot (part # 831827001). Changing the needle position on the Memory Craft will allow you to adjust the needle closer to the cording using the narrow base zipper foot.


Q: I have used a Wing Tip Needle for Heirloom Sewing. Is there anything else I could use if for?

A: The regular use of a Wing Tip needle is for hemstitching on fine fabrics. However, folded pintucks or applique are both lovely when sewn with a Wing Tip needle. The #26 applique stitch on the Memory Craft 9000 makes a beautiful “pin stitch”. Decorative stitches #31 – #40 and #81- #89 on the Memory Craft 9000 are exquisite when sewn with a Wing Tip needle. Traditionally, sewing with a Wing Tip needle has been done on natural fibers, such as cotton or linen. However, you can also experiment with a different types of fabric. The “hole” created by the needle may not be as pronounced, but lovely effect can still be achieved. Denim and chambray are perfect and practical places to use the Wing Tip needle. Stitch #122 on the Memory Craft 9000 can be used to accent collars, cuffs and plackets.


Q: When I sew Professional Style Embroidery, the outlines of my embroidery design do not line up next to the body of the design. Is there something wrong with my Memory Card?

A: Your Memory Card is fine. When the outline stitching does not match the body of the design, check two things:  your hooping and your stabilizer. Your fabric must be taut in the hoop for correct stitching. Make sure that the screw that holds the inner part of the hoop is tightened sufficiently. A very common oversight made by sewists is not using enough stabilizer. The stabilizer supports the fabric, allowing the thread to form the design. Without enough stabilizer, the threads can distort the fabric. When embroidering a densely stitched design, the fabric may require more than one layer of stabilizer. Fuse a layer of iron-on tear away to the wrong side of the fabric and place in hoop. Then, before beginning to sew, place tear away stabilizer between the hoop and the feed dog. Some fabrics may require several layers of stabilizer.