The top three things I learned today.
First Things First
Since I first published my review of the Janome 9450 (1 year ago) I have received so many questions online as well as offline. I would say several each week however, it was the most recent question that I received this morning that caused the light bulb in my brain to finally turn on.
So, what is this bright idea? To list the top five questions / issues that many of us Janome 9450 users have encountered.
Most of us who make this type of purchase have read, researched, pondered and researched even more. A purchase like this HAS to check ALL the boxes. We make the purchase with the expectation that this is “IT”. In our world, this purchase holds SO many promises.
Given that, it is no wonder when we look upon our new toy, perched high on our fine quilter’s fabric pedestal in such awestruck adoration that an encounter with a “less than ideal” issue with said toy leads us down a path. A path lined with questions that have us scrambling to obtain an answer, like… NOW!
This is where YouTube and quilters like myself are invaluable – the machine does not come with a comprehensive instruction manual.
One has been written and published but they are: 1) Expensive and 2) VERY hard to find.
1. The Presser Is On
As in Presser Feet.
Like most all Janome models, the 9450 comes with a truck load of presser feet. As if that wasn’t enough to create colossal confusion, the 9450 also comes equipped with THREE separate foot plates!!!
Being a newbie, I initially used only the basic, universally recognized presser feet and the standard foot plate. As I became more familiar with the machine, I also began to venture beyond my comfort zone and use the fancy Accuflex feet.
What a difference that made! As promised, these feet do a decent job feeding the top and bottom layers of fabric at the same time.
My favorite combo for sewing on binding:
This is the neatest binding I’ve ever sewn!
The topside is stitched-in-the-ditch (and yes, hose stitches are hidden!) – only the stitching on the underside is visible and, if I may say so, looks pretty darn good!
2. At A Tension
In This Case, Bobbin Tension.
At the risk of aging myself, remember when television sets had knobs? Turning the set on or off, changing the channel wanted to turn the set on or off or change the channel, there was a knob for that.
Sewing machines have evolved in the same way. Knobs and levers have been replaced with push buttons and touchscreens.
The 9450 is equipped with automatic thread tension control HOWEVER, there are times when it is necessary to adjust the tension (especially with lettering and dome decorative stitches).
To make an adjustment in tension, deselect “Auto” and tap the (+) or (-), test of few stitches and that’s all there is to it!
3. A Learning Curve
And Curved Fabric.
I remember watching a YouTube video showing “how easy it is to sew together curve pieces of fabric”. This viewing was promptly followed by my own attempt to “easily sew two curved pieces of fabric together”.
The result? Not pretty. My desire to try sewing curves again? None.
So what has happened since then?
The 9450 and it’s oh-so-thoughtful and awesome automatic foot lift.
When you tap this icon (it will have this bright yellow background) that turns on the auto foot lift feature. What this means exactly is this – every time you stop the machine this presser foot will automatically lift but the needle stays in place. This is the best way to turn and stitch on a curve.
It allows you to make the smallest turns or the largest pivot without moving the fabric out of place.
I’m mentioning it here because while it is listed as feature in the basic instruction manual, it does not state specifically how to activate it. Maybe it is a feature, that others would have been intuitive – but not to me. I needed to take a trip to YouTube to learn this!
And now, curves don’t cause me to curse, throw things or run in the other direction!
4. I’m So Over Locked
Now that I know my machine has almost the same capabilities as a true overlock or serger, my serger envy is over.
My suggestion would be to experiment with the various zigzag stitches on both the Utility and Applique settings. While this machine will not automatically trim the edge as your sew, it will create a very sturdy and attractive edge stitching.
Another benefit to using a heavy stitch like this with applique – those smaller pieces aren’t going anywhere. As I continue to make baby quilts (and yes, I did state awhile back my last quilt was my last quilt...) knowing I can be a little adventurous with dimensional applique and create something unique and not gift a quilt that doubles as be a choking hazard!
Side Note: The trials I encountered while doing the car appliques in “that last baby quilt” could have been completely avoided if I had taken the time to learn these heavy-duty decorative / applique / overlock stitches ahead of time.
5. Lets Decorate
And Make it Pretty
The Janome 9450 has a LOT of decorative stitches. Depending on your definition of decorative, it has roughly 350 built-in decorative and utility stitches. Sewing machines with hundreds of decorative stitches is nothing new but what is new, at leas to me, are the many ways to combine these decorative stitches to create a completely new decoration.
Again, this brings a twinge of excitement to those of us who want to do machine embroidery but our machine doesn’t have the capability.
Or, let’s say you just want to kick that pieced block up a notch!
This the same fabric shown above but with the added decorative top stitching. This could not be done without BOTH the automatic foot lift and an heirloom decorative stitch.
The past year that I’ve been sewing the 9450 I have learned one important lesson: no matter the stage of sewing/quilting you are in at the time you decide to buy a machine, buy the most expensive machine yo can comfortably afford.
The bells and whistles you think you don’t need are largely the result of inexperience. As you continue to sew the more you will want to sew. Eventually, you will be inspired to try a new technique and when that happens, you do not want to be held back because of your machine.
As I continue to use and learn of the many capabilities of the Janome 9450 I will be sharing them with you.
Until then, I’ll be trying out these new products and techniques:
2) Liquid Vinyl