Janome Blog

  • 9/18/2020

    Hi Janome Friends! It's Melanie, a Janome Maker, who loves her Janome 550E and M7. Check out my fun fabric projects at A Bit of Scrap Stuff Blog or on  Instagram

    Today I'm going to share tips on how to use your Janome 550E embroidery machine to quilt your projects and it's easy with Janome AcuFil Quilting Kit!

     A Frozen Quilt definitely needs snowflake quilting and  I wanted to create perfectly stitched snowflakes at home... so I let my Janome 550E do all the hard work for me! Elsa and Olaf love all the snowflakes!!!

    I used the Janome AcuFil Quilting Kit (ASQ18b) for machine quilting/embroidering my Frozen Quilt.  I chose to use the AcuFil Quilting Kit because it works perfectly with my Janome 550E (it will also work with 500E, 450E, 400E, eXpressive 830L, expressive 830). 


    The Janome AcuFil Quilting Kit contains:

    • 7.2" x 7.2" hoop with magnetic clamps. This is a must have! The magnetic clamps allow you to hoop thicker fabric when machine quilting/embroidering a quilt. Plus it is soooo much easier and quicker to hoop your project.

    • Over 100 quilting designs are included. The snowflake I chose was an included design.

    • AcuFil Tool - This computer program (Windows only at this time) allows you to utilize the included designs plus import other designs into the software. The software resizes the quilting design to best fit your quilt and creates a printable template for perfect placement when quilting/embroidering. 

    How to start machine quilting with your Janome 550E:

    • Assemble quilt sandwich using a low loft batting - such as Hobbs 80/20. Quilt sandwich = pieced quilt top, batting, pieced backing.  

    • READ instructions - Quick Guide for Hoop ASQ18b starts on page 12.

    • Download Janome AcuFil Tool to your Windows Computer. 

    • OPEN AcuFil Tool on computer

    • SELECT Creating Original AcuFil Designs 

    • ENTER quilt dimensions 

    • CHOOSE design 

    • PRINT template

    • WRITE embroidery design to USB flash drive to transfer to Janome 550E

    • START quilting/embroidering


    You might be wondering why you need to print the template???


    Printing the template allows you to precisely position the quilt/hoop so the machine quilting/embroidery designs will stitch out where you want it. I recommended trimming the paper close to the printed image before adhering the printed template to the BACK of the acrylic AcuFil template. Use the grid lines on the printed template to match the grid lines on the acrylic AcuFil template for perfect placement.  Your machine will stitch on the quilting/embroidery design exactly as shown as your printed template.



    Helpful Tips:


    • Batting - Use a low-loft batting (Hobbs 80/20 or Warm & Natural or similar). Remember you will need to hoop ALL 3 layers so this is not the time to choose fluffy thick batting. 

    • Quilt Basting - I prefer to use basting spray adhesive so I don't have to worry about removing pins. You can you use pins if you prefer, but do not forget to remove them. Your embroidery machine will not be happy (nor will you) if you forget. 

    • Quilt backing needs to be at least 4-6" larger on each edge of quilt to allow for fabric to hoop while quilting edges of quilt. 

    • Embroidery tape. If you want to quilt to the very edge of your quilt top- be sure to use embroidery tape to tape the quilt top edge to the batting so your embroidery foot doesn't get stuck on the quilt top edge.

    • Choosing the Quilt Design. As this was my first time machine quilting with my embroidery machine, I chose a single design (NOT a connecting one). This allowed me to place the snowflakes randomly throughout the quilt and I didn't have to try and match up start/stop points for continuous quilting designs. 

    • Thread. Choose a thread that can be washed if you plan on washing/drying your finished quilt. I used a 40wt polyester thread, but I think I will try a 50wt thread (thinner) next time as this was a triple stitched design so it's a bit bold of quilting design.

    • Needle. Use a needle that you would use if you were free motion quilting (Janome Purple Tip).  I used a 90/14 Top Stitch Needle as I was using a 40wt thread.

    • Choose a quilting design that doesn't have multiple start/stops as each start/stop will make a knot on the back of your quilt. 

    • Choose a pattern backing fabric - this will hide the start/stop knots. I snip my thread really close to knot so it's not too noticeable. 

    • Stitch a test stitch out to make sure you like the design and thread you chose.

    • If the embroidery needle is not centered on the AcuFil template - Calibrate the  Center Position of the needle - page 22. 

    • When moving your quilt to a new section to quilt. Leave the hoop attached to the Janome 550E. Remove the quilt only and move the quilt to the next section you want to quilt. Use AcuFil acrylic template to check your quilt is in the correct spot then attach magnetic clamps.

    • Have fun!!!!


    I absolutely love being able to perfectly machine quilt my quilts at home with my Janome 550E!  Since I had so much fun machine quilting this quick Frozen Quilt, I quilted another HUGE quilt with multiple quilting designs. Let me know if you would like another blog post about importing continuous quilting designs into Janome AcuFil. 


    Be sure to follow me on Instagram @Abitofscrapstuff and on my blog: A Bit of Scrap Stuff for more sewing and quilting fun!!!

    Thanks for reading!

    Melanie Call

  • 9/3/2020

    Written by Fran from Cotton + Joy

    Snowball Corners Tutorial - the tape methodConfession time: for a long time I saw this term thrown around “Snowball corners” but did not know what it was. A snowball corner is when you take a small square, place it on a larger square (or rectangle), then sew a perpendicular seam (from corner to corner), then cut 1/4″ from the stitch line and press.

    Chances are you have done this lots of times! That’s because snowballing is more of a technique than a specific block, so rarely is it called that in a pattern. Instead you get the instructions for snowballing according to the pattern.

    We use the snowball technique in lots of quilting “building” blocks such as flying geese, square in a square, economy blocks, etc. It’s probably one of the most common sewing techniques in quilting – you’ll definitely use it in a few of my patterns!

    The snag to snowball corners is that they can be time consuming. Before you can sit down at your sewing machine, you’ll need to mark each of the smaller squares used in the corners. If you were making my Joyful Stars pattern, that would mean marking 128 squares. That’s a lot of squares, and I don’t know about you but ain’t nobody got time for that! haha

    Thankfully, there is a shortcut you can use to speed up the whole sewing process – The Diagonal Tape Method.

    Quick disclaimer: This post and video are meant to show you this shortcut and I’m stitching as called for in my Joyful Stars pattern, but keep in mind that if you are making a different pattern (another of mine or by another designer) you will need to place the snowball square and stitch in the direction your pattern tells you to do so.


    STEP 1
    Instead of drawing a diagonal line on the wrong side of your smaller squares, reach for your washi or masking tape.

    STEP 2
    Place a piece of washi or masking tape and place the long edge of the tape centered with your needle. I like to use a ruler to ensure my tape is nice and straight.Placing the washi tape on machineSTEP 3
    Place your small square on the corner of your larger square (or rectangle) as required by the pattern. Make sure your smaller square is flush with the edges of the larger square.

    Snowball Corners Tutorial

    STEP 4
    Line up the two diagonal points on your square with the edge of the tape.

    Sewing Snowball Corners

    STEP 5
    Slowly feed your fabric through, making sure the bottom point of the square is following the edge of the tape as you feed it through.

    Sewing a corner triangle

    STEP 6
    Trim 1/4″ away from the sewn line. Press seam.

    Trimming snowball corner triangle

    Snowball Corners Tutorial - Washi Tape Trick

    If you want to see this method in action, check out Fran's video below: 


  • 8/26/2020

    by Michael Gardner

    Dreams can and do come true. An intriguing thought and creative curiosity lead me to this very moment, creating my first make as an ambassador for a sewing machine company. As an optimistic thinker who always ponders the future, in 2014 when I began my sewing journey, this moment was not on my radar. I often reminisce about the initial feeling I felt embracing the idea of purchasing a sewing machine and learning to sew. My mom had purchased a sewing machine with the intentions of sewing her own nursing scrubs, she never took the machine out of the box. My sister took that same machine and began creating custom clothing. Observing her customizing sweatshirts with contrasting sleeves is what sparked my interest in the idea of becoming a sewer. My sister Ashley, who has been my biggest cheerleader in my creative journey, went with me to purchase my first machine and assisted in helping me get my notions as well.

    Determined and eager to learn, I spent countless hours researching various sewing techniques, fabric options and pattern ideas. I gained knowledge of sewing lingo and decided to start the process with upcycling. Inexpensive women’s clothing I thrifted became my first way of learning and getting comfortable behind a sewing machine. I refashioned the clothing to fit Ava. I made so many mistakes and used my seam ripper way too many times, but it was a great tool to start before I spent money on good fabrics. I tried every idea that came to mind, I had nothing to lose. I felt free to create.


    Thank you to content creators, the creatives who take the time to film and photograph tutorials. I am so grateful for these creators, they not only taught me to sew but helped me discover a passion that I profoundly appreciate. Their time, dedication, creativity and sharing of knowledge is helping so many people discover their talents. As I have grown over the years, my goal is to share my techniques and all that I have learned to help inspire someone to just start. With anything that is new, it is a process to start, learn and gain confidence. Along the way, I celebrate the obstacles I overcome, the fears I move past and the joy I feel after completing each project.


    I have always been creative; my creativity has and always will be my most effective way of expressing myself. I have tried everything, when I discovered sewing it felt completely different than any other hobby or craft that I have tried. It seemed like I unlocked something hidden from within. My ideas flourished, often too fast for me to physically create them all. I find inspiration in everything that I see. Colors, patterns, prints, shapes, styles circulate in my mind. I usually cannot let go of an idea until it has been created. I am attracted to bold colors and vibrant prints that catch the eye and make you feel something. Pushing boundaries, stepping outside the box and having freedom of expression is how I thrive in creating.

    As a self-taught sewer, I am extremely proud of my journey and accomplishments. I also self-draft the clothing I create. Visually I can see the pattern in my mind and that is my guide to cutting fabric. I do use previously made or retail purchased clothing as a guide. As I began brainstorming my first make for Janome, I was overthinking and somehow felt the need to change my process to utilize a commercial sewing pattern. I was wrestling with the idea, and honestly wasted so much time and energy before realizing, the way I create is what brought me here, it is how Janome found me. This opportunity is something I dreamed of, the hard work, dedication and consistency of just being who I am and sharing my work is why this has become my reality. Instead of becoming overwhelmed with the task, I channeled my energy and focused on bringing my vision to life. Creating my way, being myself and putting love into this make.


    My bond with Ava is so special. We began this journey together six years ago and haven’t looked back. Sewing and modeling has bonded us in the most beautiful way. I am blessed to share my creativity with my daughter. She has embraced this experience and has flourished with confidence. The only way to commemorate this moment was to make a Daddy-Daughter coordinating outfit. I purchased a beautiful and bright floral print stretch fabric and knew it had to be something Ava and I wore together. Ava loves when we wear matching outfits, it is her favorite. Honestly, I love it too. It is fun to create and taking the photos together is a party for two, and of course our trusted tripod and clicker helps capture the magic.


    The Skyline S9 is absolutely amazing. This sewing machine is a complete upgrade in every way possible to what I was previously using. The touch screen, automatic threading of the needle and thread cutter, preset stitches, presser foot lift and start and stop button are a few of my favorite features. I am excited to learn the capabilities for embroidery next. For this project, I utilized the gathering feature. I have struggled with gathering fabric more times than I would like to share. The thread would always pop, I tried the yarn technique with no luck and usually I would just settle for doing pleats. When I discovered the gathering feature, I knew I had to try it and I am so happy with the results.


    For Ava, I created a maxi dress with an open back, gathered skirt and ribbon tie. Her dress is self-drafted using a t-shirt for the front bodice, I used her measurements to create the back and added elastic. I doubled the measurement of the bottom hem of the dress, used the gathering stitch on the machine and adjusted it to match the hem which created a full ruffle skirt. For me, I created a pair of custom shorts with pockets and an elastic waistband. For the t-shirt, I topstitched a piece of the fabric to add a pop of color. I am continuing a tradition started years ago in my family by grandma. She sewed clothing for her kids. I wore a custom-made necklace by my sister in remembrance of my grandma while Ava and I took pictures. As I created our outfits, all I could think about is how proud my grandma would be seeing how far I have come in my sewing journey. She loved what I was creating for Ava.


    I am so proud to be a part of the Janome maker family. Our first make for Janome is complete but this is truly just the beginning of our journey. The sewing community has been amazing to Ava and I. To know people you have never met, support, encourage and cheer for you is one of the best feelings I have experienced. The community has inspired me, the daily love and positive energy I receive pushes me to keep going. Looking forward to my next make.

    "You can't use up creativity. The more you use the more you have." -- Maya Angelou

    Follow along with Michael's amazing sewing on his Instagram page HERE (@daddydressedmebymg)

  • 6/12/2020

    Written by: Regena Carlevaro, Janome Education

    In the sewing community, it is a well-known truth that many of us are fabric hoarders. Every time we go to a quilt show, a fabric store or anywhere that sells fabric, we pick up a piece here, a piece there. Although we don’t have a purpose or a plan for that fabric, we buy it anyway. And, then we feel the guilt.

    This is my declaration of independence from fabric buying guilt! I say, “NO!” to that little, negative voice and “YES!” to buying that yardage.

    If COVID 19 has taught me anything, it is this - We are not fabric hoarders. We are prepared for a time when getting fabric is difficult if not impossible. We are prepared for making masks in an emergency situation, as well as scrubs for our Doctors and Nurses. We are prepared to make all of those projects that we scheduled for “someday”.

    It has taught me something else. Once in a while, when we purchase fabric, we’re also procuring a memory. Let me explain.

    About six years ago, I had the opportunity to organize a week of training for Janome’s Education staff in Mahwah, NJ. For four days, we trained on new machines, went over class lessons for an upcoming Janome Institute in San Antonio, Texas and generally worked on being a team. Since most of our educators live all over the country, this is a very important time for us to feel a sense of connection and unity.  

    On the last day of the meeting, we hopped on a train destined for NYC and walked straight to the Garment District. You know the scene in Willy Wonka where the kids first see the beautiful garden of edible chocolate? Then, you know what it feels like to be a sewist and experience the Garment District in NYC. There is shop after shop of anything you can imagine sewing with! We explored so many shops that day, picking up trims, fabric, leather, decorative zippers and anything else you can dream of.

    Along the way, I found this beautiful denim-looking, printed, sheer voile. I had no plan for it, not an inkling of an idea of what I would do with it. But, it spoke to me and I bought four yards of it.

    Fast forward six years.

    The other day, while going through my stash, I found the fabric in its original bag. I had totally forgotten about it, which in itself was a nice surprise! It was like finding a $20 bill in a coat pocket but, I digress. Upon seeing the fabric, I was immediately flooded with memories of that glorious day in the City with my fabulous co-workers. The sites we saw, the sites we wish we didn’t see (ever hear of Naked Cowgirl?), the meal we shared in Little Italy, all of this and more came back to me. It made me smile.

    The Janome Education team outside of Puglia Italian Restaurant in Little Italy

    Six years have passed and some of those co-workers are no longer with us. Some have moved on to new jobs, some have retired. Maddie Bushman has since passed away. But, in that moment of finding one piece of fabric, it gave her back to me. I can still see Maddie going toe to toe with a NYC Taxi-driver when we began to walk across the crosswalk! If you had been there, you would be smiling now too.

    Our good friend and co-worker, Maddie Bushman

    Now, I have a purpose for this fabric and I’m looking forward to wearing the duster I’m going to make out of it. Not only because it’s beautiful and will look awesome with jeans, but because it will remind me of a beautiful day in New York City with my friends.

    So, Ladies and Gentlemen of the sewing community, I give you leave to go out and buy that fabric! It supports our industry, it supports our local fabric and sewing machine stores. But, most importantly, it supports the love of what we do and who we are.

  • 2/4/2020

    We love when Kimberly stops into local Janome dealers as she is traveling around teaching, speaking or vacationing. And while Kimberly was in Ohio recently with family, she stopped into the ever-so-amazing Pins and Needles location in Middleburg (don’t worry, Pins and Needles has 3 locations chalk full of the more wonderfulness).


    With classes, bolts of fabric, threads, notions and, of course, a whole line-up of Janome machines for anyone to test-drive right as they walk in the door, Kimberly was struck with the passion that was oozing from this dealer. Head to Kimberly’s blog to read more about her highlights, see more photos from her drop-in shop-stop number 10!

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