Free motion quilting with Janome quilting machines can produce incredible results. Some of the most beautiful quilts ever made on quilting machines like the Janome 8900QCP were done with free motion stitching.
As beautiful as these projects may be, you are not alone if the thought of free motion stitching makes you nervous. If it does, read on to learn a few tips for putting those fears aside and taking control of your machine. You will be amazed at what you can achieve with a little help.
Set Up the Machine Correctly
Before you begin sewing, quilting machines should be set up correctly for free motion quilting. Start by inserting a sharp, new needle. Unthread and rethread the machine, remembering to release thread tension while doing so to ensure the tension is correct once re-engaged. Then make the following adjustments:
- Presser Foot - Use a free motion or darning presser foot. These feet are made with a spring in the shank, which allows the foot to lift out of the way as you move the fabric under the needle.
- Feed Dogs - Lower the feed dogs all the way, since you will be guiding the fabric by hand.
- Needle Stop Position - Adjust the needle stop on your Janome 8900QCP so that the needle remains down whenever you stop sewing. This will allow you to change the stitching direction you without the needle moving and disrupting your stitches.
Easy Free Motion Quilting Tips
Once your machine is properly set up, you are ready to begin stitching. Stay calm and follow these simple tips and you will get the hang of free motion quilting in no time:
- Practice First - Before you attempt to do free motion topstitching on any quilt with Janome quilting machines, start off by getting familiar with the techniques first by using a practice quilt sandwich square. You can get comfortable with having free reign over where your needle goes before you start on your actual project.
- Know the Design - Sketch out the design you plan on using to stitch your quilt and keep the sketch handy. Practice the twists and turns on your practice swatch so you learn how to achieve the desired final results.
- Stitch Slowly - Take your time and stitch slowly. Maintain control of the needle and fabric so you can accurately guide it. As you get better at free motion stitching, you can increase the stitching speed.
- Look Ahead - Since you are following your own design, keep your eyes in front of the needle where it is about to stitch. You can guide your fabric more accurately and keep better control of your stitching.
- Speed Control - Controlling the stitching speed is a challenging part of free motion quilting. Fortunately, machines like the Janome 8900QCP let you adjust stitch speed so you can comfortably use the pedal without running the machine too fast. Slow the speed control down until you are comfortable with free motion stitching. Once you do, bring the speed back up as you wish.
- Stitch Length - With free motion quilting, you lose the benefit of the machine keeping the stitch length even and could wind up with stitches too long or too short. Longer stitches mean the machine is stitching too slowly for how fast you are advancing the fabric. TCorrect this by increasing machine speed and slowing how fast you advance the fabric. Shorter, bunched up stitches means the machine is stitching too quickly. Fix this by slowing machine speed and increasing how fast you feed in the fabric.
Free motion quilting on quilting machines like the Janome 8900QCP does take some time to gain full control of the fabric. If you go slowly and use these tips, you should learn this technique in no time.
Building your confidence by practicing on Janome quilting machines is all it takes to learn how to control and guide the needle. Once you do, you can make beautiful, intricate quilts using free motion quilting!