As many of you know, I’ve been fortunate to be affiliated with Janome America for many years and sew on their great machines. They’ve come out with a new top-of-the-line NON-embroidery machine, the 9400. And as I have come to expect, they take something that is already really good and make it even better. We’re getting close to perfect! To see the machine on the Janome site, go here.
Over the past few months I’ve been able to put the machine through its paces, making a knit top, finishing a set of quilted placemats, finishing a small bag with zipper, and (who me?) piecing several quilt tops. The machine excelled at everything I threw at it! The 9400 has taken many features from the top of the line embroidery and sewing 15000 machine, including that awesome light on the top left that slides out. I think the design of it on the 9400 is even better than on the 15000, as it curves a bit.
One of the first things I did was some class samples for my Easy-Peasy Inside-Out Bag….including installing a zipper.
A bigger challenge, for both me and the machine, was to make a new top. I fell in love with the plum knit and bought it a year or so ago. I also love the aqua top, which is showing its age. I did a “rub off” which is where you make your own pattern using an existing garment. You can trace (with garment on top of paper) or rub (with garment under paper) to feel the edges and create pattern pieces. I extended the sleeves from 3/4 to full length, and am delighted at the machine and the results.
I also have done quite a lot of piecing. I used the P foot which comes with the machine for my quarter inch seams, but decided to use the optional Clearview foot which I prefer. In a second project (which I can’t share yet because it is a Christmas surprise) I was astounded at how accurate my results were; I am NOT a piecer, and the feed on the machine worked very well (until my attention wandered, at which point I simply cut the threads, went back to my oops and fixed it).
I also have been able to do both free-motion and walking foot quilting, though not as much yet as I would have liked. I finished a set of placemats and table runner called Modern Winter, which I prepared for Janome’s blog. You can find the pattern and information here.
The one thing I keep trying to convince Janome to do is to create feet for the top of the line machines that is similar to the convertible FMQ (free motion quilting) feet for the Janome 8900/8200 and similar which I think are the best quilting feet Janome makes. In addition to the traditional “hopping” or darning foot used for free-motion quilting, the 9400, 15000, 12000 all have the QO and QC skimming FMQ feet which snap on to the ankle (which is really quick and easy). However, these feet are clear plastic and not round. They work great for most people’s purposes, but if you look at pretty much ALL quilting machines, the preferred and nearly universally available feet are metal CIRCLES. The metal is stronger and can, therefore, be thinner, which affords greater visibility. And by being a circle, you can echo quilt around (for example) an appliqué, then continue with free motion without having to change feet. This is a small quibble but one that is important to me.
I was MOST impressed at International Quilt Festival, Houston, this year. I introduced myself to the president of Janome America to say thank you for Janome’s continued support for the past decade-plus, and to ask about developing these feet for the 9400 and 15000 (and 12000). He whipped out a notebook and took notes! So as soon as I finish this post, I’m going to follow up with him with details I’ve been mulling over on how best to meet ALL needs for quilting–both hopping and skimming. Love Janome’s responsiveness! He said he’d send the info to headquarters in Japan–can’t do more than that!
Although you can read it on Janome’s site, I’m adding some info about the features and accessories included on this machine. Best of all, a lot of stores are offering “Holiday Incentives” on the price!
- Top Loading Full Rotary Hook Bobbin System
- 350 Built-In Stitches and 4 Alphabets
- Superior Needle Threader
- Cloth Guide Included
- One-Step Needle Plate Conversion with 3 Included Plates
- Detachable AcuFeed Flex Layered Fabric Feeding System
- USB Port and Direct PC Connection
- Stitch Composer Stitch Creation Software
- Variable Zig Zag for Free Motion Quilting
- Straight Stitch Needle Plate with Left Needle Position for 1/4″ Seam Foot
- Professional HP Needle Plate and Foot
- Advanced Plate Markings
- Full Color LCD Touchscreen (4.4″ x 2.5″)
- Sewing Applications On-Screen Support
- Maximum Sewing Speed: 1,060 SPM
- Full Intensity Lighting System with 9 White LED Lamps in 4 Locations
- 11″ to the Right of the Needle
- Retractable High Light
- 1/4 Inch Seam Foot O
- AcuFeed Flex™ Dual Feed Holder with AD Foot
- Automatic Buttonhole Foot
- Blind Hem Foot G
- Button Sewing Foot
- Cloth Guide
- Darning Foot
- Extra Large Foot Controller
- Free Motion Quilting Closed Toe Foot
- HP Plate and Foot Set
- Open Toe Satin Stitch Foot
- Overedge Foot M
- Remote Thread Cutter Switch
- Rolled Hem Foot
- Satin Stitch Foot
- Seam Ripper
- Straight Stitch Needle Plate
- Zig-Zag Foot
- Zipper Foot E
So that’s my recap! I’ll do a couple follow-up posts on the placemats and shirt projects. Stay tuned!