I promised last week I would explain how to do hand-look quilting by machine  once I my samples arrived back from Saskatchewan.

pin cushion showing hand look quilting with pink bobbin thread and smoke or grey invisible thread in the needle.

The idea is to see stitches on the top of the quilt or similar project that look just like HAND QUILTING stitches BUT  have actually been done on the sewing machine. NO thimble, NO tiny hand quilting needle, NO pricked fingers, NO hours and hours of tiny hand stitching on a huge quilt.

Hot pad with purple bobbin thread and clear invisible thread

You need a few things to achieve what is shown in the pic’s above:

  1. You need a sewing machine that has the hand-look quilt stitch. Most (though not all) of our Janome sewing machines have it as we know you just love having this time-saving option!  It is the stitch that has one triple straight stitch followed by a single straight stitch – repeated over & over.
  2. A GOOD quality invisible thread. Some folk call it monofilament. I like Sulky, YLI, Invisifil – any of the reputable brands. Avoid the no-name bargain bin options as these will more than likely be cheap quality nylon which will stretch and not give you the results you require.
  3. Bobbin thread: select a colour that you wish to see as “hand quilting” on the top of your work. My pin cushion has pink bobbin thread. My hot pad has purple bobbin thread. Using a 50wt cotton thread is just fine. You do not have to use fine bobbin thread for this technique.
  4. Janome has an optional accessory: the blue dot bobbin case.


    This comes in 2 types as can be seen in the pics. You will need to choose the one which is recommended for your sewing machine: Notice in the pic where both bobbin cases are shown: the left hand one has a little mechanism in the upper right of the bobbin case. This is the mechanism which is necessary for sewing machines which have a thread cutter built into the machine. However, it ALSO fits some machines which do not have a thread cutter such as the Janome MC10000. This bobbin case is for most Memory Craft machines. The other bobbin case on the right in this pic is for all of our other top load bobbin sewing machines.  Please see your local Janome dealer for more information. We refer to this optional accessory as the BLUE DOT bobbin case; QUILTER’S bobbin case or LOW TENSION bobbin case – all the same thing:  great results for this hand look quilting stitch as well as for FREE MOTION QUILTING.

  5. A sewing machine which allows you to adjust speed control and stitch length.


  1. Exchange the regular red dot bobbin case for the correct blue dot bobbin case for your machine. Remove the needle plate screws with a screw driver to do this. NOTE:  the new JANOME HORIZON  MC 12000  does NOT require a screw driver and screws: it has the wonderful one-step-needle plate conversion button. See your local Janome dealer today for a demo of this incredible time-saving feature!
  2. Thread up with invisible thread in the needle and cotton thread in the bobbin.
  3. Select the hand look quilt stitch on your JANOME machine.
  4. Adjust the needle tension by increasing by 1 or 2 numbers: eg if it was 4, make it 5 or 6. Before we had this blue dot bobbin case, we had to increase tension as far as it would go to 9 and then often the invisible thread would snap as the tension on it was so high. That was annoying…… more frustration for us now that we have the blue dot bobbin case as it releases the bobbin thread much easier as it is factory set at a lower tension. Hence we only have to increase needle tension 1 or 2 notches.
  5. Adjust stitch length: I usually increase the length of the stitch to 3.5 or 4. I find this gives me a result I like.
  6. Adjust the speed at which you sew: if your machine has a speed control knob, reduce to slow. Sewing slowing will give a much better result with this technique as it gives the triple stitch time to form correctly and bring the bobbin thread to the top of the fabric. If you sew too fast, you may not be happy with the results.
  7. That’s it: mark your fabric if required and stitch away…… will see just how fast your quilting gets done. Let your JANOME sewing machine work for you!

close-up of the hot pad hand look quilting

close-up of pin cushion hand look quilting













(Deb adding on to Liz’s post…) Users of other Janome machines have asked what the stitch number is for their machines. Hers is a copy of the 6600 stitch chart. Stitches 22, 23 or 24 will work, albeit somewhat differently, for this technique. Some folks know this as the ‘sculpture stitch,’ ‘reinforcing stitch,’ or ‘hand look quilt stitch.’ Whatever you call it – we hope you enjoy the technique! ~ Happy Sewing ~

Try stitches that look like 22,23 or 24 (mode 2) to achieve the hand look stitch effect.

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About lizafrica

I work for Janome & Elna Sewing machines in Canada and LOVE to sew. I have been employed full time in the sewing industry for over 20 years so I do bring a wealth of sewing knowledge & expertise to this blog. I enjoy all forms of sewing from quilting to sewing garments to machine embroidery and software. Pretty much everything in my life is seen through the eyes of a passionate sewer! I am constantly on the look out for fun, innovative and inspiring ideas to share with you all on this blog. I also love to read, knit , travel and spend time with my family and friends.
This entry was posted in Creativity, Decorative stitches, Horizon MC 12000, Janome Accessories, Janome Quilt and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. tracy says:

    Do i hav to drop the feet dog to do this stitch on my Janome 6600, it dont seem to be working for me, and then i don’ t hav the blue dot bobbin case either, i will hav to get one.

    • lizafrica says:

      Hi Tracy,

      This is a stitch done using your feed dogs and regular foot A, ditch quilting foot S, or better still your walking foot. On the MC 6600P that would be the ACUFEED foot.
      No, you would NOT drop the feed dogs as that is done only for free motion quilting or darning.
      Yes, you will need the blue dot bobbin case. I believe ALL quilters need to own this bobbin case for this hand look stitch as well as for free motion quilting.

      Janome Canada

  2. Sally says:

    I used my 7700 for this stitch on a small project recently. The information contained below is fantastic. There is so much confusion over this stitch! There’s pictures on my blog – of using it with metallic threads.

  3. Julie says:

    Am I able to do this with a singer Futura 250?

    • lizafrica says:

      Hi Julie,

      I am sorry I am unable to answer this query as I am not familiar with the Singer Futura. Please contact your local Singer dealer to assist you with this query.


      • Julie says:

        Thank you Liz. I have found the stitch and bought the sulky filament. Trouble is I keep getting the thread breakage beep…will work on it 😉 and leg you know how I get on x

      • lizafrica says:

        Hi Julie,

        You should not be getting thread breakage:
        1.If you are using the correct needle with that Sulky filament,
        2. If you are using the BLUE dot bobbin case (which means you will NOT have to increase the needle tension up high)
        3. If you have GOOD thread delivery to the tension discs of the machine. We highly recommend vertical spool stands designed specifically for many of our JANOME models.
        4. You should also slow your speed when doing this technique.
        But then my blog post on this subject contains all this advice for success.


  4. Marcia says:

    I checked my stitch chart for my 4120 QDC and what I see that is comparable requires a double needle – would that be correct?

    • lizafrica says:

      Hi Marcia,
      No, you would definitely NOT use a twin needle for this handlook quilt stitch. I have never tried it with a twin needle but I doubt highly it would give a result that is described in detail in this blog post. The hand look quilt stitch on the JANOME4120 is Mode 3 Stitch #03. Please follow the instructions on the blog post for how to do the Handlook Quilt stitch.

      Janome Canada

  5. Theresa says:

    I really want the machine that makes this hand quilt stitch. I am looking at the horizon 8200QC. Will it do the stitch in the picture? Or is there another janome I should be looking for

    • lizafrica says:

      Hi Theresa,
      Yes, this stitch is 100% definitely on the Horizon 8200QC. It can be found on pretty much all our machines from the 2030QDC upwards. If you speak to your local Janome Dealer I am sure they will be happy to show you this stitch and the Horizon 8200. Incidentally I have demo’ed and sold a large number of Horizon 8200′s as it is a really nice machine – has loads of features such as the 9mm stitches, 11 inches of space to the right of the needle and much more for a very affordable price.
      Happy decision making about your new machine choice.
      Janome Canada

      • Adele Aiken says:

        What about the 6600p?

      • lizafrica says:

        Hi Adele,
        I assume your query is whether the Janome 6600P has the hand look stitch or not? Yes, it certainly does have it.
        Janome Canada

      • Adele Aiken says:

        Thanks! I just got my Janome and I just beginning to learn how to use it!!

      • Theresa says:

        I have been to the janome dealer and told her specifically I want the machine that will make the hand quilt look stitch and she could not find it on the 8200 or the 6500. I guess I will have to look for another machine or another dealer that can specifically show me that particular stitch. I have also been trying to find the 7700qcp as I have read this machine has the stitch but the dealer I went to does not have this machine. This has been so difficult when I really want a janome but am not getting the help I need

      • lizafrica says:

        Hi Theresa,
        I am so sorry you have been struggling to get information. It really should not be this difficult for you as this really is a pretty simple matter. Perhaps you might like to refer your dealer to this blog post if they do not know what you are talking about?
        The Hand look stitch, as already mentioned IS on pretty much ALL of our JANOME machines from the 2030QDC upwards. So it is 100% definitely on the HORIZON 8200; MC6500P and the HORIZON 7700QCP.
        On the Horizon 8200 the applicable stitch is in MODE 3 STITCH #04. If you look at this stitch on the flip top lid of the 8200, you will see that the little symbol has 3 short little lines stacked together & then 1 single line. THIS is the hand look quilt stitch or is sometimes called the SCULPTURE stitch. If you follow my instructions & tips on the HOW TO DO HAND LOOK QUILTING blog post, this is the stitch that will do it for you.
        If you have identified what the little sculpture or hand look quilt stitch looks like, then you will recognize it on any machine that has it – just look for it on the stitch chart of the MC6500P & Horizon 7700 – for instance. Trust me….it is there!
        I do hope this helps you. But do feel free to send in any further queries you may have as we really do not want you to be frustrated. We are most happy to be of assistance to you and many other Janome fans out there!

        Janome Canada.

  6. Marge Rowe says:

    Fascinating! Do you know anything about the Husqvarna Sapphire 870 Quilt or the Designer One?

  7. Adele Aiken says:

    does the 6600P have this stitich???

    • lizafrica says:

      Hi Adele
      Yes the 6600P definitely has this stitch. It is Mode 2 stitch numbers 22&23. Only difference is one starts with the triple stitch & the one starts with the “invisible” in between stitch.
      Janome Canada

      • Adele Aiken says:

        thanks – I just got my Janome and I haven’t even had time to set it up but I will do that soon and look for this stitch

        On Thu, Oct 24, 2013 at 10:56 PM, Janome Life

  8. Murushida says:

    Does horizon 8200 have the stitch? If so which number is it?

  9. Jordana says:

    Hi Liz.
    I actually saw this demo in Ladner a long long time ago :) I have the new horizon, do you happen to know the stitch number?

    • lizafrica says:

      Hi Jordana,
      You don’t say which Horizon you have. You say new Horizon so I am guessing you mean the MC8900? The hand look stitch on that model is # D97 in the Quilt menu. But maybe you mean the Janome Horizon 7700? That hand look stitch is # 94 in the Quilt Menu. If you have a different Janome Horizon: 12000? 8200? let me know and I will give you the # for your machine.
      Janome Canada.

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