Many times when I am talking to folk about our machines, I hear this sort of comment: “Oh I don’t do much embroidery so I would not be interested in that machine”. While it is a good thing to know what you do & don’t want (as opposed to those whose stock answer is “I dunno”), I am a very firm believer in keeping an open mind.

Here’s a project that has absolutely nothing to do with embroidery or quilting and yet my JANOME HORIZON MC12000 was JUST the machine to complete the task.  I went  shopping for bargains after Christmas/Boxing day(just like SO many other folk) . I found this sweater & I bought a winter white one as well which fits me well. However, this red one, which is exactly the same size as the white one, is a little too big. The sleeves are too baggy for some odd reason.

this sweater could do with a little tweaking to fit better

Now you might be thinking that a serger is the best piece of equipment to alter a stretchy sweater and, in most cases, you will probably be correct. However, in this case, I was not wanting to trim off much knit fabric at all as the alteration is a relatively small one. SO, I decided that the JANOME HORIZON MC12000  and ACUFEED FLEXsystem with the DUAL FEED BALANCING DIAL was just what I was needing for this project.

Locate the DUAL FEED BALANCING DIAL on the right hand side of the Janome MC12000 and turn it towards the + sign. What this does is increase the speed at which the feed dogs work. What results is that the fabric is fed through the machine more quickly and does not stretch as it is sewn. This prevents those wavy seams which we do NOT want. This is a excellent feature to have when you are sewing with stretch fabrics.

Here is what I did:

I turned the sweater inside out and carefully pinned where I wished to take in the sleeves.

Pin sleeve, try on for fit & adjust pinning if necessary.

I then set up the JANOME HORIZON MC12000 with a matching thread in the needle and bobbin.  I attached the Acufeed Flex single prong foot with the VD foot for regular sewing. I can use this foot for straight sewing as well as 9mm wide stitches.  using this foot together with the Dual Feed balancing dial, I maximize my success at achieving a flat, good seam on even the most tricky fabrics.

Even if I had elected to use a serger for this project, I would most definitely have stitched the seam FIRST with the sewing machine and then come back to neaten the edge with a serged finish. This is to avoid what happened to me a while ago:  I got a little enthusiastic with my serger  and completely ruined a garment. Once you have cut into something with your serger blades, there is no going back! Caution is the name of the game – especially with stretchy knit fabrics like this. Yes, this sweater was a bargain price but I like it and don’t intend to repeat past mistakes.


I could have used a straight stitch for these altered sleeve seams. However, I know that all I have to do is try to reach up to the top shelf in my kitchen and I will probably split that seam! So I do prefer a stitch with a little more “give”: I have found that the lightning stitch (looks like a lightning bolt) – stitch #6 in the Utility menu on the JANOME HORIZON MC12000 worked for me as it is not called a stretch stitch for nothing! It literally does stretch if you pull the fabric and the stitches do not “pop”.  You might like to try this?

Sewing a knit fabric seam using the lightning stitch and the Acufeed Flex foot - effortless AND it achieved the results I was looking for!!




As the fabric is a knit, it will not unravel, so  I merely cut about an 1/8 of an inch away from the stitching. I chose not to serge this edge or use an overcasting/overlocking stitch such as #13 or 16 (same Utility menu) as I did not want a stiff, bulky seam. The knit fabric is soft and I wanted it to stay that way.

Cutting away excess seam after sewing the alteration.

It really was pretty quick & easy. I would have been done a lot quicker, of course, if I had not been taking pics & writing this blog post along the way! But I did want you to see that our wonderful JANOME HORIZON MC12000  does simple little mending tasks like this as well as ALL the other sewing projects you have planned for 2012!

About lizafrica

I am the National Education Manager for Janome & Elna Canada (including Artistic Creative products) and I LOVE to sew! I have been employed full time in the sewing and quilting industry for almost 30 years so I 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.
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  1. Lorelei Gustafson says:

    Thank you for this. . . esp. the confidence to forgo the overcast stitch. You’re right. . . bulky finish on lightweight knits is something that I’ve run into in the past. Got my Horizon 12000 for Christmas and finally have time to sit down and fiddle with it. Find that the embroidery unit ease of use and production quality are equal to my (traded-in) 350e qualities. Now, am ready to combine that with quilting. Need to get past fear of errors, though.


    • lizafrica says:

      Glad you liked the posting. We will try to do more in the coming months. Errors can be a good thing as they make us humble and teach us caution for the future! Good luck.


  2. Cheryl Paul says:

    That is a wonderful post. Knowing that increasing the feed dogs can eliminate that wavy look is great. Thanks for the hint. Great job of the sweater alteration.


    • lizafrica says:

      Hi Cheryl,
      Glad you liked this posting. That dual feed balancing knob is a very useful feature! I’m wearing the sweater today & I’m much happier – no more loose, baggy sleeves! Thank you to my Janome Horizon MC12000!


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