Create your own embroidered panels using the MC6650’s decorative stitches

As many of you are aware, I am primarily a bag maker and bag pattern designer. The Janome HD9 professional is definitely the most suitable machine for my bag making needs however, I wanted a second machine that could offer more than just a straight stitch.  When I received my Janome MC6650 and discovered all of the gorgeous decorative stitches, I decided to do some experimenting and figure out how to implement them in bags. 

So far, I have made my own labels, embellished my bag straps and used decorative stitching for applique techniques to give my bags a unique look. 

In this tutorial, I decided to create my own embroidered fabric panel using a variety of decorative stitches that will compliment a designer fabric. My Begonia Drawstring Backpack pattern has unlimited possibilities for embroidered panels and best of all, it’s a quick and easy sew.  

TIPS BEFORE STARTING:

As I mentioned in my previous tutorials, before starting with decorative stitches it’s important to do the following:

  1. Change the needle in your machine to a fresh needle. For this tutorial, I used the blue tip, size 75/11 needle that came with my Janome MC6650


  2. Switch to the Zigzag foot attachment which is Zigzag foot A for the MC6650. It will look like the foot in this photo:
  3. Make sure you have a full bobbin and check it frequently while sewing. I purchased this set of Janome pre-wound bobbins and they have been a huge time saver! You don’t need your bobbin thread to match the top thread when you are using decorative stitches. If your tension is correct, the bobbin thread should never show in your stitching.

  4. Stabilize your fabric before starting. I always use a woven fusible interfacing fused to the wrong side of any fabric that will be used on a bag. Fusible woven interfacing is perfect for bags because once fused, it will behave just as any other cotton fabric but stabilizes the weave and prevents the fabric from becoming skewed while you’re sewing your decorative stitching.

  5. Prepare a test piece of fabric that has been interfaced as instructed in step 4. Before sewing any of the stitch patterns to your final piece, I highly recommend trying them on your test piece to make sure you are happy with the end result. Ripping out a decorative stitch pattern is time consuming!

LET’S GET STARTED!

FABRIC AND THREAD SELECTION:

Select the fabric and thread you want to use for your bag. I chose a gorgeous and colourful print from Amy Butler which features an enlarged hand embroidery pattern. I loved the colour variation and I felt the pattern would fit perfectly with decorative stitching. For the embroidery panel, you will want to choose a fabric that does not have a pattern. I wanted to use something fancier than a solid cotton so I chose this metallic Essex linen instead. 

Select the fabric and thread you want to use for your bag. I chose a gorgeous and colourful print from Amy Butler which features an enlarged hand embroidery pattern. I loved the colour variation and I felt the pattern would fit perfectly with decorative stitching. For the embroidery panel, you will want to choose a fabric that does not have a pattern. I wanted to use something fancier than a solid cotton so I chose this metallic Essex linen instead. 

SPACING OF YOUR STITCH PATTERNS:

I started by marking the centre of my fabric panel. I used a pencil since I knew my stitching would cover it completely but you should use a fabric pen that will disappear. 

For the first line of stitching at the centre, I kept the line directly in the middle of my Zigzag foot.

I then used the edge of my presser foot to decide on the spacing between my lines of stitching. Using this technique, I can vary the spacing between the lines depending on the width of the stitch pattern. If you’d like a more precise technique, you could draw more lines with regular spacing using your ruler and a fabric pen. Orbetter still, use the Janome Border Guide foot with the red lines specifically to space and stitch parallel lines of stitching. Ed. 

CHANGING STITCH PATTERN SETTINGS:

To select a stitch pattern on the Janome MC6650, you must first enter into the correct MODE on the machine. You will find a “MODE” button at the top left of the function keys. Most of the stitch patterns I used in this tutorial are found in MODE 2. 

Changing the stitch width and length:

All stitch patterns will have a default set of settings. For example, when you select stitch pattern 110 in MODE 2, the default settings for the stitch width is 9.0 and the stitch length is 0.40. You can experiment with these settings and use your test piece before sewing to your final piece.

Programming a custom stitch pattern combination:

One of the most exciting features on the Janome MC6650 is the ability to program and save your own custom stitch pattern combinations. The manual for the Janome MC6650 has very detailed instructions on how to create your stitch pattern combinations but I wanted to provide a quick example of a combination I used in my fabric panel.

I decided to create a pattern combination using stitch patterns 144 and 134. You will need to find the location of your Memory key, found at the bottom right of the number keys in your set of function keys.

Step 1: select stitch pattern 144, then press the Memory key. Your screen should look like this:

Step 2: select stitch pattern 134, then press the Memory key again. Your screen should look like this:

Step 3: Start sewing! Your pattern combination will be sewn and repeated until you stop sewing. 

Mirror image option:

Certain stitch patterns come with a mirror image option which will flip the pattern along a vertical line. I used this feature on my panel to have a certain pattern along both sides of the bag but in mirror image. To see if a specific pattern can be sewn mirror image, you’ll need to press the mirror image button as shown in the photo below.

If the stitch pattern works in the mirror image setting, this symbol will be displayed on your screen:

Here is an example of stitch pattern 051 being used in the default setting on the left and mirror image on the right:

** Please note that not all patterns will work in mirror image. 

I hope that this tutorial inspired you to create your own embroidered fabric panels. 

Happy Sewing!
Celine

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2 Responses to Create your own embroidered panels using the MC6650’s decorative stitches

  1. Jennifer Duarte says:

    Hello. I too have the mc6650 and have begun experimenting with decorative stitches. My question is: are the decorative stitches supposed to look the same on the front and back (quilt blocks, specifically sashing)? If not, is there any resource that will show me what the back is supposed to look like. I don’t know how I’m supposed to be adjusting speed and tension because the front looks right but I don’t know what the back is supposed to look like. Thanks.

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    • janomeman says:

      HI Jennifer. There are many variables which will influence how the stitches look, so experimenting on test samples is always the best way to achieve the results you desire. For decorative stitches, I recommend stitching at a slower speed to allow more time for those more intricate stitches to form. Using stabilizer or batting to support the stitches will also impact how the stitches look, as will thread weight, needle, and presser foot used. The more intricate or delicate the stitch, the thinner the thread should be to really show off the details. I use our Janome 50 weight embroidery thread a lot with decorative stitches, or the 80wt Madeira Bobbin-Fill thread. If you see the needle thread on the back side of the fabric, you need to either increase the needle tension, or, consider switching to the Low Tension/Blue Dot Bobbin Holder which has less tension, so it won’t pull on the needle thread as much. Again, you need to experiment to see what works best. When using batting in between layers, I use a Janome Purple tip needle, which has the flared Cobra head which separate the fibers so the bobbin and needle thread intersect more easily in the middle, and I stick to using more open stitches, nothing too delicate which can get lost in the dimension of the batting. As well, if you’re using an Even Feed Foot to quilt through all layers, that foot really only wants to move forward, so stick to stitches which don’t have a lot of back and forth or side to side movements. This will affect stitch quality, too, so again, practice, practice, practice till you find the combination which works right for you. I hope those tips help! Happy Sewing!

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