Janome’s patented needle plates are designed with etched guides to aid in fabric alignment when sewing. Your instruction manual shares tips about using them, but here are detailed explanations and illustrations to help you understand these engraved markings in order to use them correctly.
The photos refer to the 9mm needle plate; what Janome refers to as the “Easy Set” model as it has the removable bobbin/hook cover with bobbin thread guide/cutter to the left. However, many of these marks are the same on the needle plates of other Janome machine models, so you should consult your user’s manual for reference.
The center horizontal line across the needle plate indicates where the needle will drop. When you start to sew, lower the needle and place the edge of the fabric along this line for a good start. Always sew ON fabric, don’t start before and don’t finish after; there should always be fabric between the presser foot and the feed dogs.
The seam allowance used for commercial garment patterns is 1.5cm or 5/8″. When the needle is in the center position, line up the edge of the fabric with this vertical mark to sew. It is etched in the needle plate and marked on the bobbin/hook cover, as well.
For a perfect pivot at 1.5cm or 5/8″, stop sewing when the end of the fabric reaches the mark below. Rotate/pivot the fabric aligning the edge with the 1.5cm or 5/8″ seam mark and continue sewing.
Quilts, bags, and crafts often require a seam of 6mm or 1/4″. When the needle is in the center position, line up the edge of the fabric with this vertical mark, which is etched in the needle plate, and marked on the bobbin/hook cover, as well.
To start sewing at 6mm or 1/4″, align the edge of the fabric with this mark.
To start sewing a 6mm or 1/4″ seam allowance from the edge of the fabric, align the edge of the fabric with the 6mm/ 1/4″ etched marking which is above/ behind centre needle position. To stop sewing 6mm/1/4″ from the edge, align the fabric with the 6mm/1/4″ marking in front of centre needle position. You can see the 1/4″ indicators along the right edge of the needle plate.
The angle marks on the needle plate are useful for quilting. The angles are indicated in degrees: 45, 60, 90 and 120 degrees.
1. Guide your fabric on the dotted lines as you sew with the ‘O’ (1/4″ foot with our without a guide) foot to achieve a seam allowance of 6mm or 1/4″.
2. Guide your fabric along the solid lines when stitching with the ‘A’ (zig zag) foot to achieve a seam allowance of 6mm or 1/4″.
And there are all the other markings, too! They serve as a guide for seaming at various seam allowance widths and for topstitching. The maximum width of this guide to the right of the needle is 2 1/2″.You might use the edge of the needle plate as a guide when hemming, for example.
Ever wondered what that double circle on the right on the needle plate was for? It actually has a purpose. Press this double circle to easily snap in the the needle plate!
Janome thinks of everything!!!
Translated by Monique Wilson; created by Celine Ross from our sister blog in French, La vie chez Janome
Excellent info. Even though I read the manual, I had not known a couple of these regarding the angles. Thanks.
Thank you for your feedback! Sew glad you found the article useful . Happy Sewing!
This is awesome. Thank you. I didn’t know some of this stuff
Yay! Thank you for your feedback, Denise. This is why we love doing what to do – to help share more of the Janome love. Happy Sewing!
Very good information, thank you
Thank you Monique, I learnt so much reading this. Mary🤗
Yay! Sew glad you found the blog informative. It’s a good reference to keep handy. Happy Sewing!