Finishing Appliqué Edges on the Janome Continental M7

There are hundreds of decorative stitches on the Janome Continental M7 but I wanted to focus on the humble zigzag stitch in this blogpost.

Janome Continental M7

The zigzag stitch is my favourite stitch to use when finishing the edges of raw edge appliqué pieces (my favourite type of appliqué!) and I wanted to explain how I use this simple stitch and the various thread colour options I consider for this purpose when using the Janome Continental M7.

With raw edge appliqué, you need to finish the edges of the appliqué pieces so they don’t float away in the wash, which they tend to do if they don’t have any stitching to hold them down.

Appliqué on Tweet-Heart table runner (detail) waiting for edges to be finished. Pattern by Chatterbox Quilts.

I think that a satin stitch looks lovely as an appliqué edge finish (you can see how to do this stitch on the Janome Continental M7 here) and it’s really just a close zigzag stitch but…it takes a lot of time to do, and I want to get things done quickly! Rather than using a satin stitch, I like to use a short, narrow zigzag stitch for my appliqué edges.

To use the zigzag stitch on the Janome Continental M7, you’ll need to have the regular or zigzag needle plate installed. You’ll also need to choose the appropriate foot.

Regular or zigzag needle plate for the Janome Continental M7

There are 2 presser feet which come with the Janome Continental M7 that can be used for doing a zigzag stitch: the Satin Stitch F foot and the Open Toe Satin Stitch F2 foot. As you might guess, these feet look very similar but the F foot has a bar across it whereas the F2 foot does not.

Satin Stich F foot on the Janome Continental M7

I like to use both of these feet: the F foot keeps more pressure on the appliqué piece while I find that I have more visibility with the Open Toe F2 foot, so it’s really a personal choice as both work very well.

Open Toe Satin Stich F2 foot for the Janome Continental M7

There are different choices for a zigzag stitch on the Janome Continental M7 and the one I like to use is found under the Appliqué menu.

Appliqué menu on Janome Continental M7
Zigzag Stitch 2 is my preferred zigzag stitch to use for finishing appliqué edges

I make adjustments in the width and length of the zigzag stitch depending on the size of the appliqué piece on which I’ll be stitching. For example, if I have a large appliqué piece, the length and width of the stitch will be longer and wider than if I am using it on a small appliqué piece. You can find more details about adjusting this zigzag stitch on the Janome Continental M7 here.

I suggest you try out your stitches on a sample appliqué piece before committing to the actual project and always note, on the sample piece, the length and width numbers that you’ve chosen.

Samples of various widths and lengths for Zigzag Stitch 2 on the Janome Continental M7

Once you’ve decided on the appropriate stitch width and length, you’re ready to start stitching – almost. You still need to choose your thread and this is the fun part!

Here are the 3 options when choosing a thread colour for this finishing stitch:

  1. Use a monofilament thread so that you don’t see the stitches.
  2. Match the thread colour to the appliqué fabric which means that you’ll need to change thread frequently.
  3. Choose one colour thread to use for the whole project either one that contrasts with most of the fabrics or one that matches most of the fabrics.

For options #2 and #3, I like to use a 40 weight or thinner polyester thread like Madeira Polyneon, which you can purchase at your local Janome retailer.

Madeira polyneon embroidery thread Smart box

You’ll get a different look depending on which option you choose for thread type and colour. Here is an example of using different thread colours to match the various appliqué fabrics.

Different colour threads to match the appliqué fabrics. Detail from Blossoming pattern from Chatterbox Quilts

In the following example, I’ve used the same light thread colour for all of the appliqué edge finishes.

Using one colour thread for all appliqué pieces. Pattern is Awesome Blossom from Chatterbox Quilts

There is no “best” choice: it’s a personal decision and depends on the look you want to create in your project.

So, the next time you are considering what decorative stitch to use for finishing the edges of your raw edge appliqué projects, take a look at the standard zigzag stitch on your Janome Continental M7, or any Janome sewing machine – it might be just the stitch that will work best for your project.

Happy creating from Kim Jamieson-Hirst of Chatterbox Quilts, a Janome Canada Artisan in Calgary, Alberta.

About Kim Jamieson-Hirst

Quilting teacher, host at Chatterbox Quilts and The Quilter's Way, inspiring and encouraging quilters through education.
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