Glad you asked that: Please help me understand how my Janome Buttonhole foot works.

file2-1 (2)Sewing Buttonholes can be one of the most feared techniques in sewing. Believe me, for a long time I have chosen a zipper over a buttonhole on every project that asked for it. But then I got my Janome Skyline 9 sewing and embroidery machine, and discovered buttonholes are actually super fun and easy to do. Virtually all Janome sewing machines come with built-in buttonholes, and depending on your model, it might be an automatic stitch program or a manual buttonhole. What does that mean? An automatic buttonhole stitch will do all four parts (2 sides + the 2 bar tacks) in one step, without stopping. Manual buttonholes do the same thing but you have to manually move to the next segment of the 4 steps of the buttonhole.

Your machine comes with a foot designed for buttonholes. It is often packed in the accessory tray of the machine or may be found in the packet of accessory feet  – depending on your Janome model.

There are several features on the buttonhole foot that make stitching buttonholes that fit your buttons  very quick and easy.

  1. Same clip on/off feature as other machine feet
  2. Clearly marked center lines, and length adjustments
  3. Removable stabilizer plate (depending on your model)
  4. Unique tab system for determining the stitching area
  5. Button placement area for perfect sizing every time

We strongly encourage you to use your manual which has lots of step by step instructions on how to sew button holes on your specific Jnaome machine. Your local Janome Dealer is also your go-to place for a demo of how to use the Buttonhole system for your particular Janome model. ( We suggest you phone to set up a time to go in for a mini lesson on buttonholes on your model. We recommend this rather than just walking into the store as our Janome stores can get very busy -espeically during this busy Fall season. Making an appointment is always a wise and courteous idea).

However, we offer a helping hand today by sharing a few tips with you:

Always make a test buttonhole on some fabric scraps, to make sure that you have everything perfect before you sew the button holes onto your almost finished project.

I want to draw attention to one unique feature of the buttonhole foot, and that is this section here as pointed out in the pic below:

This portion allows you to adjust the length of the buttonhole once you have your button in the button holder at the back of the foot. Sometimes we measure our length accurately, but the buttonhole is still either too loose or too tight. You can change this measurement by tightening or loosening the screw to the left of the button holder. This is excellent for quick adjustments due to thin or thick buttons.

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Another great feature built into your Janome machines is the buttonhole lever, or tab, that pulls down and fits between the two stoppers on the buttonhole foot. This works within the space taken up by the button in the button holder to determine the length to be sewn. The following video shows how to adjust the button holder:

You may be wondering, however, what these parts of the button hole foot system are for:

Buttonhole Lever

The picture above shows how the buttonhole lever looks when pulled down. You cannot stitch an automatic sensor buttonhole if this step is forgotten. Some Janome models will remind you on the screen with a little message if you forget to do this.

Stabilizer Plate

The picture above is a stabilizer plate, which acts as a base plate for thicker fabrics (think double layers of your finished garment, like cuffs and hems). It goes under the buttonhole foot (third photo below), with the fabric in between to hold it in place without slipping.

Rubber grip “teeth”

Let me demonstrate:

I hope this helps remove some of the fear of buttonholes!

Until next time,


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ARTISTIC DIGITIZER PART 7: Pattern/Design Information

Embroidery design information is essential in helping to choose the fabric, stabilizer, thread weight, and colors.  Artistic Digitizer aids our decision making by providing all these little details right on the screen for us.

Open the program and bring in one of the images for auto digitizing from the main screen.  When the design opens it is already in stitches.  We can then recolor, reorder, and resize the design to our liking.

auto digitized stitch image

The Eagle image is one of the built in designs in the Artistic Digitizer program.  We changed a few of the colors and changed the stitch order in the sequence boxes.

Before we stitch this design, we need some more details that will help us decide what choices to make at our embroidery machine.  In the lower left corner of the screen are all the details we need to aid us in our decision making.

pattern details

These details listed in the program help me to make good choices.  Since this is a fairly small design and has 9000 stitches, it tells us it is pretty dense.  We may choose to use a lighter weight thread to stitch this with so it is not so stiff.  We will also use a sturdy fabric with a medium to heavy weight tear away stabilizer to prevent puckers from the dense stitch count.  There are 14 thread changes.  Perhaps we may want to re-digitize the pattern and have fewer thread changes to make the design stitch faster.

Just because a design looks good on the screen of the program does not mean it will stitch well.  You can ruin a design that is well digitized very quickly by making poor choices at the machine.  Have your threads, stabilizers, fabric choices, etc. reflect the properties of the design itself or you can have poor results.

Artistic Digitizer helps us in our planning for the entire process by providing this critical information.



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Did you know you can do “hand quilting” by machine? Yes, you can……in a fraction of the time it takes to put your thimble on your finger, run your thread through bees wax and then try to do that rocking motion to hand quilt.

So how do we do this great labour saving technique on our Janome sewing machines?

First of all, you need a Janome machine with the hand look quilt stitch. I think almost all our models from the Janome 2030QDC upwards have this stitch. It looks like this on your flip top lid or stitch chart:           triple straight stitch + 1 straight stitch repeated as you sew.

Your stitch may not actually be # 22 or #23 but many of our machines have this stitch and the little diagram above is always the same. Just look on your stitch chart and if it is there, you will find it.  You may also look in your instruction manual where it is referred to as the sculpture stitch.

If you do not have this stitch on your Janome, you are welcome to ask your local Janome dealer to show you a model which does have this stitch and to demo how to do it for you.  I will show also you how to do it in this post as well as in this post some years back.

Secondly, you will need the Janome blue dot or quilter’s/low tension bobbin case. Now I had forgotten mine at work a few weekends ago when I made these little Maker pin cushions and I had no option but to change the tension on my regular bobbin case with a tiny screw driver. Many people are justifiably afraid to do this and I must admit that I had to be very careful so that I could return the tension setting to exactly where it was before I used my little screw driver.  So it is much easier and less nerve wracking  to just have the Janome blue dot bobbin case available, all set at the perfect tension for hand look quilting and for free motion quilting. Notice the blue marking on the bobbin case below – different to the red marking on the regular bobbin case so you won’t mix them up – Janome sure makes things easy for us!

Next comes the thread:

  1. You will need to thread up the NEEDLE with invisible thread. Yes, the needle, not the bobbin!
  2. The thread in the bobbin is regular sewing or quilting thread in the colour you wish to see on the top of the fabric as the hand quilting.  In this next pic, my bobbin thread was pink and you can’t see the invisible thread because it is…well invisible.

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

A couple more things to note:

  • Use this stitch for great top stitching too. Some people call it the seed stitch as it looks like little seeds strung together when you just stitch as a top stitch and don’t use invisible thread.
  • Increase the needle thread tension a little ; maybe 2 numbers so from 4 to 6. Test sew and adjust a little if necessary.
  • Lengthen your stitch. It won’t work nicely if you leave the stitch length at 2.0 or 2.4. It needs to be longer  – at least 3.5 or 4. Most times I actually use 5.0mm.
  • Do NOT sew fast. This is a process which requires slower stitching so set your speed at no more than medium speed.
  • Test sew a line of this hand look stitch and make some adjustments if necessary.
  • If your stitches do not look like the pink ones in the pic above or the charcoal grey ones in the pic at the top of the post, check you have done all the steps I outline here. Did you change to the blue dot bobbin case? Try increasing the needle tension a little more, or sewing slower or making the stitch length longer. Are all the threads properly in the thread guides and tension discs? Don’t frown at me or tell me indignantly that you have been sewing for 40 years! We all get side tracked or lose concentration from time to time when threading and it is very easy to lapse and not thread up properly…so check it…. Happens to me more times than I would like to admit!
  • It is NOT necessary to use a thick thread. In fact, I would not suggest it as the triple stitch makes the stitch look pronounced enough without adding a thick thread into the mix. Just use regular quilting or sewing thread.
  • Try a metallic thread in the bobbin for a real luxurious looking result…..and I sure would not ever have attempted to actually do hand quilting with metallic thread – that would have driven me bonkers!?

HAVE FUN! This sure is a very popular technique.  We will be talking about this and doing demo’s, show & tell etc this Fall on our rounds & abouts in Canada…………… Be sure to ask your Janome dealer if we are heading your way.



Posted in Janome hand look quilting stitch | Tagged , , | 23 Comments

Automatic Presser Foot Lifter on the Janome MC9400

One of the very helpful features on the Janome MC9400 is the automatic presser foot lift function. While you might be used to raising and lowering your presser foot manually, the Janome MC9400 has an automatic presser foot lifter that you can use to do this hands-free. You can adjust the settings in the Janome MC9400 so that every time you stop stitching, the needle goes down into the fabric and the presser foot automatically lifts up. The presser foot will automatically go down again when you start to stitch. It’s like magic!

Pressor Foot Height.jpgI love the automatic presser foot on the Janome MC9400, but I was wanting to  lift the presser foot higher.  I can do this manually with the presser foot lever at the back, but it took me a while to figure out how to do this with the automatic presser foot lift button on the front of the machine.

You can set the height of the presser foot to its highest point in the Settings area, but I wanted to be able to have the presser foot set at a regular height and then just be able to push a button to have it raise to the highest height – yes, I’m fussy like that!

I finally figured out how to do this and wanted to share it with you.

Check out the video on my YouTube channel to find out how to raise the presser foot to its highest height on the Janome MC9400 without having to change the height in the Settings area. It’s really so very simple.

Presser Foot Lifter.jpgIf you haven’t been using the automatic presser foot lifter on the Janome MC9400, you might like to give it a try. It saves time and effort and once you start using it…….. you’ll wonder how you ever did without it.

For more information on the Janome MC9400 sewing machine and other quilting tips, visit my Chatterbox Quilts’ YouTube channel.

Happy stitching from Kim Jamieson-Hirst, Janome Canada Artisan in Calgary, Alberta.


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Glad you asked that……What is tapered stitching?

Pic courtesy of Janome Australia

The question is: What is Tapered stitching? How can I automatically taper my stitches at an angle at the beginning and/or the end of rows of stitching? 

Think in terms of lovely satin stitching with 45 degree mitered corners on a square applique….. Or pretty decorative stitching tapering to a corner; point or at an angle as in the pic’s above and below?

Pic courtesy of Janome Australia

Janome Australia offers some information on this link. 

Tapering opens up all sorts of wonderful embellishment possibilities as it gives control over how the stitches will form at the beginning and end of rows. Choose from a variety of angles and stitch options.

This tapered stitch function is available on the Janome Horizon MC15000 Quilt Maker and the Janome Skyline S9.   Ask your local Janome dealer to show you this incredibly useful machine decorative and utility stitching feature…….super easy to access as the tapered stitching icon is located right on the touch screen. Please refer to this tutorial by Janome Education Coordinator, Nancy Fiedler, which offers good information about how to do Tapered stitches:

(Please note that this stitch tapering feature is also available on the Janome Horizon MC 15000 Quilt Maker.)

Would you like to add Janome Tapered stitching to your next project? 

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It’s time for the Creativ Festival in Mississauga, Ontario

YES…….it has rolled around again: one of the largest sewing and craft shows in Canada is happening this week at International Centre, Hall 5, Airport Road, Mississauga. Check out this link for more info.

As usual, Janome and Elna will be there just inside the main entrance. ……you can’t miss us! And we are providing, as usual,  fabulous black and white fabric shopping bags to the first 500 people through the door each of the 3 days of the show……..FREE.  I have been lucky enough to see one of these bags in advance of the show and you don’t want to miss getting one of them –  Trust me on this so get there early!

AND, as usual, Janome is the sponsor of the Grand door prize: the ULTIMATE MAKER’S STUDIO where you stand a chance of winning  the Janome MC9400, the Janome 500E and a Janome serger.   All you need do is fill in your entry form which you will receive when you enter the show, pop it in the draw prize drum and wait to see if you are the lucky one when we draw the winner on Saturday 13th October!

We will have 6 dealer stores represented on our 2 booths (Janome and Elna)  as well as 5 Janome staff……all of us are ready and willing to answer your queries about any of our products so bring your questions!  

In addition, we will have a special area on the Janome booth where you will be able to sit and serge at our simply fabulous NEW Janome AIR THREAD 2000D serger! Yes, this will be a great opportunity to see the serger, try out the very impressive air threading system and also the nifty needle threaders too! This is a much anticipated and exciting first for Janome so come on over and see why we are all vibrating with excitement over this addition to our line of machines. Do make use of this opportunity and come try one out. We will be on hand to show you how the air threading works and then let you do it yourself!


We will also have our QMP18 longarm; the SD16 sit down quilter, embroidery machines, sewing machines and more.

See you at Hall 5 International Centre later this week!


Canada 150 quilt by Janome Canada Artisan and spokes person, Tamara Kate.


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Fall Creativ Festival shows in Western Canada

During the month of September, I had the privilege of attending the Alberta Creativ Festival in Edmonton and Calgary.

I had no idea that so much work was involved in setting up the Janome booth! In Edmonton, we worked with Johnson’s Sewing Center and their amazing staff. It was a pleasure to teach people about our line of machines, from basic models for beginners all the way to our top of the line , the Janome Horizon MC15000 Quilt Maker.   The venue in Sherwood Park, just east of Edmonton,  was awesome with lots of space for all the unique booths, delicious onsite food and more. And of course, I shopped. It had been a little while since I had an opportunity to browse and see what was new in the quilting world, and I’m so glad I did. One of the kits I picked up is a gorgeous laser cut applique kit of an elephant and some sparkly linen fabric for the background, look for a future blog post about this project and hand look quilting!

The Creativ Festival in Calgary was equally impressive. I noticed that there was a focus on machine embroidery, and we certainly had all of our embroidery machines going in the Sewing World booth. I got to work with Michelle from the Sewing World North store. She is a new staff member and was happy I could tell her about our machines. Did you know that we have three machines currently that can do embroidery? The 500E (which is an  embroidery only model), the Horizon MC15000 Quiltmaker  and the Skyline S9. Click the links to find out more info on these machines.


If you had a chance to stop by the Calgary show, you would have seen my awesome Janome Red cowboy boots, which fit in perfectly at the venue: Spruce Meadows, just south of Calgary. Although it was a chilly weekend, we still had lots of fun and learning about what our Janome machines can do for your sewing life. I was able to do a bit more shopping in Calgary too, and picked up the latest Alison Glass fabric from Fabriculous. It’s destined to be a jelly roll rug, and I have a feeling that the Janome piping foot will be awesome for it.


The Creativ Festival has so much “scope for the imagination” ( in the words of Anne Shirley), and I hope you get a chance to attend one of these shows soon. Creativ Festival Fall in Mississauga, Ontario is coming up next month: 11-13 October.  The 2019 show dates are already posted to their website……… so you can start making plans to attend.


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NEW Sewing tool: the Janome TAPE STAND

Here is another great NEW sewing tool brought to you from Janome!


  • Did you wonder what to do with the long strips of tape or binding? Does it cascade off the table and onto the floor?

The Janome Tape binders and the Quilt binder just got even easier to use!!

Introducing the Janome Tape stand………

I have used this tape stand for both the Coverpro tape binder as well as the Quilt binder set and it works very well.

  • Just assemble the stand as per package instructions and wind your (joined) fabric strip(s) onto the stand.

  • Position the stand on the table to your right  & a little behind the quilt binder or coverpro tape binder which is attached to the base plate on the sewing machine or coverpro.
  • Now start binding and see how much better the tape feeds into the Binder attachment.……Janome really does think of everything!

More info above on the Janome bulletin but be sure to ask your local Janome dealer to show you this new accessory.


Posted in Janome Accessories, Quilt Binder | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

The Denim Quilt Project – Part 3


In my last few posts, I’ve been sharing with you my denim quilt project (if you need you, get caught up here and here).

This has been a super fun project and I’m feeling rather resourceful having used up quite a few pairs of jeans that were repurposed rather than thrown out.


My final task for the quilt was the actual quilting. I had much different plans on how to quilt this on my Janome Skyline S7 when I first started this project – originally planing some free motion quilting. But, somewhere along the way, this idea came to me and I’m so happy it did.


This is my quilt sandwich all laid out on my dining room table and ready for quilting. I like to use safety pins to keep all the layers of my quilt together. What is your preferred method for basting your quilt?

Once my quilt sandwich was ready, my next strep was to stitch all my seams in the ditch.

Do you stitch your quilts  in the ditch?


I haven’t always, but I find my patterns really pop when I do this, and I can also get rid of my safety pins (my chosen method for basting my quilts together) earlier because once I’ve done all my stitching in the ditch, the quilt is secure and it’s not going ANYWHERE!

And I love using the Janome Acufeed Flex (walking foot) for this step because it reduces extra buckling of my fabrics.

This denim quilt is a little heavier than most traditional quilts because of the shear weight of the denim fabric that makes up the quilt top. This was one of the reasons I decided to rethink my original free motion quilting idea. Just the thought of pushing through ALL that weight of the quilt top made my shoulders ache. LOL!


While I was working away on my sewing machine, the idea came to me about mimicking the stitching you find on jeans in the quilting for this top.

I love the look of embroidery thread on quilts but for some cottons, it can be too heavy. But not with this quilt!

Make sure you use an embroidery needle for the thicker thread and I set my stitch length to almost a basting length (4.0).

I’m so happy with this finished quilt. It’s just the right amount of rustic and vintage.


And I love the weight of this quilt. It will be perfect for car rides, picnics, or even to be used out at the cottage or camping.


This fall weather really has me craving sewing and quilting.


What’s your current sewing project right now? Do you sew more in the fall/winter? And, have you (gasp!!) started Christmas sewing yet?


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Serger Quilting

Wonky Log Cabin Table Runner

Don’t shake your head, or blink, because you did read that title right 🙂

There has been a ton of new techniques pop up in recent months because of advances in serger technology. One of those new techniques is quilting with your serger. If you had a chance to stop by the Creativ Festival in Edmonton or Calgary September, you would have seen the wonky log cabin table runner, sewn exclusively on a serger. You may be wondering: How does it work? How can you serge quilting cottons and not have issues? What about a 1/4″ seam? All in due time, my friends. Let’s get started!


First off, you need to set up your serger appropriately for quilting. Most 3 or 4 thread sergers should work but we used the NEW Janome Air Thread 2000D serger.


  1. Remove your right needle from the serger to give a three thread seam. Make sure to replace the screw that holds it in ( you do not want to lose that one…). This makes your seam allowance to be a scant 1/4″, which is excellent for piecing. Thread that needle up with a cotton or poly thread.
  2. Next, thread your loopers with your choice of either cotton or poly-cotton thread. Set your stitch length to 2 or 2.5 (your choice). I like a 2.5 stitch length as it allows for the fabric to be adequately seamed without a lot of extra bulk.
  3. Set the differential to 1:  this will allow both feed dogs to advance at the same speed and your fabric to feed through smoothly.

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Once you have set up the serger as above,  try a test strip of fabric to verify the seam allowance width and that your two pieces of fabric are still the same length (if they aren’t, reduce your differential feed knob to compensate). After testing all is as you require, you are good to go.

This project came from a free pattern designed by Joanna Marsh for Janome America. You can find it here! Our thanks to Joanna for designing such a great project as well as offering us the free pattern and instructions.

Gail who works at Langley Sew & Vac, Langley, BC, Canada made up a whole Wonky Log Cabin quilt quilt and showed it offering good tips and answers to potential queries on her blog here.  Thanks for sharing, Gail!

Happy serging!


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