Saturday Sewing: Free Form Appliqué – Apple Mug Rug

This free form appliqué is a fun and organic form of appliqué using your Janome sewing machine.  You can use any of your own applique designs.

Materials Needed:

2 Squares 6 ½” x 6 ½” for background

1 square 5” x 5” for apple

Scrap green fabric for leaf

Black thread 12 wt or your preference.

1 square batting 6 ¼ “ x 6 ¼ ”

Janome Darning Foot PDH (closed toe optional)

Janome mini duck bill Appliqué scissors

Marking tool or pen

Print an apple design or draw your own and cut it out.  Trace the pattern onto the apple fabric.  I used a heavy marker here in order for it to show in pictures but you would use a wash away or iron away marker.  Do not cut out the apple fabric yet.

Place the apple fabric onto the right side of the background fabric making sure to centre on the square.  You may spray baste or pin the fabric.


Thread the machine with the 12wt black thread ( thicker thread) and regular thread in bobbin.  We recommend you use a Janome red tip needle with its larger eye or a top stitch needle to accommodate the thicker thread.
Attach  your Darning foot and don’t forget to lower the feed dogs.  Following the marked line,  sew twice around the edge in a “messy” way. This gives it that organic look.  If you wish, you can use a light stabilizer on the back. 

Using the new Janome mini duck Bill scissors, trim away the outside edge of the apple making sure not to cut too close to the sewn line in order to leave a narrow raw edge. 

Repeat the same process for the leaf and stem.  Finish the Mug Rug using your favourite method such as sewing the front and back with the batting right sides together and turning right side out after sewing. 


Posted in APPLIQUE WITH JANOME | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Changing Embroidery Designs with Artistic Digitizer Software


I had a lot of fun with my Janome 500E and Artistic Digitizer last month making Christmas ornaments for gifts. If you haven’t heard about Janome’s Artistic Digitizer software, you can learn more about it by contacting your local Janome dealer and by doing a search on Janome Life where we have done many posts about this software. The software was recently updated and you can learn more about those enhancements by clicking here.

It was the first time I’d made ITH (in the hoop) projects and I was thrilled at how well they turned out. The combination of the Janome 500E (the precursor to the current Janome 550E) and the Artistic Digitizer software made it so easy to create these ornaments.

Janome 500E

Since “that year” is now behind us I think it’s safe to share how I altered a purchased embroidery design to “commemorate” 2020.

I had a machine embroidery ornament design that I’d bought of a gingerbread man wearing a mask (very COVID-19 chic!) and I wanted to change the colour of the mask and I wanted to put “2020” on the design. (I thought the original green colour was very Christmas-y but my son thought it should be the typical blue colour that most of us are sporting).

Here’s what the original ornament looked like:

Gingerbread man with amsk - 1

To make the changes in this design, I first opened the original design in the Artistic Digitizer software.

1 - Initial design

Changing the colour of the mask to blue was easy. I clicked on the mask and then chose the colour I wanted from the Colour palette on the right side of the screen. There are different options for selecting or changing colours but this is the one that I find the easiest. 

2 - Selecting area to change colour

You can choose what brand of thread you want in the top drop down menu. 

3 - Choosing new colour

I chose the Madeira polyneon. (Did you know that Janome Canada is the distributor of Madeira threads in Canada? Check with your local Janome dealer to see what selection they carry). 

After clicking on the desired colour, you can see that the mask is now the standard blue shade we’ve become so used to seeing. 

4 - new colour on designNext, I wanted to put “2020” somewhere on the design. I decided to delete the top button and place it there, so I selected the button and deleted it.

5 - delete button I then used the Text feature to add “2020”.

6 - Insert text

I clicked on the capital “T” on the left hand menu and chose the font I liked from the drop down menu. 

7 - text choices

I then typed in “2020” in the Text box in the top left side of the pop-up menu and adjusted the font size until it was the size I wanted. I moved it into place.

8 - Text and font

Note: If you want to change existing text in a design, you’ll need to select it and then click on the Text tool to choose the new font and size. You can only do this in DRAW files – not in JEF files.

I selected the same red colour for “2020” as the other buttons in the design.

I then had the new design I wanted with the blue mask and “2020” on the ornament.

9 - Final design

I saved it as a DRAW file first and then saved it as a JEF file so I could import it to my Janome 500E using a USB stick.

All that was left was to stitch out the ornament and this was the final result.

2020 gingerbread man - 1

I was quite pleased by the changes I’d made in this design and thrilled that it was so easy to do using the Janome Artistic Digitizer software.

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


Posted in Artistic Digitizer embroidery software, Janome 500E | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Janome HQ’s Instagram LIVE TODAY, WEDNESDAY 1pm EST

Join us LIVE at 1pm EST @janomehq Instagram page every Wednesday for Janome HQ’s NEW series “Janome’s Magical Machine Mystery Tour” as we highlight a different machine in the Janome line. From entry level to Top of the Line; embroidery machines; longarm quilting machines; sergers and MORE!

What machine and Janome goodies will we talk about this week? It’s a MYSTERY so you must tune in each week for the big reveal! Don’t worry if you can’t make the LIVE presentation, though. They’ll be stored in the IGTV icon on the Janome HQ Instagram Page and later posted as videos on the Janome HQ You Tube channel.

JMMMT Artwork 2

Follow us on the Janome HQ Facebook page and write me at (copy and paste in a new browser) for more information about upcoming on-line classes and (eventually) on site classes at The Janome Sewing and Learning Centre in Oakville, ON; Janome Canada’s Head Quarters.

Happy Sewing and #sharethejanomelove!

Posted in @JanomeHQ Instagram Live | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Mini Sewing Tips from Sew4Home – HOW TO SQUARE UP FABRIC

We start of the year with more Mini Sewing Tips from Sew4Home: this month it is all about How to Square up fabric. 

Puckered seams. Misaligned panels. If you’ve ever tried to work with fabric cuts are that are not straight and true, you know why it’s so important to square-up your fabric. This is a technique that belongs in everyone’s sewing toolbox. Read on for Sew4Home’s easy folding, aligning, and cutting tips.

Starting with a squared edge can make every project is easier and more precise. This is especially true for beginners, but is really great advice for us all.

For this technique, arm yourself with a rotary cutter, a cutting mat with ½” and/or 1” gridlines, and a 3″-6” x 12” quilter’s ruler, which is the kind with both horizontal and vertical markings down to at least ¼”, down to ⅛” is even better.

Many folks love the wonky look of modern quilting, but in most situations, having a cut with perfectly straight sides and exact 90˚ corners makes construction so much easier and more precise.

The samples below show squares (12” x 12” and 4½” x 4½”), but the technique also works for rectangles. Simply follow the first steps as-is to cut the height then slide the ruler as needed for the greater width.

Let’s Get Squared

 We started with a half yard cut of a standard 44” WOF (width of fabric) quilting cotton (18” x 44”). From this yardage, we want to cut two perfect 12” x 12” squares.

In the steps below, you’ll see the instructions say to “align” edges but the photos show the edges slightly off-set. Hey! The photos are set-up to better show the layers; we are “in the process” of aligning but stopped just short so you can more clearly see the layers and/or folds.

Fold the fabric in half so the selvedges match.  Your folded piece is now 18” x 22”.

Fold in half again so the selvedges are now parallel with the center fold and the fabric is smooth and even. Your folded piece is now 18” x 11”.

Position the folded fabric on the cutting mat so the center fold (the 18” folded edge) is aligned with a horizontal gridline on the cutting mat and the “ragged” 11” side is to your right. The first step in squaring your fabric is to align the ruler with a vertical gridline close to that ragged edge.

The goal is to conserve fabric when squaring, so get as close as possible to the innermost layer. The vertical markings on the ruler should match the gridlines of the cutting mat. This ensures the cut will be accurate.

Using the rotary cutter, slice off the ragged edge.

With the fabric still double-folded, make sure the newly trimmed/squared end remains aligned with the vertical gridline on the cutting mat. For extra security, you could tape that edge in place or use pattern weights.

Slide your ruler 12” to the left from the newly trimmed/squared end of the fabric. You can see in the photo below that our ruler is 12 squares to the left of the sliced edge.

The ruler’s edge should be perfectly aligned with the grid at the 12” measurement. Confirm this alignment both above and below the fabric. As in the steps above, the ruler’s vertical lines should be flush with the gridlines of the mat.

Using the rotary cutter, slice along the 12” line.

Unfold the 12″ strip you just created. It should be 12” x approximately 22”. Re-fold it so the two cut edges are aligned. The piece is now folded to 6” x approximately 22” — so it is the perfect height but wider than needed. The 6” end to the right is free layers – the remaining selvedges. The other 6” end to the left (outside the frame of the photo in our picture) is folded edges.

Align the cut edges (the 22” edges) along a horizontal gridline on the cutting mat.

You now have a new end to square. To do this, align the ruler with a vertical gridline close to the selvedge ends. Using the rotary cutter, trim away the selvedge.

Slide your ruler 12” to the left from the newly trimmed/squared end of the fabric. Once again, you can see in the photo below that our ruler is 12 squares to the left of the sliced edge.

NOTE: As mentioned above, if you need rectangle, you’d keep sliding for the wider width.

As you’ve done above, double check the vertical alignment from the ruler to the mat gridlines.

Using the rotary cutter, slice along the 12” line.

Unfold to reveal your two, perfectly squared 12” x 12” pieces with which to work.

Cutting fractional sizes

We created a second sample to cut 4½” squares, showing you that with a properly marked ruler, your squares don’t need to be whole numbers (such as our 12” x 12” above). You can cut factional sizes just as easily.

Follow the same steps as above to double-fold and square the first edge. Place this trimmed/squared end along a grid line on the mat. Slide the ruler 4½” to the left. This is also done in two steps. First, with the fabric folded and the end squared, place the ruler 4½” from the trimmed end.

You can get that perfect ½” by aligning the ½”mark on the ruler to the 5th mat gridline, counting right to left from the trimmed/squared end.

Once aligned and confirmed both above and below the fabric, slice with a rotary cutter.

The remaining steps are the same as for the 12” square above. Unfold the strip so it is folded in half just once with the selvedge edges matching and the cut edges even. Place the fabric on the cutting mat with the lower edge of the fabric aligned along a horizontal gridline on the cutting mat. Align the ruler to the vertical gridline closest to the selvedge end, and using a rotary cutter, trim away the selvedge.

Slide the ruler 4½” from the trimmed end of the fabric, again using the gridlines of the cutting mat as your guide. Again align the ½” mark of the ruler to the gridline of the mat between the 4” and 5” measurement. If you need more than one square, you can continue along the strip in 4½” increments, aligning and slicing in the same manner.

Link to article at S4H:

By: Liz Johnson, Senior Editor, Sew4Home – a Janome Exclusive Studio

Posted in S4H Sew4Home | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

All You Need is Sleep: In-the-Hoop Sleep Mask

In-the-hoop embroidery projects amaze me! I remember the first time I heard about them and I was sure it was a lie! How can you make a whole project on an embroidery machine? I’ve since then found out that they weren’t lying! They really are a thing! How cool is that? 

Recently Janome Girl wrote  2 blog posts on designing a in the hoop sleep mask in Artistic Digitizer If you want to make your own here are the posts: Part 1 & Part 2

Janome Girl’s mask is adorable but I wanted to put my own spin on it. I added new text and I decorated the mask with stars! I used the built in shapes for the stars. I love that you can change the number of rays on the star. It defaults to 6 rays but I really wanted stars with 5 rays. 

One thing I’m really excited about on my sleep mask is that I had a scrap of luxurious Minky Dot laying around that I put on the back. It is so cozy!

This was such a fun little project and I learned so much about Artistic Digitizer while following Janome Girl’s great instructions!

If you make one of your own we would love to see it! Give @JanomeCanada a tag on Social Media!

Stitch On!


Did you see our post last week on 31st December about our upcoming virtual classes? Here is the link if you missed that post. Our LET’S EXPLORE EMBROIDERY classes (2 dates to choose from: Saturday 30th January OR Saturday 6th February) with embroidery 101 learning information as well as hands-on in-the-hoop projects to follow along and create with us during the class.  A great machine embroidery skill builder class and highly recommended if you intend to register for our Kimberbell Janome Exclusive event –  which will be coming later! 

We look forward to seeing you in a Janome online class soon! Check out our link for info about where you can register for these classes. Ed. 

Posted in Artistic embroidery software, Janome Embroidery | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Artistic Digitizer – Update V1.6 is now available.

Good news for owners of Artistic Digitizer software

There is an update (from version 1.5 to 1.6) for Artistic Digitizer  which has just become available for you to install.  This v1.6 update is free for all existing owners of the Artistic Digitizer full version.  ( see below for what is included  the Artistic Digitizer Junior version).

The update includes new and improved features as well as other improvements and minor fixes:

1. Larger multiple frames:

The size of your design is no longer a problem. You can now easily insert and position additional hoops. This is very useful for large designs that require multiple hoops.

2. Additions for appliqués:

A new placement method for appliqués has been added to the software. Zigzag placement for a pre-cut appliqué is a great way to decorate your work to make it stand out. The way the stitches are placed on the fabric resembles the rays of the sun, highlighting the entire appliqué design.

3. New work area functionality:

You can now use any shape as a “work area” (guide line shape). You can create the shape of your choice using the available tools, then use it as a work area or select one from the predefined work areas. 

4. Improvements to the Array tool

“Predetermined” arrangements have been added. Using the presets, you can mirror the repeats horizontally, vertically, or back and forth like in the four corners of a rectangle. These presets are in addition to the tool’s existing manual mirroring capabilities.

5. Customization of user interface (UI) colours now possible:

Allows for grid colour control and customization of outline colours, guide lines, canvas colours, etc. Settings can be saved by default, but also for each individual design. (Select “Customize User UI Colours” in the View tab).

6. AcuFil Stippling designs have been added in the software to the collection of built-in designs:

16 new designs have been added. You can use them to create stipple fill (meander / stippling) with wonderful designs. Perfect for quilting or any other embroidery design.


Artistic Digitizer V1.6 Jr contains items 1, 5 and 6 from the list above and also includes the new feature ‘Ambience Quilting’s Stippling’.


Existing users of Artistic Digitizer software can upgrade to version V1.6 for free. To install this update, just make sure you have a stable internet connection, then open the software and through the ‘Help’ tab, click ‘Check for updates’ and follow the instructions displayed.

Videos of the Artistic Digitizer software:

The tutorial videos explaining the functionality of the Artistic Digitizer software can be viewed via the following links (internet connection required):

link to Full version tutorial video page

link to Jr version tutorial video page

NOTE: These videos can also be viewed through the tutorials built into the software (internet connection required).

Another way to download the update for free is to click on this direct link:




Posted in Artistic Digitizer embroidery software | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Happy New year! AND information about upcoming Online classes with Janome Canada

2020 has certainly been a year not many of us are going to forget! Amidst all the worry and sadness and sacrifices that so many have made this year, there is the knowledge that there are some very special people who go the extra mile in times of trouble and despair to do what they can to ease pain and suffering. We salute you all – the medical people (including doctors, nurses, care aids, other hospital staff, ambulance staff) and many more who have worked on through this pandemic despite exhaustion and added risks to their own safety. Thank you to you all for what you have done to try to keep us safe and to assist with those who were/are ill.  And let’s also appreciate our family and friends who have stayed in touch, shared troubles and offered kind words when we needed those.

Top of my Wish List is that there will be an end to the menace of this virus soon and to being able to at least partially resume life as we used to know it. It may never be completely the same again, but it will get better. And hopefully we have all learned to be wiser and kinder through this experience?

There are some exciting things in store here at Janome (there always are?!) which will be revealed in due course in the months ahead. First up is our virtual/online classes which will resume in early January. Please see details below of what is coming. We are repeating a number of the classes we taught through our Janome Canada dealers this Fall as we heard many of you did not know about these classes and have specifically asked for us to teach them again because you missed out.  Be sure to register this time as we may not keep repeating these classes. We are also offering some new topics which we will feature in the coming weeks. Hands-on classes have been added – also due to requests from many of you.

*** Register for our online classes with participating Janome Canada Dealers. See more below***

Please remember that attending a virtual class is as close as we can get to in-store in-person classes at this time. AND you get to ask questions in real time which our educators address right there during the class. This is NOT the same as watching a video which is a pre-recording with no live educators present to address your specific real time queries.


Artistic Edge cutter classes are coming!


Book through your local participating dealer. If your dealer is not offering the class you want to attend, try the list of participating dealers below.

  1. Mending and Hemming Like a Pro – Popular class  for anyone who wants the scoop about all sorts of different hemming techniques as well as authentic jeans hems + mending holes in clothing.  6th January 1-3pm eastern Eastern
  2. Coverhemming with Janome  – This a comprehensive 3  part series of classes which covers all the various coverhem stitch options, techniques, project ideas and optional feet and accessories for our Coverhem machines. Workbook pages are included so you can make a handy reference tool.  11th; 18th and 25th January 1-3pm Eastern.
  3. Janome Sergers – This is also a comprehensive 3 part series of classes covering all that a serger does as well as optional feet and accessories, serger techniques and project ideas.  Workbook pages are included so you can make a  handy reference tool.  13th, 20th and 27th January  2-4 pm Eastern
  4. Artistic Digitizer Embroidery software 3 part series – also back by popular demand with expanded class time to three 3 hour classes – time for more Q&A. This is a hands-on software learning experience and includes comprehensive notes on the exercises covered during the classes.  15th, 22nd and 29th January 1-4pm Eastern.
  5. Artistic Edge cutter and Simple Cut software 2 part series 1st & 8th February 1-3pm Eastern . The course includes comprehensive notes and software exercises. Want to know how to use the Simple Cut software and the Edge cutter? Then this class is for you –  We have had many requests for this so don’t miss this opportunity! 

    Snowflake was cut out with the Artistic Edge digital cutter and then appliqued-in-the-hoop with stitches digitized in the Simple Cut software which comes included with the Artistic Edge Digital cutter.

  6. Let’s Explore Machine Embroidery : Saturday embroidery mini retreat. First up is Lecture/demo on mastering the basics of machine embroidery. Next is hands-on in-the-hoop embroidery projects (Supply list will include FREE designs for this class). We highly recommend this class if you are not confident with machine embroidery basics. 2 options of dates to accommodate our diverse time zones: Saturday 30th January 10am – 3pm Eastern OR  6th February 10am – 3pm Pacific

*** Contact your local participating dealer to register for these virtual classes.  If your dealer is not  participating, the dealers listed below are and will be happy to take your registration:

  1. Triangle Sewing Centre in Ontario offers an online booking system.
  2. Haus of Stitches, Saskatchewan  Tel: 306-682-0772
  3. Ultimate Sewing, Humboldt, Ontario  Tel: 905-436-9193
  4. Taylor Sewing, Ontario  Tel: 613-342-3153
  5. Tom’s Sewing Machines, BC  Tel 604- 507-2841
  6. Threads that Bind, Ontario Tel: 519-922-1010 or
  7. Hines Sewing Centre, Nova Scotia Tel: 902-798-9442

More Janome Canada dealers may participate but at the time of going to press, this was the list for upcoming classes.

Our Dealer locator is found on our website at the top of the home page next to the little Canadian flag: Where to buy.  

Please note that it does not really matter where you live.  So long as you can log on to the classes at the time zone advertised times, you are most welcomeYou will need to figure out what time to log on in your specific time zone.

Please note that these classes are offered LIVE and you will be able to ask questions in real time. These classes are not offered as a pre-recorded video. It would be wise to make a calendar note in your phone once you have registered so that you do not forget to attend the class!

Posted in Online classes with Janome Canada | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Homemade virtual event

Janome Canada is thrilled to be participating in the Homemade virtual sewing event in March 2021. This was just launched on Facebook so we encourage you to seriously consider registering for this virtual sewing weekend event organized by Jennifer Tryon who is well known to us ……she presents our Janome machine and partner products on The Shopping Channel and she has also enjoyed guest appearances on the Global TV Morning show recently. Here is a link where you can watch the Global TV Morning show videos. There have been 4 so far where she shows super cute and clever projects we can all make with our Janome sewing and embroidery machines!

Jennifer also created a wonderful backyard movie theatre last summer. Find out more here. I know we are not going to sit out in the backyard  (or lounge in the pool?) right now to watch a movie under the stars but we can plan ahead to summer 2021  – right?

But back to the Homemade Virtual Sewing weekend Retreat: Janome is one of the sponsors of this exciting event where various Janome  people will be teaching: Kimberly Einmo ( National spokesperson for Janome America; Janome Canada artisans Kim Jamieson-Hirst (Chatterbox Quilts) and Celine Allaert (Blue Calla Patterns ) will be teaching classes.  There will be something for everyone from quilting to bag making to garment sewing to machine embroidery and more. I (Liz Thompson) will be offering an add-on Machine embroidery class for those who want to learn hints and tips for success while making a few super cute little in-the-hoop projects.  But wait…….there is more…… should hop on over to Jen’s Facebook page to get the full scoop!

Be sure to register soon for this event as there is a limited number of  “seats”. 

Look forward to seeing you at the virtual retreat……. It is going to be way too much creative fun!!

Posted in Janome Sewing Machine, janomecanada | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Janome HQ’s Instagram LIVE TODAY, WEDNESDAY 1pm EST

Join us LIVE at 1pm EST @janomehq Instagram page every Wednesday for Janome HQ’s NEW series “Janome’s Magical Machine Mystery Tour” as we highlight a different machine in the Janome line. From entry level to Top of the Line; embroidery machines; longarm quilting machines; sergers and MORE!

What machine and Janome goodies will we talk about this week? It’s a MYSTERY so you must tune in each week for the big reveal! Don’t worry if you can’t make the LIVE presentation, though. They’ll be stored in the IGTV icon on the Janome HQ Instagram Page and later posted as videos on the Janome HQ You Tube channel.

JMMMT Artwork 2

Follow us on the Janome HQ Facebook page and write me at (copy and paste in a new browser) for more information about upcoming on-line classes and (eventually) on site classes at The Janome Sewing and Learning Centre in Oakville, ON; Janome Canada’s Head Quarters.

Happy Sewing and #sharethejanomelove!

Posted in @JanomeHQ Instagram Live | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Do you sew for charity?

Maybe you make quilts for sick people? – like comfort quilts for cancer patients?

Or maybe you sew clothing (like “pillowcase” dresses)  for little girls in need?

Or maybe you knit scarves and hats for the homeless?

Well done and thank you …… there is something special about people who bring a little comfort and joy into other people’s lives.

This baggie was made using an embroidery design from the ABC Nature Walk Collection of Tamara Kate designs.

I supported a charity for years that collected zipper baggies made by local sewers and filled these with toiletries like soap, lotion, shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste etc each holiday season …… little comfort packs for women in need. However that endeavor stopped after last Christmas. I thought I would use up some of my fabric stash to make little in-the-hoop baggies. I blogged about this earlier this year.

I’m happy to report that a big box of approx 80 baggies filled with simple toiletry  items is on its way to 2 worthy charities  –  little comfort packs for women in need at shelters during this holiday season. ( these were delivered to the Ann Davis Transition Society and also to Ruth and Naomi’s Mission  in  Chilliwack, BC) Thank you to Janome Canada educator, Anne-Margaret, for doing these deliveries.

Most are the little in-the-hoop baggies (digitized by Anne Hein of Janome America and as in the pic above – also featured here on a blog post early this year) but there are also some larger bags which were made using orphan blocks and embroidery stitch outs that did not find their way into a quilt or some other project.


Posted in CHARITY SEWING WITH JANOME | Tagged , , , , | 19 Comments