The Story So Far :: A New Sewing Machine
I had been looking for a new machine for a couple of years and last year I was going to investigate further when I was at the shows. Well we all know how that turned out don't we?! But that still left me with a desire for a new machine. I was lucky enough to get one at the end of July last year and I have to say I love it!!!
The machine is a Janome MC9450QCP and it's a first for me to have a Janome. In my research, I knew lots of people who had a Janome machine and they came highly recommended. It arrived sooner than I thought and I have to admit that, whilst I enjoyed unboxing it and looking at all the accessories, I had somewhat lost my mojo. I know some makers who were uber productive last year but then equally there were people like me who didn't sew very much at all. I was in my studio a lot quilting for customers but my spark had gone. In fact it didn't really come back until January 2021 and is still liable to go walkabouts for weeks on end .......
However, when it is there I put it to good use and have now had time to really put the machine through its paces and thought I would share some of what I have learnt. There are still so many functions and accessories I have not yet used but that will come.
The first time I used the machine was during the first Zoom workshop I attended - probably not the best thing to do because I was learning two new technologies! But I made a wonderful pouch and straight away began to see the benefits of a new machine with the extra settings and accessories.
THINGS I DID NOT KNOW I NEEDED BUT WOULD NOW MISS TERRIBLY!
The Auto Thread Cutter
This really speeds up sewing and not having to hold your tail ends when starting a new seam is just great. With wrists and thumbs that have already shown signs of wear and tear for 10 years anything that minimises the stress on them, but still allows me to sew, is very welcome.
The Extra Light
Whilst the lighting in general on this machine is fantastic, well truth be told anything would be after sewing for the last two years with no light on my old machine due to cost of replacing the LED which was attached to the main board, but the extra pull out light on the front of the machine head is just genius.
During winter I found I used this a lot when there were low light levels, but the other time I tend to pull it out is when paper piecing - it really does show you if you are stitching on that line or not and has made the accuracy of my piecing so much better.
All of the Feet
This machine comes with a LOT of feet and, whilst I haven't used them all yet, I have tried out several of them and I am now eager to switch feet for different applications. Having the right foot for the job has certainly been a game changer for me in in terms of efficiency and precision and, having come from a production engineering background, those things are still important to me!
One foot that is new to me is the 1/4" foot without a guide as opposed to the one with the metal strip that you press the fabric up against. I found I very rarely used my 1/4" foot on my old machine because that little metal strip used to annoy me! Yes, it gave you a nice 1/4" seam but for it to work smoothly it really did require lovely straight edges. I improv piece a lot and so often sew and cut after so my seams do not always align perfectly.
Having a 1/4"foot without that guide means I can get my 1/4" seam but without anything getting caught up in it. This is the foot I nearly always put on now for piecing.
The Acufeed Feet
Accufeed is Janome's system for feeding the layers of fabric through the needle area evenly, doing the same job as walking feet. These feet are brilliant!
It came with two and I use the smaller foot for many things, such as pouch making and putting on binding, anywhere there there are multiple layers basically. And you see that little hole on the right hand side in the picture below? That gives the perfect margin for a great top stitch - again helping me achieve the precision I want but with minimal extra effort.
The Open Toe Foot
Whilst this foot is primarily designed for using with the decorative stitches it is also great for increasing your visibility, particularly important when foundation paper piecing and you really need to be sewing on that line and also for making HSTs when you have marked on the diagonal.
the open toe foot + pull out front light = ease of piecing + accuracy
The Presser Foot Auto Lift
I knew this machine came with a knee lift which I was really excited to try out, again anything to save my hands, but I haven't even attached yet. Why not? Well the machine has a function I was unaware of it before it arrived and it can be accessed at the press of a button!
You see the yellow box in the top left hand corner? Well when that is selected, as it is in this photo because it's yellow, it means the presser foot automatically lifts up when you stop sewing. So, if you have the needle set to stop in the down position this function saves sooooo much time when it come to rearranging fabric, pivoting around corners or taking out pins that you have stitched to near to!
Whilst this is just a brief insight into the machine I have to say that I am delighted with it. Sewing and quilting has become a lot more pleasurable because of the machine and whilst my old machine is still on a desk in my studio I have to say it is just gathering dust! There are so many more features and accessories available now than when I bought my last machine and if you are thinking of buying a new machine I really would advise you to do extensive research - you never know what you might not be able to live without until you have it!