Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Janome Sew Mini Tutorial

I am thrilled to have my Bernina back from the repair shop. 


When TSA wrecked it in Seattle last year, I promised that I would NEVER travel with this beauty again. I decided I needed to purchase an inexpensive travel machine. The Janome Sew Mini sewing machine is a sweet deal.

Here she is,


my Sew Mini is sooooo cute. This little beauty weighs 5 pounds and costs anywhere between 40 to 60 dollars. I got mine from Hancock Fabrics. It is a pretty basic machine. It only does straight and zig zag stitching.


It isn’t designed to do any freemotion sewing but you can certainly alter the machine to achieve that. In this tutorial, I would like to show you how to alter your machine so that you can do freemotion sewing like this.... 

IMG_0743  IMG_0740



    or this


This is what you do:

First, some boring but important safety info: 

While you are setting up the is best to keep it unplugged. Plugging this machine means that the setting is ON and while working so close to the needle, you could cause an unintended accident. ouch!

To start, purchase this foot or something like it for a Janome.


This one was about 12.00 dollars. It is a freemotion foot designed for Janome machines. 

Make sure that you place it correctly on the machine....if you don’t, this could happen.

IMG_0720 IMG_0707

Trust me....I speak/write from experience. I was so eager to get the machine working that I wasn't paying much attention to what I was doing. It helps to read the instructions on the back of the package. 

Moving along....

You also need to cover the feed dogs....The feed dogs are those little teeth-like thingies that grab the fabric as you sew. So get a piece of chipboard or cardstock.

IMG_0708   IMG_0711

Pierce a small hole through the center of it. Use masking tape to adhere it to the machine. Making sure to cover the feed dogs and throat plate area. 


Put the freemotion foot on, plug the machine and you are now ready to do all sorts of freemotion sewing.

For me, the best part is that I can travel with it and I can demonstrate my techniques when I teach. In no way does it replace the power, durability and comfort of a better quality machine....whatever that means to you. But I think it is a better option than traveling with an expensive and often heavy machine.



Heather - Dollar Store Crafts & CROQ said...

That's great! I saw that machine at Hancock (I think?) for $50 and was tempted because it's a Janome... love your hack!

Denise Felton said...

Wonderful info! I just put a link to this post on my blog. I hope it brings you a few extra visitors.

Maija Lepore said...

Alma! You are a freaking genius!! I have to get one of those feet!

homemakerkate said...

Alma, great tutorial! some machine makers have a feed dog cover that you can purchase, it is usually clear and fits over the top of your feed dogs/throat plate (clips into place). Although I must say that the cardstock works and is affordable!! I am excited cause dear hubby just bought me a new Janome for Mothers day..weeeee!

kathy said...

Hmm - thought I posted this but just in case:
First - great idea - love a lightweight machine for travel!
Now to improve on your thoughts -
You might just want to buy a piece of teflon to cover the feed dogs, it would also help glide the fabric.
but really you can just use like the applique sheets and get the same effect.
Actually the Teflon is great to travel with - it can take heat, you can paint and clean up easily, you can iron wonder under and such and never worry about it sticking to things, etc. I even solder on it.

tilt said...

I have been wondering how to do just feed dog won't always reengage, so I tend to leave it alone. I'll have to give this a try - thanks :)

Peggy Giza said...

Hi Alma and all: I just purchased one of these feet at local sew and vac store for $9.99 pretty good buy I would be glad to pick up another if someone needs one for AFF. I am at a loss as to how to get it on can you help me at your first class. I will bring the cardstock tape etc. Peggy Giza

Joanne Thieme Huffman said...

I had one of these little machines and broke it the first time out (don't ask); but if I take the plunge and get another one, I'll come back to your tutorial.

grrl+dog said...

uh huh... I wondered how I could lug my treasured machine.. now there is an option

grrl+dog said...

this is a great idea... I loathe lugging my treasure..

marie said...

thank you! thank you! for sharing the info on the small Janome. All my things are in storage and I have been missing my sewing machine and I wanting something small and inexpensive and portable.This is it! Thank you.

Robin said...

Okay, I think you may have helped me get over my fear of changing my presser foot. Doesn't look too too scary.

Lorie said...

Alma, you rock! I just bought this little baby a couple of weeks ago. Your timing of this tutorial couldn't be better. THANK YOU. Lorie

Roseanna said...

What a great idea...does this inexpensive machine hold up, or work as well as free motion on your "better" machine? I am asking because it is such a pain to change out feet and set up for free motion when I am in the mood. It always seems as though I then need to use the machine for regular sewing. I would love to have a machine set up just for free motion, but only if the quality of stitching was the same. How would you compare the two?

ruth rae said...

wonderful information! can't wait to see you!

Gena said...

Great idea! I love it! Thanks for sharing your wisdom and art!

Sue said...

Thanks SO much! I've been wondering how this is done. :)

Dorothy Harlow said...

As an absolute beginner, can you explain the two stitches 'A' and 'E' and what effect they are designed to give. Is 'E' off-centre? The instruction booklet is woefully inadequate for such a beginner as me! Many thanks Dorothy said...

I broke mine too and I never did any free motion on it. I am going to try your trick on my Brother that I am using now. Miss you!!