The Free Motion Quilting Project: General Sewing on the Janome HD 1000

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

General Sewing on the Janome HD 1000

I've had a wonderful week playing with the Janome HD 1000. Working on this machine has given me an excuse to finish up a lot of old projects laying around the house, and start a few new ones as well!

For the past several days I've been putting this machine through its paces at garment sewing. Why you may ask? Because straight out of the box, the HD 1000 is really only set up for garment sewing

This is due to the feet the machine came with: general sewing foot, zipper foot, rolled hem foot, and buttonhole foot.

The machine did not come with a free motion or darning foot, 1/4" piecing or patchwork foot, or a walking foot, so really you're going to be limited to garment sewing straight out of the box.

Of course there are many quilters who piece quilts with the general sewing foot that came with their machine. I did this myself on several machines and simply moved the needle position over to the left or right to achieve a perfect 1/4" seam allowance.

But on the Janome HD 1000, you can't move the needle position.

Yes, this machine does zigzag stitch, but you can't actually move the needle over to the left or right when straight stitching.

While this might seem like a horrible limitation, I really don't think it is! It means when the needle is straight stitching, it's going perfectly straight up, then straight back down into the machine.

The more complex a machine, the more fancy stitch patterns and needle positions, the more chance you have of the machine not stitching that standard straight stitch as perfectly.

This is part of the reason why I firmly believe that embroidery machines should not also be sewing machines. They are designed for embroidery, not straight sewing! But that's a soapbox for another day...

As far as general sewing goes, this machine feels and stitches like a real workhorse.

While I might occasionally miss a few features I've gotten used with my Horizon (the knee lifter and automatic needle down), I really can't see any difference in stitch quality between the HD 1000 (retail $299) and the Horizon 7700 (retail $2999).

There are only a few small complaints I have about this machine, and none of them are deal breakers:
  • Noisy - While it's not the deafening clatter a few of my machines have been, this machine definitely makes some noise. When you keep the speed moderate, it's really not that noisy, but I have trouble remembering to lighten my foot.

  • More feet and bobbins - Would it kill manufacturer's to throw in 20 bobbins and at least a piecing foot? Better yet, design a general sewing foot with one side trimmed down to 1/4 inch! I honestly don't understand why this is so hard to understand.

    I truly believe most people buying sewing machines these days are quilters, not garment sewers, but then again, I'm biased ;-)

  • Light - I always use a tall 3 light stand next to my sewing machines, but for this machine, I've pulled out one of my desk lights as well. It's not a huge complaint, but just something that could easily be fixed with a brighter light bulb inside the machine.
So those are my few complaints, none of which would stop be from buying this machine again. I really do like it that much, and I wish I'd had access to a machine like this when I was in high school. I know I would have done a lot less hand stitching!

Now let me share with you a fun project I put together today. This is the Cabo Halter, a pattern created by Amy Butler.

I love this top! I'm definitely planning to make many more as they're super easy to make and are the perfect garment for a hot summer.

While working on this top, I recorded some short sections of me using the different feet the Janome HD-1000 came with. To make the top, I used the general sewing foot and the zipper foot.

To show you how to use all the feet, I also shot two extra segments on scrap fabric to show you the buttonhole foot and rolled hem foot.

Put all together, I think this make a good overview on how the Janome HD-1000 does at garment sewing:

I muted the machine through most of this video, but left the full volume through the buttonhole section so you can hear the machine. It's really not that loud when you stitch at low to medium speed.

Overall, I'm very impressed. I haven't sewed garments much lately and I remember my last zipper was stitched way back in 2006! Still, this machine made it surprisingly easy with four very well designed feet.

Currently my favorite is the zipper foot, which I also used as an edge stitching foot since you can easily line the short edge against your garment and quickly stitch a nice line around 1/8" along the edge.

I used this foot to edge stitch around the top and ties of my halter and found it easier because I had better visibility than with typical edge stitch feet.

The rolled hem foot is also easy to use. Simply lock your thread with about 3 stitches, then curl the edge of your fabric into the foot, bringing the edge to line up with the left hand side of the foot. The foot does all the work from there, all you have to do is keep the edge folded and guiding through evenly.

So that's it for the general garment sewing on the Janome HD 1000! I'm off to make another halter and maybe even a skirt!

Let's go quilt,



  1. Thanks for the great ifon I did not know how to work my rolled hem but now I do. Thanks for all the great info you give to us.

  2. I really like your tutorial videos. I have a Kenmore sewing machine which is about 30 years old, till going strong. I have several rolled hem feet, for different size hems, and I have never been able to get them to work. Watching your video was very helpful, I just may get those feet out and try it again. Thank you.

  3. Laura, I have a Kenmore machine, which is about 30 years old. I have several rolled hem feet that I have never been able to get to work. Watching your video, makes it look so easy, so I might just get those little feet out and try some rolled hemming again. Thanks...really love your tutorials. Ann

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  5. My L-108 has a left-needle position (see the photos at Sew-Classic's review). Looking closely at the dial on the HD1000 (at Janome's web site), It looks like the narrowest zigzag (=no zigzag?) at setting C would get the left position on your HD1000. Not quite a fully-positionable needle, but it might open some possibilities.

    You're right that it's not the quietest machine ever, but my L-108 never lets me down. It's good to see a review of that machine for quilting (with which I have no experience).

  6. Thank You so much for taking the time to show us the how to's of using our sewing machine feet etc. looking forward to your next video's. Katie

  7. Threading the machine--I have 2 questions. First, does the thread go to the left at the tension disks, or straight down? I have tried it both ways and can't tell which is correct. Second, the thread rubs against the thread guide, sometimes causing shredding with the Superior Bottom Line, 60 weight! that I am using for FMQ. It shreds more when I am doing long wavy lines than when I am doing basic stippling. I have cleaned and oiled the machine, and rethreaded it following the manual.

    And one more question--do the felt washers help?


  8. B-B is correct. The first setting for position "C" (zigzag) does a straight stitch shifted to the left of the normal "B" position. I've had this machine for a couple years not and I love it. It really is "HD".



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