After learning to sew on a hand me down machine and falling in love with quilting, I decided to buy my own machine. My husband is a technology and gear junkie so he was as excited as me. After researching the latest models, their features and history, we went to a local store that sold a variety of machines. We tried out the same functions on each machine (like 1/4″ stitching and zig zag stitch) and compared features (walking feet/throat size). Ultimately, I bought the Memory Craft 7700 QCP (mine has a red face). Since that purchase, I have added the Hello Kitty as my travel machine. When Janome asked me if I wanted to try out the Memory Craft 9400 QCP, I couldn’t wait. I didn’t upgrade to the 8900 QCP as my 7700 was sufficient so the 9400 was a good machine to try out.
I didn’t want to sew a few things and then review the machine. Wanting to test out the machine’s abilities, I made one tank top, two dresses for my daughter, three pairs of City Gym Shorts, my mini solids quilts for July, August, and September, a double zip wallet, a full size quilt top, most of my jeans and other small projects. Here is what I discovered:
The Fun Features:
- Lighting! There is a pop up light on the top left side that really helps when you are sewing at night.
- The needle threader is very fast and much better than the one on my 7700.
- The low thread in my bobbin alert saved me several times. I also liked that you could adjust the alert’s sensitivity.
- The presser foot is triggered to go down automatically with the foot pedal.
- An thread cutter can be added to the foot pedal as an accessory.
- The bobbin threader has been enhanced with a second securing step for better tension.
- I am used to the amazing work of the Accu-feed system but someone who isn’t familiar with it would likely be impressed.
- The bobbin winder is fast, quiet and works well.
The Not as Fun Features:
- Make sure your feet are secured tightly. I broke two needles when the walking foot wasn’t on as tightly as I thought.
- In comparison to the 7700, the foot pedal cord is shorter. Since I have a standing desk, the cord barely reached the floor for me.
- The light under the throat gets hot over time.
- I managed to damage my bobbin case while making a button hole in denim. I’m not sure exactly how I did it but Janome sent me a new case without any questions.
For Your Information:
- The instruction guide comes on a DVD. If you are like me and your computer/laptop doesn’t have a DVD drive, you can also find the guide on youtube.
- The cloth guides works well but can only be used on the free arm.
I would encourage any quilter who is looking for a new machine to try it out.
Now onto my project:
I love using graph paper composition books for sketching quilt ideas! Since I like to carry one with me at all times, I wanted to create a gorgeous cover. After finding this excellent tutorial from Stitched in Color, I adapted the dimensions to accommodate a scrappy cover that looked more like a composition book. Let’s get started!
(2) 12″ tall x 7″ wide (this will be the fabric on the inside cover)
(2) 12″ tall x 7 1/2″ wide (this will be the outside covers)
(1) 12 ” tall x 2 1/2″ wide (this will be the spine)
1. Sew the inside pocket piece to one of the outside covers using a 1/4″ seam allowance. Sew the inside pocket/outside cover piece to the spine. The pocket/outside cover/spine piece will be sewn to the second/last outside cover. And finally, the long piece will be sewn to the second/last inside cover. The order, from left to right, should be inside pocket, outside cover, spine, outside cover, and inside pocket.
2. Fold the short side (12″) wrong sides together and over 1/4″ . Press. Fold the short side another 1/4″ over. Press again. (I like pressing both the right and the wrong side to get a sharp edge.) Sew down the fold using a scant 1/4″ seam allowance.
3. Repeat for the other side.
4. Place so the right side of the piece is facing up. Fold over each of the sides 6 1/2″. (You will be folding the right side to the right side so the sides’ wrong side will be facing up. You should only see the spine in the center.)
5. Mark 1″ from both the top and the bottom of your piece.
6. Sew along the 1″ mark ensuring you backstitch at the beginning and end of each seam.
7. Clip the corners.
8. Turn your piece right side out.
9. Push the book into each pocket one outer cover at a time. I usually slide one pocket in and then fold the book over and slide in the second outer cover.
Here is the front…
… and the back.
You could modify the pattern by making all pieces improv or use leftover quilt blocks for the outside covers! Hope you love your cover!