Here is your word for the day: plethora. As in, "a whole bunch." As in, "With such a plethora of ribbon options on the market today, why would I want even more?" Because you can. The Janome Ribbon Sewing Guide allows you to stitch directly on ribbon up to 1" wide, so you can personalize the color and design of your ribbon accents and create exactly the look you want and need.
The Janome Ribbon Sewing Guide comes with two pads (one thin and one thick) and two screws (one long and one short). Which combination of pad and screw you use depends on where the screw hole is placed on the bed of your Janome machine.
This accessory is designed and made for Janome machines, however, the flexibility of the guides and screws makes it compatible with many brands. Check with your local dealer to be sure. Your sewing machine brand may have its own version of this type of foot.
Most of the ribbons in our samples came from our friends at The Ribbon Retreat.
The instructions that come with the attachment are quite detailed. It's easy to identify which size pad and screw you need.
Our Janome machine called for the thinner pad and the shorter screw.
Line everything up, place the screw into the appropriate slot on the guide (mine went into the second slot) and tighten the screw slightly. Leave it loose enough so you can slide the guide left and right. This slight horizontal sliding allows you to precisely position the guide so its red line aligns with the center of the needle hole. We're using our Satin Stitch foot, which has a red arrow at the center point so we were also able to use this to help get the guide perfectly centered. Once centered, tighten the screw all the way into place.
Loosen the two white thumbscrews and open the guides wider than the width of your ribbon.
We found it easiest to first thread thread ribbon through the open gates of the guide and under the presser foot, centering the ribbon under the presser foot, then dropping the foot to hold the ribbon in place.
Bring the gates together so they just touch either side of the ribbon and tighten both thumbscrews. Slide the transparent guide bar into place. The ribbon goes under this bar.
Set up your machine for a decorative stitch. As I mentioned above, we used the Satin Stitch foot, which we prefer for decorative stitching. You can also use a regular Zig Zag foot. As always, test stitch on a scrap of ribbon to make sure you are comfortable with the chosen foot.
Your tension should be set to automatic or approximately 2-4.
Choose your decorative stitch. As above with your foot selection, a test stitch on a ribbon scrap is recommended to make sure the width of your selected decorative stitch fits the ribbon.
A fine thread and a fine, sharp needle will give you the best results. Remember the rule: "New project? New needle!"
For our first test, we used a ⅝" plain grosgrain ribbon.
The density of the decorative stitching will wrinkle the ribbon a bit as it comes through the machine. A good pressing takes care of that.
For our second test, we used a ½" black satin ribbon.
For the third test, we used a 1" printed grosgrain ribbon.
And for our final test, we used a ⅜" grosgrain ribbon with a decorative border on each side. We switched to the standard Zig Zag foot, playing around with the stitch width quite a bit to make sure the design was centered nicely between the ribbon's borders.
The attachment's directions recommend leaving at least a 2mm allowance at both edges when sewing narrow ribbons. This means the decorative stitch you choose should likely be adjusted so its width is as narrow as possible. Test, test, test.
Thanks to the Janome Ribbon Sewing Guide, we now have new ribbons ready for embellishing onto our next project.
NOTE: All our sample ribbons were pretty sturdy to start with. If you want to stitch onto a stretchy, soft or delicate ribbon, you should use a tear-away stabilizer behind the ribbon so it will feed properly.