If like me you are lucky enough to own the Janome Memory Craft 9400 QCP you may have wondered what the Janome professional foot and plate (the one that says HP on it) are used for. There was only a little information in the manual (see page 34) so I reached out to Janome to find out more about them.
Firstly, to help you identify them the professional foot is a narrow metal foot which comes with it’s own foot holder so you can attach it to the machine. You can see a photo of it below, on page 4 of the manual it is foot number 17.
The professional grade needle plate is the one that has the letters HP in the bottom right corner. Luckily it is really easy to change needle plate with this machine, just pull away the extension table to the left revealing the needle plate release lever (see below) to the right and press it.
The plate will pop off, slide it to the right to remove it. You put the HP plate on by sliding it in under the needle from right to left and push down on the double circle just above the HP letters until you hear it click into place. You can see a closer look at the HP plate (and foot) below.
The first thing you will notice when you attach them is that most the stitches will grey out and be unavailable to select on your digital screen. This is because the professional foot is a stright stitch only foot, so you can use stitches I-4 under the utility category or stitches 1-5 under the quilting category.
The professional foot and plate has two key uses:
The professional foot is ideal for piecing, it gives a perfect scant ¼ inch seam if you line your fabric up with the edge of the foot. Plus unlike with the ¼ inch foot with plastic guide you do not need to remember to select a quilting stitch to move the foot so it is a quarter an inch from the edge (I always forget to do this when I start stitching!)
What’s more the professional plate only uses 2 of the feed dogs which means even if you are only using tiny pieces of fabric, or if you start right on the edge of the fabric it will not get sucked into the feed dogs. This has been a revelation for me! No more having to remember to start a little in from the edge or getting my corners chewed up. So much easier for half square triangles in particular, the corners don’t get sucked in when you stitch across the middle of your square.
I used to be a big fan of the ¼ foot with seam guide but now I use my professional foot all the time for piecing, and I find it to be more accurate too. I think sometimes with the plastic seam guide you squish the edge of your fabric up against it without realising which makes your seams less accurate. You do have to pay more attention with the professional foot to ensure you are keeping the foot lined up with the edge as you can’t count on the plastic guide to do it for you, but it is worth it.
Because the professional foot is so narrow, like those you find on industrial sewing machines, it is perfect or sewing curves. It gives you increased visibility for those tight turns helping you maintain an accurate seam allowance throughout and fly through your curved piecing.
I’ve also found it handy for sewing zips too, because it’s so narrow it sits closely alongside the zip as you stitch. It’s the ideal distance from the zip teeth when you are top stitching a zip.
Once you start using the professional foot and plate I think like me you will find you end up using them most of time.
UPDATE – July 2019
HP2 foot – Acufeed Flex Professional Grade Foot
Janome have recently released a new HP foot (shown in the photo above), which combines the nifty size and narrowness of the original HP foot, with the dual feed capabilities of a walking foot.
It has now replaced the original HP foot as the one I use for most my sewing. It’s great for piecing, means I can swap from piecing to quilting without having the change the foot and needle plate (great time saver) plus it’s ideal for bag making. I frequently find when sewing bags together I’m struggling with multiple layers, and often not much space (so the regular walking foot can be a little large to use), the HP2 foot is ideal for this task.
Unlike the walking foot that comes with the MC9400QCP you do not need to remember to press the dual feed button to activate the dual feed, it just does it automatically. Like the original HP foot it also gives you a perfect 1/4 inch seam too. You can also use it for sewing leather or vinyl as well.
This foot comes as standard with the MC9450QCP. You can buy it to use on your MC9400QCP or any other model that has a HP plate.
Image credits: Pictures 1,3 & 6 © Janome, other images © Fiona Pullen.