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 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 machine.
Made by and for Janome machines, the flexibility of the guides and screws makes this attachment 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 come 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.
My 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 position the guide so the red line aligns with the center of the needle hole. I'm using my Satin Stitch foot, which has a red arrow at the center point so I was also able to use this to help me get the guide perfectly centered.
Loosen the two thumbscrews and open the guides wider than the width of your ribbon.
I found it easiest to thread my ribbon through the open gates of the guide and under my presser foot, centering the ribbon under the pressure 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 bar into place. The ribbon goes under this bar.
Set up your machine for a decorative stitch. As I mentioned above, I used my Satin Stitch foot, which I prefer to use 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 my first test, I used a 5/8" plain grosgrain ribbon.
The density of the decorative stitching will wrinkle the ribbon as it comes through the machine. A good pressing takes care of that.
For my second test, I used a ½" black satin ribbon.
For my third test, I used a 1" printed grosgrain ribbon.
And for my final test, I used a 3/8" grosgrain ribbon with a decorative border on each side. And, I switched to my regular Zig Zag foot. I played around with my stitch width quite a bit to make sure my 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, I now have new ribbons ready for embellishing onto my next project.
NOTE: All my 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.