Machine binding attachment review

A Little Background

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I got a binding attachment for my Janome 8900/12000 a while ago and then just let it sit. I wanted to learn to use it, but it intimidated me a little (just kidding - a LOT!) and I didn't use it for quite a while. Its very presence was guilt producing because I had been so determined to learn to use it when I got it.

But I continued to make my bindings by machine, of course - I'm not entering them into shows and don't do any more hand work than I have to these days. I kept talking myself out of using and learning the binding attachment.  If I only had a few to bind, I figured that I could be all done with all of them before I actually mastered that attachment. So I  kept putting off really using it for enough quilts to make myself comfortable with it.

But last year I tried it. I got the package open, watched a couple of you tube videos and managed to get it set up.

But I struggled.

A lot.

I got frustrated with it.  And with myself for not "getting it" better.

So I left it sitting there while I did most of my charity quilts the way I had always done them - stitched the double folded binding to the back, folded it over to the front and stitched it down!  Before I realized it, I was done. I had talked myself right out of really learning to use it after binding maybe 5 quilts with it - completely unsatisfactorily and very slowly, I might add.

I thought maybe I was missing something.

However, this time I have 120 to bind. Yes, 120.  If it takes me a half hour per quilt that's 60 hours - plus preparing the binding. That's about what it seems to take me to do a normal quilt - though if I'm on a roll, I can get it faster than that.

But if I could figure out a way to do them faster, it would take even less time and look really nice. It was the "look really nice" part that has been the impetus behind my desire to master this binding tool even more than the time saved. I am very aware that as with any learning curve, I may not actually save time until I've done quite a few bindings.

So I set out again this year to try to "master it".  I had seen a wonderful picture explanation on the website from the company where I have bought my machines here in Poland and they make it look so easy. But it looked so professional - it really made me want to 'get this'. I am reasonably sure that a whole group of women (or kids) in sweat shops in third world countries have mastered these types of attachments, so I was pretty sure I should be able to do so as well!  Aren't I just as smart as they are?  I was beginning to doubt it.

But I came back to the computer and watched two more videos - one put out by Janome and one by a blogger who has one of these attachments. Not all of my questions were answered, but I decided to try once again.  I then swallowed hard and went back to the machine and tried it.

And this It was as if I had a different machine!  It worked. I really liken it to when you learn to drive a stick shift.  You kill the engine, don't go anywhere, accidentally put your foot on the brake when you meant the gas and kill it, roll backwards, etc. and then one day, you 'get it'! 

And once you learn - It's amazing!

Pros and Cons

So let me talk about the pluses and minuses of this type of attachment.

I have the expensive one - yep, it cost over $100 for this beauty. That is why I was feeling so bad about not using it. I bought mine here.

Right now I'm using it on my Janome 12000.

Pros - 

  • Binding prep is at a minimum.  You cut 2" strips and sew them together on the diagonal - and that's it. Trim off the excess from where the seams join. Don't even need to press the seams at all. One video I saw she sewed her binding straight and not on the diagonal but that makes a lump where the seams are so I  didn't want to even try that, but it probably works fine as well if the lumps aren't too big.
  • Fast - once you know how
  • Neat - once you know how - a professional look

I made a quick video for you to check out in action.  I hadn't really planned on making it and did so pretty impulsively. It turned out okay, though, so I thought I'd let you see it.  It is hard to video while you sew, though.

Cons - 

  • The attachment itself is expensive
  • Learning curve is very big
  • It results in a single thickness of binding
  • Can be messy and frustrating until you master it as your hands have to be able to keep the quilt in its position while making sure the binding doesn't twist. The mitered corners can be trickier than the Janome video makes it look.

Charity quilt quick update

I have this many washed and dried and folded ready for pics. I think I'll start on them tomorrow. I purposely left it uncropped so you could see the batting scraps piled up on the side of the table. Also next to the batting scraps are fabric scraps!

I have this many washed and dried and folded ready for pics. I think I'll start on them tomorrow. I purposely left it uncropped so you could see the batting scraps piled up on the side of the table. Also next to the batting scraps are fabric scraps!



Becky Petersen8 Comments