How to Troubleshoot a Janome MC350E Sewing Machine

embroidery image by Maksim Shebeko from

Memory Craft 350E is an embroidery machine made by Janome. It is their most advanced embroidery-only machine for home use. Embroidery is rather a complex process. The quality of embroidery depends on how well you match fabrics and on stabilisers, threads and needles.

Technical issues such as thread tension, needle quality and hooping will also have an impact on what the embroidered image will look like. There are specific things to watch for if you have troubles with quality of embroidering on the Janome MC 350E.

Make sure the stabiliser suits the fabric. The stabiliser is an essential factor in the embroidery process. It prevents fabric distortion during embroidering. You will find a big variety of stabilisers on the market: cut away, water soluble, spray adhesive. They come in different weights: light, medium and heavy. A rule of thumb is that the more density the stabiliser has, the less the fabric is pulled and distorted.

Ensure that the design is well digitised. Digitising is a process of converting images or designs into a stitch type file. Bad digitising will cause problems. For example, if the elements of the design have too many connections, the thread may pull the fabric in the area where the parts of the design are connected. Also, there will be more trimmed threads than you would like to see on the right side of the fabric.

Check that the fabric is hooped properly. The MC 350E comes with hoops of two different sizes. The size of the hoop does not matter. The hooping technique does. The stabiliser and fabric should be lined up. Tap the fabric, and if it is hooped correctly it will make a drum sound.

Check the thread tension. If the machine skips stitches, adjust the tension of the needle thread and/or the bobbin thread. If you still experience problems with tension, rethread the machine. When you draw the needle thread through the thread guide plates and channels, hold the thread at the spool. Check that the needle thread travels freely and does not get caught anywhere. Use a table spool stand to help the thread keep the proper tension.

Replace a bent or blunt needle. It is important to have the correct type and size of machine needle. For stretch fabrics, use a ballpoint needle that is designed to slip through the weave of the fabric rather than break through. If you embroider with metallic thread use a special metallic needle. If you work with leather your best bet will be a leather needle that leaves smaller holes in the leather.

Check the formatting of the designs on your memory stick. The MC 350E has a USB memory port that allows you to create your own designs on the computer or download them from the Web and then transfer them to the embroidery machine. If you have inserted a memory stick into the USB port and it doesn't open your designs, check that your designs are in the correct format and have a .jef file extension. They have to be saved in a separate folder with the name My Designs. If you still are not able to open the designs, reformat your memory stick.