Janome · Stitch library

Janome’s fancy stitches: New Home 551

I always find Janome’s designs to be very sensible. They may not have been the fanciest machines of their time, but they were always so very useful.

Janome New Home 551 is such a machine. It has 14 built-in stitch patterns, independent zig-zag and stretch stitch, and a three-step buttonhole.

To select patterns, first set the zig-zag width knob to OFF – this releases the pattern selector knob at the top. Turn it – it should move very lightly. If it doesn’t, it’s stuck, so clean and oil.

Once you’ve selected a pattern, set the zig-zag width knob to AUTO to get a basic pattern or set it to a small number (no more than 2) to get a variant as I’ve done below. You can engage and disengage stretch stitch at any time, except obviously during stitching!

That independent zig-zag and stretch stitch can be added to each of the stitch patterns, so the number of patterns actually quadruples (plain, with zig-zag, with stretch and with both zig-zag and stretch), giving it 56 stitches. But zig-zag is not an on/off setting and can be incremented in little steps from 0 to about 2, after which it overpowers the pattern and everything looks like zig-zag. But there are a dozen little steps there, and different settings create different patterns…

Blind stitch turns into a mock overlock and then into a zig-zag with an “undercoat” of little zig-zag.


Stitched zig-zag becomes a faggoting stitch with added zig-zag and then several variants of feather stitch as you add or remove zig-zag.


Two versions of scallops. Pattern 4 starts out as a line drawing, turns into fine scallops with added zig-zag and into Christmas trees of sorts with stretch stitch. Pattern 5 starts out already as scallops and turns into a bolder wave border with added zig-zag.


Pattern 6 is a zig-zag border that gets bolder as you add more zig-zag to it.


Pattern 7 is a sort of M-stitch. 🙂 It turns into a wide curvy border with added zig-zag and into a curvy M-stitch with stretch.


Pattern 8 makes really nice pointed scallops that turn into bolder pointed scallops. I also quite like the variant with stretch.


Pattern 9 has doubly pointed scallops that get bolder with added zig-zag turning into a zig-zag border.


Pattern 10 has slanted hourglasses that change shape with added zig-zag turning into triangles. Adding stretch makes a bold line drawing of mountain tops.


Pattern 11 has slanted blocks that don’t turn into anything interesting, really.


Pattern 12 is a twisting ribbon that flattens out a bit with added zig-zag until it turns into slanted blocks from pattern 11. Not identical but very similar.


Pattern 13 is the most versatile one from the lot. It starts out as a three-tier zig-zag ladder, then turns into a flip-flop bunting, then into a thicker zig-zag line with notches. Adding stretch gives a cross-stitch design turning into a picot line and into a bold inverted picots design.


Pattern 14 is a two-tier border that gets bolder with added zig-zag so that the blocks start overlapping. It makes another curvy M-stitch with added stretch.

And pattern 1? Well, that’s your basic straight stitch and zig-zag, with and without stretch.

So why exactly did I sell this machine? Oh yes, my flat is not a Tardis… 😦

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8 thoughts on “Janome’s fancy stitches: New Home 551

  1. Hi, I’m still liking your blog and the machines that you feature.

    New Home made some incredible machines in the 70s and 80s and the 551 was one of their best, I have a video of the 551 laying down its repertoire of stitches, for anyone who is interested:

    Best regards and keep up the good work

    Ron

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