In the 1930s, Janome's round bobbin helped revolutionize the sewing machine. The Janome 344 sewing machine, manufactured in the 1990s, features 13 stitch patterns for utility stitching or decorative stitching. Temporary problems that may require troubleshooting include breaking threads and puckered seams. Around the needle plate, problems include snapped needles and stalled feed dogs. Solutions can involve re-threading the Janome 344, choosing the correct thread and needle and clearing lint.
Breaking Needle Threads
Remove the thread from the machine. Re-thread the machine through the top cover thread guides, the check spring holder, the thread take-up lever, the two lower thread guides, the needle bar thread guide and the needle.
Check if the thread is a correct match for the needle and fabric. Janome 344 needle sizes vary from fine to thick in sizes 9, 11, 14 and 16. Threads range from fine silk to cotton covered polyester. Janome’s blue tipped needles work for sewing stretch, fine fabrics and synthetics.
Balance the needle thread tension by adjusting the thread tension dial near the faceplate. The tension normally ranges from 3 to 5 on the thread tension dial. For example, turn the dial to a lower number to loosen the needle thread tension or a higher number to tighten the needle thread tension. Note that this range in tension affects the thread feeding off the spool at the top of the machine, not the bobbin thread pulled from under the needle plate.
Loosen the needle thread tension by rotating the thread tension dial to a lower number. Try test sewing with two different settings, such as 3 or 4, to compare seams on a fabric scrap. The correct tension helps create a flatter seam with balanced stitching on both sides of the fabric.
Replace a heavy or thick needle with a finer needle. Rotate the needle clasp screw to release the incorrect needle. For example, swap a thick Size 16 needle for a slimmer Size 14. Insert the slimmer needle and tighten the needle clasp screw. Re-thread the needle and test sew on a fabric scrap. A smoother seam indicates the right needle for the job.
Adjust the length of the stitches to suit the fabric’s characteristics. For example, if a long stitch causes puckered seams, try rotating the stitch length dial to a lower numbered setting. For example, if setting 3.5 causes uneven seams, then set the dial to 2.5 for shorter, denser stitching. Sew the fabric with different stitch lengths for the smoothest, balanced seams.
Remove the broken needle by rotating the needle clasp screw.
Re-insert the correct needle for the fabric’s characteristics. For example, if a fine Size 9 needle breaks with a heavy fabric, then trying inserting the sturdier Size 14 needle.
Avoid turning the pattern selector dial while the needle is inserted in the fabric. Rotate the dial when the needle is stationary.
Adjust the tension of the needle thread by rotating the thread tension dial.
Jammed Feed Dogs
Unplug the Janome 344 before cleaning.
Unscrew the needle faceplate with the small screwdriver provided by Janome.
Clear the area under the needle plate of any lint, dust or debris that accumulates after each sewing session. Clearing with the small brush that comes with the Model 344 prevents the feed dogs from jamming.
Use good quality thread that does not break when pulled between your fingers. Sometimes sewers blame the machine for breaking threads when a poor quality thread is the cause.
Another place to troubleshoot is the area of the thread tension discs partially hidden in the faceplate. Sometimes a thread catches on the hook race under the needle plate. Simply re-threading both the needle thread and bobbin thread can often solve stitching problems.
Always disconnect the power by unplugging the machine when performing maintenance, such as replacing the sewing light, oiling the machine or adjusting the drive belt tension.