Perhaps MODIFYING would be a better term to use instead. 🙂
Why did I want to hack my sewing machine in the first place? Because I wasn’t getting an accurate scant 1/4″ seam with the zigzag plate – even with the walking foot and 1/4″ sole. To me, the straight stitch plate offers greater accuracy with piecing, so I searched for a solution.
ISSUE #1: Cannot adjust needle position for a scant 1/4″ when the straight stitch plate is installed.
HACK: Switch out the sensor on the back of the zigzag plate with the one on the straight stitch plate. Turn both needle plates over. See the white plastic thingie in the lower right corner of the photo? That’s the sensor that tells the computer which plate you have installed. If you unscrew the sensors and switch them correctly, your machine will think you have the zigzag plate installed when you really have the straight stitch plate on. Take a photo with your phone before removing them so you can remember which way to reinstall them later.
I could now adjust for my scant 1/4″ seam, but I still couldn’t use the walking foot with the 1/4″ sole because I didn’t have a hole in the needle plate to accommodate the “right needle” position that stitch D95 requires…
ISSUE #2: Lack of a 3 hole straight stitch needle plate for the base model 8900 so you can’t use the walking foot and stitch D95 on your “modified” straight stitch plate.
HACK: Order a modified plate from a sewing machine dealer who specializes in modifying needle plates for this very reason (several were recommended on the Janome 7700/8900 Yahoo Group). I contacted one dealer who informed me the plates he needed to make the modifications to were backordered. OR here’s my DIY solution: Take a 3/32″ high speed metal drill bit and drill yourself a hole on your existing straight stitch needle plate (or have hubby do it for you). You will also want to pick up some crocus cloth or super fine grit metal polishing sandpaper at the hardware store, if you don’t already have this on hand. That will smooth any rough edges on the underside of the needle plate. I can now get a perfect scant 1/4″ seam using my modified needle plate, walking foot with 1/4″ sole, with stitch D95 and an 8.8 stitch width. Sure, the front of the needle plate is a little scuffed from the drill, but it doesn’t affect usability. When you go to sell/trade the machine, you can pick up a new needle plate for $50.00 or less.