When I was considering the 8200 and the 8900 models, I fell in love with the 8900 – especially the pretty blue SE model with all of the bells & whistles. My budget, however, said otherwise. A few weeks later, my local Janome dealer called to say he’d gotten a base model 8900 as a trade-in. Was I interested? YES!
According to my dealer, there were 2 primary differences between the base and SE models at the time:
(1) Scissors function via the foot pedal. [Not interested]
(2) Quick start needle plates – no need to manually draw up bobbin thread. [Could live without it]
Here’s a visual difference in the needle plates:
A couple of years after purchase, my dealer told me about the new Ultra Glide foot and needle plate (with the quick start function) that WOULD work on my base model 8900. After giving it a go, I figured the 3 hole straight stitch plate with the quick start guide would, as well. IT DOES!
However, if you want to be able to adjust the needle position on the D1, D4 and D95 stitches using the straight stitch plate, you’re out of luck. Same goes for the HP plate that limits you to stitch D4. In their quest for safety, sewing machine manufacturers have removed the sewist’s ability to fine tune needle positions and adjust stitch settings on many machines. Just sayin’, if I spend that kind of money on a sewing machine, I should be able to manipulate the stitches however I choose.
You have to be smarter than your sewing machine! Given the current scarcity of sewing machine parts in our COVID-19 pandemic world, the easiest way to outsmart your sewing machine is to swap the needle plate sensor block (white plastic thingie screwed down in the corner) located on the back on your straight stitch plate with the one on the zigzag plate. Takes about 30 seconds and requires your small sewing machine screwdriver. This simple modification now affords you complete access to all stitches on your machine when the straight stitch plate is installed. Of course, the risk is now on you to make sure you don’t attempt to sew with a wide zigzag stitch using the straight stitch plate! Plus, you’ll have to remember to switch the sensor back whenever you need to use a zigzag stitch. To avoid this hassle consider purchasing a 2nd zigzag plate or see if dealer can order a needle plate sensor block found on page 7 of the parts list linked below.
As for using the HP and HP2 feet on the base model 8900? Go right ahead. Both presser feet work quite well using the regular straight stitch plate. In fact, I don’t see why you would really need the HP plate. [Feel free to school me on the need for the HP plate if it’s that important! :-)]
Link to 8900 QCP Service Manual and Parts List.