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FM-725: The First Needle Punch Machine From Janome

30 October, 2006

Create one-of-a-kind fashion accessories.
Five felting needles push the fibers through the fabric.

Using the FM-725 is easy for beginners.

Get amazing effects on home dec projects.

MAHWAH, N.J. – Imagine being able to join together materials without thread or a bobbin, without feed dogs, and without tension – mechanical or personal. Would it still be sewing? Actually it would be needle punching, also called needle felting. In this process, specially barbed needles blend the fibers of two or more layers of fabric and other fibers.

The FM-725 is the first needle punch machine from the Janome Sewing Machine Company, the world's largest manufacturer of home sewing machines. The machine is extremely easy to use and opens up a world of new possibilities for beginning and advanced sewing and craft enthusiasts alike.

Instead of one needle, the FM-725 has five needles joined into a single unit, so they move up and down in unison. On the sides of each needle are tiny barbs. As the needles pierce the top layer of material, these barbs catch the individual fibers and push them down into the bottom layer. Five round holes in the needle plate correspond to the five needle points. These holes are slightly larger than those found on other felting machines, allowing penetration through even multiple layers to occur easily, quickly and cleanly, allowing for a better blending of fibers.

The fibers mingle to create new color and texture combinations that simply cannot be achieved with embroidery, appliqué, or any other kind of needlework. In needle felting there is no "right side" or "wrong side." Whether you push the fibers through from the front or back depends on the effect you're trying to achieve. Experimentation is part of the fun.

The FM-725 has the same basic shape as a sewing machine. A foot pedal controls the motion of the needles. The sewing bed converts to a free arm for felting on dimensional projects or small items like cuffs. And there’s a bright sewing light. What's missing is anything having to do with thread: no upper thread, no bobbin down below, and no feed dogs to move the fabric. A compartment below the needles, where a bobbin mechanism would go on a traditional sewing machine, collects any lint.

Needle felting can be done with all kinds of fabric and fiber (even paper). Expert Paula Scaffidi, who runs the website, divides felting materials into two major groups: the "willing" and the "unwilling". The willing are fibers that are easily enmeshed into other materials and are used to embellish a base. Think of them as the "paint" an artist would use in a painting. These materials are generally wispy and fibrous in nature, allowing the needle barbs to catch and push them into the base material. They will provide the color and texture of a project. These materials include woolen roving, yarn and thread, among others.

The unwilling are materials that are not easily manipulated or pushed through another substance. Because of their firm nature, these materials make great base materials for embellishing and hold the embedded fabrics readily. They include denim, canvas and other resilient fabrics. "At least one of your materials must be willing in order to successfully felt," she says, "but you can combine some of the unwilling with the willing."

Complete information on Janome's first needle punch machine is available on the FM-725 page.

Janome America is the largest subsidiary of Janome Sewing Machine Company of Japan, which produces nearly two million sewing machines annually as well as a line of related sewing products and embroidery software. It is a category leader in innovation, and Janome sewing machines are recognized throughout the industry for their ease-of-use and unsurpassed stitch quality.