|What Miss Fairchild likes about this machine|
NOTE: I've tried unchecking several boxes above, but it's not working. This machine DOES NOT have a Needle Up/Down setting, nor a needle threader, nor a coverstitch, nor a free arm.
I bought this machine as a step up from my current Singer 14J250 serger. And as some of you may know, the Singer has done me well. I've sewn two piano covers and several bridesmaids gowns with it. Recently I did alterations for a whole wedding, all with my serger. I became very spoiled using it, knowing someday I’d have to upgrade to a "normal" threading serger, especially if I planned to get a five thread with a coverstitch. There are no five thread machines on the market that open up all the way like the Singer does, so I wanted to be “conditioned” into working with a little more advanced model
So I felt that this would be a great introduction into the real “serger world”. I could go into great detail about the rolled hem, the different serging methods, but felt that a comparison between this machine and my Singer would be the best thing to do. If this serger changes in its quality, or the manufacturer doesn’t come through in any way, I’ll update this review after six months. But for the meantime, allow me to do a comparison based on its user-friendliness in the hopes that it can help you decide.
First, let me say that this machine is quiet; much quieter than my Singer. Possibly because of the heavy duty size, and maybe because of the way it’s made. I can use non-specialized HAX1 sewing machine needles, whereas the Singer requires special 2022 needles. It also has a smaller footprint than the Singer, and lowering the presser foot engages all the tensions–including the loopers; something the Singer doesn’t have.
It sews a nice stitch, and a scrap catcher, along with a tool box were standard equipment. Singer doesn’t have a scrap catcher nor a tool box.
What Miss Fairchild does not like about this machine
Now for the dislikes.
Threading the lower looper is a bear. You’re supposed to move a clip to expose two thread guides, which don’t expose themselves very far. It’s very cumbersome trying to get the lower looper threaded if you don’t have a flexible wrist; it’s mandatory that you use the tweezers to thread. I got spoiled because the Singer opened up all the way, such that the loopers were exposed, much like a White 734DS, and I rarely had to use tweezers.
The thread stand has staggered spools, two of which flip up in the back so you can store it. If you plan to pack the machine in a carrying case, you have to keep in mind that the threads will tangle, and that you have to untangle them when setting the machine up. Otherwise, you’re bound to have problems.
Presser foot pressure is adjusted by a screw in the top of the machine. No markings, like my Singer, which has numbers; you just have to know how far you turned it and then remember to turn it back the same amount. I think I might mark a place on the top of the machine, and then make a corresponding mark on the screw so that if the two lines aren’t lined up, I’ll know I need to readjust the pressure.
Overedge cutting dial is adjusted by turning off the machine, opening the cover, disengaging the knife, and turning a knob–again with no markings. Then you have to re-engage the knob, close the cover, turn on the machine, and hope for the best. The Singer has numbers on a dial and I don’t have to disengage the knife.
There is no external cutting guide on the Janome, although there is one on the Singer that’s adjustable. Janome sells a special foot, called a cloth guide, and of course, that’s an extra expense.
Rolled edge and standard edge hemming are done by the flip of a red switch inside the machine, and the moving of a lever on the face of the machine. With the Singer, I just have to change the stitch finger from A to B, or not use one at all; all are removed easily from the machine.
The needle threader is a joke. Nothing more than a needle threader that one would find in a hand sewing kit. (The Singer has its own special needle threader–for both needles). I find it much easier to remove the foot to thread the needle on this machine.
Lighting doesn’t cover as much of the base as the Singer, although it is brighter.
The manual leaves something to be desired. The Singer’s manual is more explanatory and the pictures are better.
In summary, due to the number of reviews here on PR, I decided I’d go with this model. I was looking at a Viking 936, but realized I wasn’t ready to make that plunge until I became familiar with the “normal” threading of a serger; too many things for this old dinosaur brain to learn! Also, the reviews showed a price increase of $300 in the last three or four years and I don’t believe there is anything on this machine that would justify the increase. The Singer has dropped in price, by about $100, but it also comes with three additional feet. So if it weren’t for the fact that I wanted something a little more “complicated”, I’d be keeping the Singer and not this one.