This is the first sewing machine Iíve ever bought/owned. After what might be called a series of unfortunate sewing events in my life, I decided in my 50s to finally, really learn to sew, starting with some simple home decor and then exploring quilting or (gasp) even apparel. :)
I was drawn to the Janome brand for several reasons. 1) I have a great affection for my sisterís old New Home 2022 Iíd borrowed to get started. 2) Janome machines are still made by Janome, unlike so many other brands that have changed hands. 3) Reviews of Janomes, including the DC1050, are largely positive. I chose the DC1050 because it was the most machine I could afford ... it was available locally at Shapley Sew & Vac ... and the store matched a sales price at Hancockís, which sells the same machine as the Janome 8050, so I saved $50!
[Edited to Add: This review includes a link to "sewing machines" on Amazon. While I have purchased many things from Amazon and other online retailers, I don't care for the automatic inclusion of an affiliate link in the middle of my review. I think the decision of including a link should be up to the reviewer.]
The DC1050 is a *great* machine to learn with. This computerized/electronic machine offers 49 utility and decorative stitches, needle up/down, needle threader, droppable feed dogs, a sliding speed controller and a start/stop button in addition to the traditional pedal, lock stitch button, reverse button, one-step buttonhole, free arm, drop-in bobbin, adjustable needle position, excellent instruction manual ... and lovely, even stitching. I donít sew nearly as often as I would like, but Iíve made some simple curtains; clothes and a softie for my first grand-niece; a whole-cloth quilt for my second grand-niece; quilted potholders for my sister; over a dozen unique holiday gift bags; most of a queen-size bed quilt for myself (blocks done, to be assembled); and even a completely disastrous first attempt at pants. I did mention Iím learning to sew, right?
Since I donít have a long history of sewing, I started out using the start/stop button and speed controller on the machine instead of the ďgas pedalĒ as my sister calls it. She swears by a foot control, but I find that the DC1050 produces a beautifully even stitch length using the buttons ... and very uneven stitching when I use the pedal. I do want to improve my use of the pedal as it would be nice to not always be punching buttons while maneuvering fabric. FYI, when using the controls on the machine, the stitch speed is very slow as long as you hold down the start or reverse button, and then smoothly ramps up to whatever maximum speed youíve set once you release the button. The stitch length remains perfectly even regardless of speed, assuming you allow the fabric to feed evenly.
Every so often, I do confuse the machine. The electronic keypad on the DC1050 is very easy to use, but itís also easy to just keep punching buttons when you donít know what youíre doing ... :p If the machine suddenly wonít stitch or starts beeping at me, I just turn it off and then on again. That resets the controls to the standard straight stitch, and Iím good to go. (Custom stitch settings cannot be saved. Iíve learned to write down my length/width settings for each stitch/project.)
The preset tension on the machine was perfect out of the box for straight-stitch sewing on cotton. Adjusting tension is pretty darned easy, thanks to the very clear instruction manual. When possible, I try to use a different color in the bobbin when adjusting tension, which makes it *much* easier to see whether the tension is off or spot-on.
FYI, the light on the machine is rather blue (LED) and focused right on the needle and plate. I have found it perfectly sufficient, but I usually have other lighting on in the room and at my sewing table.
Strangely, everything I dislike about this machine is intensified by the use of extremely smooth, slick plastic and metal. Yes, that helps to protect fabric from accidental snags, but I feel so fumble-fingered! To wit:
1. The well for the (horizontal) thread spool has no back on it, so if I drop the spool cap when removing the spool, it hits the slick, smooth, curved surface of the well and shoots straight out of the machine and across the table/room. Iíve learned to keep a grip on that cap. :)
2. The (alleged) supplies holder attached to the free arm is nothing but an open-ended tube made of the same extraordinarily slick plastic, so it's impossible to "open" the holder (remove it from the free arm) without spilling bobbins, feet, etc. everywhere. Oh, well. It's also far too small to hold anything more than the few accessories that come with the machine. I store my growing collection of feet, bobbins and tools in their own boxes/drawers.
3. The flat screwdriver (of sorts) that comes with the machine is very small and ridiculously slick; I dropped the thing over and over again until I gave up and started keeping a small screwdriver at the machine.