Tell us about your first impression when you used this machine.
I found it somewhat confusing, because it is so unlike the Berninas I'm used to. I needed a sewing machine to use in Panama. The dealer I found was selling some machines that seemed ok, but over-priced. In the end I bought this used Janome from a lady down the street who bought it used from someone else.
Was the machine manual sufficient?
Yes, the manual is very clear and easy to understand.
Did you buy any accessories? Do you use them?
It came with standard snap on feet, a couple of bobbins, some poor quality thread and old needles. When I was in Canada I bought a Quilting set which includes a walking foot.
Is this your primary machine?
It's my primary machine here in Panama.
Did you take any classes specifically for this machine?
No classes. I tried it for a couple of days before purchase, and went through the manual, trying the various stitches.
Was this a gift/pre-owned/garage sale etc?
How often do you use it?
Now that I'm here, I use it for at least two hours at a session. I have quite a number of items to sew, so it will see a lot more use in the coming months.
Would you recommend this machine to others?
Yes, I would recommend it to others. It's a good mechanical machine.
I have made a small baby quilt, a simple knit skirt, and am currently making a Tiramisu dress. I tried out all the stitches, and they look fine. This machine has a four-step buttonhole. They aren't beautiful, but they're acceptable. The straight stitch is nicely formed, zig-zag too. The three stitch zig zag looks good. The knit stitch is good. The satin stitches are fine. The reverse button works well. Press the foot pedal, hold the thread ends, and it goes. There's good control. No racing or slowing down unless I want it to. I've hemmed some linen pants. It hasn't complained so far. I do have to look in the manual each time I change from one stitch to another, because it's so different than Bernina. But, it's easy to do. I just don't want to forget anything.
I'm not fond of the presser foot lifter being toward the right. I'm used to that being on the back. I do like that you can lift the presser foot a little bit higher if needed. I don't like the shape and size of the head. The needle is too far back for me. Berninas, at least mine, are closer forward, so it's easier to see my work. I don't like that the needle sets itself over to the left for some of the stitches, so I need to use my ruler to measure what the seam allowance will be.
The storage unit is part of the extension bed of the machine. Handy, but tricky to replace. Also, the contents don't stay in place.
Most feet are easy to snap on and off. But, the walking foot is quite awkward to install. Once installed, the walking foot works well. For example, the knit fabric feeds much more smoothly with it than without. The bobbin winder works well, and winds evenly. I like the clear window and drop in bobbin, though I still prefer the front loading bobbin system on Bernina.
The light is adequate. Probably the same as on my Bernina 930. I have an additional light to make it easier to see.
Tension on all the stitches has been great so far.
One upcoming project is new cushions for the patio chairs. I'll update when I see how it does with the thicker fabric, zippers and piping. I'll definitely try not to kill this cute little machine! If it balks, I'll have to get something else.
Have you had any trouble with this machine? Please elaborate.
No real trouble. Just a little hard to get my hands in to install the walking foot, remove the plate for cleaning, change the needle.
Do you do regular maintenance on this machine? How?
So far, just brush it out, and wipe with a damp cloth. The machine has been well cared for and looks brand new. The Janome dealer in Canada, and some Pattern Review members told me it needs a drop of oil on the wick once in a very great while. I've been told that sewing machine techs are few and far between here. I hope I won't have to take it in. Janomes are not sold in Panama, so I might have to take it on a trip.