This fabulous sewing machine (and it is fabulous!) is going to be 1st prize in the End of Year U-Handblog draw, which opens on the 2nd Dec. 09. There are other tasty prizes that need their own review blog posts. So to prevent blog post clutter I am reviewing everything separately before chucking the whole yummy lot into one contest post on the 2nd Dec.
Yep, this has to be the most mega of mega-ist draws I've ever had the pleasure of holding. It couldn't have come better time. I know that lots of folks will be gifting or receiving sewing machines this end of year holiday (can't bring myself to say it!). And I still get asked which sewing machine I recommend for bag making.
Before I start: Janome is not paying me for this review. I never ever do paid reviews. I asked Janome to recommend a selection of models that a beginning sewer could use to make bags (i.e. a machine that is simple to get to grips with and could handle nightmare bag making layers). So I chose this one. It's no secret that I heart Janome machines (I've been banging on about how great they are for years). When Janome offered me a machine to review and giveaway it was a no-brainer because I love 'em! Please know that I wouldn't sing this machine's praises unless I genuinely loved it. A sewing machine is an investment purchase, I would never lead anyone up the garden path with something sew important.
However, despite the fact I am ga-ga over Janome I can still objectively review the machine's suitability to bag making and test the machine's 'newbie approachability' factor. I roped in my knackered (and not overly amused 'just come off a night shift in hospital') partner to be my newbie guinea pig. Read on to see how we both fared...
(known as Magnolia: 7730 in the US; and DC3030 in Europe).
- It is a great machine for beginners and proficient sewers alike.
- Computerised, easy to select stitches. The stitch selected goes to the default settings, no need to remember stitch width/length just touch the button!
- Lock stitch: saves lots of time finishing off loose ends.
- Drop Needle facility: if you begin sewing with the needle in the down position inserted in the fabric it will remain down for you to pivot your work when turning corners etc.
- Freearm: for all those awkward little places.
- You'll find that Janomes are built really well and they just keep on going - I've owned 3 Janome's and used 5. My sister has my first ever Janome (from around '99) and it's never needed a service!
Check out the full specs here (the Magnolia 7730 and the 8077 are both the same).For more info on Janome and their other models and promos:
Check out the international site.
Check out the UK site.
Check out Kirstie Allsopp (yeah! I know!) with her Janome.If you can't wait for the draw (or you are a very nice person looking for a tasty sewing pressie). This machine is currently on offer in the UK & USA until 19th December.
Promo UK price = £330 £279 (I've seen it for £249 online - flipping ace value for money!).
Promo USA price = US$399 US$349
Click on any of the photos to enlarge.
Out of the box: sewing machine, metal foot pedal a power lead, soft dust cover, manual, and sewing notions. The machine has a sturdy feel and build quality, and it is a good solid weight (I don't like lightweight machines because everything jjjjuuuderrers when you are sewing at great speeds).
The machine has a fresh, clean, and uncluttered look (thanks to the clever selector button and LCD (more about that in a minute).
Part of the sewing bed detaches from the machine leaving you with a free-arm. As a bag maker I LOVE LOVE LOVE free-arms because they enable me to more easily sew the nooks and crannies of bags and smaller purses. Free arms also make arm-hole sewing a whole lot easier.
The 8077 has 30 stitches - more than enough for the sewing enthusiast. See that button I am pressing? It's a very clever selector button for the type of stitch, the stitch width, and stitch length. As you select the stitch/width/length the changes you make are displayed on the LCD. I like the selector button; it makes sense and it makes for a less cluttered looking machine. Don't worry, all is explained clearly in the manual.
The 4 buttons on left are very handy indeed: from top: needle up/down; locking stitch; reverse button, and lastly a 'stop/start' button which enable you to sew without using the foot pedal - groovy eh? The slider switch to the (right of the photo) is a speed control which you can use to control the speed of the pedal and also the 'stop/start'.
Yeah uh huh, but can it handle nightmare bag making style-y layers? Yup, it eats layers for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In this pic the machine is merrily sewing though an utter nightmare layer-tastic scenario - namely: 2 layers of home dec fabric, 2 layers of fleece, and 2 layers of Flexi-firm - that's 6 thicko layers!!! The machine stitched through all 6 layers smoothly, quickly, and without argument. That's impressive!
Now, to check out the other stitches: notice how each stitch is grouped by a letter? The letter refers to the type of machine foot that each stitch is sewn with. The feet are each stamped with a letter so you can easily tell which foot to use for which stitch. Simple and no-nonsense - just the way we like it :)
So bleary eyed (and understandably grumpy) Al was able to thread the machine, insert the bobbin, draw up the thread, and stitch the 3 lines of decorative stitches with only the manual (and a little encouragement from wifey). The stitches are nice, even, and consistent. He sews flipping straight doesn't he? His stitches are nimble in hospital too. I sewed the curved ended button hole - didn't want to push my luck with him too much.
How to sew a button hole. There are 4 button hole styles to choose from and they are honestly easier than making a cuppa. You just put your foot on the pedal and the machine does it all and then stops automatically, no need to start and stop and reposition. Very simple, pretty, and satisfying.
The manual is very clearly and plainly written and there are also plenty of clear line drawings. It assumes no sewing experience so a newbie who has never touched a sewing machine can get sewing pretty pronto. This is important because sewing machines do look kinda scary if you haven't played on one before. If you can get it right 1st, 2nd or even 3rd time there's more of a chance that you'll get the sewing bug - which is a very nice bug to have!
A user friendly sewing machine manual can be all the difference between "happy handmade heaven" and "throw the bloody thing out of the window...ahh!!! I need to kick something!"
the Janome 8077 is brilliant for bag making; it has a strong and powerful motor and very useful free-arm feature. It's ideal for newbies because whilst is it a very capable machine, it is also very friendly to get to know. The host of useful features means that machine that will grow with you and your sewing ability. The machine build is fab and there are a squillion of other Janome feet and accessories available for when you want to pimp your machine :)
If you want a decent quality sewing machine that: is simple to get to grips with; has a host of useful (rather than 'am I ever going to need that' sort of) features; and will happily be your sewing gal for many years to come than I can whole heartedly recommend the 8077.
Coming tomorrow: 2 fab craft titles for review & giveaway.