Product Type: Janome Sewing Machine
Newest Review: ... celebrate returning to work after maternity leave by buying a new sewing machine. I chose this particular Janome model for several reasons... more
A good all round performer
Member Name: Vixstar
Advantages: Range of stitches; Accessories widely available; Relatively light
Disadvantages: No settings memory; Relatively light
Having recently rediscovered the pleasure of sewing (especially patchwork and quilting) I also discovered that my twenty year old machine was no longer able to keep up with the pace.
It took a little umming and ahhing but I eventually decided to replace my old faithful machine with a Janome DXL 603, a machine that I had been using a my local sewing classes. These machines appear to be widely available both online and in local sewing shops.
The first thing I noticed about the machine was that it was noticeably lighter than my previous machine, not as painful to carry back and forth to classes. The machine has a hard plastic case and looks squat but well built. One of the websites I'd researched it on said it had a metal body but this is not the case the machine body is predominatly plastic - it wouldn't be light otherwise. There is a minor downside to this lightness, the machine can wander across the table when sewing if you give it a nudge, there's not quite enough weight in the machine to make the rubber feet completely non-slip.
It comes with a comprehensive insrtruction book with clear pictures and instructions which I keep to hand to refer to, it's not that the machine is particularly complicated but everything is done differently to how I'm used to but actually it's all fairly simple.
* Features *
Along with a good range of stitches available, speel control slider, tension adjuster, stitch length varier and a backstitch function this machine has a range of features that I have never seen before.
As well as controlling the machine with a conventional (if little small) presser foot yoou can also use a start and stop button. As of yet I haven't used this function as I like the variable speed and control offered by the presser foot.
There is a needle down function, this places the needle into the material and then ensures that when you stop stitching the needle remains down, ideal if you need to turn your work and keep going, I use this constantly when quilting.
There is a built in thread cutter (no requirement to find those scissors anymore) and a automatic needle threader, fiddly at first but ideal in order to avoid needle threading frustration.
There is also a facility to vary the pressure of the machine's foot, to allow for manipulation of the fabric or to allow thicker fabric to pass through.
One feature that is annoyingly lacking is a settings memory, if you turn the machine off after setting electronically the stitch length, the machine reverts back to it's default settings, very annoying if you don't notice and not something I'm used to after my push button and dial machine.
Generally I feel that the features are actually useful and not gimmicky and in the short time I've owned this machine I've put many of them to good use - yet to try out all the various stitches.
The machine comes with a range of feet for zips, satin stitching etc. As yet I have not tried all these but at least when I require them i won't have to buy them. If you are someone who is keen on patchwork or quilting then there are various quilting accessories available available as a complete kit, including walking foot, darning foot and extension table (sometimes available as part of a deal with the machine), or as individual items. There are also several bobbins, upright spool, useful screwdriver to remove feet and the ever useful quick unpick/seam ripper. Replacement items are widely available and I understand that it is possible to interchange Elna accessories, but make sure it's the right item.
So now that I've had this machine for a while has it lived up to my expectations? Well yes, I wanted a good all round machine useful for various types of sewing which would not break the bank and this is definitely that. I can see me using this machine for years to come, hopefully the fact that they are the machine of choice for a local sewing class indicates that they will stand up to everyday usage. I think I've even persuaded my mum to buy one and she knows her machines.
Summary: Good for everyday use with features that actually enhance it rather than over complicate.