In Sewing

If you’re like me, OCD and type-A (my poor husband), before you make any purchase you dig deep, deep, deep into the bowels of the internet, (ewwww), to read every review possible.  Well I wanted to contribute to your google hits, and hopefully help you make a decision if you’re in the market for a sewing machine.

Many people ask what machine I sew on and what brands I trust, so here goes. I started on a very very basic $99.00 machine from a big box store, I actually can’t even remember the brand name.  It only did a handful of stitches and was constantly clogging up and giving me grief.  It didn’t take long before I was doing projects the machine couldn’t keep up with.  I’m talking basic curtains not wedding dresses. But I persevered for a few years, because I really didn’t believe there was a big difference in sewing machines.

But one day, on a curtain hem, the old machine just looked at me and said “you gotta be kidding.”  It couldn’t get through the fabric and I wasn’t sewing on it for one more stitch.   Fed up I decided to visit an ‘actual’ sewing machine dealer. This, (a dealer) my sewing friends makes all the difference. When you go to a dealer, they actually help you! You get to try the machines, multiple machines and really get a feel for what you like.   The closest dealer to my house happened to be a Janome dealer. It was geographical fate. I tested a number of machines, they gave me $100 for my old $99.00 one (lol — “start the car!!!”) and I bought the cheapest Janome model they had.  It ran like a Ferrari compared to my clunker.

Here I am, many, many, many spools of thread later. I’ve since purchased Janome’s Hello Kitty machine for my young daughter and have a old Janome serger from the 80s that still works like a champ and a new model Janome Pro4DX Serger.   I also sew on a Horizon Memory Craft 8200 and Embroider on Janome’s Memory Craft 9900.  So I have some experience sewing on Janome machines.

Now Janome is introducing a new machine, the Skyline S3. I immediately perked up. That could be my addiction speaking.

I was thrilled when Janome lent me one to see how an avid Janome sewer liked it.   (How sad I don’t get it for keeps because it’s a keeper.)

I’ve spent the last month playing with the machine. Even though I was only supposed to keep it for two weeks. Oops.

I’ve made a cardholder wallet using cottons AND leather. It stitched through the leather seams no problem. I made a couple of night gowns for my daughters and started a quilt.

Even though this isn’t technically a quilting machine, it has a large enough throat space, it’s no problem. However it doesn’t come with a free motion foot. But you can still easily lower the feed dogs on the side of the machine, (without taking anything apart) I heard through the sewing grape vine, there may be a quilting kit available soon!

Here’s what I really liked;

There is a cutter at every corner.  That doesn’t mean the machine doesn’t cut corners, instead, Janome has a little cutting blade everywhere you might need one.  When you thread the bobbin, a convenient little blade. When you wind the bobbin, a convenient little blade. When you thread the needle a convenient little blade….and my very favourite…when you’re finished sewing, just press the scissor button.  You don’t need a pair of scissors anywhere near this machine. I love that.

It’s also solid. It doesn’t have that plasticky feel, if you know-what-I-mean.

I was also most impressed by the automatic threader.  I’ve always avoided using  automatic threaders on machines, because they never really seem to work, I waste more time trying to thread it, then if I just squinted and threaded.  But the automatic threader on the Skyline S3 works every time, honestly…I can’t do it wrong…and I’ve tried. Specifically for this post, I tried, but it worked everytime.

It goes fast…I like that, but I can turn down the speed when my kids are using it. I like that too.

Another thing I like, is it has four alphabet fonts, including french accents! My kids go to french school and every time I sew something for someone, I like to put their name in it. So this is perfect!

The only thing I wish was different about this machine is the price. $1499.00.  A little out of reach for anyone just starting to sew.  But if you are ready to take sewing to the next level, I feel like this machine is going to last and will be able to take whatever you throw at it. In my experience if you buy it at a dealer, they’ll likely give you some $ for your old trade in. They usually throw in a couple of lessons, and trust me, I’ve had dealers walk me through how to do certain stitches over the phone.   So this is one of those times where you get what you pay for.

If you want to read a little more on the Skyline for yourself, here’s a link.

Good luck on your hunt for the perfect machine. I hope this helps you out.

Jen

Here are a couple of links to the machines I’ve referred to here!


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Showing 11 comments
  • Janell
    Reply

    Thanks for the info! I’m having one of those “I want to throw my sewing machine through the window” kind of days and then I realized it’s 11 years old. I think I deserve a new machine! Went to the Janome site first (I have a Jem Gold and I bought the Hello Kitty for my granddaughter years ago and it’s still going strong). I will certainly be checking this out at my dealer.

    • Jennifer
      Reply

      That’s so great to hear!!! I also have a Janome Horizon and MemoryCraft. You honestly can’t go wrong with them.

  • sharon
    Reply

    Hi Jennifer, thanks so much for making up my mind with the skyline 3 machine. I’ve only recently taken up sewing again and hadnt used a machine for over 30 years. As I wasnt sure how much I’d use it, I opted for a basic and cheap Brother model, a reputable brand here in Australia. It has ignited a passion that I never knew was within me. I’ve joined a craft club and my local Janome dealer holds sewing classes. I made a tote bag – my first ever. Now I’m hooked, and learning about free sewing, using different stitches, patchwork and techniques etc. I really am excited to get my new Janome Skyline S3 and put it to work. Currently there is a sale on and it’s within reach – AU$999 plus gifts!

    • Jennifer
      Reply

      Sharon i’m so happy to hear this!!! Sewing is amazing and so fulfilling and it’s really true buying from a dealer can make all the difference not just with help with the machine but the community you end up in. Good for you!!!! I’m so happy to hear this!

  • Shawne Muller
    Reply

    Thanks so much for the review Jennifer. My $99 machine from a big box store just packed it in mid project so I’m finally giving in and starting my search for a new machine. I had been doing a bit of research on the model you reviewed and I’m so happy to have the information at hand now!
    Thanks a bunch and happy sewing 🙂
    Shawne

    • Jennifer
      Reply

      So great to hear this helped. You can’t go wrong with a Janome machine!!

  • Jane
    Reply

    Hi Jennifer,
    Thank you for writing this review. I have a 30 year old brother and am so sick of sewing with it as the tension does not and never has worked properly. I have been trying to make up my mind about getting a Skyline 3 and your review has helped a lot. I really appreciate your past history with Janome Machines and it is good to know that they last. I’ve been worried that a computerised machine would only last as long as a computer ie: not very long! Thank you.

    • Jennifer
      Reply

      So glad it helped!! I’m excited for you to get a new machine!! So fun!!!

  • Belinda
    Reply

    You’ve convinced me to make the leap! I’ve been sewing (mostly quilts) for the past two years on my mum’s hand me down 1981 model Husquvarna… which unfortunately just doesn’t have enough grunt (still runs beautifully though). A great friend who is a dressmaker bought an S3 and I wasn’t sure if I needed something so fancy or if it would be okay for quilting. Keeping my eye out for a good deal in my home city.

    • Jennifer
      Reply

      Yay! So happy for you, you’re going to have so much fun!

  • Melissa
    Reply

    I love heirloom sewing. Do the 120 stitches lend themselves to these techniques.

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