In 1999 we moved to Michigan from Pennsylvania because my darling got a new job. In Pennsylvania, for a few years before we left, I had been working at my mom’s bed and breakfast and I was doing alterations and making wedding dresses for people. I honestly cannot remember what kind of sewing machine I had at that time. I know it was pretty basic and it was a machine I had been using since I bought it in California around 1985.
Soon after we moved to Michigan I began quilting. I didn’t have any customers to sew for here and I wanted to make some sewing friends. The closest shop focused on quilting so that’s what I did too. What came out of that were some new customers to sew for because the fabric shop started recommending me to people. And what came from that was a new sewing machine.
I spent almost every penny I was making to pay off a new Janome Memory Craft 9000. It had all kinds of fancy stitches and did embroidery designs as well with the help of little computer discs you stuck in the side of it.
I decided to go with Janome for a couple of reasons. 1. They had good reviews and seemed to be quality machines. 2. That’s what the quilt store sold.
I think it is a good idea to buy a machine from a dealer that is close by. That way you can easily get it serviced, and they usually have people who know things and can help you with issues.
I had this same opinion when I was selling spinning wheels. You might want to have that fancy spinning wheel that everybody on the internet is talking about but nothing beats being able to drive to a dealer nearby and ask questions about why it might be acting up. Same with sewing machines. And the chance of having a sewing machine dealer within a short distance of your house is even greater than somebody who sells spinning wheels.
That deal on Amazon or Ebay may sound great but is that $100 savings really worth the headache of not being able to get service or find somebody who can listen to the noise it’s making in person?
Anyway, that’s just one of my little soap box moments.
I used that MC9000 sewing machine for about 17 years but then the computer started going and when I took it in I found out that the parts were hard to get and fixing it would cost more than the machine was worth. They didn’t even want it on trade in so I looked at what else was available.
When I bought the last machine it was Janome’s top of the line machine. It was the most money I had ever spent on anything except our house and car. But they told me how happy I would be with it and I went for it. I did use the embroidery feature sometimes. Most often at high school graduation time because my favorite graduation gift became a set of monogrammed towels. That was a useful gift because the kid could then go off to their next step in life with a quality set of towels which were easily identified as theirs which comes in handy in a room mate setting.
I did a few other things with the monograms too. Most often baby gifts. But if I’m being honest the extra money for the embroidery features was kind of wasted on me. What I really wanted was a quality machine that would do everything I wanted for making clothing.
I settled on the Janome Skyline S5. This was, I think, the third in the skyline series and the S6 was just coming out so I got a decent deal on the floor model. It has everything I need. It does something like 170 stitches but honestly I use maybe 10.
I like that it has a blind hem stitch, an overcast stitch, and automatic buttonhole. It came with 11 different feet including an even feed foot, and I use almost all of them. I did buy a couple of additional ones though because wanted an adjustable zipper foot and a couple of widths of rolled hem feet.
The machine has an automatic thread cutter that for me was this new amazement and I love it so much. It even has a knee lift. The only thing it doesn’t have that I loved in the other machine is an indicator that the bobbin is getting low. I have found myself more than a few times just sewing happily along for long seams after the bobbin thread has run out.
So here I am eyeing a new machine. I need a backup, right!? Janome Skyline S7 is in my view. It has a couple more features that I think I might love but the S9 may be a little more than I really want. We’ll see what happens.