Just How Heavy Duty Are Today’s Sewing Machines?

Janome Horizon Frame (pic. 1, small)Not all sewing machines are created equal, but over the years, one trend in sewing machine manufacturing has created a sense of distrust in many sewing machine customers. At Temecula Valley Sewing Center, the concern we hear more than any other is that the machines are made of plastic! Well, that’s not entirely true, and this blog post will hopefully help clear up any fears you may have about buying a new sewing machine.

Janome Horizon Frame (pic. 2, small)In the good old days sewing machines were really heavy. You’d practically have to be a professional weight lifter to pick one of them up because those machines were all metal. I’ve actually hurt myself picking one up before, which, to me, is just ridiculous, but I’m getting old so I guess that’s the way it goes. Anyway, all of the gears, knobs, pulleys, and every other part in one of those old sewing machines were metal. Metal does have it’s advantages; It’s really strong, and so these old machines were practically bullet-proof. You could generally sew through anything, and many of these older machines are still around today, although parts can be hard or impossible to find.

Janome Horizon Frame (pic. 3, small)There are a few disadvantages to those old, all metal, sewing machines. All metal parts are expensive to manufacture, the machines tend to be harder to repair, and repairs are generally more costly because of the extended time it takes to access parts in the machine.

Nearly all household sewing machines manufactured today have plastic exterior covers that cover an interior metal frame. Not only are the covers plastic, but many parts, such as gears, pulleys, knobs, etc. are made of plastic too. Plastic is OK. It weighs a lot less than metal, and the parts are less expensive to manufacture. When the plastic covers are taken off of a modern sewing machine, typically an interior metal frame is revealed, and all of the parts in the machine are attached to the metal frame. This type of manufacturing process allows for easier, less costly repairs, and repairs that don’t take as long, because the parts are easier to get to.

Janome sent us a Christmas present this month. They gave us a metal frame of one of their Horizon sewing machines. I’m a big guy, and although I didn’t actually try it, I could probably stand on this metal frame without damaging it. I took some pictures of it so you can see what a sewing machine frame looks like when all of the parts are removed. It’s not a pretty sight, but shows that a machine built with an interior metal frame is definitely as heavy duty as the old all metal type.

Janome Horizon Frame (pic. 4, small)There may be other issues regarding modern sewing machines that you have concerns about, but the metal frame NOT being on the outside shouldn’t be one of them. Please note that not all modern sewing machines have a metal frame. There are some brands out there that are completely plastic, and you should be careful that you don’t end up with one of those, or you’ll certainly be disappointed.

Come in to Temecula Valley Sewing Center and let us show you why that old metal sewing machine isn’t better than a new one. I know you won’t be disappointed.

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Reader Comments (99)

Deb Southworth on 2/11/12 @ 9:27pm

Very informative article. Are all Janomes built this way? A friend just told me that Bernina's are the best because they are all metal and all built at the same place. I am not a believer in her statement.

b.gottier on 2/14/12 @ 8:31pm

Yes, all Janome machines are built with an inner metal frame. Actually, that's not entirely true. Some Janome machines, like the professional series machines, have a mostly metal body, with only some parts that are plastic. We are a Bernina dealer, and I can tell you that there hasn't been an all metal Bernina machine made for at least 50 years. Even the old 500 and 600 series machines had plastic parts. Bernina also makes machines in more than one location, with a good portion of their machines being made in Asia. This doesn't mean much to me though, since you can hardly buy anything anymore that isn't made in that region.

Pamela on 5/28/13 @ 1:32pm

Is it possible to find a Bernina machine that has a metal inner frame with plastic outerframe. I was considering of getting the Bernina classic 1008 sewing machine. Any advice?

b.gottier on 5/31/13 @ 9:30am

Hi Pamela. I recommend Janome sewing machines over Bernina. If you were considering getting a 1008, you can do a lot better with Janome for the same money. Actually, you could spend a lot less with Janome and get a better machine. For instance, check out Janome's DC5100. This machine is currently $599.00 and beats the pants off the Bernina 1008. The Janome has a DC motor for better slow speed control, it has way more stitches, and even an alphabet. Combine that with Janome's horizontal rotary hook, less expensive accessories, and a hard cover, and you'd have a few hundred dollars left to buy fabric, patterns, or other notions. If you haven't sat down and sewed on a Janome, you really ought to give them a shot. I promise you won't be disappointed in the DC5100, but the 1008 may leave you wanting more for what you will pay.

Here is a link to the DC5100: Click Here For Janome's DC5100

Chris on 9/4/13 @ 3:59pm

I am considering purchasing a Kenmore 19233 sewing machine which I have read is the same machine as the DC5100. I am also considering the Brother pc-420prw. The Brother has a lot of features and weighs 25lbs which to me implies that it is a sturdy machine. After reading your comments about the Janone DC5100 I wondered what your opinion would be about Brother machines. I would much rather have quality in a machine than novelty features. I would appreciate your opinion.

b.gottier on 9/4/13 @ 10:20pm

Honestly, I think all sewing machine manufacturers have machines that I don't like, as well as machines that are great. The DC5100 is very nice for the price, and having seen the Brother PC-420PRW, I just don't think I could trust the quality of that specific Brother machine. If you can sew on both before you buy, I think you would like the Janome better. If you still can't decide, consider things such as dealer support, the warranty, the price of accessories, etc. It means a lot to buy a sewing machine online vs from your local dealer. Unless your dealer is the type to make the sale and abandon you, your usually better off buying from them. If you have both a local Janome dealer and Brother dealer, I would insist on a good demonstration where you get to sew on both. It will probably be very obvious which machine is better for you once you get to sit and sew on both.

Chris on 9/5/13 @ 5:50am

Thank you for your response! I don't have Janome or Brother dealers near me unfortunately so will be making an online purchase. I already own a Janome 6300P and just love the quality of that machine and have had no problems whatsoever with it, she's a real workhorse. I am definitely going to purchase the Janome DC5100 mainly because I already know Janome's quality and for all the wonderful reviews of this machine. I mainly want to have the free arm capability. The Brother was tempting due to all the features but figured that the quality may not be as great. Thanks for your reply!

b.gottier on 9/8/13 @ 9:37am

Chris, I'm glad I could help. We do sell the DC5100 online, and would appreciate your business if you live in the continental US. Have fun with your new machine!

Kirsten on 10/5/13 @ 11:42am

What about the parts and gears? Are those plastic? That really matters, too, not just the frame...

b.gottier on 10/7/13 @ 2:44pm

Kirsten, you won't find any household sewing machine manufacturer that doesn't use plastic parts/gears in their new machines. In fact, you'd be lucky if you could find an all metal machine that was made in the last 30 years. There are all metal industrial machines in production, but they generally don't exist in the household machine market for a few basic reasons. 1) Higher cost to manufacture resulting in higher retail cost to the consumer. 2) Weight of the machine when all metal parts are used, because metal weighs more than nylon or plastic. 3) Noise of metal gears vs their quieter nylon counterparts. Actually, it's pretty rare that a machine fails due to plastic parts. After servicing and repairing machines for over 14 years, I can tell you that the number one problem with a sewing machine is the person sitting between it and the chair.

Ashley Jenkins on 3/14/14 @ 4:09am

Actually that's not entirely true. My grandmas Wards signature machine was purchased new in 1990 and It has a metal exterior and metal gears, and that thing is a beast it will sewing through anything, and I do mean anything, my mother has a Kenmore Janome made, that was purchases in 1993 and it too has metal exterior and well as metal gears, mother also has a newer Janome about 3 years old, and it struggles and moans and whimpers on multiple layers of heavy fabrics, so she uses her old Janome for the heavy stuff and it plows through it like water. So yes metal gears ARE better and do exist in older machines of recent, metal has a stronger power to weight strength ratio and does not flex or bend under strain nor does it slip and grind as would plastic. I'm sorry but its a tried and true fact that metal is stronger and more durable than plastic....

Ginger on 3/31/14 @ 6:38pm

Just love your comment. I've only used machines with metal parts up untill this day. You are right, my machines will sew thrugh anything!, without struggling or moaning.

james on 11/23/13 @ 11:55pm

I am helping my wife choose a new machine. We are looking at the HD3000 and the 525S. Other than the number of stitches available what do you think of these 2 machines? How do they compare?

b.gottier on 11/24/13 @ 9:46am

James, if you must choose between these two mechanical machines, I would say the 525S is more appealing to me. The machines are similar, but in my opinion, the 525S offers a better needle threader. If you are not scared of electronic machines, I'd recommend checking out the Janome Magnolia 7330. The 7330 is out most popular selling machine.

Pamela on 12/19/13 @ 1:31pm

I am looking for a sewing machine that has a metal frame and some plastic parts. I am looking for a basic sewing machine. I do not want a computerized sewing machine. Any advice?

b.gottier on 12/19/13 @ 5:24pm

Janome has some nice models for you. The Janome Magnolia 7318. The Janome HD3000. Elna has has some nice machines. The Elna 3210 "Jeans Machine". Elna eXplore 320.

Jonathan on 1/10/14 @ 12:07am

Hi, im looking for a machine that is as heavy duty as the janome HD1000/3000 but also able to sew the round eyelets (those you find on the top of caps). able to make any recommendations?

Ashley Jenkins on 3/10/14 @ 6:43pm

Hi I am considering a new Janome, Im in love with their machines based on reviews and research. Question I have is, I'm wanting a sturdy workhorse machine, one that can take what I throw at it, and not blink an eye, or whine and complain about what im givinh it. So my question Is, im torn between the HD3000 and the DC2012.. I like that the HD3000 is all metal..

b.gottier on 3/11/14 @ 3:20pm

Hi Ashley. The DC2012 is out of production, but Janome's DC2014 is the same machine, but a different color. If I were to choose between the DC2014 or the HD3000, I'd pick the DC2014. It has way more stitches, and is just as heavy-duty as the HD3000.

Anahis Pineda on 6/1/14 @ 6:01pm

Hi, I am looking for a sewing machine that has a metal frame and some plastic parts. There are not many Janome parts where I live, and wanted to ask how you felt about the Singer. I dont speak English. I'm sorry.

b.gottier on 6/5/14 @ 1:37pm

Hi Anahis. If you are outside the United States, we will not be able to help you, but we would be glad to recommend somebody near you. I really don't like the newer Singer machines, but if you can find an older one, perhaps 30+ years old, then I think it will be worth buying.

Angelica Donovan on 7/10/14 @ 10:48am

Hello. I am looking for all metal moving parts (specially the gear), and outside plastic, truly workhorse machine; something that can do many important stitches and replace a serger for me ( and if possible some embroidery, though not absolutely required). I do not care for computerized machines, and if the machine is of industry strength, is O.K. Any suggestion? Also would you please let me know what you think of Pfaff machines, someone told me that they are the best in the industry.

b.gottier on 8/4/14 @ 4:26pm

Angelica, you're not going to find such an animal. There are no all metal sewing/serger/embroidery machines that exist. I always say that Janome sewing machines are the best. I believe they are the largest sewing machine manufacturer in the world, and they have made machines for most of the other manufacturers. They currently product all Elna models, Necchi models, Kenmore models, the Artistic line of machines, and even make industrial robots. Janome is the best.

Robin T. on 9/24/14 @ 4:34am

I haven't sewn for almost 10 years and there are so many machines on the market I am not sure what to purchase. My husband purchased a Singer 7110 for me back in 1980. I believe my skills are basic but would like to incorporate some embroidery stitches. Can you recommend a good machine that would do basic sewing but also help me to get a little more creative. Thank You, Robin T from Indiana

b.gottier on 9/25/14 @ 12:10am

Hi Robin, what is your budget? That would help me make a suggestion.

Harriet on 10/9/14 @ 5:43am

I'm looking for a heavy duty machine to sew on Velcro (non adhesive), leather and neoprene. I'm looking for durability. I was considering a Janome HD3000. I not concerned with the number of different stitches. Which Janome would you recommend. One store suggested the DC2014, but they did not have any HD3000, which makes me wonder if they were just trying to sell me what they had in stock.

b.gottier on 10/15/14 @ 11:37pm

Harriet, I think you would need to sit and sew on each of these machines to know which one you want.

Dee on 11/11/14 @ 12:25pm

Could you recommend a machine that can handle several thicknesses of upholstery material? I make mixed media purses and need something that can handle denim and upholstery materials.


b.gottier on 11/14/14 @ 12:22am

Hi Dee. I would need more information from you in order to offer a good suggestion, but without that info, I'll do my best. If you only need a straight stiching machine, then Janome's 1600P-QC may be the only sewing machine that we offer that would work for you. The 1600P-QC is a semi-industrial grade machine. It is very heavy duty, and can easily do what you need. If a straight stitch machine is too limited for you, then I'd suggest visiting your local sewing machine dealer that sells industrial sewing machines. You're probably looking at $1000 to $2000, but you'll be glad you made the investment.

Amy on 12/11/14 @ 7:37am

Hi! I came across your blog as I was researching machines for my daughter. She is very intuitive in sewing and has had miserable luck with machines thus far (a couple purchased at resale stores and a new singer that was given to her....a pretty basic singer that retails for around $100). She also sewed on a friends Bernina. We are looking at a couple of different possibilities for her and want something she can really grow with. The two that were recommended were the Elna 3210 Jeans Machine and the Janome DC2014. Any suggestions or comments re: either of them would be great! Thanks for your blog. (I also have an older Necchi machine that is a cabinet machine but doesn't have a free arm. So, my daughter isn't interested in me having it tuned up. Not sure what to do with it now.)

b.gottier on 12/11/14 @ 9:15pm

Hi Amy. Between the two models you asked about, I would probably choose the DC2014. I recommend going to your local dealer to see and sew on the machines before you make your purchase. If you are close, we have both of these models in stock. Come take a test drive!

Carolina on 1/23/15 @ 4:27pm


I'm taking a sewing class and I want to purchase my first Janome sewing machine. My budget is under $300 but want it to be me mostly metal component. Can you recommend a couple? Also, what do you recommend mechanical or electronic?

Thank you

b.gottier on 1/26/15 @ 3:01pm

Hi Carolina,

For $300 or less, I'd recommend the Janome Magnolia 7318. While I favor the electronic machines, and the 7318 is mechanical, you just don't have enough money to get into Janome's entry level electronic machine. Check out the 7318. I think if you go to your local dealer and sew on it, you'll like it.

Jennifer on 7/11/15 @ 3:21pm

Hello. I am interested in learning how to sew. I would like to start a small business on etsy. What do you think would be the best machine for me?

b.gottier on 7/13/15 @ 2:52pm

Jennifer, it would help if we know what you are interested in making. For some types of sewing a basic machine with only straight stitch would be all that is necessary, while some of your interests may require more features or even embroidery functionality. Do you have any idea what you would like to make?

Lin on 8/17/15 @ 9:51am

Hi anyone out there using the following machines?
1. Janome 419s
2. Janome 525s
3. Janome 1000/3000

Any comments on:
1. Ability to handle thick materials
2. Thread jam
3. Accuracy of back stitch
4. Plastic Bobbin 'case' wear and tear (for top loading machine - 525s)
5. Overlock stitch (using overlock foot) for 525s n 419s

Thanks in advance for taking time to answer!

LeeAnn on 10/2/15 @ 10:56pm

I was wondering where the Janome 7318 is manufactured? Thanks in advance!

b.gottier on 10/3/15 @ 10:54am

Hi LeeAnn. I believe Janome manufactures most (if not all) of their machines in Japan and Taiwan. The 7318 we have in our showroom says that it was made in Taiwan.

Deanna on 1/3/16 @ 5:30pm

I was wondering what you think about the Janome 49018? Does it have a metal frame? I can't find much information on it - like hardly any!

b.gottier on 1/3/16 @ 11:15pm

We don't have a Janome 49018 in our store, but based on the specs I'd say this is a lightweight machine, suitable for carrying to classes and taking with you while traveling. I personally like a heavier machine, especially if this will be your only machine. For comparison, the shipping weight of the 49018 is 15.7 pounds, and a standard type sewing machine will normally weight 20 to 25 pounds. Many of the more robust machines are in the 30 to 35 pound range. If you're looking for a lightweight machine, I'd say this one will probably suit you just fine. Remember that buying from your local dealer is usually the best option, as that's where your support and warranty are through.

Adrienne on 2/17/16 @ 8:49am

I am a beginner interested in doing pillows and basic sewing. I am debating between the Janome 49018 and the Brother CS6000i. What do you suggest?

b.gottier on 2/17/16 @ 7:03pm

I'm going to tell you what I always say, that you should go to your local dealer and try the machines. Buy from your local dealer after you've made your decision. That said, if I was you I would not get either of those machines. I would get the Janome Magnolia 7330. It's a little more in cost, but a better machine for most people.

Janeen on 3/17/16 @ 12:41pm

I've been sewing on the same Kenmore 10 stitch for @35 years and basically have been very happy, however, I tend to throw out the timing on it when I do a lot of sewing on denim - especially hard to sew at the junction of the side seams and hem. I use a size 18 needle and go slow but the machine just doesn't have the power to sew over that area. Is it the power of the motor not being strong enough? When I took the machine in to get the timing fixed the dealer tried to sell me a Janome My Style 100. I don't see that model on your site. Is it new, old, discontinued??? So I have been researching machines - mostly Janome and I am seriously considering the HD-1000. I don't need a lot of stitches and I don't want computerized. Do you know if there is a difference in motor power between my Kenmore and the HD-1000? Will the HD-1000 be heavy duty enough to sew 3 or 4 layers of denim and/or canvas?

b.gottier on 3/18/16 @ 4:37pm

The My Style 100 is a Janome model that is currently in production, but for the money I think you'd be better off with the Janome 7330. I think you should go into your local dealer with some denim, and have them let you sew on that machine. It's really the best machine in that price range.

Pat Horton on 4/13/16 @ 7:33pm

I have sewn for years and am interested in purchasing the Janome 7330 or the Janome DC5100. I am open to an electronic machine but would like to know the advantages of electronic over mechanical if there are any. I would like to sew clothes as well as cushions (with cording) and hem/repair clothing including jeans (so several layers of denim). I would also like to experiment with some more creative projects! If there is a better model other than the two listed, I could spend a little more. Thanks in advance!

b.gottier on 4/14/16 @ 8:34am

Hi Pat. I don't think there are any disadvantages to an electronic machine, and actually feel that mechanical machines have a disadvantage of having more moving parts (which can go out of adjustment or need lubrication). The DC5100 is clearly better than the 7330, because of how many stitches it has, including block lettering. If you don't need a lot of stitches, the 7330 is a better choice because of the price.

Queenie on 4/18/16 @ 12:08pm

Hi, I am an avid quilter and also like to make tote bags and window treatments. I sew almost daily and have beat the heck out of my costco purchased Brother sewing machine. I am in the market for a Janome quilting machine and went to my local shop to look at a 7700 only to find out that this is an "older" machine. I was then shown the 8200 and 8900, both nice machines and the price does not scare me away. However the salesperson was really pushing the S7 and S5 and said they were the most popular machines for quilters. Other than the throat space (11" vs 8") is there any real difference between the S7/S5 and the 8200/8900. Which machine to you recommend for home quilter. I would use the machine for both piecing and quilting. Thanks!

b.gottier on 4/19/16 @ 12:58pm

The 8900 is Janome's top-of-the-line sewing machine that doesn't have embroidery functions. It's hard to argue that it can be beat by any other model. The S5 and S7 aren't as big as the 8900, which is a big deal for quilters. Most dealers are selling the 8900 for a great price too, so I would shop around and get the 8900.

Susan on 5/16/16 @ 12:16pm

I am considering purchasing a Janome Memory Craft 10001. I know the outside covering is plastic, but are the interior parts basically metal? I want to buy a computerized embroidery machine that is solid and well built. This machine was new in 2009, supposively hardly used, and the non- negotiable price is $1,000.00. It would be purchased from a dealer and it comes with a lifetime of support on "how to use the machine." Do you know whether or not parts and accessories are still available for this machine? I am seeking your advice on the purchase and your opinion on the machine itself. Thank you for your time.

b.gottier on 5/17/16 @ 12:35am

Hi Susan. Back in the day the 10001 was the top-of-the-line Janome, but these days there are some important things to consider about your purchase. First, the 10001 does not take USB sticks, and instead takes CF type camera cards. Second, $1,000.00 seems a little steep, and I would research what the 10001 is selling for online in places like Ebay. Third, most of the modern Janome embroidery machines have a greatly improved embroidery unit, and the 10001 existed before this type of embroidery unit.

While the machine may have been sold new in 2009, I don't think the 10001 was in production at that point, and if I'm right the machine may actually be older than 7 years (even though it may have been sitting in a box somewhere). Parts and accessories should still be available for the 10001. I think my biggest concern would be the warranty the dealer may give you. It's one thing to have a lifetime of support, but if the machine breaks or is broken now, then what? I would absolutely want to find out what the dealer is offering for a warranty. If they are just selling the machine as-is, and considering the price they are asking, I'd personally pass it up and look for something else.

lisa on 7/5/16 @ 8:01pm

My brother just died and I am looking for a better machine for primarily quilting that can handle thicker layers ( eg 2 -3 layers of denim) for the price point of $350 or less.

looking at
janome 7318
Juki H2L 355
Viking Emerald 118
must have
automatic threader

interested in:
metal body /gears,
preferably gear driven instead of belt driven,
automatic thread cutter,
larger throat size ( at least 6.5, or even 8"),
needle in/out,

would be nice to have cover

I am not adverse to purchasing on Amazon or Ebay

b.gottier on 7/6/16 @ 10:18am

Hi Lisa. Purchasing on Amazon or Ebay is really not a great decision, as part of your warranty is through whoever you buy it through. I suggest going to your local sewing machine dealer, and ask them to show you machines that do what you want to do. Be sure to sew on the machines so you get a feel for how they operate. It's clear that you're trying to do your research and be smart about the machine you choose, but your small list of machines doesn't sync up with what you are interested in.

If you're close to Temecula, I've got a machine that would be better than any of the ones you've listed. Come by and see us if you can, or again if you are not near us I think you should visit your local sewing machine dealer. Check the dealer locator of the sewing machine manufacturer's websites to see where and who that is.

Chris on 7/6/16 @ 6:20pm

I have been using a Singer 401a for 30+ years. I have added a Necchi serger and Janome 1000CPX. Currently I sew primary (but not exclusively) with knits (cotton/ CL/ blends) to make clothing. I am looking for something that has the workhorse nature of my current Singer but that can handle knits. I am interested in the Janome HD1000. What are your thoughts? Also wondering what the Elna counterpart to the Janome HD1000. Thanks!

b.gottier on 7/7/16 @ 8:20am

Any good sewing machine would be able to handle knits if it is set up to sew with a ball point needle. I'm sure you are aware that Janome makes all of the Elna sewing machines, but the Elna brand does not have an equivalent of the HD1000. Necchi has one, and it's called the HD22.

Deborah on 8/11/16 @ 1:33pm

I mainly need a mechanical sewing machine that will sew fast and do an awesome satin stitch. Any ideas?

b.gottier on 8/11/16 @ 2:28pm

How fast? An average sewing machine is going to sew about 800 stitches per minute. Industrial machines can go up and over 2000 stitches per minute. You might look into an industrial machine if you really need something fast, but since we don't deal in industrial sewing machines, I'm not sure what to recommend.

Shea on 9/11/16 @ 9:12am

Hi, in term of workhorse, which one should i buy: janome dc3000, janome sewists 525s, juki hzl k65, or elna lotus? Im looking for a mechanical, 'mostly metal' machine. A strong yet quiet machine. Thank you for your info..

b.gottier on 9/12/16 @ 1:38pm

Of the machines you have listed, I would personally want to sew with the 525S.

Robin Earnest on 10/24/16 @ 10:55am

I am looking at purchasing a newer sewing machine that can sew through multiple layers of batting and fabric. Both the Janome 9400 and the Bernina 740 are heavy duty sewing machines. However, I don't know if it was the dealer who wasn't sure of what she was trying to sell me on the Janome or what. She was unsure of herself when trying to show me the design stitches of the Janome. This was a quiet machine that sewed beautifully but so did the Bernina. They both have metal casings but I are the gears metal or plastic in either of them? The design stitch on the Bernina was better but I have heard both pros and cons on the Bernina. Any advice?

b.gottier on 10/25/16 @ 11:51pm

Robin, I think you get more bang for your buck when you buy Janome, and after you buy the machine the accessories are way less expensive too. We used to be a Bernina dealer, and when the machines were side by side everyone always chose Janome. We jokingly called Bernina machines "the best sales tool we ever had". It sounds like you just need somebody to show you that 9400. If you're anywhere close to us, give us a call and we'd be glad to set up a time when we can show you everything the 9400 has to offer.

Robin Earnest on 10/26/16 @ 6:00am

Thank you so much for the advice. I have tried the Bernina, Janome & Viking. All have pros and cons. However, I agree, I believe I will be going with the Janome. I have read up on the Bernina & found that it has had issues in the last few years. I live in Eastern Kansas so I am not sure where your are.

Robin Earnest on 10/26/16 @ 11:32am

Never mind. lol You are in California. I can muddle through working with the dealer and work around this one. Thank you for answering my questions.

Ann on 10/24/16 @ 2:49pm

Hello - I need advice regarding a machine. My 40-year old Brother is on its last legs, so I'm shopping for a sewing machine for only the 2nd time in my life.

--I'm an intermediate sewer. I make clothing, home decor items, and craft items such as stuffed animals.
--I work with a variety of fabric weights from sheers to upholstery fabrics.
--I'm not into embroidery or quilting
--Prefer a machine that is primarily metal, but after reading your article, I'm also flexible on that.
--Would like a built-in button-holer (preferably one-step) and built-in needle threader.
--Prefer top-loading bobbin, but that's not critical.
--Looking for a durable workhorse.
--Budget: I'd like to keep it around $500 but I can go as high as $1400.

Thank you for any suggestions!

b.gottier on 10/25/16 @ 11:55pm

Ann, there are a lot of machines that would meet your needs between $500 and $1400. I suggest going to your local dealer and not buying over the internet. Your relationship with your dealer is very important, but then it really depends on your local dealer. If you like and trust your local dealer, just go there and have them show you all the machines. Make sure they let you sew on the machines so you get a feel for what you're buying. Bring some of your own fabrics and test the machines out. That's the proper way to buy a sewing machine.

Mari on 11/1/16 @ 1:38am

Modern day Necchi? I am searching for a machine with decent space for quilting but I am not interested in a mega computerised gadget, I just want the space. I see Necchi have one such machine, but I've never heard of this make. Can you tell me anything? Thanks

b.gottier on 11/1/16 @ 4:19pm

Mari, Necchi is a Janome sewing machine. If you've heard of Janome, then just picture a Janome machine with a different name tag on it.

Frank Atwood on 11/11/16 @ 9:08pm

Strangest thing is happening. On the singer Quantum Stylist 9960 the path the thread travels are plastic and the thread is actually cutting the plastic in these areas. Which causes the thread to catch. Horrible design. Plastic is okay but if thread can cut it maybe switch to metal guides along the path. Singer is no help. It is happening in multiple places and is very disappointing. Can these plastic shells be replaced?

b.gottier on 11/12/16 @ 1:04pm

I would assume that they can be replaced. Sewing machine manufacturers usually make parts for machines and have them around for a couple decades. I can't tell you for sure if that is the case with Singer though. You'd have to take the machine to a Singer dealer that has a sewing machine technician, or perhaps send the machine to one your trust.

Alexandria Sams on 11/22/16 @ 6:33am

I am trying to compare the Janome hd1000 to Bernina 1008. What are the pros and cons of each?

b.gottier on 11/25/16 @ 9:45am

Both are solid machines. I'd personally not want to spend the money on the 1008. Both are basic sewing machines and capable of sewing the same types of material, so why spend 3 times as much (or more).

T. Holland on 11/25/16 @ 9:55am

Im looking into the Janome line. I sew daily and its usually thicker fabric like waxed canvas, fleece, nylon and polypropylene. I've used a Singer 4423 for some time, but it's having a hard time getting through some of the projects, and eventually lost its timing. I have to re-time it way too often and also to replace needle plates and bobbin holders. Eventually I had to just throw it out. Which Janome would you recommend that can handle my kind of work?

b.gottier on 11/28/16 @ 7:11pm

I believe that any of the Janome sewing machines that are not light-weight would easily sew the types of fabrics that you are sewing on. If you give me a price range, I could offer some suggestions.

Pat on 12/14/16 @ 10:35am

What is the best mechanical Janome machine, with metal frame and speed control? (I like to be able to sew SLOWLY.) I don't care about a lot of fancy stitches. If the best costs more than $500 or so, what are the runners-up?

b.gottier on 12/15/16 @ 6:09pm

Pat, if you like to sew slowly, you need to get one of Janome's electronic machines. They sew better than the mechanical machines at slow speed. Entry level is the Janome Magnolia 7330.

Chris on 12/16/16 @ 10:03am

Hi there!

I am looking for a strong sewing machine. I do not really care about fancy stitches or anything. I should only need a straight, zig zag, and I think an overlock stitch would be nice. I need to have a free arm for sewing jeans and other stuff.

I also want to be able to sew heavy nylon, like layers of Cordura and nylon webbing. I have been looking at the Janome HD3000, but a lot of amateur gear makers seem to be using older, stronger machines. Could you point me in a direction?


b.gottier on 12/21/16 @ 9:26am

The right direction is always going to your local sewing machine dealer and sewing on the machines before you buy.

Melinda on 1/8/17 @ 10:24pm

Putting in my 2 cents -- I'd prefer an industrial sewing machine, or vintage Singer over today's machines. Industrials can stitch up to 5000 spm, or you can put a servo motor on the industrial to slow it down. These produce a consistent, perfect straight stitch -- no fuss. Heck, I restored a TREADLE sewing machine from the 1890s -- and its stitch quality BEATS today's plastic wonders -- hands down! I use my old Bernina for buttons and buttonholes only.

lola on 8/4/17 @ 8:50am

I cant decide between the hd3000 and 525s, i understand the hd3000 is heavy duty but I dont sew heavier stuff all the time.. occsional denim repair... how does the 525 s hold up to thicker fabrics and thickness changes?

b.gottier on 8/6/17 @ 10:56pm

Lola, the 525S is no longer in production. I think you should look at Janome's 7330 machines. I think you'll have a better sewing experience with one of them.

brenda on 8/5/17 @ 4:58pm

If you had to choose between these 2 machines which would you go with. Janome jem gold 660 or Janome my style 100?

b.gottier on 8/6/17 @ 10:57pm

If it was me ... I'd go with the Jem.

Dijana on 9/26/17 @ 6:24am

Hi! I am looking to buy my first machine. I want something strong, that can handle simple leather tasks and the price range up to 300$. I was looking into Janome HD1000, but I live in the Netherlands and it seems like this machine doesn't even exist here. Do you know something about that? And which other machines would you recomend?

b.gottier on 9/27/17 @ 8:32am

Hi Dijana. Janome has many branches in different countries of the world, and in most cases they carry different machines than in the United States. I'd say your best option is to visit your local sewing machine dealer. Bring some leather and make sure they let you sew before you buy.

Dawn on 9/28/17 @ 9:54am

I am considering buying an Elna 1600 from a neighbor for $85, but can't seem to find much information on this model online anywhere! The machine seems to be in near new condition. I am not by any means an accomplished or frequent sewer, and the primary purpose would be basic repairs and other relatively small crafting projects etc. Any thoughts or suggestions are appreciated!

b.gottier on 9/29/17 @ 8:16am

Dawn, the Elna 1600 seems like an older model. That's probably why you're not finding much about it online. It is a horizontal rotary hook model, and that's a bonus. Since the machine is in near new condition, it sounds like a good deal for you. You might just make sure everything works before buying it. Test the reverse button works, and that the machine does zig and zag.

Brenda on 10/12/17 @ 6:16pm

I just purchased a Janome 9900, haven't used it yet...I'm an experienced sewist but have never used an embroidery machine...what are your opinions of this machine? Thanks

b.gottier on 10/14/17 @ 8:28am

Brenda, I think the 9900 is a great machine. It doesn't sound like you've taken any classes, but if your dealer offers them, it would help you understand how nice your machine really is.

Brenda on 10/29/17 @ 5:04am

I just purchased a Janome 9900, haven't used it yet...I'm an experienced sewist but have never used an embroidery machine...what are your opinions of this machine? Thanks

b.gottier on 10/29/17 @ 10:27pm

I really like the 9900. For the price it has great features, and is a high quality machine. It will serve you well.

Judy on 11/27/17 @ 10:24am

Hello, I am looking to upgrade my Husky 140 machine, and thinking about Singer 9960 or Janome DC5100. I would like to have the features of new machines - threaders, stop/start-foot free, thread cutter, etc. and I want to sew a variety of fabrics such as denim, leather, nylon webbing, as well as silks, cotton and wool for various projects. Don't care a lot about many fancy stitches. but want something strong and quiet. do you have an opinion between the two or another suggestion? Seems Janome DC5100 is hard to find. I live in Chicago. thank you for this wonderful advice forum

b.gottier on 11/29/17 @ 8:04am

Judy, it is my personal opinion, based on the Singer machines brought to our show for repair, that Singer doesn't make any sewing machines that are of good quality. You really need to go to your local dealer and allow them to show you machines. Insist on sewing before you buy. It's only then that you'll be able to make a good decision.

Sue on 12/12/17 @ 8:06am

Hello, I am trying to decide if I should go with the HD3000 or something like the dc2015 or 5100. I like to quilt, and like all the stitches and features of the DC2015 for quilting, but also like to sew home projects like corded pillows, fleece, and hem jeans, etc. Would the DC2015 be able to handle rolled hems and going through multiple layers of material? I would rather have something that will not break. Should I get the HD3000 because it is more heavy duty? Thanks!

b.gottier on 12/12/17 @ 11:43am

I don't think the HD3000 is more heavy duty than the other machines you mentioned. If you have the funds, the 5100 is the best machine of the ones you mentioned.

Teri on 6/6/18 @ 3:06pm

I have just purchased the Janome 9400. I've owned a 6600, and an 8900. I'm finding that the 9400s motor doesn't compare in strength to the 6600. What Janome, or other sewing machines has the best motor to go through several layers of heavy fabric without hesitation. Or should I be looking at industrial machines? Thanks for your help!

b.gottier on 7/15/18 @ 9:01am

If you're thinking that you might need an industrial machine, chances are you do. "Several layers of heavy fabric" is a little vague, but if you're sewing on that all the time, the industrial machine is probably the right tool for the job.

RENEE J GRAY on 10/10/18 @ 11:36am

I am considering ordering a Janome HD 1000 Heavy Duty which claims to have metal working parts, the white colored model. The seller is also offering the same model# in black at a $29 reduction but is has al aluminum body. Which is best? I think the metal working parts model...any advice. Thank you.

b.gottier on 10/11/18 @ 6:47pm

Renee, either one should be fine. Which ever one you like best is the one you should get.

Mimi Ogbe on 2/16/19 @ 3:31am

Hi I want a machine that can do different thicknesses of fabric without bother. I have been looking at the janome HD3000 and the necchi 132. What are your thoughts
Thank you

b.gottier on 2/17/19 @ 11:04pm

I recommend the Janome 7330

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