My very first sewing machine was a basic New Home and it stood me in good stead for all the things I needed as a young married woman of 23. I made all our curtains and cushion covers as we couldn’t afford to buy them ready made! Later I made maternity clothes, baby clothes, pram sheets, cot sheets, children’s pyjamas, more curtains…..
Then came a very busy time when I just didn’t sew at all – my machine started playing up and it was just too much effort to even try and sew something. Fast forward 15 years – the children are a little easier to manage and I get myself a brand new machine!
How I loved this machine! This is a basic just-above-entry-level model but it did everything I wanted.
This machine lasted me years before showing any sign of trouble. It still works fine for sewing as long as you take care with the bobbin holder as it tends to move out of place and cause thread pile ups! I have oiled and cleaned my machine regularly but never had it professionally serviced so I think it was a pretty good buy. If I had it serviced now I think it would be perfect again!
I have made so much with this machine I have lost count. I did take a break from sewing for about five years when I was working full time and beginning to feel unwell with degenerative disc disease and arthritis. However once I had gone to part time work I recommenced my hobby and found it soothing to the soul! Sadly as my cervical spine discs deteriorated further they began to compress nerves in my neck which ran down my arm and I found myself unable to sew or knit or crochet at all (nor use a computer or hold a ‘phone or lift a kettle, or hold a steering wheel … you know – the little things in life which are important like making things, browsing the internet, gossiping on the ‘phone, making a cuppa tea, and going places!
Happily after surgery and physio and strong drugs I am now able to do all those things again, albeit differently and for short periods. But hey, I can sew for a while and I do, I just have to remember to pace myself!
So on this basic Janome I have made clothes for myself and quilted and done free-motion quilting! It has drop feed dogs and it is fairly easy to change the feet for quilting. It’s a dream to thread and pick up the bobbin thread – ,and very easy to change the needle, so easy in fact that I change thread colours and needle types at whim in the middle of a sewing session -there’s no need to try and get everything done in one colour before moving on.
It copes with sewing quite thick layers too, I can easily sew two layers of cotton with wadding in between when quilting.
So if this is so good why would I want anything else?
Wellll……. I begun watching Create and Craft on TV last year – I love the sewing programmes, especially the quilting ones with Jennie Rayment and I have learnt a lot – not just about sewing and quilting – but about machines and what the more modern ones can do! Oh wow did I get machine-envy!! Those amazing machines on the TV! Then I went on a Quilting Course and of the five of us I had the most basic machine in the group!
So to cut to the chase – I now have a
Janome TXL 607
I bought this in April 2014 from Jaycotts a good reliable firm in Chester, and it came with a free quilting kit and extension table 🙂
Two months down the line I can confidently say I love this new machine. If you wonder whether it’s worth paying extra for fancy stitches and/or extra features then this is my take on it.
I don’t use most of the fancy stitches but it is nice to have a few more choices than the just straight, zigzag and variations on zigzag! There is a nice little stipple stitch which is good for quilting small areas. However these are the best points of my machine:
- Can be operated with on/off button and does not need a pedal.
- has a programmable ‘locking stitch’ to secure the start and ends automatically
- has a needle up/down function so just press button and it moves and it can be programmed to always stop in the down or up position. Mine stays in the down position and this is so much easier when sewing curved areas!
- has an automatic thread cutter – this is a dream come true and FANTASTIC!!
- has speed control
So to summarise – you start sewing slowly and it either reverses a little by itself for the locking stitch or you can hold down reverse for a couple of seconds, then move the slider to increase the speed. At the end of your seam press the stop button and it will do it’s automatic locking stitches or again you could hold down reverse yourself if you wanted followed by pressing the lock button to do a couple of stationary stitches. You then press the scissors key and it cuts the threads and sorts out the remaining thread ready to sew immediately without touching them or moving them!
It is possible to programme it to do the locking stitch and then cut the thread every time you stop sewing. This is useful for long boring straight sewing where you can just keep going to the end of the seam as if you stop for a rest or to adjust the fabric position it locks and cuts in the middle of the seam!
I do like the clip on table for ease of having the fabric flat and not dropping and pulling, especially when quilting.
As with my previous Janome the needle is simple and quick to thread and the bobbin simple and quick to fill and then thread.
I think my favourite facility is the thread cutter switch! It saves not only thread but time as you can just start sewing again as soon as it’s worked.
I bought this in 2012.
This is a good little workhorse machine! It’s actually not difficult to thread at all as it’s all colour coded inside. I have had some problems with it breaking threads and coming unthread but this was sorted out free of charge by Jaycotts under the 5 year warranty and now seems to be running smoothly.
it’s very fast compared to a sewing machine and it makes some lovely seems on wool and wool garments. I used it to make both the pixie coats I made! Here is the first one!
and here is the second one!
and here some arm warmers made by recycling parts of old jumpers