Top positive review
603 people found this helpful
No frills, excellent machine
on August 8, 2011
I was torn between this Janome HD1000 and the Singer Heavy Duty. Even though I'm a sewing novice, I personally dislike the new wave of plastic bodied machines. I was using a beautiful robin's egg blue Singer from the '60s or '70s--older than I am!--and it was great until perplexing tension issues began to crop up. I didn't want a slick computerized machine taking its place, so the Singer Heavy Duty immediately caught my eye, due to its 'traditional' looking body as well as exciting features such as a drop-in bobbin and 20 plus stitches, one step buttonhole, etc. However, the lackluster reviews, complaints of a very short lifespan, and overall disintegration of the Singer brand's quality left me wary.
The metal body of the Janome is amazing. Sure, it may be heavier, but the overall durability seems greater than any plastic. The bobbin is front loading, which was frightening at first (no 'jam free' guarantee) but it hasn't been a problem at all. The metal casing that holds the bobbin seems very sturdy and made to last. Though the flashiness of a thousand different stitches is alluring, I realistically use only... Two or so for my garment sewing. I haven't touched any other stitches yet, so 14 is more than enough for me. Those who are doing projects that show off stitchwork might want more variety, but again, I think the Janome's offerings are more than adequate for most people.
As I said, I'm relatively new to sewing machines (I used to hand sew everything!), but I was able to use the Janome soon after it was unpacked. I had to look up how to load the bobbin, and the inner hand wheel was initially stubborn (I used one of those grippy rubber jar-openers to help--very useful!), and everything flew from there. The automatic needle threader is an amazing luxury; at first, I thought it might not really be necessary, but I absolutely am in love with it. And oddly enough, I received a hard case even though I thought this Janome came with a soft cover (but no complaints here!)
I first felt guilty about being unfaithful to my older Singer, but this Janome is quickly becoming an indispensible new friend.
EDIT: It's a little over a year later (9/12) and this machine is humming away beautifully. I still use the metal Bernina bobbins, and they work very well. I did have some frustrating issues with getting the bobbin thread picked up, as it seemed to get caught and jam, but I realized that this was due to my own inexperience and stupidity! As I'm sure is common knowledge for everyone else, I only needed to make sure I was bringing the needle all the way back up to its highest position before attempting to pull up the bobbin thread. I only mention this embarrassing incident in case others may have had the same problem, as I had the initial reaction of blaming the machine rather than myself.
Anyway, I've sewn quilting-quality cotton to oilcloth and several layers (seriously, like 4-5) of heavy cotton duck (to make a heavy-duty saddle bag for my bike.. it went quite well, considering I pulled the plan from thin air--I'm so proud, haha) and the Janome worked right through them. I occasionally had some difficulty with the layers and layers of folded cotton duck, but that's where the extra high presser foot really came in handy! A sewing machine isn't essential in my life, as I'm a casual, hobby sewer, but I love my Janome like I would an extra arm (and who doesn't need an extra arm sometimes?), though without the self-consciousness an additional appendage would bring.