A few weeks ago I bought a domestic sewing machine – Janome Memory Craft 6600P. I needed a back-up sewing machine in case something happens to my Mitsubishi industrial workhorse. I also wanted a relatively high-end machine so I could do stitches that I can’t do on my straight-stitch industrial machine – like button holes, zig zags, and monograms. Automatic thread cutter was also a “necessity” now that I’m so used to it.
Budget was limited though, so when I found a second-hand Memory Craft 6600 at a reasonable price, I went for it. Having never owned a high-end domestic machine, I was excited! I bought a new sewing table and chair for the Janome and welcomed it to my studio – here it is next to my Brother overlocker.
Sadly, my first impression of the machine was… disappointment. It was a nice machine for sure, and the stitch quality was good. But it felt like a toy compared to my powerful, responsive industrial machine. After a few hours of playing with it, I didn’t go back to it for weeks. It was that frustrating to sew with.
Eventually though, I decided to give the Janome another try. Maybe I judged harshly too soon. Maybe I just needed to get to know it better. It was unfair to expect it to perform like an industrial machine anyway…
Today was a lazy Sunday. The kids were away at a local market with Mark. I decided to do some light patchwork and quilting with the Janome.
Piecing lightweight pieces together went trouble-free. Then I tried the built-in walking foot. It worked very well! Much smoother, quieter, and more effortless than the clanky walking-foot attachment I had for my old Janome machine. It’s great that the walking foot is built-in – no need to attach it with a screwdriver. Finally, I felt a glimmer of hope – maybe even love – towards this machine.
Here are other things I love about this machine:
(1) The bobbin winder that works with a touch of a button. You don’t have to operate the whole sewing machine to wind up a bobbin, and the process is fast.
(2) Auto thread cutter works like a charm, at the touch of a button.
(3) The machine is a little faster than a regular domestic machine – at 1000 stitches per minute, it is of course slow compared to 5000-stitch-per-minute industrial machine, but still fast enough not to feel too frustrated.
(4) The stitch quality is solid and clean. I can definitely use this machine for my professional sewing work (although I haven’t tried out heavy canvas bags yet on this machine).
What I still find frustrating is that the machine is not instantly responsive. I like to start sewing at a fast pace, but the machine starts out slowly for the first few stitches, no matter how hard I step on the foot controller. I get the same sluggish response when I stop and backstitch.
I am also disappointed in the knee lifter attachment. I had to get a height-adjustable chair just to reach the knee lifter comfortably. However, when I do reach the lifter, I’m sitting way too high to operate the machine ergonomically. I have given up on the knee lifter for the moment.
Still, I quite enjoyed sewing with the Janome today. In just a couple of hours, I made three small placemats, a large pot holder / table runner, and a small potholder for our kitchen. I wouldn’t have made so many things if I hated the machine. That’s right, the Janome and I are finally becoming friends.