As promised, here’s a review of my SHINY NEW(ish) SEWING MACHINE! I bought a Janome DC2015 back in January, and I love it.
I actually bought it through Amazon—I’d bought my previous machine (a Juki) through Sew Vac Direct, so I was happy to see them as a vendor on Amazon. And Prime shipping meant I got it in two days (I’m very anxious when I don’t have a working sewing machine in the house).
My poor Juki died a painful and undignified death early this year, when (despite two tune-ups) the timing just wouldn’t stay timed. I hope I never hear again the horrible grinding noise that a sewing machine with a jammed bobbin case makes. It haunts my dreams.
Luckily, I had a reasonable budget for a new machine ($400-$700) and a short list of requirements. My main complaint about the Juki (I had an HZL-80) was that the feed dogs were underpowered, so I found myself shoving fabric through the machine (which certainly contributed to the timing problems). It was also a bit on the loud side. I also wanted a machine with a decent automatic buttonhole stitch, a blind hem stitch, and that used low-shank snap-on feet (so that I wouldn’t have to replace all my Juki feet).
Since the last time I bought a sewing machine (back in 2008!) there are a lot more online reviews of machines available, but changing model numbers can make it a little tricky to sort out which machine, exactly, you’re reading about. I probably spent about four hours trawling through posts trying to figure out what people liked and didn’t like–a few people specifically mentioned Janome’s feed dog technology as being good, so I began focusing on the DC line. (There really ought to be a sewing-machine review site that lets you filter by brand, model, price, and features …)
The DC2014 model was a little cheaper, and had basically the same functionality as the DC2015, but I didn’t think I could face SO MUCH PURPLE every time I sat down to sew, so I went with the red DC2105. I haven’t made a full comparison, but it looks to me that the annual updates of the DC line are focused more on color than anything else.
I’m really, really happy with this machine. It has fewer ‘fancy’ stitches (e.g. no alphabet letters, only twenty different flavors of scallop stitches instead of forty) than my old Juki, but since I the last time I used those fancy stitches falls somewhere between ‘never’ and ‘can’t remember when’, I don’t think I’ll miss them.
The one thing I didn’t pay attention to turned out to be my favorite feature of the new machine: the needle position setting is MUCH finer-grained than on my old Juki—there’s like six or eight possible positions, instead of just left-middle-right. (This is fantastic for sewing piping.)
The narrow/zipper foot that came with the machine is a bit oddly shaped for sewing with the needle in the far-left position, so I bought a slide-arm zipper foot and that works fine.
But perhaps my favorite thing about this new machine is the Janome invisible zipper foot. Combined with the more precise needle positioning, my invisible zipper insertion now is like buttah. It’s SO nice. I am never going back to a plastic invisible zipper foot.
And my other most-used feature, the blind hem stitch, is also much nicer and easier to use than the one on my old Juki.
And since I know some people really freak out about threading machines: the threading is amazingly simple. You could thread this machine in the dark, stumbling drunk, wearing mittens. It’s that simple. The bobbin especially has a useful loading diagram built into the cover PLUS a thread-cutter/holder.
I do have a few quibbles: the bobbin winding is on the slow side; the default width setting on the zig-zag is (I think) too narrow; and the automatic backstitch setting is a little inconsistent (or I’m not using it right, who knows ¯\_(ツ)_/¯). I did sit down and read the manual cover-to-cover before using it, which was eye-opening. (The things you think you know … shakes head.)
Otherwise, A+++ machine! And the Sew Vac Direct package came with a bunch of nifty stuff, including extra bobbins and a really cool flat screwdriver that makes taking the bobbin case out super-easy (which means I’ll clean it more often, win-win). Now if it only came with a few extra days in the week to sew in!