If you have been following some of my posts to our Delphi Forum, I had mentioned that I was on a search for a new sewing machine. When I moved to London several years ago, I had purchased a budget sewing machine – a Janome. At the time I knew that I would eventually need to get a better quality machine in order to sew handwovens, but at that time, it met my basic sewing needs.
Since I rented a weaving studio at Wimbledon Arts Studios, and have started to weave again, the first warp that came off my loom caused me problems when it came time to hem the edges of the sauna towels that I had woven. The fairly loose twill weave and roughness of the tow linen caused the old sewing machine to choke. The thread constantly broke, or the seam skipped many stitches. So I did a bit of research on the suitability of sewing machines. I was looking for one that would have the power to sew heavier or thicker fabrics, yet could also handle fine silks.
What attracted me to some of the Janome sewing machines is that they have a heavy duty motor. And can sew both jeans and leather. The Janome has 7 separate feed dogs, giving you better control for feeding the fabric as you are sewing.
“In Japanese, the word Janome (pronounced Ja-NO-me) means “eye of the snake.” The company earned the name in the 1920s when founder Yosaku Ose, a pioneer in Japanese sewing manufacturing, began to use a round metal bobbin system instead of the traditional long shuttle. The Japanese thought the new round bobbin looked like a snake’s eye, and from the innovative design, a name was born.”This Janome sewing machine has a top-loading bobbin that is very easy to thread.
At first I considered purchasing the Janome DC3050 Computerised Sewing Machine because it seemed to have all the features that I was looking for. Then I found the Janome DXL603 (Janome 3160 QDC in US is similar I think) – that is more geared to the quilter, yet also had the more powerful motor that could sew the heavier fabrics. It is fully computerized and has 60 different stitch types, probably more than I will ever use, but the option is there.
And there happened to be a special promotional offer that gave me a quilting table that attaches to the free arm, giving me a larger surface for spreading the fabric on as I am sewing. It also came with additional foot attachments.
- Walking foot, quilting guide
- Darning foot
- 1/4″ seam foot
- Ditch quilting foot
- Craft foot
As I read through the instructions, and threaded the needle for the first time, I was delighted to find an automatic needle threader, that is easy to use, and seems to work flawlessly. In the past, when I have started to struggle with threading a sewing machine needle, it has been an indication to me that it may be time to visit my optometrist. After trying out the various stitches, I then tested the sewing machine on a remnant of the linen towel warp that my previous machine had struggled with. I was very happy to find that this Janome was able to sew the fabric without a hiccup. I used an overcast stitch along the edge and then turned the edge over to hem it. The sewing machine was also able to stitch flawlessly through 3 layers of the loosely woven linen fabric using the standard No. 14 needle.
The Janome DXL603 doesn’t need oiling. But if you are sewing with handwoven fabrics, please be aware that these tend to create a lot of lint, so you will need to clean and brush the lint from the bobbin casing and feed dogs quite frequently.So far, I am very happy with my new sewing machine purchase.
More Fabric Savvy: A Quick Resource Guide to Selecting and Sewing Fabric
Simple Woven Garments: 20+ Projects to Weave & Wear
Woven to Wear: 17 Thoughtful Designs with Simple Shapes
WeaveKnitWear: Simply Fabulous Clothing and Accessories for Rigid Heddle (and Other) Weavers
The Weaver’s Idea Book: Creative Cloth on a Rigid Heddle Loom
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