As much as I love my big red Janome Horizon, she isn’t very travel friendly. And I’ve missed out on some really fun events because I don’t like hauling her around. So, I’ve definitely been hankering for a second machine for travel. I knew I wanted either a standard sized Janome or a really great Singer Featherweight. I wasn’t able to find a good Featherweight at a reasonable price, so I chose to go with a new Janome. I still hope to add a Featherweight to my collection at some point, but I’m happy waiting for the right one to come along. (And when I do, I fully intend to get a snazzy custom paint job! Eggplant purple Featherweight? Yes. Yes indeed)
After a lot of research on smaller Janomes, I decided to go with either a 3/4 size Janome Jem Platinum or a full size Janome DC1050. Both models have functions that I’ve become entirely too reliant on like needle up-down, a start/stop button, and a speed control slider. But once I noticed the Hello Kitty 18750 (which as far as I can tell is an exact clone of the DC1050) my search was over. Baby Bee is utterly obsessed with Hello Kitty (daughter of a toy-maker? No irony lost there!), and I thought this might be a good machine for her to learn on eventually.
I’ve spent some time with Little Red over the past two weeks, and she’s a good little machine. She can’t compete with Big Red on any front, but she is totally functional. She runs quietly and has handled everything I’ve thrown at her with ease. She is very smooth to piece on, and is pretty accurate as well. One of my girlfriends is learning to sew on Little Red and has really enjoyed sewing on her, too.
I will say that there is more plastic on this machine than I would like. I know it isn’t a thousand dollar machine, but the ankle, needle plate, and rotary hook are all plastic. Sure, it seems like good quality plastic, but even my sad little beginner Singer had more metal. At any rate, I replaced the plastic “slide-on” style ankle right away with a metal “snap on” style ankle. Not only did that get rid of some plastic, but now I can use my Horizon feet on Little Red. Having that compatibility is great. (FYI – The part number for the metal ankle adapter is Janome #804509000. I found mine at Ken’s Sewing Center here for the bargain price of $13.) I’ve tried searching for replacement needle plates, but haven’t had any success. If anyone out there has a tip there, I’m all ears!
Replacement metal ankle (left) vs. plastic ankle that comes standard (right)
Overall, I certainly prefer sewing on my Janome Horizon. No surprise there. If the machines were actually comparable I would be pretty ticked off for having paid so much for the Horizon. Even so, I definitely look forward to hitting the road with Little Red in full Hello Kitty style. I just need a certain red and aqua quilt-as-you-go carry case for her first 🙂
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What brand and model do you have?
My travel machine is a Janome 18750 (which from what I can tell is the same as a Janome DC1050, but with added Hello Kitty bling)
How long have you had it?
Almost two months.
How much does that machine cost (approximately)?
The retail price is $499.00, but it is on sale pretty consistently around the $300 mark.
What types of things do you sew (i.e. quilting, clothing, handbags, home dec projects, etc.)?
I sew a little bit of everything, but so far I’ve only used this machine for piecing. It does really well at piecing (my most recent Summer Solstice Stars were pieced on this machine), but I haven’t experimented with anything heavy duty.
How much do you sew? How much wear and tear does the machine get?
I travel with this machine, and use it for sewing in front of the TV. Everything else is done on my beloved Janome Horizon 7700. So this little machine only sees a couple of hours of use a week.
Do you like/love/hate your machine? Are you ambivalent? Passionate? Does she have a name?
I like this machine a lot as a travel machine. It’s cute, portable (weighs in at about 12 pounds), and it gets the job done in style. The stitches look great, and she has met every challenge I’ve thrown at it — I have yet to get into a fight with her. And yes, I’ve affectionately named her Little Red since I call my Horizon “Big Red” 🙂
What features does your machine have that work well for you?
It has a lot of the great features like up/down needle position and speed control. The machine is also very smooth and quiet at lower speeds (which is key to the whole “sewing while watching TV” thing). Even though she’s small, she is still a Janome and the quality is shows. As an added bonus, my machine came with a blue hand wheel. The others I’ve seen have a white hand wheel. I know it’s silly, but I really like that mine is an odd-duck.
Is there anything that drives you nuts about your machine?
As I explained above, my biggest pet peeve is the amount of plastic used on this machine. I know this isn’t a three thousand dollar machine, but I think the needle plate (and maybe the rotary hook) should have been metal. Oh, and if you put the pedal to the metal she will shake a bit and make a little noise — to be expected, really. In fairness, she probably wouldn’t shake if I sewed somewhere *besides* folding card tables. Details!
Would you recommend the machine to others? Why?
I really do love this little machine. It’s a great little machine for a beginner and it works very well as a travel machine. That said, I wouldn’t recommend it as a standalone machine for an experienced quilter or bag-maker.
What factors do you think are important to consider when looking for a new machine?
I think it’s important to know what you expect out of your machine. The needs of a garment maker are completely different than those of a quilter. Since I’m mostly a quilter and a toy-maker, I looked for something that was accurate, with a needle up/down, and speed control. I decided that my travel machine didn’t have to handle 8+ layers of fabric, but that’s an absolute must for my main machine.
Do you have a dream machine?
I’m lucky enough to have my dream sewing machine (the Janome Horizon 7700) as my main machine, but my dream travel machine is a Singer Featherweight. And so long as we’re dreaming, I’d like it to be custom painted eggplant purple. With silver decals. Maybe someday 🙂
Edit: Bonus Picture of the Feed Dog Drop Lever and Thread Cutter for Violet Craft 🙂