19 October 2013

Sewing Machine Review - Janome 1600P

Hands up who reads sew mama sew? I must admit that I only follow this website via facebook, so at times it's pretty hit and miss what I actually see. I did however, come across a post recently about reviewing your sewing machine. What a great idea to have a group of owner reviews all in the one place! So here it is, the first of my reviews on my pride and joy - a Janome 1600P sewing machine.

What brand and model do you have? Janome 1600P semi-industrial sewing machine. I believe that this model has now been superseded, but this is the basic model (link to American website, the details on the Australian Janome website don't seem to work properly).

How long have you had it? I purchased this machine in January 2008, so as of writing this review I've had it for about 5 and a half years.

I bought this machine from my father, who at the time owned a sewing machine shop (how appropriate, right?) He'd had it sitting in his shop for a while, and was keen to offload it when I suggested that maybe it would help me with my fledgling business. Shortly after that, he got a quilting frame in, and, guess what? The only machine that you could use with it was the 1600P, so he had to get another one in. I managed to get myself a good deal on a great machine though!

How much does that machine cost (approximately)? I'm not sure of the exact value of this machine - I got mine at a discounted rate, but I believe it retails at well over $1,000 AUD

What types of things do you sew (i.e. quilting, clothing, handbags, home dec projects, etc.)? I sew everything on this that needs a straight line (excluding stretch fabrics). Silks, chiffon, cotton, denim, canvas, oilcloth, you name it, this machine handles every fabric with ease.

How much do you sew? How much wear and tear does the machine get? This machine is in constant use. Depending on what I am working on it could see up to 12 hours sewing time in any given week.

Do you like/love/hate your machine? Are you ambivalent? Passionate? Does she have a name? I absolutely love this machine, and wonder what I ever did without it. I haven't given her (ok, so I do think of it as a her) a name, but sometimes she does get referred to as The Beast. Sometimes.

What features does your machine have that work well for you? It sews really fast! This machine can do up to 1,600 stitches per minute. It has an up / down needle button, a thread cutter which cuts your thread off at around 5mm length, a knee lift - great for going around corners, and a separate bobbin winder. You can wind while you sew! Not that I usually do that, but you just press a button and wind your bobbin, you don't have to sit there staring at the wall with your foot down until it finishes, you can walk around and do something else - maybe fix up that pesky overlocker while your bobbin is winding! (Maybe I might get around to doing a review on the pesky overlocker!)

I really love the power that this machine has. I once sewed a chiffon dress that was covered with sequins. Not those flimsy plastic ones, but heavy duty sequins. I only realised what a pain they were when my overlocker needle kept breaking on them, as my 1600P glided over them like they weren't even there. (I'm thinking next time I sew fabric like this I should just bind the seams!)

Another thing that I think is really cool is the metal bobbins. When I first found out that the bobbins weren't the same as my other Janome machines, I was a little annoyed that I would have to buy new bobbins. So I bought lots of bobbins. I have a few bobbin boxes for them to live in, but the addition of a magnetic strip to the shelf above my machines has proven very useful for storing bobbins that don't quite make it back to their boxes. I even have new bobbins that haven't been used yet!

I also thought I'd share with you the additional feet that I purchased for my machine. Just because it only sews in a straight line doesn't mean that you can only do seams with it. I bought a zipper foot, invisible zipper foot, 1/4 inch seam foot and stitch in the ditch foot (I'm sure it has a technical name, but, well, it's used to stitch in the ditch, so that's what I'm calling it)

My additional sewing feet
Is there anything that drives you nuts about your machine? There are a few little gripes that I have, not about the machine itself, more about the accessories. Firstly,the zipper foot is rather flimsy compared to the rest of the machine. It's one piece of metal with a rather long shank with a few curves in it, and it has bent out of shape so you end up hitting the zipper foot with your needle, damaging both the foot and the needle. See the marks on my foot? Yeah, think broken needles flying up at your face and you get the idea.

Zipper foot
See the chunk missing on the right hand side?
Another little thing that would be useful is measurements marked out on the left hand side of the needle plate. My other machines have marks going out on both sides so you can line up a seam to the left as well as to the right of the needle, but this one only has them out to the right, and only out to 3cm.

My own addition (which would have been nice to have) is a straight line that I scratched into the extension plate, going straight down from the needle. Comes in handy to line up the end of a dart to sew a nice a straight line.

Would you recommend the machine to others? Why? Definitely! If you do a lot of sewing (in a straight line), then this machine is a must! I have never regretted this purchase, and have never had any problems that couldn't be fixed by a good clean.

What factors do you think are important to consider when looking for a new machine? Find one that meets your needs. I must say that I am a Janome girl, this is the fourth Janome machine in a row that I have bought, and always the first brand that I would look at. I like to be able to breeze through my seams, that's why I love this machine. If you are a person that does mostly applique for example, then this machine is not for you.

Do you have a dream machine? If the issues that I mentioned above were all fixed, then I think this could possibly be my dream machine.

Catch up on my other sewing machine reviews:

Janome Memory Craft 4800QC
Janome Memory Craft 300E Embroidery Machine
Pfaff Hobbylock 4870
Janome Mylock 634D Overlocker
Janome Coverpro 1000CP

Head over to sew mama sew to see more sewing machine reviews.

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