As you guys probably know, I am part of the On-Loan Program at Janome America. They provide with me sewing machines to try, and I, in turn, write reviews, work on special projects and create tutorials for them. Most recently, they sent me their new Skyline S7 to try, and I have been super pleased with this machine! In fact, I used it as my everyday machine (replacing my MC8900) for the last couple months, and it's been a real trooper (mostly - keep reading) through all the denim I forced it to sew during the design of the Birkin Flares!
But before I get into the nitty gritty of this review, I want to give my usual disclaimer. I was not paid for this review. Janome sends me the machines at no cost, and I return them when I am done. They encourage me to list both the things I like and dislike about the machines, and I am not given talking points or asked to "sell" or promote the products. They ask for a fair and honest review, and that is what I provide.
The first thing I noticed upon opening the box was the impressive number of standard accessories included. Some high-end machines include only the basics so you have to pay quite a bit to get all the other items you need, but not Janome machines. As primarily a garment sewist, most everything I need is here (and a few that I don't since I don't do much free-motion quilting): zigzag foot, 1/4" seam foot, walking foot, buttonhole foot, button foot, blind hem foot, overedge foot, rolled hem foot and zipper foot. The only things I'd like to see (that aren't already there) are a Teflon foot and an invisible zipper foot. Each of those is available for less than $20 USD each.
- 1/4 Inch Seam Foot O
- AcuFeed Flex™ Dual Feed Foot
- Automatic Buttonhole Foot
- Blind Hem Foot G
- Darning Foot
- Extra Large Foot Controller
- Overedge Foot M
- Rolled Hem Foot
- Satin Stitch Foot
- Seam Ripper
- Zig-Zag Foot
- Zipper Foot E
One thing I love about all the Janome machines I've used is the on-machine storage. The Skyline S7 doesn't have as much as my MC8900, but it does have this handy area on the front of the machine. You can store several of your most-used feet, some bobbins, the buttonhole foot and walking foot and several other small items for quick access.
The machine also has a removable free arm which isn't something I use much. I know a lot of garment sewists won't buy a sewing machine without one, but I worked on an MC6500 for a couple years which did not have one, and I got used to it. I now prefer the methods I used with that machine, but having the ability to remove the bed is still nice at times.
- 240 Built-In Stitches
- 11 One-Step Buttonholes
- 7 Alphabets
- Top Loading 9mm Full Rotary Hook
- USB Port for adding Stitches
- Stitch Composer Stitch Creation Program
- Automatic Thread Tension
- Built-In Advanced Needle Threader
- Snap-on Presser Feet
- Easy Set Bobbin
- Easy Bobbin Winding Plate with Thread Cutter
- Memorized Needle Up/Down
- Automatic Presser Foot Lift
- Automatic Thread Cutter
- AcuFeed™ Flex Layered Fabric Feeding System
- Variable Zig-Zag for Free Motion Quilting
- One-Step Needle Plate Conversion
And according to the machine's product page on the Janome website:
There was no way I could try out every. single. feature. of this machine in just a few short weeks. Instead, I simply sewed on it to see how I liked it. I made two pairs of jeans and found that it worked reasonably well on what many consider to be the true test of a machine's ability: multiple layers of denim.
The machine handled it brilliantly until I got to the belt loops. I switched to my MC8900 to see if it fared any better, and unfortunately, it didn't. (My MC6500 that i previously used also had problems with this.) Womp, womp. On the other hand, it did a great job with the topstitching thread (once I got the right needles - size 14 topstitching from Schmetz) and sewed a fabulous keyhole buttonhole.
(The takeaway: Don't look at the belt loops on any of my handmade jeans! And get an industrial sewing machine if you want them to look perfect!)
As for the stitch quality, well...just take a look above. It is impeccable! I created these samples using a doubled piece of muslin with no stabilizer, and already, the stitches look fabulous. Buttonholes are also a breeze on this machine (no more holding your breath!). You just pick which buttonhole you want to sew with the handy touchscreen, pop a button into your buttonhole foot and go. Just watch! (No hands, really!)
Overall, I was very impressed with this machine. It does a lot of amazing things that I would never do as a garment sewist, but it would be an absolute dream machine for a quilter, home decor sewist or heirloom sewist. The MSRP on this machine is $2,999, so it's definitely not in everyone's budget, but for the serious artisan, it would be a fabulous choice.
Now, I know what some of you are thinking - "Who the heck can afford a $3K machine?!" I know, I know. WELL...while I am sad to see this girl go, I have some good news for those of you looking for a more entry- or mid-level machine. I will be reviewing two machines in the next couple months that are designed for sewing garments and are in the $300-$800 price range. While I've been very spoiled by Janome over the past couple years, I'm excited to be showing you guys some other options.
The Janome Skyline S7 is an amazing choice for the serious sewist who wants to make gorgeous handmade garments, quilts, accessories, home decor items and heirloom pieces. It has an astounding number of features to satisfy the most creative and advanced sewist, but it's simple-to-use for a more mid-level seamstress (or seamster?) looking to grow into a machine.
Want to learn more? Check it out on Janome's website!