I don't think I've ever been this excited about a sewing machine. Oh sure, I get excited about new sewing tools. But a new machine is really the most exciting, isn't it? When I was asked to review the new Janome Skyline S7 I was all for it! I got a chance before agreeing to test drive one of these babies at Janome Impact Institute, a convention for Janome Dealers (we are now Janome dealers at Pink Castle Fabrics!), and I really love this machine. It has ALL the features that I personally want in a sewing machine. SO, from my quilting point of view I want to tell you why you also need a Skyline S7.
Who is the Janome S7 for ?
This machine has a power needed for a sewist who likes to create bags, garments or quilts. It really is a versatile machine. You will have no problem going through several layers of fabric and interfacing if you are making a bag. The S7 will also be gentle enough to sew light and delicate fabrics for garment sewing. I'm a quilter primarily so I will be focusing on the awesome features for quilting but know that it's not just a quilter's machine!
If you are a quilter, the S7 is a nice mid-priced machine (MSRP $2999) that has all the features of the $10,000+ machines without the embroidery and the crazy price tag. It has 8" of throat space on the right of the needle and 4" to the left. This is going to be a great machine for piecing and quilting but it is still mobile enough to travel with you to a retreat or sewing event.
What comes with the S7?
One of the many things I love about Janome is that I don't have to buy a lot of extra feet and accessories for my machine. This machine comes with all the accessories you see in this photo! For quilters, it already comes with the 1/4" piecing foot and the Accufeed Flex walking foot you need for quilting.
The foot pedal that comes with this machine is huge (you can see it in the photo above)! I love that this actually stays put under my sewing table and I don't have to chase it around with my foot. And I do a lot of traveling with my machine to sewing events and the cord actually wraps up into the bottom of the pedal for storage!
Here's a photo of all the accessories that come with the machine. There are also 5 Janome branded bobbins that come with the machine as well that aren't in the photo. For quilting, you are already going to have the straight stitch plate, the 1/4" foot for piecing, the Accufeed Flex walking foot for quilting and the darning foot for free motion quilting. There is also a knee lift bar that comes with the machine for lifting the presser foot with no hands but the S7 also comes with and automatic presser foot button so you don't even need the knee lift bar! This is one of those features I didn't know I needed until I used it!
The apps are a feature that aren't on all the Janome machines. These are typically only on the high-end super pricey machines. What are apps and why do you care? Apps make it easy to work on a specific project by automating settings on your machine. Here are the photos of the two pages of the apps menu:
So, let's say you are sitting down to do some patchwork. You open the apps menu (the T-shirt button) and then choose the Patchwork app! All of this is done with the LCD touchscreen. There's a little stylus that comes with the machine but I just use my fingers. Here is what you see in the Patchwork app:
The machine will automatically put the needle position in place for a 1/4" seam and it will shorten the stitch length to 1.8mm! You don't have to remember to do any of that. Also see in the bottom left corner, the machine tells you that you should put on the O foot, which is the 1/4" piecing foot. Instantly, a perfect 1/4" seam! All these settings can be adjusted and saved to your personal specifications as well.
In this Patchwork app, the S7 will also memorize how far you are stitching and ask you if you want to repeat that length if you are chain piecing. It will automatically sew the length you need and then stop and raise the presser foot (automatically!) ready for your next piece! Easy chain piecing! This was really the feature that sold me on this machine. I do a LOT of chain piecing with the type of quilts I like to make and this was really easy to pick up and learn.
A Little Video for You!
Please ignore the fact that I am sick and exhausted in this video and just fix your eyes to the machine. I can tell you all about all the features but really, it's easier to see them. You can see the functionality of Janome machines by looking at where everything is placed on the machine. Janome takes the time to make quality sewing machines that are MADE with the sewist in mind.
Conclusions and Benefits:
All in all, I recommend this machine. I now have 3 Janome machines and I'm always impressed with the quality of the machines. They are easy to use right out of the box.
The S7 is going to last you a long time. You are getting cutting edge features with this machine so you aren't going to need to buy something else in a few years. It has an all metal body on the inside and is sturdy enough to last for years and years. I know that I don't have the time and money to be looking for a new sewing machine every few years.
You won't feel like you are "cheaping out" on a machine. Again, you are getting all the cool features and accessories on the S7. You aren't going to need to buy some extra foot or accessory right away to start quilting (even though there are some cool specialty feet you can buy in the future). There's hidden cost with other brands that don't include enough accessories with the machine. It's all in one package.
You are getting a quality stitch. Really, that is what you need in a sewing machine. You aren't going to have to wrestle with the tension (auto tension is amazing) or worry that you can't make a certain project on this machine. There's no problem going through layers of fabric or quilting and you don't have to sit there and adjust everything when you want to make a different project. Just click the app to help and sew. I don't want to mess around with the machine, I want to sew!
Okay, now I need a Skyline S7!
I knew you would. Click on Janome.com's Find a Dealer page and put in your zip code. Your local dealer is going to be thrilled to have you come in and test drive a machine. We have these machines in stock at Pink Castle Fabrics if you live in the Ann Arbor, Michigan area. Please, feel free to ask any questions you have in the comments and I will get the answer for you!
Seeing is Believing.
To really test the Janome Skyline S7 I made this Welcome Home mini quilt! I wanted to test all the features that I would use regularly when I quilt. Here is the result! This turned out great and I was happy with the Accufeed Flex walking foot for quilting, the stitches look great!
This mini finishes at 24" x 24" and I made mine with all RJR Cotton Supreme Solids. You need 10 Fat Eighths for the blocks (they finish at 8" square). And I used the January 2016 bundle from the RJR Color Inspirations Club.