This Janome sewing machine was favored by our reviewers for its easy sewing and cute pincushion add-on. Our reviewers critiqued the LCD screen for being a little too small and dim but raved about other features like the stop/start button, which means you don’t even have to use the foot pedal. These factors helped it earn an A grade for overall ease of use. It got a B for sewing accuracy because some of our testers experienced puckering while using a decorative stitch on satin. Unlike some machines, this Janome’s straight stitch was arrow-straight, even on denim.
The JW8100’s one major downfall is its stitch key. While most of the machines we tested had stitch patterns listed conveniently on the front of the sewing machine, this Janome was one of the few that had a separate cardboard key for reference. The 100 stitch patterns are wide-ranging and include practical stitches along with fanciful, decorative ones, but it’s all for naught if you misplace the card. A small plastic tab is included to attach the card to a notch at the back of the machine, but the whole setup it inconvenient compared to machines with stitch patterns prominently displayed on the front, like the Brother XR9500PRW Project Runway Limited Edition.
The stitch patterns are all preset in this sewing machine’s computer. To change the settings, you just select the stitch pattern you want from the key and enter the corresponding number into the machine. The settings are all predetermined so you don’t have to fiddle with stitch width and length yourself, but you do have the option if you want to customize a certain stitch. You can also change thread tension manually with the dial on the machine.
While this machine comes with an extension table, our reviewers said it felt cheap and poorly attached. It rocked back and forth like a restaurant table with uneven legs. Other extras include five extra feet for all kinds of sewing, like a zig-zag foot, zipper foot and even-feed foot. It even comes with a walking foot, which would cost around $20 alone. Of the several plastic bobbins also included with this machine, one of them arrived broken. There are also a lot of extra pieces in case you need to replace them, like an extra spool pin, screwdriver and a little decorative pincushion you affix to the top of your machine so you can easily access and store your pins – it’s seriously adorable. Everything is covered with a hard plastic case included with the machine.
Other features included with this sewing machine make most projects a breeze. A thread cutter is built into the side, and some of the stitch patterns have backstitching programmed in at the beginning and end of whatever you’re sewing. Integrated speed control gives you the power to control how fast you sew on the machine itself. Even at its loudest it only hit 66.9 decibels, making it one of the quieter machines we tested. The needle also automatically goes to the up position when you let go of the foot pedal on the factory setting, but you can set it to automatically rest in the down position as well. There is even a locking stitch button for finishing decorative stitches.