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Janome Sew Mini
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86.3  The Janome Sew Mini is a small, lightweight, basic sewing machine that can be purchased at a very reasonable price.   It is good for beginners and as a backup machine or a machine for travel/classes.  It doesn’t come with many accessories or features nevertheless consumer ratings are quite respectable.

Consumer Ratings
We scoured online retailers to find owner ratings for the Janome Sew Mini and we found a total of 94 reviews and ratings.  These are summed up in the table below and they generate an overall average score of 86.3 out of a possible 100.  This isn’t as high as the scores for most full size Janome sewing machines, but it is still not bad.

 Source Consumer Ratings #Ratings
 Amazon 3.9 stars out of 5 37
 Home Depot 4.6 stars out of 5 38
 Viewpoints 4.5 stars out of 5 13
 SewVacDirect 4.7 stars out of 5 6

Oddly, Amazon consumers seem to feel a little less positive about this machine than consumers from other online retailers as can be seen by the ratings in the table above.  It is not immediately clear why this is the case, although we have noticed that at this time Amazon pricing is bit higher than some others.

Consumer Insights
We have undertaken a review of owner comments and they have provided insights into owner sentiment regarding the machine.  The more common likes and dislikes are recorded below:

PROS
- very inexpensive
- lightweight
- creates a decent stitch

CONS
- no sewing area light
- a bit noisy
- not particularly fast

This is a very basic sewing machine and consumers report that it can even be used by fairly young children.  Given the lack of features it probably isn’t a machine you will grow with but as a machine for travel or classes, or for beginners it fits the bill.  It is also useful as a second or backup unit.

Owners report that the Mini is incredibly easy to use, and that it is sturdy and lightweight.  It also sews fairly smoothly and makes a good stitch.  But it has no frills and most owners lament the lack of a light to illuminate the sewing area – this is a common complaint.  A few folks wish it had a thread cutter and an automatic needle threader but several write that even without the automatic needle threader it is quite easy to thread.

However some owners feel that it is just too Plane Jane and that the lack of features simply don’t allow you to do anything other than the absolute basics or small projects.  Others highlight that this sewing machine is not really for heavy duty sewing and that is a bit slow.  Finally, there are some comments indicating that it is not the best machine for dealing with heavy fabrics. 

We noted that the Mini is not designed for free motion sewing but this article provides some great tips that allow you to do just that.  In addition we found a great article on how to fix the Janome Sew Mini if it jams and the gears slip out of alignment.  You can find it here.  This may be useful as there are a few comments from owners indicating occasional problems with their Mini.

You may wish to view more customer reviews on Amazon to learn more. 

Key Sewing Machine Features
- two stitches – straight and zigzag
- four stitch lengths for straight stitches
- three stitch widths for zigzag stitches
- top loading bobbin
- sewing stitch speed of 350 stitches per minute
- reverse stitch capable
- free arm
- four point feed dog system
- center and left needle positions

A stitch chart is provided below:

Sew Mini Stitches
Sew Mini Stitches

As mentioned, the Sew Mini is very light and it weighs in at only 5 lbs.  The machine is also fairly compact (but not really small) and it has dimensions (H x W x D)  9.25 x 5.25 x 11.25 inches.  Some accessories are provided with the sewing machine – bobbins, a needle, a manual threader and a foot controller.  It is also UL listed.  UL is a global and independent, not-for-profit company involved in safety testing and certification.

The Mini is marketed as carrying a 25 year warranty but what this really translates to is 25 years on mechanical parts, 2 years on electrical parts and 1 year labor. 

Videos
The following series of videos cover setup, threading the machine, choosing stitches, setting tension, and sewing around corners.  These videos are detailed and quite good.  A definite must for those who have just purchased their Sew Mini or for those that want to get an idea of the capabilities of the machine.

Setup


Threading the machine


Choosing stitch and setting tension


Sewing around corners


Manual
A detailed manual for the Sew Mini can be found here.  It provides a good overview of sewing machine parts and features, operation, basic sewing and troubleshooting.

 

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