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Sewist 500
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86.1  Janome describe the Sewist 500 as one of their “value priced” machines but it still isn’t that cheap and will set you back about $300USD.  Owners like the fact that the machine is easy to use, that it produces even stitches, and that it easily sews through thick fabrics.  It also comes with a great manual and a host of accessories.  However some owners have had issues and report a grinding sound after unboxing and first starting up the machine.  This problem seems sporadic and while some consumers have experienced it, most have not.

Consumer Ratings
Ratings for the Janome Sewist 500 are not as high as some of the other Janome machines we have investigated in the past.  We found 44 owner ratings and the machine scores an average of 86.1 out of a possible 100 (about 4.3 stars out of 5).  Owner ratings can be seen in the table below.  Most retailers report a fairly good score with the exception of Amazon, where the machine gets a bit of a rough ride.  We’ll discuss this in more detail later in the article.

 Source Consumer Ratings #Ratings
 Amazon 3.9 stars out of 5 24
 Mr Vac & Mrs Sew 4.78 stars out of 5 9
 Overstock 5 stars out of 5 6
 SewVacDirect 4.3 stars out of 5 3
 Sewing Machines Plus 5 stars out of 5 2

Consumer Insights
A review of consumer comments has indicated the following common likes and dislikes:

PROS
- Very good and useful instruction manual
- Smooth stitching
- Sturdy machine
- Doesn’t jam
- Easy to operate
- Sews through thick fabric
- Includes hard case
- Needle threader works well

CONS
- A fair bit of plastic in machine construction
- Some owners experience a grinding noise (see info below)
- A few folks find the stitch width dial hard to move

Quite a few owners state that the Sewist 500 is something of a workhorse and there are reports of some folks working tirelessly on projects for days with no machine problems.   Also, a number of people indicate that they were attracted to the Sewist for two reasons: 1 – it is a Janome and Janome’s have a good reputation, and 2 - it is a mechanical machine as opposed to a computerized machine.   Whether one prefers a mechanical machine or a computerized machine is something of an individual preference however and not really a pro or a con.

The 500 comes with a very good manual (you can take a look at it here) and it is very user friendly with intuitive controls.  It is a good fit for both the beginner and the more advanced user.   Consumers also feel that the unit is solidly built (despite comments that lots of plastic is used) and that it produces smooth, even stitches.

However, you will notice in the consumer ratings table above that Amazon figures are significantly lower than those on other retail sites.  With a little digging we found that a number of owners reported a loud grinding or clunking noise upon first using the machine.  Most of these consumers returned the machine, gave it a poor rating, and moved on to something else.  It is this that resulted in the lower ratings on Amazon.  Most owner ratings and comments, with the exception of those with this issue, are very good.  Oddly, we have not seen this issue surface on any of the other retail sites.

There are also a few consumers on Amazon who, after experiencing the grinding noise, sent the machine in for repairs as opposed to simply returning it.  These folks reported that the machine worked very well afterwards.  In one case an owner reports that after sending the machine in for repairs they were told the noise was the result of the motor not being strongly bolted down. 

You can read more customer reviews for the Janome Sewist 500 on Amazon if you wish. 

Also, if you are experiencing some problems with your Sewist 500 you may want to check out this page where problems are posted and solutions are sometimes provided.

Key Sewing Machine Features
- 25 built in stitches (includes stretch stitches and utility stitches)
- 1 step automatic buttonhole
- Built-in needle threader
- Free arm
- Adjustable presser foot pressure (3 settings)
- Hard case
- Top loading bobbin
- Auto-declutch bobbin winder
- Jam proof bobbin system
- Built-in thread cutter
- Drop feed capable
- Free arm capable
- Snap on presser feet
- Reverse stitch lever (large lever on front of machine)
- Carry handle
- Maximum sewing speed of 860 stitches per minute
- Maximum zigzag width = 5mm
- Maximum stitch length = 4mm
- Thread tension control (manual)
- Extra high presser foot lift
- Horizontal spool pin
- Incandescent sewing light
- Electronic foot controller

Janome Sewist Stitches
The stitches available with the Sewist 500

A panel on the front of the sewing machine displays all stitch options and their corresponding letters so selection is easy.  A selection dial on the front of the machine allows you to dial in the right stitch, and a length dial allows you to adjust stitch length.  In addition, a width dial allows you to adjust stitch width although there are a few comments that this dial can be a little harder to move than the others.

Like most sewing machines today the Janome Sewist 500 comes with a number of accessories including 6 presser feet: overedge foot, zipper foot, blind hemming foot, automatic buttonhole foot, buttonhole foot, zigzag/straight-stitch foot.  In addition there are bobbins, needles, both large and small spool holders, a spool pin, a lint brush, a seam ripper, a felt cushion, a quilting guide and a screwdriver.  Storage for these accessories is provided via a storage compartment in the free arm.   A power cord is also included.

Accessories for the Sewist
Accessories that come with the machine

The machine carries a 25 year warranty – which breaks down into 25 years on mechanical parts, 2 years on electricals, and 1 year on labor.  It weighs 16 lbs.  This is about average and not particularly light or heavy for a sewing machine.  The Sewist also comes with a hard case.  The case is good for carrying the machine (to classes for instance) or for storage (keeps dust off).

The Janome Sewist 500 is UL listed. UL stands for Underwriters Laboratories and this group has been around for over 100 years.  They are a well-respected, independent safety science company that undertakes product safety testing and certification.


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