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96.9 The Janome Skyline S3 is the most affordable sewing machine in the Janome Skyline Series.  The Skyline series is mid-range and designed for every day projects, garments/fashion/alterations, home décor, quilting, bags, patchwork, crafting and more.  The S3 is capable of precision sewing and is also powerful enough to handle denim, leather and multi-layered fabrics.  Owners report that it sews very quietly and smoothly, and that it is intuitive and easy to use – despite having a large number of features and capabilities.  Consumer feedback and ratings are absolutely top-notch.  However, while the S3 is the most affordable machine in the Skyline series, it is still not cheap.

Janome Skyline Series

There are four sewing machines in the Skyline series, the S3, S5, S7 and S9.  Janome classify the S3, S5 and S7 as computer models while they classify the S9 as an embroidery model.  The S9 is the most expensive in the series with an MSRP of $3999, while the S3 is the least expensive with an MSRP of $1199.  There are quite a few differences between the models such as the number of built-in stitches, the number of buttonholes, the type of automatic needle threader, etc.  You can see a full run-down of all the differences in this Skyline Series Comparison Chart produced by Janome.
 

Consumer Ratings

There are a limited number of consumer ratings for the S3 at this time – we found 13 at several different retail outlets (see table below).  These ratings were averaged to generate an overall score of 96.9 out of 100.  This is an excellent score. We are getting used to seeing scores in the 90’s for Janome sewing machines.  You may wish to view our list of ratings for all the sewing machines we have investigated since 2010: Sewing Machine Ratings.
 
Source Consumer Rating # Ratings
Amazon.com 4.8 stars out of 5 10
Amazon.ca 5 stars out of 5 1
Sewing Machines Plus 5 stars out of 5 1
Mr Vac & Mrs Sew 5 stars out of 5 1
 

Consumer Insights

A detailed review of owner comments has provided the following insights as well as pros and cons:
 
PROS
- Sews very quietly
- Smooth operation with little vibration
- Built-in alphabet
- Many decorative stitches
- Thread cutting button
- Has many, many features
- Reasonably easy to use
- Large throat
- Well lit sewing area
 
CONS
- Expensive
- Heavy
- Bobbin winding is not always tight
 
Probably the most common remark about the Skyline S3 is that it sews very quietly.  Many owners seem surprised at the low noise output of the machine.  In addition, folks feel that it also sews very smoothly and it doesn’t vibrate the sewing table or counter.
 
People are very pleased with their purchase of the S3 despite the price.  We’ve seen the S3 anywhere from about $900 to $1300, so it is not an inexpensive sewing machine.  However owners still seem to feel they got their money’s worth and are happy with their purchase. 
 
Most folks report that the S3 is quite easy to use and that the controls are simple and fairly intuitive.  This is not always the case with a machine that sports so many features.   Other things that owners like include the built-in drawer for accessories (in the free arm table), the ability to sew letters, the decorative stitches, the brightly lit sewing area, the instructional DVD, and the large throat (good for larger projects).  Folks also say this is a great machine for quilting.
 
Janome Skyline S3 Front
 
This is not a lightweight sewing machine however.  Some owners like that it is heavy (adds to the stability and solid-feeling) but others wish it was lighter and more easily portable.  We have also seen a comment stating that the bobbin winding is a little inconsistent – sometimes it is sufficiently tight while other times it seems a bit loose.
 

Key Specifications

- Backlit LCD control panel
- 120 built-in stitches
- 71 needle positions (provides extreme accuracy)
- 7 one-step buttonholes with 1 alphabet
- Max stitch width = 7mm
- Max stitch length = 5mm
- Lock stitch button
- Sewing speed slider control (up to 820 stitches per minute)
- Drop feed capable
- Free arm
- Automatic thread cutter
- Automatic thread tension control
- Snap on presser feet
- Extra high presser foot lift
- Presser foot pressure adjustment
- Bobbin winder
- Jam-proof top loading bobbin
- Reverse button
- Start/stop button
- One hand needle threader
- Needle up/down (memorized)
- Superior Feed System Plus (7 piece feed dog)
 
In the Key Specifications above you see reference to the Superior Feed System Plus (sometimes referred to as SFS+).  This system uses a 7 piece feed dog that maintains constant contact with the fabric to ensure that even thick, multi-layer projects are able to move precisely and easily under the needle.  This system works just as well sewing backward as it does forward.
 
The stitch chart is available on the underside of the sewing machine top cover.  You can just flip it up to view the chart. 
 
Janome S3 Stitch chart in top 
 
The S3 has built-in letter and number stitches which includes both upper and lower case letters as well as numbers and even punctuation.  You can see all the built-in stitches and alphabet in the stitch chart below:
 
Janome Skyline S3 Stitch Chart
 
Several accessories come with the Skyline S3.  Presser feet included are: Zipper, Zig-Zag, Overedge, Blind Hem, ¼ Inch Seam, Satin Stitch, Automatic Buttonhole.  You will also find bobbins, needles, spool caps, an extra spool pin, a lint brush, a screwdriver, and a seam ripper.  These fit into the accessory drawer (see image below).  In addition, a foot control, a fabric sewing machine cover, a power cable, an instructional DVD, a warranty card, and an owner’s manual are provided.
 
Janome Skyline S3 Accessory Drawer
 
The Skyline S3 weighs in at a hefty 22 lbs.  It doesn’t make the cut for our list of lightweight sewing machines but it is not the heaviest machine we have reviewed either.  It has a large workspace which is 8.25 inches x 13 inches.  The full machine dimensions are 19 inches x 12 inches x 9 inches.
 

Warranty

The Janome factory warranty is:
- 25 years on internal metal cast
- 2 years on electronics
- 1 year parts and labor
 
Janome Skyline S3 Full Angle 

Sewing Machine Manual

The Skyline S3 manual is another excellent manual from Janome.  It is very detailed and the illustrations and clear and concise.  This is also a lengthy manual (76 pages) and it covers quite a bit of ground including the essential parts of the sewing machine, preparing to sew, basic sewing, decorative stitching, programming, care & maintenance, and troubleshooting.  You can view the manual here: Janome Skyline S3 manual
 
 

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