Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Sewing Machine Interview

SewMamaSew is celebrating Sewing Machine Month. I figured I would join in the reviews. Check out their post here.

What brand and model do you have?

Janome DC3018

How long have you had it?
Six months

How much does that machine cost (approximately)?
I think about $500, but I got it for $400

What types of things do you sew (i.e. quilting, clothing, handbags, home dec projects, etc.)?
Mostly quilts, although I'd like to make other items! I am currently working on a duvet cover.

How much do you sew? How much wear and tear does the machine get?
Since I've gotten it I've been sewing a lot. I'd say 4-6 hours per week? I clean it out at least once a month to make sure the lint doesn't build up too much.

Do you like/love/hate your machine?
I love my machine.

What features does your machine have that work well for you?

I love the automatic button hole attachment, I love the needle threader helper doodad. I love the "cruise control" which is great for keeping an even feed when I'm stippling. I also love the "needle down" option which means I can set it so the needle always goes down when I stop (which is great for machine quilting). Oh! And the pop-off feet! I love those--no need for a screwdriver.

Is there anything that drives you nuts about your machine?

I haven't found a problem yet! Although maybe a larger throat would be nice?

Do you have a great story to share about your machine?
Well, I told my mom that what I really wanted for Christmas was a new sewing machine. I really needed an upgrade (I had a cheap Kenmore that didn't have all the bells and whistles). So we went to the sewing machine store two days before Christmas. They had a sign that said they were closed. I was so bummed. But we knocked on the door and the guy let us in. Super friendly awesome guy (my mom bought her sewing machine from him). The machine I ended up getting was a floor model, so I got a good deal. My mom couldn't buy me the whole machine, so she put $200 towards it and I paid the rest. The only snag in all this is that the sewing machine store was in California, and I live in Chicago. So my brother (eBay seller extraordinaire that he is) got me a good deal on shipping it via FedEx. I could hardly wait for it to arrive!

Would you recommend the machine to others? Why?

Definitely. It has tons of options, it is pretty lightweight (I take mine on the bus with me), it's not too expensive, and you can get generic feet to work with it--you don't have to buy the dealer ones, which I've heard is a problem with Husqvarnas and Berninas (but don't quote me on that!)

What factors do you think are important to consider when looking for a new machine?
Make a list of what you NEED a machine to do. Make a list of what you WANT it to do. Don't buy more machine than you need, but also don't limit yourself too much. Will you grown out of this machine quickly? A lot of machine dealers will allow you to upgrade within a year if you find you need a fancier machine--and they give you a credit for what you originally paid for a trade-in.

Do you have a dream machine?

I can't think of anything my machine doesn't do right now that I need it to do, so actually no.


  1. Hi! I found your sewing machine interview while doing a "Google" on Janome DC3018 machines. I am new to machine quilting and am trying to learn to stipple. I am having a hard time with getting the tension set...the needle thread is making loops on the back of the quilt with the bobbin thread just laying against the backing, not getting pulled up into the batting at all. I have tried adjusting the tension but cannot seem to correct the problem. Do you have this problem? I did just find a dial/switch with a plus and minus (called a stitch balance adjusting dial) down on the front of the machine when I remove the extension table. It did seem to help some when I set this on the plus instead of leaving it in the neutral position. Do you have any thoughts/experience with this?

  2. Hi Debbie,
    Unfortunately I can't see your email so I couldn't respond directly. I did have this problem awhile when I was first learning. There are a few things to check:
    1. re-thread the machine completely from scratch (sometimes I had missed a hook)
    2. what sort of thread are you using? I had issues when I used cheap thread, or when the thread on the top was different than the thread on the bottom.
    3. Are the feed dogs down?

    Those were my problems--once I got those sorted out it has been a dream!

  3. I know this is five years later but in the interest of reference...assuming youre not a dummy and those issues mentioned werent the case try playing around with your needle and thread sizes. Go with the smallest practical needle you can but make sure the thread is not too big for the needle. Blow out the bobbin area with compressed air or a brush if its dirty it wont sew right. I scored my 3018 at goodwill for $35 and its great. The foot pedals on these can cause problems like sewing on when you release . Its a capacitance circuit not resistance so its fixed by opening the pedal and removing the metal spring and rebending it to make better contact with the wiping surface. Neither janome nor its dealers care to figure that out and just want to sell you a new pedal for $90. Youll see dozens complaining of the same problem in janomes forums.

  4. Just received my sewing machine as a gift from my daughter. I do not have a manual. I am having trouble trying to figure out how to drop the feed dog. Can you help me?