Of all the scintillating blog posts I have wrote over the last 18 months, the one that gets the most hits is the slightly dodgy review of my Janome 8200qc (aka Wonder machine). I promised a second review at the time and was prompted to write it after a very lovely email from Rose last week.
The last post I wrote I had owned the machine for a whopping four days and had barely touched the surface of what it could do. I still haven't used even a third of the fancy stitches, but I have quilted up a storm on it which is what I will focus on here.
|I use a gidget II table with the extension table (feet off) acting as the insert.|
I use the straight stitch plate with my feed dogs up (covered by a supreme slider) and the open toe FMQing foot. The machine quilts like a dream and I have had no tension problems or skipped stitches. The extra throat space is an absolute triumph and just makes quilting big quilts a joy rather than a tug of war. The machine comes with two other FMQ feet (closed toe and zig zag foot) but I haven't used them past a quick try, I find the closed toe foot doesn't allow a good enough view of what I am doing when FMQing and I haven't felt the need to zig zag a quilt yet ;-).
Acufeed dual feed foot:
This acufeed system is one of the best features of the machine. I generally tend to quilt at top speed with both FMQing and straight stitch, but the walking foot feeds the fabric in perfect sync and I have had no puckering issues. For the wavy lines quilting which pops up a lot on my work, I drop the foot tension from 5 to 3, widen the stitch length to 4.0 and wiggle. It gives me perfect stitches every time and if I need to stop, I don't get the irritating jump to side like my Juki used to do.
|Dual feed foot|
You get a lot of accessories included with the machine, including a separate straight stitch plate and the patchwork essential 1/4" foot. There is a programmed 1/4 button so you can just use the normal foot (foot A). There is also an optional acufeed 1/4" foot (model number 202125004) available.
So I thought I would end with a pro/cons list:
- 11+ inches of throat space - it is a deal breaker!
- included accessories such as straight plate, dual feed foot and FMQing feet
- 9mm wide maximum stitch length
- Easy interchange of needle plates - no screwdriver necessary
- Perfect stitches in both general sewing and quilting
- All the fancy stitches it does - even if I have only used the blanket stitch
- The lighting under the machine - no more squinting at night!
- Lots of accessories storage on the machine to keep everything together
- the foot pedal is tiny and flips over quite a lot. I was used to a very wide model with the Juki and this one feels a bit mickey mouse in comparison. You can upgrade to the larger model which is supplied as standard with the 8900qc, but I haven't a clue how much it costs.
- The birds nest knot that seems to be a general Janome machine problem, it bugs me that I either have to start with a bit of scrap fabric or put up with the mess at the start of my seam.
- No extension table included as standard - for a machine marketed at quilters it should be standard not a £75 optional!
I have no regrets whatsoever about buying this machine instead of the 8900qc, it had all the essential features I need (and a few I don't) and I have no reservations in recommending it. Go on, you know you want one! ;-)
Edited to add: I have just bought the 1/4 walking foot attachment (£24) and the extra large foot control (£70) from World of Sewing in the UK.