This summer, Janome asked me if I would be willing to try out the new Skyline S9. It has been up and running in my sewing room for a few weeks now and I am getting to know it better though I have not yet tried the embroidery module. I would like to share with you some of the thoughts I have on this new addition to the Janome lineup.
Easy Set-Up and Start-up: Out of the box, it takes almost no time at all to set up the S9. The symbols and interface on the touch-screen are very intuitive. This user-focus is very typical for Janome and I have seen the same approachability across the board for Janome machines. I was sewing within 15 minutes of opening the box. Hurray!
Touch-Screen Navigation and Settings: I really like this one. Since I bump into such a variety of machines when I teach quilting classes, I really appreciate how streamlined and logical the hierarchy of the touch-screen on the S9 is. Sometimes I bump into machines where it seems like a big mystery how to do the most basic adjustments. On the S9 the navigation feels uncluttered but with all the functionality you need and want for hobby sewists.
It runs really nice and smooth: Seriously, this machine kinda purrs when you sew on it. You probably have heard those machines that sound like they need a round in the grease bucket, or like somebody accidentally put a chain-saw engine in it. The S9 machine just hums along quietly, and that makes sewing on it rather pleasant. Smooth sailing, no thread breakage, no tension problems, just plain, joyful, sewing.
It is easy to piece on! I am almost purely a quilter. It took me a couple of minutes to figure out that there is a separate straight-stitch for quilting which moves the needle to adjust for the ¼” seam allowance. I don’t know what it is with the Janome machines in general but they are very easy to piece on compared to almost any other brand out there. The machine feeds the fabric straight and the fabrics tend not to shift. If you are into quilting and simple garment sewing, I really can’t think of any other brand that would suit you better than Janome, and the S9 with its additional embroidery capabilities may be just what you need to improve your game.
Sturdy and Compact: This is probably the point where I tell you that I normally sew on Janome’s MemoryCraft 15000 as well as a Bernina 880. In other words, I sew on two flagship super-luxe HUGE embroidery models from two massive brands in the sewing-machine world. Compared to these two machines almost every other machine out there looks…well…small. But the S9 doesn’t feel small. It feels solid and robust, without weighing 45 pounds or breaking my back. There is definitely something to be said for a sewing machine that you can relatively easily move around, especially if you are the kind of sewist/quilter who doesn’t always sew at home or have a dedicated sewing table.
Price: I feel like to price-point of the S9 is pretty reasonable. This is a combined sewing and embroidery machine and it is a great entry machine for those wanting to explore the possibilities of machine embroidery as well as sew garments, home décor, quilts, without making the rather massive investment in the top-end machines on the market.
Standard asseccories: I love the fact that free-motion quilting feet and walking feet with multiple attachments come standard with the S9. I have had machines in the past where the manufacturers were much more stingy and every new technique you wanted to master involved an extra purchase and often wait time as the local dealer was out of what you wanted. Especially for you quilters out there, I think the free-motion quilting/darning feet as well as the in-the-ditch feet are going to be well-loved.
My overall impression of the S9 so far is that this is a very well designed machine. It is just as user friendly and intuitive as we have learned to expect from Janome. It is a great option for those investing in their first “real” sewing machine, and for those wishing to play and create with machine embroidery as well as quilting, garments, etc.
If I was buying a machine for a beginner sewist or quilter, I would give this one serious consideration. The S9 is sure to make the experience a great one for novice makers while still being a machine with potential to do anything they might want to do as their skill set and interests grow and change.
PS: I was really supposed to have this post done a couple of days ago. However, I was too busy sewing on the S9 and I kept procrastinating the writing part…goes to show.