Friends, I've been eagerly anticipating writing this review -- and could have written it much earlier -- but I wanted to wait a full year.
You may recall that I purchased my lipstick pink Janome Hello Kitty sewing machine (model 14412) in April of 2016, and I'm the first to admit that I really didn't plan do any serious sewing with it; I thought the idea of sewing on a pink plastic sewing machine was funny -- I even saved the box for four months in case I decided to sell it.
Boy was I surprised when I realized I was using my Janome constantly, more than any other of my 12+ vintage sewing machines!
Let me restate that I have no relationship with Janome whatsoever. I bought the machine solely because I was curious to see what kind of quality I could get in a new sewing machine for approximately $100. (I found mine for sale on eBay but the seller was Ken's Sewing Center. I believe this model was originally manufactured for Target.)
There are many things I like about my Janome Hello Kitty, but there are two in particular that get me grabbing it first whenever I'm planning a sewing project: 1) Ease of use, and 2) stitch quality.
Despite that fact that many of my vintage straight stitch sewing machines (like my Singer 15-91, 201, and Featherweights) are more powerful and better engineered, the Hello Kitty is so simple to use: I love the fact that it doesn't require oiling (though I've lubricated it a few times just in case) so never gets greasy, and is easy to move around (due to its light weight and sturdy handle).
I love that its bobbin winder winds a perfectly balanced bobbin. For some reason the bobbin pin will not accept a Bernina Class 15 bobbin, which is annoying, since I wind all the bobbins I use on the Janome, but I've gotten used to using regular Class 15 bobbins in my Bernina, which works just fine.
My vintage Bernina 930 record, a machine that was top-of-the-line in its day, is probably my second-most-used machine. The Bernina can do a lot of things the Janome cannot (most notably the Bernina has two long basting stitches which really come in handy, as well as many fancy embroidery stitches I don't use) but the stitch quality of the Janome is just as good. That's right: side-by-side, I cannot tell the difference. (I loosened the Janome's bobbin case screw to improve the stitch balance, but once done, it never required repeating.)
I love that the Janome is so easy to control -- the pedal, while basic, works perfectly: the machine never races and I am able to sew as slowly as I might need to for, say, topstitching a jeans pocket or edgestitching around a collar stand.
So far, I've used the Janome Hello Kitty for everything from men's shirts to ladies jackets. I've sewn fine fabrics and coarse fabrics, as well as multiple layers of denim; I've never felt like the machine was straining. I've used it to sew for myself, to sew for my classes at FIT, and to sew for clients. This machine has already paid for itself.
The one issue I had with the Janome when I first started using it was that its generic zigzag snap-on foot seemed cheaply finished (though completely functional), so I swapped it out with a zigzag foot from a vintage Elna Supermatic. Certainly not necessary.
The Janome comes with an assortment of basic presser feet attachments, as well as needles, a seam ripper, a feed dog cover, extra bobbins, and an easy-to-follow manual. (The feed dogs on this very basic model do not drop.)
What else can I say about my pink Janome? It's an inexpensive, sturdy sewing machine in an awesome, attention-getting color. Nearly everyone who sees it on my sewing table comments on its cuteness. Does a sewing machine need to be cute? Of course not, but it's nice when it is!
A few more photos:
In closing, readers, the Janome 14412 has earned its place of prominence in my sewing space and I hope we continue working together for years to come. If you're interested in purchasing one but can't find this exact model, do consider some of the other Janome Hello Kitty models (like the 13512 or 15312) which, from what I can tell, are mechanically identical.
I am happy to answer any questions you may have. (You can read my original Hello Kitty post here. See the machine in action here.)
Have a great day, everybody!
UPDATE: Looks like you can find the same machine in blue on Amazon for just $86 USD here.)
I'm a native New Yorker and sewing fanatic! I started sewing in 2009 and today make all my own clothes using vintage sewing machines and vintage patterns, in addition to sewing for private clients. Welcome to the warm and whimsical world of Male Pattern Boldness, where the conversation is sewing, style, fashion, fabric, and more!