Monday, 4 August 2014

Janome 3300 Review


This is not a review in the traditional sense, I have only used a few sewing machines so am not qualified for that.  It's more of a comparison of computerised versus mechanical sewing machines from a beginners perspective.  For those that do not know I started sewing in February this year and the dress I made on the Janome 3300* for this blog post is my 64th dress.  I only ever use one stitch (it's all I need) and I prefer to sew woven cotton fabrics.  My computerised Janome is a SMD3000 and cost £249.  The mechanical Janome is a 3300, exclusive to Hobby Craft, and retails at £80. They are pretty similar in size and weight with the 3300 being the lighter of the two machines.



I spent the weekend sewing before getting the 3300 out of it's box to give it a test run.  My SMD3000 has a top loading bobbin so I had to refer to the manual to remind myself how to thread a front loading bobbin.  Once that was done I was away.  I missed a couple of the features of my computerised machine, the needle up and down button is one of my most used features along with the speed limiter.  I think the speed limiter had made me a bit lazy though, always foot to the floor on the foot pedal! I really enjoyed having to vary the pressure and gaining back a bit of control.  I did notice that when on full speed the 3300 slipped away from me across the table which the SMD3000 doesn't do, guess there is a downside to being lighter.  I didn't like the position and ease of use of the thread cutter on the 3300 but that's just personal preference.






One big plus for me of the mechanical machine over my computerised machine is zipper insertion.  I use regular dress zippers over invisible zippers as I just don't get on with invisible zippers.  They were the bane of my ready to wear dress wearing - always getting stuck and generally being a pain to zip up even in the loosest of dresses so I decided I wouldn't ever use them.  I don't mind the stitches either especially when sewn using the 3300. 



The zipper foot is narrower than the one on my computerised machine so it glides past the pins holding the zip in place with no issues at all.  I pin right on the edge of the zip ribbon and sew my lining down at the same time and occasionally the zipper foot on the computerised machine would knock into one of those pin heads and throw a little wobble.  Sometimes it would annoy me enough to need to unpick the zip and do it again, other times I would just think hey I can't see it when I am wearing it anyway!



I also preferred hemming on the mechanical machine.  Not sure why as it is pretty much the same thing but I found it easier to keep it under control and ended up with a perfectly straight seam.  Below is the finished dress.   I can't tell any difference between the construction of this dress and one of the ones made on a machine more than twice the price.  If you want to sew pretty dresses in non stretch fabrics and make things like cushions and iPad cases then the Janome 3300 is the perfect starter machine for the price.  I am keeping them both set up in my sewing area and will be using the 3300 for all zips and hems from now on.


*Written in collaboration with HobbyCraft.




♥♥♥

23 comments:

  1. ooooh very interesting. great price for someone who only want to use it occasionally or just staring the hobby. Might have to put one on my Christmas list x

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    1. I think you should Gem, you would love dressmaking!

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  2. Agree with Gem, this looks good for an occasional seamstress like me - though I'd be hard pressed to stray from my old singer, even if it is ancient :) ♥ Claire at Jazzpad

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    1. I think you should dig your machine out Claire!

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  3. I can't believe you only started in February, what an amazing achievement! I've only used a sewing machine a handful of time many years ago but really want to start up again, I just don't have the space. I think I'll do an evening class to get the basics nailed and then I won't have an excuse!
    Cx
    www.shoppedanddropped.co.uk

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    1. Thanks Charlie, I am pretty pleased with my handmade wardrobe even if it has become an obsession! haha. The machine is really compact and doesn't take up much space. I have a fold up table that I use on the sofa when I want to watch TV at the same time, might be a good solution for you? http://www.argos.co.uk/static/Product/partNumber/1626050.htm

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  4. I learned to sew on a Janome at school, they are really fantastic machines! Fantastic review!

    Etta
    x

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    1. Thank you! I have only used Janome machines, it's what my Mum uses.

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    1. Go for it! Best hobby I have ever undertaken :)

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  6. Have you considered doing a sewing tutorial (or maybe you have?)? Your stitches are so straight and your gathers are perfect. I'm starting to sew and nothing looks the way I want it to. It's frustrating.

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    1. Hi Suzanne, I haven't. To be honest I am very much a beginner myself and do not feel I could add much in the form of a tutorial. I do think it takes practise, are you having any lessons or have people you can get advice from offline? I am also a bit of a perfectionist, I work hard at making things the best they can be on the outside though I am often too lazy to do the handstitching and actually sew the lining down inside. Doh.

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    2. Thanks for getting back to me Sarah. After 64 dresses, I think you're definitely beyond beginner level! :) I haven't taken any lessons yet. I did buy a few from craftsy, but haven't actually done them. I decided to just dive in instead. Not a great idea. I did start another dress over the weekend and pleats are much easier than gathers. So, I might stick with those for a while. I'm a perfectionist too and the learning curve is always annoying. :)

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    3. I haven't tried pleats, really dislike ironing them! Guess they take longer to make sure they are all the same width too? Start one of those Craftsy classes and hopefully it will improve your confidence. It's the most rewarding hobby once you get into it.

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    4. Pleats on dresses like the Mortmain are pretty simple because the pattern piece has marked on it how large the pleat should be and where. I guess gathering is still easier, but I've found that some fabrics look better with pleats.

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    5. Yeah, the pattern I'm doing right now - Simplicity 2444 (one of the views looks a bit like the Abigail) - marks where the pleats should go and how wide and all of that. It still takes time to make sure they're all the same, but I like how precise it is. Once I finish this dress, I'm definitely going to do one of the classes though. Hopefully it'll make me a bit faster too. I'm sure I'm doing some things the slow way. :) And yes, confidence would be nice.

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  7. I have to admit, I've never tried a computerised machine but I don't think there's anything wrong with cheaper-end-of-the-scale machines. My simple little Janome is pretty similar to this one I guess and I've never really had any problems with it.

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  8. I love your blog, and thank you for reviewing the 3300 - thinking of buying this machine and there are very few reviews out there.

    I want to use it for making things like cushion covers, patchwork/quilting and maybe dressmaking (if I can pluck up the courage to get started!). Do you think the 3300 would be suitable for this kind of work? I'm not sure whether to be slightly put off by the low price (£79 in Hobbycraft) - is it worth paying slightly more for a better machine?

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    1. Hi Samantha. Thank you! The model is exclusive to HobbyCraft which is why you wouldn't be able to find many other reviews.

      I haven't tried patchwork or quilting myself but you can definitely whip up a few cushion covers and as many dresses as you like! I made the dress in this post using the 3300 and it is no different to any of the other dresses I have made on my more expensive machine. Char, who commented above, and Roisin (who blogs at Dolly Clackett) both have similar entry level machines and have been able to make lots and lots of wonderful dresses using them. I say go for it!

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  9. Hi nice review. Would you recommend this for an 11 year old to start out on. I'm looking at getting this or the brother ls14 for my 10 year old on her 11 th birthday. .my wife wants to buy her a cheaper one from John Lewis (own brand) a lot smaller and less favourable reviews. Thanks

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    1. Hello :) I would definitely recommend this as a starter machine. I think it would take longer to outgrow this Janome than one of the John Lewis mini machines though I do have friends who use them to make their own clothes.

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  10. I bought this machine in October and absolutely love it, I am a beginer so only use basic stitches, so far I have made 9 cushion covers a doll and a dress for my granddaughter, I have been looking at computerized machines with lots of different features but not sure what to do. I have seen in your review that you don't like where the thread cutter is on the machine, I haven't found it yet could you please tell me where it is, I've looked in the instruction manual and it doesn't show you it. Loved your review. Thanks

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    1. Hello Maria, sewing is such an awesome hobby isn't it! Not sure of the correct names but the thread cutter is the little notch on the back of the metal rod that holds the foot pedal. Hope that helps!

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