Janome MOD-50 Review
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|Pros||Light up screen is helpful, easy to set up||Automatic thread cutter, tons of stitch options||Good sewing performance, easy to use, high value||Easy to use, notably good zigzag stitching, free-foot sewing option||Excellent straight stitching on cotton jersey, very easy to get stitches set up|
|Cons||Struggles with stretch fabrics||Big learning curve||A bit harder to set up||Buttonholes on light to medium fabrics aren't ideal, subpar bobbin winding||Lacks a needle up/down button, no presser foot lock, trouble with bottom strap of average zipper|
|Bottom Line||A strong, easy-to-use sewing machine with good basic sewing and excellent zippering||An all-around great machine with more than enough stitches for even the pickiest sewer||A great machine for the price and a good bet for both beginning and seasoned users||A great machine that leaves something to be desired in creating buttonholes on lighter fabrics but overall provides excellent features for the price||Great machine for a beginning sewer, but lacking a few helpful computerized features|
|Rating Categories||Janome MOD-50||Singer 9960 Quantum...||Singer 7258 Stylist||Brother XR9550||Brother CS5055|
|Ease of use (35%)|
|Specs||Janome MOD-50||Singer 9960 Quantum...||Singer 7258 Stylist||Brother XR9550||Brother CS5055|
|# of Built-in Stitches||50||600||100||165||60|
|# of Buttonhole Styles||3||13||6||8||7|
|Measured Weight||12.9 lbs||19.7 lbs||14.6 lbs||12. 1 Ibs||10.8 lbs|
|Maximum Sewing Speed (stitches per minute)||820||850||750||850||750|
|Buttonhole Sewing (number of steps)||1-Step||1-Step||1-Step||1-Step||1-Step|
|Maximum Stitch Width||7mm||7mm||6mm||7mm||7mm|
|Maximum Stitch Length||5mm||5mm||4.8mm||5mm||5mm|
|Automatic Bobbin Winder?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Our Analysis and Test Results
This was not the first time we tested Janome sewing machines, and we were suitably impressed all over again. Easy to set up, this Janome MOD-50 delivered some solid above-average scores in many of our testing comparisons.
Scoring above average in nearly every single testing metric, the Janome MOD-50 came out on the sunny side of our sewing tests. Sewing is, of course, the reason you buy a sewing machine, so we paid particular attention to each machine's ability to sew a select few stitches: straight, zig-zag, and blind hem being the top three because those are used the most in the widest array of sewing. We used the manufacturer's recommended settings for each of our tests.
While this Janome machine gave us a perfect score for sewing in a zipper, it really fell behind in the zig-zag stitch and its cousin, the scallop stitch. Both scored below average due to the bottom tension being too tight and bunching up the material, particularly with cotton jersey. In fact, this machine had difficulty sewing the cotton jersey with any of the stitches we tested. And then, amazingly, it did just fine with our multi-layer denim test, going through all the layers of the denim without a problem. Go figure.
But where the Janome MOD-50 really shone was the zipper. Where other sewing machines had a problem getting over the zipper stop, this machine went through everything as smoothly and as easily as can be.
Ease of Use
No matter how well a sewing machine sews, it's useless if it's a pain in the neck to set up and use. Good thing that the Janome MOD-50 has a very easy set-up. With the lit computerized screen telling you what to do next and giving you which presser foot to use with which stitch, the stitch set-up is far above average. The threading, too, is super-easy, with clear directions telling you how to thread the machine and insert the bobbin.
Too bad getting the bobbin wound wasn't as easy, although, to be fair, the directions were clear enough; it's just that the quality of the winding wasn't as good. Inconsistent over three separate test windings, we determined that the bobbin was consistently bottom-heavy.
The MOD-50 scored solidly here, although the set-up was a little tricky. Unfortunately, you have to line up the buttonhole foot to the button as best you can eyeball because there are no colored lines, just indentations in the plastic. Sewing the buttonhole itself is a very smooth process, with good, even tension on the different fabrics we used. Cotton jersey was a bit funky, but every machine had some kind of difficulty with that fabric. As with any machine, you will get used to the quirks of this one too, and it should serve you well for many years.
If you are looking for a quality sewing machine at a reasonable price, then you'll need to continue looking. While the Janome MOD-50 is a quality sewing machine with very good capabilities, we feel that the price is not consistent with how it performs. You can find other sewing machines that perform just or nearly as well for far less money.
For some, a sewing machine is as much an emotional purchase as it is an intellectual purchase. Knowing that this sewing machine is super easy to set up and then inserts a perfect zipper may be enough for some people to buy it. But for others, those points aren't enough to justify the higher than average price of the Janome MOD-50.
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