Janome MB-7 review: a perfect entry-level multi-needle
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Lucky, lucky me. One of my best friends from childhood (Ellie) and owner of the sewing/embroidery company, Gracefully Hatched, just purchased the Janome MB-7 embroidery machine and let me check it out! Her embroidery business has grown so rapidly that she knew it was time to upgrade to a multi-needle embroidery machine. Ellie has been deliriously happy with her new machine and worked with me on creating this Janome MB-7 review.
Before we get too far into this – let me just share this fun fact. Ellie credits ME (yes – me) for teaching her how to sew when we were kids. Apparently we made some (I’m sure really great looking) shorts from some old Hawaiian print fabric. Fear not – our taste has gotten better over the years. And, it was the 80s, so….
Ok – now back to the Janome MB-7 review.
What is the Janome MB-7?
The Janome MB-7 is a 7-needle embroidery machine. In case you are unfamiliar with the concept of a multi-needle machine – it’s an embroidery machine that can be threaded with several spools at one time. Therefore, as the machine is stitching out a design, it can just move from head to head. No stopping and starting between colors. The machine just moves to the next needle and starts stitching out that color.
The Janome MB-7 is obviously made by the Janome Japanese-based sewing machine company. They have been making sewing machines since 1921, however they didn’t adopt the Janome name until 1954. Clearly, they are not a fly-by-night operation even though they are not as well known as other brands like Brother, Bernina and Babylock.
Why the Janome MB-7 is an ideal entry-level multi-needle embroidery machine
The Janome MB-7 has earned a reputation as being an ideal first multi-needle embroidery machine for several reasons.
- It’s easy to use. Ellie got her machine a few weeks ago and she’s running it like a BOSS! She said it took about a day of playing with it to figure it out.
- It’s not too expensive. Ellie got a floor model for less than $6000. She looked at comparable Babylock machines and they were over $10,000
- It doesn’t have a huge footprint. If you are just starting an embroidery business, you may not have the space for a really large machine. With the MB-7, you can tuck it away in a corner.
Some of the key features of the Janome MB-7 include:
- 7 needle heads. This to me is somewhat unusual since it seems like most multi-needle machines have an even number of heads. But 7 is better than 6! You can keep white and black on your machine and then have room for 5 other colors. Most designs I stitch out are no more than 7 colors so this means I would rarely have to change a color while stitching out a design.
- Reads very commonly available machine embroidery file formats: DST and JEF.
- Trims jump threads.
- Comes with 10 different built in fonts.
- USB port for easy transfers of embroidery designs onto the embroidery machine. (If you are thinking about buying a used multi-needle embroidery machine -some of the older models still have floppy discs – yikes!)
- Large screen – easy to see and spacious enough to accurately click on what you want.
- Super sturdy accessories. The hoops are just heavy and durable – much more so than on a home machine.
- Comes with a very large hoop. You can stitch out designs as large as 9.4″ x 7.9″
There’s a lot of positive to say about the Janome MB-7
- It’s pretty portable and compact. At just 50 lbs and with a footprint of about 2′ x 2′ – you can rest it on a small desk.
- It’s a very popular machine. So there are tons of Youtube videos demonstrating how it works. In fact, you can access these videos right there on the machine’s help screen!
- It gives you tons of feedback. If you have it threaded wrong, it will back up to where it started going wrong and then tell you there is a problem. (Ellie has discovered that 99% of her problems have arisen from threading errors from the top.)
- The bobbin is accessible while the hoop is still on the machine. This is fabulous of you run out of bobbin thread mid stitching, because you don’t have to remove the hoop to change the bobbin thread.
- It stitches quickly and beautifully. It stitched out my “big mama” embroidery design in about half the time it would take my machine.
- Easy to thread if you use Ellie’s technique. Simply release the tension, tie the new thread onto the old thread and pull it through.
- Just like 7 needles are better than 6 – 8, 10 or even 12 needles are better than seven. Before you settle on this machine, consider the number of colors that are in the designs you typically stitch out. If you stitch out designs with a lot of different colors you may want to invest in a machine that has more needle heads.
- Designs need to be placed in a specific folder on the flash drive. (This took a bit for Ellie to figure out.) Once you insert the flash drive into the machine, the machine formats the flash drive automatically and generates a specific directory structure in which you need to place the embroidery design. Ellie has found that cheap, low capacity USB drives work the best.
- The bobbin is a bit challenging to thread. And, the manual is not all that helpful in showing you how to do it.
- It’s loud! If you want to watch TV while your are near the machine – use your headphones.
- If you pull your hooped fabric on a diagonal (such as when you are trying to make the hooping more taut), the fabric can inadvertently pop out of the hoop.
- Might be more challenging to find a dealer. Because Janomes are not the most popular brand of embroidery machine, depending on where you live, it may be harder to find a place (or a person) to service your machine.
Where to buy the Janome MB-7
You may prefer to purchase this machine through your local dealer, if you have one. But if you can identify someone who will service this type of machine locally, why not buy it online wherever you can get the best deal? Since it’s such a popular embroidery machine, you have a few different options.
Final Thoughts about this Janome MB-7 review
All I have to say is… I’m sold. I didn’t think I needed a multi-needle but now I feel like I actually and now, after seeing this machine in action, I think it would be the one for me.
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