Hello Kitty Sewing Machine by Janome: Tool Review

A Great Machine

But Like Any Cat It Does Have Claws

 

My machine is in the shop after a savage encounter with some sweater fabric.  Unable to stitch through so much thickness the handwheel locked and the timing messed up.  

Hello Kitty Sewing Machine by Janome. Real cat not included.

Months previous I bought the Hello Kitty machine for my daughter who, it turns out is much too young to use it, but that is another story.  I had hoped to teach her some very basic sewing using those replica Singer machines they sell for kids.  But those machines do not work and are so disheartening to young would-be seamstresses.  I wanted her to enjoy sewing so I looked for a very basic real machine.  I found this one online.  It is a Janome like my own machine and it had great reviews.

Okay, I’ll tell you the story.

The day it came was so exciting and after successfully sewing scraps all day my daughter was showing off to her father that night.  I was right beside her every time she used it.  While she was showing off sewing that night something fell off of the coffee table and I turned my head for just a second to pick it up. 

That is when she did a crazy kid thing that no adult would do.  Trying to point out her stitching she stuck her finger between the needle and feed dog. 

The needle went through her finger!  Through the top of her nail and out the bottom fleshy side bit of her finger. She is sitting there with her finger completely stuck to the machine.

Aahhh!

She bore up better than I would have.  She was crying and moaning “Mommy it really hurts!” but not raving like a lunatic.  That she left to me. 

As it was brand new out of the box I had no time to really get a hard look at the needle plate so I didn’t have any firsthand experience with the mechanics of this particular machine. 

The first thing I tried was to back the needle out but the handwheel was locked solid.   

That is when I started to cuss like a sailor even as I was taking care of the emergency.  I pulled the electric so it wouldn’t just start up on us and grabbed my screwdriver that I keep in my own sewing cabinet.  Then I had to unscrew the needle plate, unscrew the needle, hit the machine foot release , unscrew the post that holds the needle mechanism  and dissemble the entire thing as it was still attached to my daughter.  Once I had torn everything to bits the whole assembly came free of the machine and we were able to pull the needle from her finger.

My daughter said, “It’s okay now Mommy.”  At which point I stopped cussing. 

I’ll say this, Janome makes a fine needle.  I have sewn my own finger to material before and I know that the machine works so fast that the wound is clean.  Also the needles bend a bit and deflects off bone – I know this from experience also.   My daughter had only a tiny puncture at the bottom of her finger and you couldn’t even see the one in her nail.

We took her to a nearby children’s urgent care and got her checked but there was no damage.  It turns out both nails and bone are pretty soft on small kids so they resist injury better. After the needle was out she didn’t show any signs of pain at all, though she did milk getting new bandages wrapped around her finger for days.

My daughter decided she wasn’t quite ready to sew yet and I felt like a heel for even buying her the thing.  Really she had sewn dozens of strips at my machine while sitting on my lap. “But I thought she was ready,” I keep moaning to myself, racked with mommy-guilt.  I just hope I haven’t scarred her for life and turned her against sewing.

But the thing has been sitting around.  As my machine is in the shop I thought Hello Kitty could make herself useful.   (My daughter still won’t have anything to do with it.) 

Overall I am impressed with the little thing.

Pros

  • It really sews.  Hello Kitty decals notwithstanding, this machine actually works!
  • Unlike most beginning sewing machines with use chainstitch, the Janome makes real straight and zigzag stitches.  That means whatever a young sewer makes will stay together if her tension is correct, or even nearly correct.
  • It offers good basic stitches, straight, zigzag,interlock , blindstitch and most surprisingly, a halfway decent buttonhole stitch.
  • It’s cute.
  • It is lightweight and easy to carry.
  • You could indeed learn or teach basic sewing on this machine.
  • It topstitches better than any machine I have ever used.  I am considering using it alongside of my regular machine for those projects that require tons of topstitching.   It would save me having to rethread my machine constantly.  The Hello Kitty’s machines foot pressure is just a bit tight and that seems to make for a better topstitch.
  • Speed is at a nice clip but it doesn’t go superfast, the slower speed is better for new sewers I think.

Cons

  • Sideloader bobbin not the easiest for newbies.
  • If you don’t hold the thread at the beginning it comes out of the needle as you begin to stitch. Then you have to release the foot, remove your seam and rethread.  I know sewing wisdom says you should always hold the threads behind you as you begin your seam, but sometimes when you are sewing something complicated you need both hands to hold the material in place.   It seems like the thread abandons you when you most need it.  This one thing could be a pain for new sewers. 
  • No needle down or needle up.  It pretty much stops at needle up.
  • A bit noisy.
  • Even though I find the appearance kind of spunky and fun, Hello Kitty decals on a sewing machine might not be for everyone.
  • No carrying case.  Since it is smaller than the average machine it will need a special case and I wonder that the manufacturer did not provide one with the machine.
  • The arm is small so forget quilting anything larger than a placemat.
  • No way to drop the feed dogs for freehand as far as I can see.

Would I Recommend It?  Absolutely.  The price is comparable to other basic machines yet I trust the Janome name more than those brands I see at mass merchandisers.  I have used it like I would any other basic machine and it has held up to all-day sewing sessions continually giving a consistent stitch quality. I think this is a very good machine to learn on and is handy if you go to sewing seminars that ask you to bring a machine.

Next Post: Saturday, July 17, 2010: Maybe I will have completed that organizer for my kitchen by then.

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26 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Diane
    Jul 15, 2010 @ 12:32:14

    My mother taught me to sew when I was five. One of the first lessons was where not to put your hands. That was almost 50 years ago and so far no accidents!

    Reply

  2. Echo
    Jul 15, 2010 @ 17:21:17

    My mum taught me to hold the thread out behind when starting to sew and I just can’t make myself stop doing it! I’ve tried when doing bulky stuff etc but I just can’t. Funny how those early lessons stick.

    For your daughter, she’ll remember to KEEP HER FINGERS SAFE for the rest of her life!! :0)

    Did you decide to keep the Hello Kitty in the end?

    Reply

    • Sewista Fashionista
      Jul 16, 2010 @ 09:31:54

      Yes, I did keep the Hello Kitty Machine. Actually I quite enjoy sewing on it! It is a good little machine. But my daughter hasn’t decided she is ready for the machine yet.

      Reply

  3. Sister
    Jul 17, 2010 @ 02:48:36

    Well this is timely, because my 7-year-old has a birthday in 2 weeks and I was thinking of getting him (yes, a boy, I haven’t discussed this with my husband yet) one of those kid’s machines they sell at Joann’s or Walmart or somewhere. I got my niece one but she said it broke (I don’t know if she ever used it or not – her mom could’ve given it away for all I know!). Lucas wants to make pajamas for himself and loves sewing scraps on mine (which has speed control), and we had a big talk about not sticking your finger near the needle, but this gives me pause for thought….(plus do they make any without the cutesy girl stuff on them?)

    Reply

    • Sewista Fashionista
      Jul 17, 2010 @ 10:52:48

      To lose the girly decals you might have to go with the one of the basic Janome machines. I think they are similar in cost and would be in the standard white.

      Reply

  4. urbanempress
    Dec 27, 2010 @ 02:08:41

    Where did you purchase this from? I’m in Canada and can’t find it anywhere

    Reply

    • Sewista Fashionista
      Dec 27, 2010 @ 11:33:07

      I found mine on Target’s online site. At first I was a little trepidatious about ordering something as complex as a sewing machine from an online supplier, but it shipped in perfect condition.

      Reply

    • Tracy
      Jan 01, 2011 @ 20:31:27

      Check out Overstock dot com they ship to Canada. I have been looking everywhere for one that I could get shipped to Canada. It is more than Target is charging, but they ship to Canada.

      Reply

  5. BERENE Campbell
    Jan 05, 2011 @ 23:04:28

    Hello! Thanks for the hilarious (apologies to your daughter) story. I especially liked the family history of needle stabbings. Having stabbed myself with box cutters and scalpals during many a craft project I am now wondering how it is that I have never gone the needle route. Anyway I digress…
    I found your site while researching this little Janome Hello Kitty machine. My daughter is turning ten in a few weeks and seems like a good gift given that her hand sewing skill are getting pretty good. I was just wondering how old your daughter was when you bought it? And if she was too young, what age would you suggest that it was best suited for?
    I’d be happy to mail your daughter a gift of cute bandaids to thank her because her tragedy will hopefully prevent my gung-ho daughter from a similar demise – once she’s read the story of course!

    Reply

  6. Sister
    Jan 06, 2011 @ 10:40:49

    I’ll throw my 2 cents in here – I bought the non-decorated version of this Janome and my 8-yr-old loves it. He’s made several things with it (hats and pillows mostly), and I agree with Sewista that it’s stitches fabulously. It is loud, but is a solid machine with no issues so far (had for 5 months), and we had a big lecture on keeping fingers clear! They offer it on sale at Hancock’s every so often, and a friend of mine got it around Christmas for $80! I’m glad Sewista made us aware of it – thanks!

    Reply

  7. Page
    Aug 26, 2011 @ 13:07:41

    My daughter has had this machine for about three years, since she was 9. Her and her younger sister sew on it like crazy, including jean purses. I did my research before I bought it, but it’s even better than I had ever expected.

    Reply

  8. best sewing machine
    Dec 01, 2011 @ 01:18:23

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    • Sewista Fashionista
      Dec 07, 2011 @ 12:23:33

      I enjoyed writing this article and hope that it is helpful to others. You certainly have my permission to grab my blog via RSS. I appreciate your kind words and thank you for your encouragement. 🙂

      Reply

  9. Kathy
    Jan 25, 2012 @ 01:20:03

    I have the white version as well. It was a gift from my son. Once I started really making clothing, I bought a big machine, and this was passed down to my 12 yr old granddaughter! She loves it! I may get the HK one for the 7 yr old now! LOL

    Reply

    • Sewista Fashionista
      Jan 26, 2012 @ 12:43:53

      I have been sewing on my current one so much I am afraid I will wear it out! Then I think I am just going to replace it with the exact same thing as repairing it would be nearly the cost of new.

      Reply

  10. eloquentlyury
    Aug 20, 2012 @ 10:39:15

    I’m impressed with how well your little one dealt with the situation. What a wonderful little girl she is! She reminds me of mine who is now 27 and might be interested (only now) in learning how to make doll clothes for her collection of cabbage patch dolls. I hope your little one gets over the trauma of getting her finger caught, and eventually resumes her sewing.

    Reply

    • Sewista Fashionista
      Aug 20, 2012 @ 10:53:17

      Now that some time has past she has made comments about what she will sew “when she is older.” It is me who might be more tentative now. 🙂

      Reply

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  12. Karen Bayer
    Nov 26, 2012 @ 06:42:04

    Thank you for the review. I write a blog about gifts and wanted to recommend a sewing machine as a gift for a creative kid. I referenced your review on my post.

    Reply

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  14. Danielle
    Mar 24, 2014 @ 11:25:00

    I just purchased this machine (well, I actually sent my husband to pick it up) because I saw it at Target on clearance for an amazingly ridiculous price of $35!!!! Hello Kitty would not have been MY first choice for looks, but my 3 year old daughter is in love and I cannot wait to teach her to sew using it when she is older. And, for $35 how can you go wrong?

    Reply

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