Thursday, December 17, 2009

Janome 6600 and Juki HZL-F600

Many people have been asking how the Juki F600 (new kid on the block) compares to the Janome 6600 (established) in the way of sewing and features. Both are jammed packed with a number of features and over the course of a few weeks to months I will be putting both machines through their passes. I have owned the Janome 6600 since April of 2009 and have used it quite extensively. I have not however used any of the decorative stitches and for the purpose of this comparison will be.

I’ve noticed that many people are doing practice stitches on scrap fabrics which do give a great benchmark for how a machine functions, but practice stitches on scrap are not the purpose of these machines. They’re for quilting, garment making, home d├ęcor and many other projects people can think of. They’re designed to handle soft chiffons and silk as well as they do layers of denim and leather. So my goal in this comparison is to show you how they perform not only on scrap fabric but in practical applications. This is a multi week process, be patient. I have unlimited time now to sew since being laid off from work. So I will be making actual garments and quilts to emphasize how they function. I will be using fabric from chiffon to denim and weights in between. The aim is to break both down as much as possible to give those who are looking at either machine a comprehensive comparison.

First up is a comparison of the equipment and accessories that came with the machines. Both have a different set that comes with the machine and it may be necessary to purchase other feet. Standard feet included with the Juki HZL line are: Standard (zigzag), over-casting foot, buttonhole presser foot, manual buttonhole, overcastting foot, blind stitch, and zipper foot.
Exclusive feet for the Juki F600 are: Walking foot, Patchwork foot, open toe foot, free motion quilt foot, edge sewing foot, and smooth presser foot.

The Janome 6600 has its walking foot build right in, called the Accu-feed. Its function is similar to the Pfaff’s IDT but is wider and has more surface space. It is an attachment all in its own and works independently from the regular or standard feet. Included with it are: Standard (zigzag), overcastting, rolled hem 1/8”, quarter inch, over edge, zipper, satin stitch, blind hem, cording, automatic button hole, basting/darning/free-motion, open toe satin stitch and the Accu-feed foot.

Both machines come with bobbins, 4 needles, quilt bar, thread stops for small and large spools, seem ripper, t-key for removing screws, and knee press.

I pulled out both sets of feet which are photographed for you to examine, the standard number included on the 6600 is 14, but I count 13 unless the quilt bar counts as a foot. While I was photographing these feet I decided to pull the shank off of my Janome and test it on the Juki feet. They are interchangeable. This is great news for those that do not have a Juki dealer nearby where they can pick up Juki brand accessories. Personally this is a great discovery as I am planning on leaving the Accu-feed foot down on the 6600 permanently once this comparison is finished. Here are the pictures of this discovery.

Both of these machines are computerized and therefore use plastic bobbins. While photographing them for comparison purposes I noticed they too are interchangeable. This is good news as I have tonnes of Janome bobbins around the house. It will save me quite the expense using what I already have and don’t’ need more of.

At first glance the manuals stick out like a sore thumb. The Juki manual being the larger of the two, there are a few reasons for this. One is that the image format is larger requiring more pages to show what the Janome manual does on one page and two it has more in it. The Juki machine manual has basic sewing instructions for “zippers”, “shearing”, and “pin-tucks”. The Janome manual includes instructions for “zippers”. I’ll be going over the manuals a bit at a time as I get to each different feature on both machines. But this is a general overview. The Juki manual is 102 pages the Janome is 92 pages.

Similar features on both machines are: Knee lift, thread cutters, drop in bobbin, needle left or right, stitch length, needle up/down, start/stop button, twin needle capabilities and free motion. I’m sure that these machines have a bunch of other similar features but from comparing the manuals this is what I could find. If I find more they will be addressed later.

One major difference when flipping through the manual is that the Juki has no defined modes. The Janome has three modes which break down the stitches. I’ll start with the Janome since its method is familiar and common on other machines. Mode one is the basic stitches, that includes the straight stitch, lock stitch, and zigzag. Mode two is the quilting and patchwork stitches. I am personally not familiar with these stitches. Mode three is the utility and decorative stitches. Button holes and overlocking stitches are included here. The F600 has four methods for choosing patterns.
1. is the direct patterns, similar to mode one.
2. is “123” or numerical. This allows the user to enter the stitch pattern number directly. Ex. Decorative stitch is labelled “65” choose “123” button and type in “65” the design will be recalled.
3. is “abc” for monogramming, the numbers correlate to letters of the alphabet which are displayed on the number pad.
4. is ‘one point’. I actually do not understand how this method works and will explain it better once I’ve physically tried it out. There are no mode changes and trying to remember which mode your stitches are in with the F600.

That is about as far as I can go for the moment without physically setting the machine up and it will be Monday December 21, 2009, before I will have time to do so. The biggest differences are going to be how it actually sews, and both machines will have their strengths and weaknesses. Dimensions will be posted once the machine is set up, I don’t think the ones I have are accurate and want to take them again.

NOTE: Images are coming; I need to find my camera cable to transfer them.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Resolutions Already!

As 2009 draws to a close with Christmas being about a week away its time to start thinking of those dreaded New Year’s resolutions. I rarely ever make any as I just don’t seem to follow them or use them as a guide line for what I want to accomplish in the year 2010. But this is what I’ve come up with; they’re simple, streamlined and somewhat attainable.
1. Keep sewing space organized and tidy so that it can be used whenever by either my mother or I. This includes finding a spot for the Juki F600 that is currently sitting under my desk.
2. Sew 10+ metres of fabric per month, for a combined goal of 120 metres by December 2010. Try to bring in less than goal of new fabric.
3. Sew more from pattern books such as La Mia Boutique and Burda.
4. Clean out UFO's and try to finish off 2 for every new item started. Try to keep new item and UFO's coordinated, if UFO was never finished due to nothing matching.
5. Finish Halloween costume in time for Halloween.
6. Add embroidery to more projects if appropriate.
7. Learn how to digitize better and create embroidery designs.
8. Make more dresses and skirts
9. Start silk-screening and hand dying fabrics.
10. Quilt more