Janome or just Kenmore?

julie_anneMay 15, 2008


I've been looking at sewing machines and here is the rundown:

1) The Bernina and Husgavarna Viking models that seem to fit my wants/needs are around $1400 (ugh) but they also seem very complicated to use.

2) The Pfaff salesman tried to sell me the Brother "Project Runway" instead of showing me the Pfaffs once I said that I preferred not to spend $1000+, so I left his shop.......never to return.

3) I went to Sears and although no one there knew a thing about the Kenmore models, from looking at the unplugged machines, the 19233 seems to fit my wants/needs and the sale price was $399.

4) I'm going to look at the Janomes over the weekend and the more I read about them, the more they seem like a really great fit for me because they appear to offer real "quality" for price.

So here are my two questions after reading through the Sears and Janome websites:

1) The Janome 6260QC looks great, but the MC4800QC looks even better. FYI - I was quoted about $700 for the 6260 and $1200 for the MC4900 QC so I'll assume that the 4800 is a little less, but is probably still $1000 (ugh) which at least is less than the Bernina and Viking.

2) I am willing to pay what I "need" to (price range is $400 to $800 but will go a little higher if I'm convinced it will be money well spent) in order to get a quality machine that has at least three different automatic button holes, will do simple quilting (presser foot must raise high)and has a nice array of stitches(40-50 minimum). So, with this in mind, is it worth going to the Janome over the Kenmore? My gut tells me "yes" but I hate spending what I call "stupid money."

I used to sew many years ago and I really want to get back into it again! (Curtains, tablecloths & napkins, emellished linen hand towels & bedding, some simple clothing, quilts, decorative pillows, etc.)

Thank you, thank you, thank you for your advice!

Best regards,


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FYI Janome makes Kenmore machines. Either machine is good quality. I would go for the one with good help support. You may not get that at sears.


    Bookmark   May 16, 2008 at 8:35AM
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I had to finally give in and replace an 1960's Kenmore. I found a nice replacement at Sears. Paid about 350. Nothing fancy but has a streach stitch, and free arm. Not computerized, althought that would be fun, but not practical.Doesn't have "automatic" button holes, that really raises the price. If I do sew clothes I do simple stuff, don't normally sew clothes. Try to avoid buttons, zippers. Just depends on what you need. I am perfectly happy with my low tech Kenmore.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2008 at 8:53AM
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I have 2 Kenmores...One I bought in 1958 and the other is a little newer and was given to me...I wouldn't part with either one of them.. Both are cabinet models, do zig stitches etc. and are both the heavy metal, not plastic...I mainly quilt now and these machines really, really serve me well...I think I have the best of 2 worlds, my older one is upstairs in the sewing room, sew up there in the winter, the other one is in my "sewing room" in the basement for summer sewing...
I honestly would recommend a Kenmore...(and I don't work for them)lol

    Bookmark   May 18, 2008 at 7:56PM
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Sorry to say, but I would not buy from Sears anymore. I had a Kenmore for ages (1979-ish), but got the run-around on a very simple problem Sears could not fix in 1987. Well, they could fix it, but not for a long time - three months. Heck, they couldn't even sell me the light bulb! I refused to leave the machine with them.

A local sewing machine dealer fixed the problem on the spot (it was a broken bobbin case, and they had the new one in stock), threw in the light bulb for free, and had me on my way in less than an hour with a fully repaired machine. Sears wanted months for a standard off-the-shelf basic part.

I will never deal with them again. They USED to be a quality company. That was early last century. They used to have sewing consultants - not anymore! If you go in for a sewing machine they try to sell you a central vacuum. They now have people who will just get the box off the shelf, and know nothing about sewing.

My Kenmore was a wonderful machine. I'm sorry I gave it up, but I did pass it on to a new, young sewist who is still using it.

But Sears has minimal to zero support. I'd bet (and I know it's true here where I live), if you take a Sears machine into Sears for repair, they farm it out to the local sewing machine store. Sears doesn't do any service anymore on any appliances they sell - it's all farmed out to subs.

My suggestion - go to a machine dealer, and buy a Janome. They make the Kenmores anyway. And the Janome dealer will provide classes for free.

As always, just my opinion, and your mileage may vary.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2008 at 10:00PM
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Thank you everyone for taking the time to reply and sharing your experience with me! I really appreciate all of your opinions!

Take care,
Julie Anne

    Bookmark   May 18, 2008 at 10:18PM
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I have to agree Mary C -- sorry to say, you never know what you're purchasing at Sears anymore. And they are not going to be there when you need service. Find a local "been -in -business- forever" dealer. They sell and service. I bought my Bernina's from a local small dealer years ago. Scott still services my machines, but sells Janome's for the most part now. The reason he switched is that Bernina's became high maintenance over time and it was costing him in repair time (although mine have been pretty forgiving and keep chugging along). He thinks Janome is a good quality machine and if I were buying today, I'd probably go that route. Don't skimp on your machines. Buy only the features that suit your sewing needs. Don't buy from a box store (you know -- they send you home with a machine in a box and you're on your own from there on).

    Bookmark   May 26, 2008 at 7:34PM
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I've had my Sears sewing machine for over 20 years, and have always been happy with it. I can't say that for the Singer sewing machine that I used to have, but then that's all together another sewing machine (which I would never buy again!!). I think it depends on how much you already know about sewing machines when you buy one as to whether you're on your own or not. My Sears machine is a simple one. It makes button holes, and has 10 different stitches, nothing fancy, just does what I need it to do. I have heard about their lousy service these days. I would just take my machine to a local sewing machine store and have it repaired, but so far, I have never had to do that. I wouldn't pay the higher price for a Janome myself.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 2:39PM
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Have you looked at Babylock's? They're reasonably priced. I've had one for a year now that's been problem free. It' a great machine and I've dealt with dealers in both Canada and the US and they've all been very helpful. I definitely agree, don't buy a machine from a big box as there's no help available. Buying from a "Mom and Pop" is the best way to go for a sewing machine.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2008 at 7:52AM
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Julie, I purchased my Janome 4800QC for $700 here:

While it does offer online purchases, Sew Vac Direct is a very legitimate sewing machine dealer with a large store in Texas. They don't sell the 4900 online or over the phone, because I guess that would cause too much difficulty for smaller dealers that couldn't offer such low prices. Anyway, I've had a great experience with them and LOVE my machine. It is definitely a work horse, and can stand up to my abuse, which is substantial given that this is my first sewing machine. Good luck in making your decision!


    Bookmark   June 14, 2008 at 9:59AM
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Just wanted to add that, for me, purchasing from a small local dealer was of no advantage, because my husband is in the military and we are currently gearing up for our second move this year. So, I'm not going to have any more access to the local dealers than I will to the store in Texas. That was just my train of thought while considering the $400 price difference between the two options.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2008 at 10:18AM
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I think I would still purchase from a sewing machine dealer, rather than from Sears or Walmart, etc. Even if you purchase from a dealer and move away, you may find another dealer in your new area who can help you with your machine. The lessons alone you receive from your dealer when you first buy the machine can be very helpful. If you do decide to buy from a department store--make sure they have a good return policy.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2008 at 4:44PM
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FYI - I bought the Sears Kenmore model 385.1667 serger, which is essentially the Janome MyLock 644D.
The Janome comes with some additional accessories like a waste chip box, accessory storage box, oil, etc. In addition, the Janome model has the ability to do 2-thread serging, and has a quick setting for rolled hems.
Other than that, I paid $199.00 new for the Kenmore. Janome's band sells for around $750.00
My husband says he thinks we may be able to convert the Kenmore to 2-thread serging if I need it, by ordering the upgrade parts from Janome.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2008 at 2:53PM
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How much support do you need? Do you know how to use a machine already or are you looking for someone to teach you?

I have the Sears Janome ($399.) because of the up/down needle button, the clear plate to see the bobbin, speed control and most of all - I could get a three year extended warranty very cheaply.

I sew a lot, mainly quilting and my local dealer/store charges $79. to clean and adjust a machine. With Sears I have the machine cleaned and adjusted without charge under the warranty. I have owned the machine 2 1/2 years and the warrantee has covered 4 different repairs. I love the machine and the way it sews. Would definitely buy this model again.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2008 at 2:41AM
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personally .... i would purchase a used bernina or viking/husqvarna (someone who traded up and left their old one at the shop -- you will then have access to the dealer), than a new janome or kenmore (too much trouble w/kenmores recently) ... just my humble opinion ...

darlene, who owns a bernina record 830 (from criagslist for $250 -- excellent condition) my old husqvarna 6570 and a *newer* husqvarna 980 that sews wonderfully ....

    Bookmark   July 3, 2008 at 11:42AM
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I would definitely look at the Sears Kenmore's. I bought a JanomeMC4800 about 3 years ago for $600.00 plus a Viking trade in. The same machine at Sears sells for about $350.00. I wish I had kept the Viking and bought the Sears.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2008 at 7:13PM
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I'm adding my 2 cents here...another poster over on the quilting forum had nothing but trouble with Sears and I'm afraid to say I've heard of other sewers having difficulties with servicing and someone who could help when a problem arose. Sears just doesn't seem as dependable as it once was (but that is MHO). I wouldn't worry about getting servicing if you bought a brand name machine, Pfaff, Janome, etc. should all have dealerships somewhere in your area. I've had my machines serviced all over the country and never had problems finding a dealer. I would look around and see what used models are on the market as some of the trade ins are great buys. Good luck.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2008 at 4:55PM
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On the same topic, but taking a little tangent - does anyone know if Janome and Kenmore bobbins are interchangeble? I bought my Janome online and can't find anyone that carries their accessories, but I didn't know that Janome makes Kenmore. Would my Sears store carry bobbins?

    Bookmark   September 20, 2008 at 12:23PM
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You might see if you can find a Necchi Model 6030. Not all Necchi machines are made by Janome but this is one that is. It is a discontinued model, but you still might find one and at a good price.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2008 at 10:27PM
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