Thursday, 3 February 2011

Janome Horizon Memory Craft 7700 sewing machine review

Update dated 17 July 2012:

I thought I pop in and give you a brief update on my experience with the Horizon given that this blog post is still one of the most viewed on my blog. 

It has now been 2 1/2 years since I bought the machine and I am still very happy with it. I have taken it for a service 2 months ago and it came back from the dealer with the comment "You are using it quite a bit, aren't you ?" You sure can say that. The dealer said that the machine was in good order and it really felt like new when I started sewing again which is probably due to it being properly oiled again.

I have had a little bit of trouble with the bobbin holder last year. My needle got stuck a couple of times when sewing through many thick layers (can't remember exactly which project ) which left indentations and marks on the plastic bobbin holder. These then caused the bobbin holder not to go around smoothly anymore (evident from the noise the machine made). So what I did was to take a nail file and file the marks and indentations smooth again. This happened several times and I ended up replacing the bobbin holder (GBP 25) as it eventually was to loose. 

I do think the plastic bobbin holder is a bit of a weak point with the machine as I recently had a stuck needle again and ended up having to file down a mark. 

This isn't something that causes massive problems and as I said in the beginning I am still very happy with my machine. But I thought it is worth mentioning.

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Here comes the promised review of my Janome Horizon Memory Craft 7700 QCP. You may remember that I researched various machines back in November (see this post) and finally decided on the Janome.
I have had the machine now for 2 months and I have to say I am very happy with it.

What have I used it for so far ?
I have used the normal zickzack foot, 1/4 inch foot, dual feed acu foot and zipper foot so far. In terms of stitches I have stuck to normal straight stitches and one of the straight quilting stitches.

The machine has been an absolute pleasure to work with and I have very little negative to say about it if at all.
The things absolutely love about it are:

  • the transparent bobbin holder. You can monitor the bobbin thread easily and this is a much better way of judging when you want to fill it up again than for example an automatic bobbin sensor. These things are notoriously unreliable as the bobbin area is always full of dust thus the sensor tends to produce falls readings
  • the automatic thread cutter button. Love, love, love it. No more long thread endings hanging about that need extra cutting
  • the 28 cm long arm space. This is just fantastic for quilting. The Cranberry Crush Quilt was rather on the large side and didn't cause me any problems whatsoever and I did not use the extra extension table the machine comes with (I don't have space on my desk for this)
  • the dual feed foot. I have had no problem at all with this and the machine feeds the fabric correctly when using this foot. The Cranberry Crush Quilt is quilted in zickzack rows just over 1 inch apart and this worked perfect
  • the quilting guide. This is a little device one attaches to the dual foot which allows you to quilt without having to mark the pattern (obviously only works with straight lines). This is fantastic and I quilted the entire Cranberry Crush quilt without marking. Lines are not always a 100 % straight or a 100 % the same distance but I would say almost always, besides this would have happened even if I marked them and it adds character in my opinion.
  • bobbin threader. You can thread the bobbin with the help of and extra spool pin without having to unthread the main thread.
  • the stop/start button. This is fantastic and I have just about stopped using foot control entirely. This is so much better.
  • Needles up/down position (I realise this is standard with most machine now)
  • the relative smallness of the machine. Although the machine has this fantastic long arm it actually isn't that large and fits neatly onto my desk where I also have a large computer screen on the same desk.
  • the machine is not to heavy. It is about 13 kg which sounds heavy but really isn't. I haven't got a lot of space which means I have to move the machine about a bit when I need to cut something and the weight hasn't bothered me at all
  • speed control slider. It allows for good control of sewing speed and is right at the front of the machine
  • It is quiet, oh so quite.

What I don't like so much:

  • Automatic Needle threader. Threading the needle is a bit awkward but I suspect I haven't been doing it right.
  • I had a little bit of problems with fabric eating with the 1/4 inch foot. Janome delivered with the machine there  new 1/4 inch foot as they had a lot of problems with the old one. However, the machine still eats fabric on occasion. But really not very often and I suspect that I might not push the fabric far enough through to begin with. This is a machine that is also used for embroidery hence has a fairly wide opening. A friend told me that all of these machines have a slight tendency to eat fabric. But I will keep an eye on this.

Feel free to ask me any questions regarding the machine. I will answer them all but it might take a little while until I get to it.

        And here are a few close-ups.






44 comments:

  1. Im having a little "sewing machine envy" lol.

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  2. How about a personal demonstration then Judith? lol. Thanks for the review, machine sounds fab - certainly looks fab :-)
    btw, went to the Stitch show @ Brighton this weekend & saw - with my own eyes - Ruby Star Rising & the latest Echino fabrics - oof, just beautiful, now I understand what all the fuss was about!

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  3. Hey, I got the same machine in October and also love love love it - I have to say though that I ADORE the threader and wouldn't be without it and yes, the machine chews fabric from time to time and the 1/4" setting is off I think but I don't care because I just love it so much! Great review.

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  4. I had the same problem with mine eating fabric when trying to sew 1/4" seam. I bought a 1/4" acu feed foot and use that all the time now I love it, works much better and keeps the seams straighter when going over lots of seams too. I've since had the new 1/4" foot delivered free but have not tried it.
    Great review! Like you most of the time I love mine! :)

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  5. I totallt agree with the post...both the postive and the negative....but at the same time I love my 700

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  6. I've been researching new machines myself... with an eye to the 7700QCP! A comment regarding fabric-eating - I keep a scrap of fabric handy, run a few stitches on that (right to the edge), then start your *real* fabric butt-up against the scrap piece ...

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  7. 1.

    If you are working with the quarter in foot, then you are doing a straight sitch right? So why not use the Automatic Plate Converter feature that is a tradmark design of this machine? You press a button, and your plate converts from a side to side shape, to just a small hole. This will prevents 'fabric eating.'

    2.

    Befor you begin to sew, place a little scrap of cloth under the presser foot. Butt your real project up to the bottom of that and let the stitching "pass" from the 'leader cloth' to your project. This will prevent 'fabric eating too'.

    This can happen on any machine, hope these tips help. The APQ feature on the Horizon should prevent a lot of it though.

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  8. I too have a Horizon (which I LOVELOVELOVE). Have had similar problems with the feeding of fabric (it seems that the feed dogs start too far back) But --- if you use the D1S button and thus covering most of the needle aperture and that negates the problem with the fabric being pushed down.

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  9. I just bought the Horizon and really love it! But, I am having a problem with it veering off to the right when I am piecing fbric with 2 or three layers. I am using the quarter inch foot that came with the machine, its like it wont go over the thickness. Am I doing something wrong or is there something to set? opinions welcome.

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  10. I heared that the serial numbers beginning with 01 and 02 had some problems particularly with the 1/4" foot.

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  11. I am seriously thinking of getting one of these machines. Are there any other kinks that I should know about? How is the satin stitch? And how does it hold up for applique?

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    1. I have had the machine now for about 15 months and am very happy with it. It does not really have any kinks and the fabric eating problem appears very very seldom and can be avoided almost always by using the D1S button (see comment above from sewhappy). It works absolutely fine for applique too.

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  12. I have owned this machine for over a year now and have always had problem with the machine eating fabric. I've tried using the new 1/4" foot, the O2 foot and nothing has changed. The feed dogs still catch sometimes. Save your money while you can.

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    1. I am sorry to hear you have so many problems. I really have very few problems. Perhaps you should try to use the D1S button (see comment from sewhappy above).

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  13. I have owned the Janome 7700 for over a year now. I do a lot of FMQ and recently have had a problem with the top thread breaking--it gradually ravels--- frequently while FMQ. I have tried changing needles, different quality thread, and even bought a different bobbin case. The problems seems to be as the top thread sweeps over the bobbin and bobbin case. As soon as I hear a clicking sound, I know that the thread is probably going to ravel again. Any suggestions?

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    Replies
    1. bobbin stopper spring (that is the metal piece at about 3:30 over the hook) may be misformed causing the bobbin case to slide under the spring and cause a bind. This is the spot that the thread skips through in order to complete the stitch. Janome tech can identify if that is the problem.

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    2. I am having exactly that problem -- for the second time in the 22 months I've owned the Horizon. It is extremely frustrating...a design flaw if you ask me (and I love the machine in many ways...). I have to head back to the dealer again tomorrow!

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  14. I just got my Horizon 7700 and am wondering if anyone has issues with tension? I do a lot of free motion quilting and was told the auto tension should handle it fine but I am getting serious loops on the bottom. Changed the needle, rethreaded it and still the same. I have had to turn the tension up to 7 to get good free motion stitches on my samples. This seems a little extreme. Any help would be great.

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    1. when you are moving side to side and in circles there is an natural drag on the bobbin tension. Increasing the upper tension to 6-7 is a natural compensation and is not to be considered extreme. You did the right thing.

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  15. What am I doing wrong? With the needle down the thread cutter makes the thread spin out of the needle. This can also occasionally happen with the needle in the up position. Time wasting and infuriating! Janome Horizon.

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    1. Thread cutters have to perform a multitude of tasks to cut the thread properly. You probably have one of these out of sink. This one needs a
      Janome service tech. Might be the upper tension not releasing the thread at the right time causing too much tension just after the cut. Causing the thread to pop up through the needle. Just guessing though. Hard to tell exactly without seeing.

      Best of Luck

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  16. I have a couple of Janomes and they both nibble the fabric.....I spoke to someone who works for Janome and they advised me to get a straight stitch plate, it is the one with a small hole,

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  17. When starting a seam after using the thread cutter, trap the upper/needle thread between the feed dogs and the pressure foot. Thread should be in the direction of the left rear corner of the needle plate. What this does is support the upper thread while the first stitches are being formed. When stitching the stitch being made uses the stitch prior for support. Giving the first stitch some support by using the foot and the feed dogs and plate should minimize the chance of "nibbling." I hope this makes sense. I can clarify if needed.

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  18. I have the 7700qcp for about 7months. Was very pleased uptill now. Have done a large quilt with free motion with out a problem. Now I am experiencing thread breaking due to the top tension getting excessive in fact it is jammed in the vertical part where the tension knob is. Have to pull thread out front to release the jam. I hear a light ping as the thread comes out. When threaded up again it runs Ok for about 100/200mm of stich then jams . Have tried several threads etc . I use the auto tension setting all the time when I am free motion quilting. when it is jammed moving the tension knob to 1 will not free the jam!

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  19. Got fed up so took it back to Janome shop. They tested it and pronounced it very sick so it,s off to the doctors for repair

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  20. Hello, I have a Janome Horizon. I'm not in Love!! I've replaced the bobbin case twice and feel thar plastic used in conjunction with metal is poor quality. My Pfaff is 10 years old and have never had a bobbin issue. Now the tension is a problem. Auto setting is useless and there seems to be no other setting that works for more than a few lines of sewing. And oh yes, the dealer says operator error. What a mistake this purchase was.

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  21. I have a Horizon 9000. The hook race keeps slipping, needle breaks and the machine locks up. I have taken the plate off, cleaned, new thread, new bobbin, new needle. It has done it about ten times in two days of sewing. What am I doing wrong?

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  22. The dealer tried mine out and found it would not control tension in auto or manual he tried different needles threads etc.Made adjutment to bobbin case spring as well. Still at janome menders!!!

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  23. I HAVE HAD THE JANOME 7700 FOR 4 MONTHS NOW AND IT WORKS FINE. STILL LEARNING ABOUT IT AS I GO, BUT IT SEWS WONDERFUL

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  24. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  25. I traded in an Elna 2004 and a Brother Ace a year ago for a J 7700 and really regret it. Both the smaller machines worked for hours on end, required no repairs and were serviced only twice in the 8 and 4 years I had them.

    I told the dealer what work I would be doing, that I needed a work horse able to maintain several hours at one go, manage a variety of fabrics with quick changes between, that it would be the main nmachine for my business. I also asked about servicing and maintenance and was told that it was self oiling and really during the warranty period it should not need anything.

    I was advised by the salesperson that this J 7700 would meet and exceed my needs. So far after 2 days it needed repaired because it did not sew through 8 layers of woolen fabric as I was told it would. Fabric was jammed in it and I couldn't get it out. THe needle had bent and had jammed in the mechanisms.

    Later the needle plate and stitch cutter broke within 3 months - this was replaced free of charge as Janome recognised a fault in the plate. I also had problems with the plastic bobbin case and needle stabs, making it not work. This was replaced at my cost of 25 reduced after much complaining from 35.

    Personally as I had stated what I required a machine to do, professional standard work and long hours, I was shocked that it did not even last a year without needing replacement parts or repairs. My little Elna 2004 made 3 pairs of full lentgh curtains each with 3 fabric widths, lining and buckram heading in one week with no problem. It was just so slow.

    Now at just over a year the needle plate is broken again, the dogfeed is also broken (that takes some doing) and the bobbin case needs replacing again. I am waiting to take it in again as its a 4 hour round trip to the shop. On reporting the latest breakdown, I asked about frequency of servicing and was told that the amount of use required a 2-3 monthly service and oil top up/change.

    I was told on the second visit for repairs that this machine was only expected to do a couple of hours a day and any more would lead to parts needing replaced more often. When asked why I was not told this when I was looking for a suitable machine, I was told that it is the best machine on the market.

    I agree it has lovely stitch features and the thread snipping is handy as is the start button and the speed slider. but really my other machines were so much better reliably they were just too slow for me.

    I'm now using a 1960s Necchi while I wait until I can get the other one repaired which is perfect although it does not do a 1 step buttonhole.

    I am seriously thinking of asking for my money back as it is not reliable, cannot take the amount of work I put through it and I should not have to stop work to have it repaired every few months.

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  26. Thanks for your review of the machine. I have been using mine for a year now, and love it. I do wish that I could use the stop/start without removing the foot pedal, but I guess it's a safety issue. I also find the knee lift in a awkward position. I feel like I have to spread eagle to use it! So, I don't. I do all my own quilting, and tension is just beautiful. I am just starting to play with some of the fancy stitches that the machine is loaded with! My machine came with a drop in table which has made my quilting life sooo much easier! Thanks again for the review.

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  27. Just bought the 7700 and love using it except for the built-in needle threader. My dealer is now telling me that using Schmetz brand needles has damaged my needle-treader. The dealer said they usually tell people not to use these needles but I was not told on the day I bought the machine or during my class on use. They are ordering me a new one (at no cost after a bit of discussion). Anyone else having problems with Schmetz needles? Thanks

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    1. How interesting that you were told NOT to use Schmetz needles! When I bought my Jenome 7700QCP in March 2011 the dealer told me to use only high quality needles like Schmetz! I notice that some of the needles (like for sewing denim) seem to fit into the machine with a little more difficulty - not sure why. If the needle is a little too long in how it fits the machine, it will still sew but the needle threader wont line up with the hole in the needle so it wont work. Maybe Im just not inserting it fully?

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  28. I upgraded to the Janome 7700 from the 6600 (which I loved) in 2010 because I wanted the free arm feature for garment construction. I have owned several Janome machines and found them all to be workhorses (more so than my Viking Diamond and Babylock). To be hnest, the 7700 is the first Janome machine that I have disappointed in. I too experienced problems with the bobbin casing and had to replace the casing twice and have it adjusted twice. Also, the machine did not had trouble going over thick seams. I have a Jem Platinum that performed better/
    My sewing time is precious and I finally got fed up with having to take it in for the bobbin. I traded it in today for the new Janome Horizon 8900. My dealer told me that he has had a lot of problems with the bobbin casings on the 7700 and that Janome has corrected many of the problems consumers have experienced with the 7700 on the 12000 and the two new machines released this week. My dealer has told me that even with these problems, the 7700 is still a great machine, just not up to the Janome standard we have all come to expect. In fact, he told me that it appears that the 7700 model is going to be discontinued. Janome also has a new 8200 on the market which is similar to the 8900 but has less features.
    In any event, I am looking forward to sewing on the 8900 and using the 9mm designs on my granddaughter's clothes. I hope that this machine will restore my confidence in the Janome brand.

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    1. I have owned my 7700QCP since April 2012 and have trouble with the thread fraying over the hook in the upper part of the machine. I use only high quality thread as a result but it still tends to do this anyway. Just lately I have started to have trouble with the bobbin case. After reading other reviews of difficulties with this machine I plan on trading it in on the model 8900 and hope they really have eliminated some of these difficulties. It has wonderful features and could be a great machine. I would love to know if anyone else had tried out the MC8900 model?

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  29. the machine is a lemon which is why they are discontinuing it after such a short time on the market! what a shocker for all those people who've invested their hard earned money into one of them!

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  30. If anyone is still reading this thread, where can I get, or can you give/send me instructions on oiling the machine. I can take off the panels and cover plates, but don't want to oil the wrong place or miss an important place. Thanks. I would prefer direct email at howardsr@sympatico.ca.

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  31. If anyone is still reading this thread, where can I get, or can you give/send me instructions on oiling the machine. I can take off the panels and cover plates, but don't want to oil the wrong place or miss an important place. Thanks. I would prefer direct email at howardsr@sympatico.ca.

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  32. Hi I would like to know whether or not you would recommend buying the 7700 you bought or a MC6600P Memory Craft? What is the real difference, I can't seem to find many comparisons. My email is xxcharmed@hotmail.com or text me at 647 456 3120

    Thanks,
    Rachel

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  33. Hi I would like to know whether or not you would recommend buying the 7700 you bought or a MC6600P Memory Craft? What is the real difference, I can't seem to find many comparisons. My email is xxcharmed@hotmail.com or text me at 647 456 3120

    Thanks,
    Rachel

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  34. I recently upgraded from the Janome 6260 to the 7700 3 months ago. I am somewhat disappointed. It does have many great features that my 6260 does not have. However, from the very beginning I have been having problems with sewing over thick seams, fabric jamming, and thread breaking. At first I thought it was because I was still learning the machine, but soon realized it has nothing to do with that. It has been frustrating. I was thrilled at the time to be getting a new machine......but now I am paying on a machine that does not allow me to enjoy my sewing time.

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  35. I have owned the 7700 since the very first day on the market! It was to be my retirement gift to myself. I was so excited and at first loved this machine and all the wonderful features. BUT soon I started having bobbin hopping issues.....thought it was something I was doing wrong. I have come to realize that it is a serious defect in the machine. Have had it serviced for the third time on this issue alone. Each time I am questioned about the thread etc. that I am using. I have always used either Aurifil or Superior thread so I am confident that is NOT the issue. I thought of trading up to the 8800, but heard it is made the same and having the same issues. I am very frustrated and can not recommend anyone purchasing a Janome 7700 or 8800. I loved the features this machine offered....but it is not worth the price or the headaches!

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  36. I have owned the 7700 since the very first day on the market! It was to be my retirement gift to myself. I was so excited and at first loved this machine and all the wonderful features. BUT soon I started having bobbin hopping issues.....thought it was something I was doing wrong. I have come to realize that it is a serious defect in the machine. Have had it serviced for the third time on this issue alone. Each time I am questioned about the thread etc. that I am using. I have always used either Aurifil or Superior thread so I am confident that is NOT the issue. I thought of trading up to the 8800, but heard it is made the same and having the same issues. I am very frustrated and can not recommend anyone purchasing a Janome 7700 or 8800. I loved the features this machine offered....but it is not worth the price or the headaches!

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Thank you for your comments! I love reading them and will answer every question you have on my projects. But I have a very busy daytime job and am therefore not able to thank each and every comment. Please don't be offended if I won't reply.