A modern sewing machine – one that is portable without any compromise on functionality – can neither be as big and massive as those old-school industrial sewing machines are, nor as underpowered and small as the highly portable sewing machines are.
You’d love this machine in case you hate those that have a lot of noise because of buttons and knobs scattered all over the front, the stitches chart and whatnot.
This is a review of this sewing machine and other than the review, there are answers to the frequently asked questions.
Janome Skyline S3
Janome’s Skyline S3 is an affordable machine specially for beginners and professionals at no cost to functionality and features. In terms of the total number of built-in stitches, display, ease of use, functionality and other features, this is one of the best sewing machines in its category.
So, what should you expect from this review?
Well, the review is based on a 3-fold pattern: features, pros and cons, and the answers to the FAQs.
How I review different products? Well, I’ve personally tested a few of those, then I go further and get experts’ opinions on those products and lastly, I comb through and rely on the reviews given by the verified customers of such products.
Let’s take a look at the features.
- 120 Built-in Stitches – At this budget and in this category, there aren’t many (actually just a couple of them) sewing machines that have this big a number of built-in stitches. There are those that have hardly 16 or 30 stitches and this one lets you go wild with the kind of stitch style you want to use.
- 7 One-Step Buttonholes – Included in 120 stitch styles is the collection of 7 different buttonhole designs. All of them are super easy and quick one-step (instead of standard 4-step) buttonholes.
- 1 Alphabet – Last, but not the least, also included in the number of 120 built-in styles is 1 alphabet style that you can use to sew names on your projects. This means that even after excluding 7 buttonholes and 1 alphabet, you’re left with 112 built-in stitches which are still way more than what other machines like this one offer.
- Speed Settings – There are 3 speed settings that you can control with help of the simple slider right in the center of the sewing machine. You can go from normal to fast to faster in no time.
- Start/Stop Button – What makes the whole speed thing even better is the start/stop button to the left side. This button is used when you have a big but less complex project, you do not have to stop every now and then to adjust the fabric and you want to sew with speed and focus. You can press the button, halt the presser foot and easily control your seams.
- Reverse Stitching – A blue button to the left side of the machine allows you to switch from straight to reverse sewing mode. Reverse stitches are used to secure the straight seams and reinforce them.
- Top-Loading Full Rotary Hook Bobbin – So, this big feature (too many words) is actually a merger of two different features. A top-loading bobbin is preferred because of how you can see how much of thread if left and because it is easy to use. A full rotary hook bobbin is one that does not move like ordinary bobbins, but the hook moves around it – thus it remains jam-proof and vibration is little to no.
- Built-in Needle Threader – An automatic, one-hand operation needle threader comes with this machine. You do not have to thread the needle in a difficult and time-taking old-school way.
- Snap-on Presser Feet – The presser feet that come with this machine (read the detail in “Accessories” part), are all snap-on feet. It means you do not have to fix one of the feet in a difficult and time-taking way; you just slide them on the hook made for them.
- Memorized Needle Up/Down Positions – Depending on the kind of projects that you have, the layers of fabric you sew or the thickness of the same fabric, you might have your own preferences in terms of where the needle should stop when it goes up and when it goes down. This machine, memorizes your favorite needle up and down positions and whenever you switch on the machine, it uses the same settings.
- Free Arm – There is an accessory box right in front of the needle plate; you remove that box and turn this machine into a free-arm sewing machine. This feature is useful for stitching of hems and cuffs and collars etc.
- High Presser Foot – The presser foot of this sewing machine has two usual high and down positions. You can use the lever to pull it up or push it down. However, in case you want to sew more than one layer or the fabric is extra thick, you can push it once and the presser foot will go a few notches high to accommodate the fabric.
- Backlit LCD Display – A major complaint towards a few other machines is that either they do not have a display or it’s not a backlit one. This one has a blue backlit display and big digits so you can read without hassle.
- Superior Plus Feed System –The SFS or Superior Feed System is a system of 7-piece feed dog that is better than 2 or 3-piece ones, because you enjoy a better grip and control on the fabric. That means no seams out of the line and easy as well as quick sewing.
- Stitch Width & Length Adjustment – You can adjust the width and length of a stitch. The maximum possible width is 7mm while the maximum possible length is 5mm.
- 25” x 4.7” Workspace – In case you want to know whether the sewing space is big enough for medium to big projects, the workspace is 8.25” long and 4.7” wide.
- 4 LED Lights – Janome takes the LED light thing way ahead of its competitors with more than one light. This one has 4 lights. These ultra-bright LED lights – installed at 4 different places on top of the workspace, leave no need to have the room’s lights on while you sew.
- Accessories – Just like all high-quality sewing machines, this one also comes with a decent number of accessories that means you do not have to buy anything separately to use this machine. The accessories include – zipper foot, zig-zag foot, blend hem foot, automatic buttonhole foot, ¼” seam foot, overedge foot, satin stitch foot, bobbins, assorted needles, screwdriver, seam-ripper, spool pin, lint brush and a semi-hard cover, etc.
- 120 Built-in Stitches
- 4 LED Lights
- High Presser Foot
- Memorized Needle Up/Down Positions
- Only 1 Alphabet
Here are the most frequently asked questions and the answers to those questions about this machine.
Does this machine have an auto needle threader?
Yes, this machine has an automatic, one-hand needle threader.
Does this machine have a buttonhole plate just like S5 offers?
Yes. In terms of the sewing buttonhole plate, there is no difference between S3 and S5.
Can I sew thick fabrics on it?
Yes. It is a professional sewing machine and you should have no problem with sewing thick fabrics like denim or leather.
Does this machine come with a knee lift?
No, this machine does not come with a knee lift; it is more like an entry-level professional sewing machine.
What kind of bobbin winder this machine has?
The bobbin winding is manual; you have to take the bobbin out to wind it.
Can the S3 work on a universal walking foot?
No. This is a high shank machine. You need to acquire a high shank walking foot and it’s better if you get one from Janome Sewing Machines.