The opportunity to review the this machine came at the perfect time: I was (until very recently!) in between zig-zag machines and actively looking to buy a new one. So, suffice it to say, I was more than happy to oblige re: writing a review, in exchange for the chance to play with a brand new sewing machine!
During the trial period, I decided I would commit myself to using the Janome MC 6700P exclusively, in order to see what it could for me and how it would handle the types of things I typically like to sew (quilts, mostly, but also the occasional piece of clothing.
I used it piece three quilts, do some raw edge appliqué, make a quilted needle book, and sew two garments. I also made a few samples with scrap fabric and interacting and batting, so I could test out the oft-touted AcuFeed walking foot as well as the buttonhole foot.
A few of the items I sewed on the 6700P can be seen in the photo below (fused appliqué piece on top left, the linen dress on the bottom right, precision piecing on a letterpressed text quilt, and some improv piecing, in progress, toward the bottom of the photo).
After two weeks of play, here's my take on what the MC 6700P has to offer:
The team that designed this machine really thought about what today's serious sewing machine buyers/users REALLY need and want, and delivered. I'd like to give them all a big hearty handshake and a hug for not going overboard with this machine!
It's simple, sturdy, and thoughtfully designed, marrying a myriad of practical features with the right amount of modern can't-live-without-em features Every single feature makes sense and has a purpose.
It's a freakin' dream to sew with, and here's why...
-Solid METAL construction and a super strong motor: The bed of the machine and most of the body of the machine are white powder-coated metal. The weight of the machine cuts down on vibration. This machine isn’t going anywhere! Better motor equals more torque, which means the 6700 has more power to punch through multiple layers of fabric.
-Harp Space: GENEROUS. 10” from the needle to the right side of the machine, people. This alone makes me absolutely GIDDY. Plenty of room to pass a big old quilt through with ease!
-Stitches: It makes a beautiful, balanced straight stitch and zig-zag stitch right out of the box. Selecting stitches is easy: you select the Mode on the bright, digitized LED screen, and then toggle or use the number pad to select your stitch. Adjusting the length and width of the stitches is very easy as well, you just spin the dials on the right side of the machine to locate the stitch length and/or width you desire. The 6700P has a max 9mm stitch width and comes loaded with 200 stitches AND 5 Alphabets. This breaks down to a healthy amount of utility stitches, a variety of buttonholes and eyelets, and a thoroughly reasonable amount of decorative embroidery stitches. Janome has also included detachable stitch chart you can pop into a little holder on the back side of the machine, for those times when you want to see the complete list of available stitches at a glance.
-Feet: The machine comes with their AcuFeed Flex walking/even-feed foot, there’s no need to buy one separately. It also comes with an overlocking foot, zipper foot, appliqué foot, buttonholer foot, and a variety of darning/FMQ feet…17 feet total. Most of the feet are of the snap-on variety, you press a lever on the back of the foot apparatus to release a foot, and lower the presser foot lever on to a new foot to attach it to the foot apparatus. You can store all the feet andother accessories that come with the machine in the cute little plastic box that also comes free with the machine.
-Speed Control: This machine can stitch up to 1200 stitches per minute! You toggle the speed with a simple slider on the left side of the machine. ZOOOOOM!
-The securing stitch, needle up/down, reverse and the scissor/thread cutting buttons are conveniently located on the left side of the machine. All these functions work in a reasonable amount of time, unlike other machines on the market. I have made a lot of use out of the scissor function, it is a HUGE time and thread saver. There’s also a manual thread cutter (one of those tiny enclosed razor blades) on the left side of the machine, for those instances where you need to manually cut thread ends. The needle stops in the down position, which is also great.
-Presser Foot Lever: THEY LEFT IT ON THE MACHINE. I know it sounds odd, but some manufacturers have computerized the lifting and lowering of the presser foot (they make you press a button), and it drove me bonkers (gives the side-eye to Bernina)...THANK YOU FOR LEAVING WELL ENOUGH ALONE, Janome! :)
-Interchangable Stitch Plates: Three of them! THREE! A straight stitch plate, a zig-zag plate, and a HP (High Performance) plate. The plates are easily popped in and out with a button on the bottom left side of the machine, and the plates themselves pop into place on the bed of the machine with minimal effort. There are no screws to loosen and/or lose when you want to get into the bobbin area for cleaning! Markings for seam allowances are clearly etched into the stitch plates.
-Bobbins: The 6700P has a drop-in style plastic bobbin, and the bobbin area is covered by a clear plastic window, which is easily removed to change out the bobbin as necessary. The clear window allows you to see when a bobbin is getting low. They’ve also included a small, easy to decipher diagram on the clear window to remind you of how to set and thread the bobbin. LOVE that little reminder because I swear I forget how to thread the bobbin every time! LOL!
-Threading: A diagram of the threading order is printed on the surface of the machine, and there’s a needle threader for those in need of a little more help.
-Spool Holders: There are two very large spool pins on the back right top corner of the machine, along with a thread stand, and the spool pins are able to accommodate a variety of thread spools, even large thread cones.
-Bobbin Winder: This winder is on a separate motor, meaning you can wind a bobbin with an extra spool of thread on one of the two spool pins without having to unthread the machine. Brilliant!
-Needles: The 6700P uses Universal type needles. Janome recommends Organ Needles, but I assume other easily obtainable needles like Schemetz may work as well?
-Oiling and maintenance: The machine is self-oiling! Sweet!
-Extension table: the machine comes with a plastic extension table, so again, no need to buy one separately.
-Lights: It has 6 LED lights in three locations around the machine. They are SUPER bright! Good for those of us whose eyes are aging or who sew in darker environments, like yours truly.
-Flat-bed: This machine does not have a free-arm feature like some domestic sewing machines. A free-arm may make it easier for some to sew tight areas like armholes, and the like. I have used flat-bed style sewing machine for many years (a Juki TL2010Q), so I am used to maneuvering work under the needle with this style of machine. It’s not a deal-breaker for me (in fact, I kind of love it and prefer it), but might be for someone else, so I figured I'd mention it...
A few words about the cost of the Janome MC 6700...
This machine is not cheap. It’s the newest member of the Memory Craft line and and sits at the top of that line, and as such, is priced accordingly. My honest take? The 6700 is not a budget machine, and I’d argue that overall, it’s not really geared for the occasional sewer.
This machine is more an investment machine for a serious, every day sewist, someone who sews for a living/professionally. It does what it does exceptionally well, providing rock solid fundamentals and just the right amount of extra features. The machine feels like it’s built to last.
I loved having the opportunity to play with this machine!
So much so, that right after I made plans to send my tester machine back to Janome, I ran down to my local Janome dealer here in Chicago, and sprung for one of my own!