Sewing Machine Review: Janome DC2015

As promised, here’s a review of my SHINY NEW(ish) SEWING MACHINE! I bought a Janome DC2015 back in January, and I love it.

JanomeDC2015

I actually bought it through —I’d bought my previous machine (a Juki) through Sew Vac Direct, so I was happy to see them as a vendor on Amazon. And Prime shipping meant I got it in two days (I’m very anxious when I don’t have a working sewing machine in the house).

My poor Juki died a painful and undignified death early this year, when (despite two tune-ups) the timing just wouldn’t stay timed. I hope I never hear again the horrible grinding noise that a sewing machine with a jammed bobbin case makes. It haunts my dreams.

Luckily, I had a reasonable budget for a new machine ($400-$700) and a short list of requirements. My main complaint about the Juki (I had an HZL-80) was that the feed dogs were underpowered, so I found myself shoving fabric through the machine (which certainly contributed to the timing problems). It was also a bit on the loud side. I also wanted a machine with a decent automatic buttonhole stitch, a blind hem stitch, and that used low-shank snap-on feet (so that I wouldn’t have to replace all my Juki feet).

Since the last time I bought a sewing machine (back in 2008!) there are a lot more online reviews of machines available, but changing model numbers can make it a little tricky to sort out which machine, exactly, you’re reading about. I probably spent about four hours trawling through posts trying to figure out what people liked and didn’t like–a few people specifically mentioned Janome’s feed dog technology as being good, so I began focusing on the DC line. (There really ought to be a sewing-machine review site that lets you filter by brand, model, price, and features …)

The was a little cheaper, and had basically the same functionality as the DC2015, but I didn’t think I could face SO MUCH PURPLE every time I sat down to sew, so I went with the red DC2105. I haven’t made a full comparison, but it looks to me that the annual updates of the DC line are focused more on color than anything else.

I’m really, really happy with this machine. It has fewer ‘fancy’ stitches (e.g. no alphabet letters, only twenty different flavors of scallop stitches instead of forty) than my old Juki, but since I the last time I used those fancy stitches falls somewhere between ‘never’ and ‘can’t remember when’, I don’t think I’ll miss them.

The one thing I didn’t pay attention to turned out to be my favorite feature of the new machine: the needle position setting is MUCH finer-grained than on my old Juki—there’s like six or eight possible positions, instead of just left-middle-right. (This is fantastic for sewing piping.)

The narrow/zipper foot that came with the machine is a bit oddly shaped for sewing with the needle in the far-left position, so I bought a  and that works fine.

But perhaps my favorite thing about this new machine is the Janome . Combined with the more precise needle positioning, my invisible zipper insertion now is like buttah. It’s SO nice. I am never going back to a plastic invisible zipper foot.

And my other most-used feature, the blind hem stitch, is also much nicer and easier to use than the one on my old Juki.

And since I know some people really freak out about threading machines: the threading is amazingly simple. You could thread this machine in the dark, stumbling drunk, wearing mittens. It’s that simple. The bobbin especially has a useful loading diagram built into the cover PLUS a thread-cutter/holder.

I do have a few quibbles: the bobbin winding is on the slow side; the default width setting on the zig-zag is (I think) too narrow; and the automatic backstitch setting is a little inconsistent (or I’m not using it right, who knows  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯).  I did sit down and read the manual cover-to-cover before using it, which was eye-opening. (The things you think you know … shakes head.)

Otherwise, A+++ machine! And the Sew Vac Direct package came with a bunch of nifty stuff, including extra bobbins and a really cool flat screwdriver that makes taking the bobbin case out super-easy (which means I’ll clean it more often, win-win). Now if it only came with  a few extra days in the week to sew in!

 

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Oh hey look a new pattern!

I made a dress that *wasn’t* the Simplicity 2389/Heidi mashup, finally:

The bodice is the same one as here () and the skirt is (I think) from an old McCall’s pattern that I traced off ages ago to make the pockets bigger, then lost in a clutter of random pieces and finally unearthed two months ago.

The fabric is from , and I sewed it up in about a week, which is surprising because usually when I buy fabric at Britex it’s so eye-wateringly expensive that it takes me ages to get the nerve to cut into it and sew it up. But this was a very inexpensive (and fuzzy!) marled cotton flannel … it’s incredibly cozy. (They don’t have it on the website that I could find, or I’d link to it.) It’s also pretty stretchy.

I lined the pockets with some Liberty print and also backed the lining with organza to try to take some of the weight (it’s heavy fabric), which wasn’t entirely successful but oh well  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ :

The neck is finished with self-binding—because the fabric is so stretchy I had to go and look up how to do stretch neck binding again … it’s also slightly lumpy where the ends meet:

Of *course* I piped those pockets:

And here’s the side zipper … I found out that they make heavyweight invisible zippers, did you know that? They’re sometimes called #4 invisible zippers. (That’s what I went to Britex to buy in the first place, I think.)

This dress is so incredibly comfortable … it’s very warm, for cotton, and when I wore it in rainy Vancouver it shed water like a duck (if ducks were made of gray flannel). The piping at the sleeve edges and the neck make it a little lumpy to wear under a cardigan, but it’s not “shouldn’t you get those growths on your biceps looked at” lumpy. I wear it with knee socks and roper boots (but then I wear EVERYTHING with knee socks and these days, so …)

I’ve also made this in a heavy black cotton faille, which, if I ever need to play an ominous widow in an amateur theatrical production of … just about anything that includes an ominous widow, will be just the ticket. I’ll try to post about that one soon.

(Also, I updated the last post to congratulate the winner of the Gertie giveaway!)

Gertie’s Ultimate Dress Book (and fabric!) giveaway

has a new book! It’s called and it’s pretty wow.

cover of Gertie's Ultimate Dress Book

I really liked that this book is self-contained: I think you could basically hand this book to someone who knows little or nothing about sewing and they should be to get through it fairly well. And it has good instructions for my most-used alteration (expanding the waist, sigh)!

The dresses are really, really, really cute—mostly in that new-retro style that Gertie rocks so well. If you have ever watched a dumb 1950s movie allllll the way through just to see the clothes, this is a book for you. The dresses lean a bit towards the “party dress!” vibe, but there are definitely ways to tone them down a bit for work or just a random Saturday.

My favorite dress is probably the “Plaid Secretary”:

plaid secretary dress

Gertie gives tons of instruction on how to prepare, cut, and match plaids, so if you’ve never sewn with plaid before, this would be a good way to start!

Here’s another view of that collar:

And thanks to Gertie’s publisher, I have a copy (and some fabric from !) to give away!

If you don’t win the Gertie fabric, FabricMart has some very Gertiesque fabrics right now that would be perfect for some of the dresses in this book … check out this , this print, and these pique !

I was trying to think of some heroic task you’d have to do to qualify to win but even trying to think of a task made me tired, so just … leave a comment? (Make sure your comment profile has a linked email address so I can contact you if you are the lucky winner!)

I’ve turned off comments because we have a lucky winner! Thanks for entering, Yael, I’ll be sending you an email about how to get your winnings!

(If you’re looking for a review of , you can find it here.)

Gertie’s book is on a blog tour—you can find the other stops here:

March 8
March 9
March 14
March 18

 

It’s Not Easy Being Cool

I bought some TOTALLY RADICAL patches when I was in Vancouver:

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I have honestly no idea what I will do with these (I briefly considered sewing the second patch on to something of my son’s as an EPIC TROLL) but they have given me far more than fifty cents (CANADIAN!) of giggles so there’s that.

And no, I have not been invited to any 80s-themed parties (well, not since the 1980s when every party was 80s-themed by default) and I’d rather not sully my Levi’s trucker jacket with these. Other ideas?

I bet this looks familiar

Same old Simplicity 2389 bodice with the skirt. Liberty print (although I can’t remember which one). Edit: It’s .

And, of course, piping. (Nice fat piping on this one!)

The zipper turned out nicely on this one—oh, this me burying the lede, I got a new sewing machine and the new invisible zipper foot is like buttah—post about the sewing machine to come soon.

Here’s a closer view of the bodice, although I think most Constant Readers of this blog could be woken from a sound sleep and draw this from memory:

The pocket piping is barely visible, since the pattern is so busy:

And of course, the back view:

I made about four more of these dresses over the last month, plus two more in a NEW! PATTERN! I’ll try to post those shortly.

Winter Dress: Embryonic Stage

I just got this Liberty Lantana fabric for a winter dress:

Looking forward to the long process of finding JUST THE RIGHT COLOR PIPING to use with this. (It’s probably going to be another dress like this one; I’m a sucker for a fabrics with a dark ground and bright designs!)

Lantana is the Liberty wool/cotton blend—I think it’s 80% cotton, 20% wool. It’s a dream to sew with and it’s very warm. Perfect winter fabric!

I need this for an event in February, so now this just has to arrive at warp speed from the UK (and my sewing machine has to make a speedy return from the repair shop)!

Do you have any winter dress plans?