When Mum was sewing my matric dance dress in 1986 she bought an Elna sewing machine for the job. It had a great innings but eventually gave up the ghost. We sent it in for a quote to have it repaired and the cost of repair would have been more than the cost of other brands new machines. I got my Janome JFS1821S at Pick ‘n Pay about 18 months ago after much shopping around.
Buying another Elna was out of our budget so I looked around and extensively researched the brands available in South Africa. I had to rule out the big brands such as Elna and Bernina on price. I was left with Empasil and Janome to choose between. My Mum has an Empasil and although it has not given many problems she said that she battles doing any heavy sewing on it and that it feels flimsy. Empasil are made in China.
I found out that Janome now own Elna and that the machines are virtually identical. When I was shopping around I contacted the distributors of Janome and asked where I could look at a Janome as the ones in store were boxed and none on display, they told me to go to an Elna shop and look at a machine with the same specs as they are identical. The difference is in the price, if I remember correctly the Janome was about half the price of the Elna. Where a product is made is always an indication of quality to me, Janome are made in Thailand. The Elna 2000 which turned up it’s toes was apparently the last of the Elnas made in Switzerland before moving to the far East.
The Janome JFS1821S which I chose was not the most basic model and cost a little more than the cheapest one but I wanted the overlocking stitch which I have used a lot. The machine feels wonderfully solid and has not given any problems at all. The machine has automatic 1 step buttonhole (which I have not tried yet), 21 stitch functions, some decorative stitches, the overlocking stitch and a big drawcard a 3 year guarantee.
So far I have made Christmas stockings for the children, some kids clothes and last weekend braved curtain making for the 1st time ever. If for nothing else everyone should own a sewing machine for mending, so many things get thrown away when mending would give them a new lease on life.
I am very happy with my choice of the Janome JFS1821S. My Mum visited recently and set the curtain making ball rolling, she was very impressed with the machine too.
Update – 17/10/14 – It is a year and a half since I wrote this review and I am very happy to report that the machine has not given me a moment’s trouble, I use it very regularly and will be sewing nighties for my nieces this weekend.
Update – June 2018 – Still no problems with the machine and it’s hardly ever not used long enough to pack away.