Road Test: Janome MC6700P Professional Sewing Machine
There is no one sewing machine that is right for everyone. The purchaser of a new sewing machine needs to contemplate the requirements that they consider to be essential, and what features are on the different sewing machines. If you’re a serious quilter, the new Janome MC6700P should be on your list for consideration. Driven by Michelle Marvig
The Janome MC6700P is designed with the quilter in mind. It claims to be the fastest sewing machine and is capable of sewing 1200 stitches per minute. I have found another machine that sews faster, however it is a straight-stitch-only machine and does not do any fancy or utility stitches. The speed is more important when it comes to quilting, especially free motion. The speed is governed by a slide control and the machine delivers the speed effortlessly and reasonably quietly.
This is a large and stable machine to use. It weighs in at 11kg and the main body is die-cast aluminium. It has on opening of 10in to the right of the needle and 4 1/2in to the left, without the extension table. With the extension table on, it extends the work area to 15 1/2in to the left of the needle and 15 3/4in front to back. The larger area makes it easier to support the work and move the quilt around, without dragging the weight of the quilt, whether piecing, appliquéing or quilting.
The large extension table is only one of the many extras with this machine. Three needle plates are included: standard with a wider opening to allow for the 9mm stitch width; straight stitch plate which allows for the needle to be in left, middle or right position; and the HP Professional needle plate which has its own matching industrial-style foot. When using this needle plate, only limited stitches can be selected from one section in the menu.
The new, one-step needle plate conversion is amazing! Located on the front left corner is a large button. When pressed, it releases the needle plate, which pops up on the right side and can be slid off. The new needle plate simply slides on, with tabs placed under on the left side and a small amount of pressure on a circle on the right side and it pops into place very fast. A knee-lifter is included and allows for hands-free adjustment while sewing. A variety of 17 feet are included as standard, and of main interest to quilters are the 1/4in foot, Open Toe Satin Stitch foot, Darning foot, Buttonhole foot, and two different styles of quilting feet.
The first is Dual Feed foot for doing straight-line quilting. It works with the AcuFeed Flex Layered Fabric Feeding System to pull all the layers of your quilt through without puckering the fabric. It is like working with a Walking Foot, but it has no large, bulky section at the back of the work, and the speed of the stitching means it races through straight-line quilting. The front of the foot can be removed and different optional extra bases can be added, such as a Ditch Stitching foot or Clear View Quilting foot. For free-motion quilting a similar system is involved — a standard base for attachment: the Convertible Free-Motion foot. Then you have the option of three actual bases for the foot: open toe, closed toe and a clear base. Your own preference and style of free-motion quilting will determine which is best for the project at hand.
Everything on the Janome MC6700P is so user-friendly. To access the 200 stitches on the machine, a clear LCD screen is centred on the front of the machine. Three different modes are selected by a simple push of the button. Different stitching styles are found under each mode and accessed by simply pressing the numbers. Mode 1 is the opening, default mode when the machine is started and it only includes 10 different stitches. However, the choice of which 10 is up to the user. You can customise this screen, assigning your favourite seven stitches to this mode, making stitch selection much faster. You could have your 1/4in seam, Blanket Stitch, Satin Stitch, Invisible Appliqué stitch, Triple Stitch, with your favourite adjustments all in your main start-up screen.
To free-motion quilt, a switch on the side of the machine is flicked either towards the front or the back, and a symbol is shown on the screen to let you know what the state of the feed dogs are. The needle threader worked every time once I speeded up my technique. A simple dial changes the pressure of the foot — the upper thread tension dial is on the front of the machine. White LED lights in three locations illuminate the work area.
The bobbin winder is independent and has its own button function on the front of the machine. A dual thread holder is excellent for delivering the thread without issues. It is located at the back of the machine on the right, with a tall arm that flips up with a thread holder for each thread, taking the thread up through a placement loop and down before it goes across the machine to the start of the actual threading process. It is perfect for all styles of thread cones, spools etc.
It is obvious that much thought has gone into the design of the Janome MC6700P. It has all the features that most quilters would want or need in a machine. However, as I mentioned earlier, there is no one-size-fits-all sewing machine. Find your local Janome dealer and test drive this model. I think you will be pleasantly surprised. My only word of caution would be the weight, if taking it constantly to class. But we now have beautiful machine bags on wheels, so even that is not really a problem.