Thursday, May 06, 2010

First Impressions On The Janome Horizon 7700

I've had my Janome 7700 Horizon since May and decided to update my review of the machine.  Like every Janome I've ever owned, it has it has some wonderful features and some annoying flaws.

No machine is perfect and everyone's machine experience is different.  If you are interested in the Horizon check out the machine for yourself.  Have fun and bring fabric you use and check out all the features for personal tastes or dislikes.  If you hate the machine, that's okay.  Keep searching for the machine that calls out to you.  You'll know it right away.

Always remember that you can haggle for machines.  If your dealer won't budge ask for some goodies like extra feet, threads or other notions.  I've read that people have gotten the 7700 table added in or some other nice items.  I traded in my 6600 for it and got a decent price for it.

MSRP: $3000

Overall Physical Appearance:

Visually the machine is gorgeous and it's easy to lust after it.  It's sleek and sexy with a beautiful red color.  It's doesn't have the ugly colors of the 6500 and 6600 and they've simplified the look and feel.  It calls to you from across the room and you can't resist it's beauty.  Even the plastic body feels luxurious.

The machine is HUGE.  It's not heavy but it is awkward to carry around.

The only thing that sticks out like a sore thumb is the silver colored dial.  I don't know why they didn't put a number system on the touch screen or just a number pad where the dial is.  It does flow smoothly and gets you to your stitches eventually.  It's just annoying.  Bernina tried this out with their 1630 machine roller ball years ago and it wasn't a hit either.

The touch screen is nice and very reponsive.  Everything is right there for easy use.  Janome has always had user friendly machines and this is no exception.

The lighting is wonderful.  I figured 5 lights, so what.  For 50 bucks I can buy one of those LED lights but I'm even too cheap to buy one of those.  They do need another light just behind the one next to the start/stop button to light up the walking foot area.

The lights do leave a yellowish cast to your fabric.  At first I thought I'd accidentally stained my quilt and panicked.      

The Horizon's claim to fame is the atomatic single plate.  When you press the APC (Automatic Plate Converter) button the machine slides the single hole plate into place.  This works beautifully if your 1/4 inch seam allowance is directly at 3.5 and for free motion quilting.  If it isn't, it's a waste of a really great idea.

There is great storage on top for feet and the thread goes through perfectly without hanging up on anything.  The bottom tray slides out with 2 storage cases attached.  It's all one piece so you don't have to worry about losing the cases.  It fits in nice and snug into the machine with no spaces/overlap.

The one flaw is that there isn't a handle to get the inner tray out and it drives me crazy.  I end up dumping the tray spilling feet and bobbins everywhere when I try to get feet or lift it out.

When you get your machine, several parts are under the tray of the first box.  I went mad looking for those feet and parts.

Speaking of feet, Janome has made a whole new FMQ foot part.  It is fully adjustable, no annoying bouncing and you have 3 feet to attach to it.  You get a small circular hole, an open toe foot, and a big plastic disc with guides on it.  I did some FMQ and it does it beautifully.  The options to customize the settings via that foot makes it even that much better.  The new FMQ rock.

If the circular disc had diagonal lines, it would be perfect.

The acrylic table is okay.   The positive thing is that it attaches to the machine instead of sliding around.   I hate acrylic tables.  My quilts get hung up on the corners and on the edges.  Only thing they are good for are light tables.  I haven't even bothered to put the one that comes with the machine together.

Same foot pedal as the 6600.  It works but Janome really needs to make it bigger.  At least the Horizon stops when I lift my foot off the pedal instead of taking an extra few stitches.

Decorative stitches:

They've divided up the stitches into more modes.  Heirloom, Utility, Quilting, and some others.  They are accessed through the dial and then subdivided into individual stitches.  The touch screen allows you to adjust further into length, width, and other subdivisions.  I just wish the stitch that is shown moves as you change the settings.  It can't be that hard to see your adjustments via the screen.

My stitches were OFF big time and had to use the +/- silver disc on the front to have them close or align properly.  Check that your stitches work beforehand.  My dealer checked her demo after I asked and hers were off as well.  Also make sure your buttonhole stitches work.  Several people have reported issues with those stitches.

Stitch quality is okay.  Viking and Pfaff make far superior dec stitches.  For as many stitches that you get, they should be a lot prettier.  Janome adds way too many "between" stitches making holes in your fabric and it distorts the stitch.  If you are going to be using the dec stitches please check to see if they meet your standards.

A lot of the stitches have R, L, M labeled so you'll know where the needle is centered.

It does ball up on me when starting as the top thread gets tangled up underneath.  I'm the person that hates bringing up my threads or having to use a starter piece of fabric to start sewing.  My Viking doesn't have this problem and I haven't figured out why this machine does.

Should you buy it?  Here's where I'm brutal.

3000 bucks is a lot of money in this economy.  I'm not familiar enough with pricing to know how the touch screens compare with each other.  I'm pathetically cheap..I'd pay 2500 for it.

For my 3000 dollars I'd like a bobbin low (that's accurate unlike my Janome 350e) or bobbin stop sensor.

Stitch changes while editing on screen and a number pad.

The ability to update the machine if there are computer flaws or to have new dec stitches downloaded via a USB port or computer cable.    

The arm needs deeper grooves for marking.  You can't see the horizontal line for alignment purposes.

My biggest issue after having it since May is that Janome hasn't truly mastered the seam allowance issues.  You'd think with a 3rd generation machine, that problem would be fixed.  It still veers to the left, gets hung up on bulky seams, and hates making a good 1/4 inch seam allowance.  With it being a 7mm feed dog width, the 1/4 inch foot only covers one feed dog when using the APC plate.   Even if you don't use the plate, the foot stays at 3.5 and only the needle moves.

I have spent months trying to figure out why this happens.  I put their 1/4 foot on my Viking and it works perfectly.  The only thing I can figure out is that while the needle is centered, the part where you snap the foot in isn't.  Everything else about this machine works but the feeding system for piecing.

I haven't bonded with this machine.  It will never be my favorite machine and while Janome has made this machine visibly beautiful, the main stitching flaw still exists.  It's not a user error issue either as I'm not new to sewing or to machines.

Edited Feb 19, 2011:

I just tried the new O2 foot for the Horizon today to give it another chance as I may have a possible buyer.  I went over seams with ease on blocks that are complex.  I was shocked.  I don't have a block as complex as a Lemoyne star where all the points meet up, but I was very impressed with the new foot.

Janome should have sent out a new foot if you have your machine registered.

I put the regular foot back on and immediately had problems with it mashing fabric and going over seams.  Janome may have solved the problem with their new foot.  If you are having problems, get the foot and see if it works for you.  

Edited Mar 13, 2011

Meh.  I tried.  I really did but I traded it in for a Viking Designer Ruby.  I give up on Janome.  Great machines, but I don't like them.  Hopefully she goes to a home that truly appreciates her.  She deserves better than me.  


Cindi said...

Thanks for the review! I was wondering about this new machine. I sure do wish they'd come out with an 11" machine that doesn't have all the bells and whistles. Quilters don't really need them. Straight stitch, zig-zag and blanket stitches and I'd be a happy camper! I've got a Janome 10001 (only have it because I got it for a song) and I've used the embroidery section on it exactly once. The new feet sound interesting, and I'm wondering if they're selling them separately and if they'll work on my machine. I was wondering if it has an automatic thread cutter. Did you notice?

$3K is just too much for this quilter. I'll keep the machine I've got.

Bethany said...

It had automatic cutters. Just press the button and the threads are cut.

Mia said...

I just went to a class for dealers today... and if I was in love with this machine before, I'm totally addicted now!

It has all the goodies that I love about the 6600 and so much more!

Did you know that you can pre-set the thread cutter so it cuts aoutomaticly? You can do this on the 6600 as well.

Just select your stitch, press the scissor-button on the menu to the right (blue on the 6600)... when you come to the end of your seam, press the locking stitch button, let the machine lock the stitch... keep the foot on the pedal and the machine will cut the thread without you having to push the scissor button... :-)

Vivian said...

Thanks for making this post! I had recently come to the conclusion that I definitely wanted to move up to a wider throat (would you consider this a mid-arm?) machine. My current (five year old) machine is sturdy and has done whatever I've needed up to now. But as I quilt more quilts (especially large ones) and do more free-motion work, while I am not unhappy with my machine, I am starting to feel its limitations.

However, I do not have the space (or the money quite frankly) for the big table or frame based mid or long arm machines. I need something that will give me more capability than I have now but fit in my exisiting sewing space.

I was pretty impressed with the features in the Janome advertisement but I REALLY appreciate your observations as someone who has actually tried this machine AND is very familiar with other Janome models. I also greatly appreciate knowing before I walk in the store (and get the hard sell) approximately what I'd be paying for it.

Now, I think I am ready to go see one in person and take a test drive. Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

Joan said;

Owning 2 Janomes already I was excited to see this new machine. When the store opened I was there. After spending over an hour sewing on it I was somewhat disappointed. I thought the little dial was way too much work. Why not just have numbers and a larger screen? I guess I'll seriously have to consider another brand or keep my 6500.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for the review. I purchased the 6600 shortly before the Horizon came out. My dealer has a standing offer that I can return my 6600 anytime within a year of purchase for a full refund - or to upgrade if a new machine comes out. I love my 6600 but as I use my machine to make clothing I really want the swing arm. I can return my 6600 and for an additional $900. get the Horizon. Go for it??

Bethany said...

I would go back and look at the 7700 again and decide if that's what you would be happy with. I do like the free arm and used it for a purse the other day. If you are doing more clothing/sewing it might be worth the investment.

Anonymous said...

I saw this machine today and fell in love (I am a gadget girl)... the shop that I saw it offered to take my 200$ 10yo Europro and a 200$ serger(that I havent used) or my janome 8077 (which i use quite a bit)in trade and knock a grand off the thing (so it was 1999$) plus the shop has a 10 year warranty for parts and labor, in addition to janome's 25y warranty... its a lot of money, what do you think?

Bethany said...

You are right. It's a lot of money, but 2000 for the machine is a great deal that would be hard to pass up. If you feel you would use it and get your money's worth, then buy the machine.

Go back and check out the machine again just to make sure it's something you want. It's easy to get excited the first time you play with a machine, buy it and then realize it wasn't what you really wanted/needed later.

Jeri said...

Thanks Bethany for you excellent review of the 7700.
I also have a 6600P and just looked at the 7700.

It has all the good things that I like with the 6600p
and then some.

I need to test drive this machine and work with the
new bells and whistles. Your review has helped me make up my mind in buying a new machine.


Feeling Simply Quilty said...

I found the machine online and I was drooling for it. Like you I have an embroidery machine and 2 others that work fine, but, I want this one.

Thank you for sharing all this information in great detail. I appreciate it so much. I'm still thinking about buying one.

I've put your blog link on my post, hope that's okay.

Barb said...

I am moving from Amerika Samoa and put have one waiting for me when I reach our main destination. I am hoping that this machines does me good....I have a pfaff and a Bernina. I do love Janome's and hope this machine proves to be worth it's money. I paid 2,400 for it and it will come with a table and a carry case.

Anonymous said...

I would urge caution to anyone thinking about buying this machine. I personally hope that Janome recalls the machine to get all the bugs sorted out and then re-releases the machine at a later date.

I have had an awful experience with this machine which was bought only a few weeks ago.

I have talked about my experience

See how I was treated by Janome here- read through the comments

Comparison pictures here

and here

More comparisons here

and here

Anonymous said...

Hi. I have a 6500 memory craft and am thinking about trading it in on the 7700. Is that a good idea? I sewing and quilt and can get $1000.00 for my 6500 which means the 7700 will be only $1999.00 the biggest reason for the trade is the free arm that I miss on the 6500. Does the 7700 have a doble needle possibility? Thanks Chris

Bethany said...


Check out the 7700 for yourself and see if you like it. Play with it and test out everything you use. It is better than the 6500 and 1000 dollars is a great trade in.

Most machines have the double needle capability and I think this machine does. Again, test that out when you go.

Enjoy playing with the machine! That's the fun part of looking for new machines.


Anonymous said...

Unlike most of you, I don't quilt. I may try it sometime. I bought a 7700 in December 2010 and I wanted it to sew clothing. It is a wonderful machine, but it is for quilting. I have owned a Pfaff 1229 that I loved because of the integrated walking foot, and thought maybe the one on the 7700 was going to be the same. The machine has a nice selection of stretch utility stitches, but the accufeed device can only be used with the straight stitches!! It does a very poor job on knit material. When I made a baby sleeper with single knit and a 1/4 inch seam, I had to pull to keep it on the 1/4". The seams were a mess. The zipper foot also kept slipping off of the zipper tape as well. I used two different stretch stitches, one for the seams and one for the applying the ribbing. I even used the overlock foot and it didn't want to stay in the right place. The manual says to sew the one stitch at 5/8th and then trim! the seam to 1/4, but the pattern I used was made with only the 1/4th seam allowance, and who wants to trim every seam anyway! The dealer said they don't refund money and my old machine that I thought was broken and would cost a lot to repair, cost less than $30 to fix. I feel that I got the wrong machine, because it is wonderful on non-stretch fabric, but I don't think I could ever be happy without a true even feed foot that works with all the stitches and feet. The dealer will let me exchange, but the only one that is similar in price makes terrible buttonholes.I am interested in the Smarter by Pfaff, but it costs alot less. Any suggestions?

Bethany said...


You could always sell the 7700 by yourself if you didn't want to deal with the dealer's stipulations. There are plenty of people that would love to purchase one and then purchase a machine you do want.

I'm with you. The walking foot on the Pfaff is to die for and nothing compares to it. The Janome one slides all over the fabrics.

Viking and Pfaff are similar and I love my Viking machines over the Janomes. I'd take a Pfaff as well.

I haven't tried the buttonhole stitches on my Vikings so I don't know how good they are. If your dealer sells Vikings, take a look. You wouldn't get the walking foot, but with the Viking Sensor system, I've never needed it.

Don't settle for a machine you'll never truly enjoy. If you buy a less expensive machine, will he give you store credit for the rest? That way both of you win.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I think I will get store credit, but it would be about $500 dollars worth! My husband doesn't think anyone would buy it because they wouldn't get a warranty, but I have only made that baby sleeper and just tested the stitches on a scrap, so I have barely used it. If I had known your blog was here, I would have known about the 1/4 inch problem. The store personnel suggested the Pfaff QE4.0, but when he did a demo, the buttonhole stitches occasionally went across the opening for the hole so that if you tried to open your buttonhole, you would cut your stitching, plus they wanted $100 dollars more for it. I checked the scrap and more than one buttonhole had the problem. With sewing clothes, buttonholes and zippers are not an option.I have thought of just keeping it, and using my old machine(which is now fixed)to use for sheer and knit fabric, but it seems like a waste. I have until the 23rd of March to decide on a trade in, but I think they just want to sell me a floor model anyway. I really appreciate your comments. I just don't think I could do anything but try to sell it and take off $100. to find a buyer. Since I have found places I can read about these machines, someone on one of them said that if you register your machine on the company site they will send you a new 1/4 foot because right after it came out I guess people were complaining about the 1/4 seam so whomever it was that wrote it said the company would send one for free. It may not solve my problem, but here is the location for someone who is basically happpy with the machine, but uses the 1/4 foot alot. It is It is a free 1/4 seam foot called O2.

Bethany said...

I do have the 1/4 foot made for this machine. I haven't used it yet. I thought I might today as I have to machine out and want to give some more time with it.

Have you tried the buttonholes for the 7700 on regular fabric? The nice part about this machine is the silver disc in front. You can adjust the stitches if they are off. Just move the disc slowly so you don't lose your place.

Try the zipper foot with regular fabric as well if you haven't.

No, if you sold it they wouldn't get a warranty and I would let them know that especially if you used Ebay. Most sewers are aware of it though. I've never had a problem with any machine falling apart on me. Usually it's operator error.

I had a lady yesterday that thought about buying mine but I realized later that I couldn't bear to part with it. Go figure. I'll have to tell her no if she comes back.

I did some internet searches on the QE4.0 Most complaints are that it eats fabric when it starts, unthreads itself at the take-up lever at times and doesn't feed evenly at times. Your dealer may just want to dump that machine into your lap. A lot of people love it, but if the buttonholes aren't up to your standards, don't buy it.

Since you don't have to trade the Horizon in right away, maybe spend some more time getting to know it better. Do another project. There's also nothing wrong with having two machines as each machine does some things better than the other. My DH always says not to worry about it if you don't use one machine as much as another.

At the same time, you can use that time to look for a machine that does what you want. Don't let the dealer push you into a machine you don't want. If you use a lot of stretch fabric, bring it with you to test out.

What I love about my Viking is that it has a stretch fabric sensor setting and when you push it, I can go through minky fabric with ease. DH loves his minky quilt. LOL.

I wish dealers were more flexible about returning a machine and then trying to make you feel like a loser for doing it.

Anonymous said...

The 1/4"foot that comes with it must not work well because whoever it was that wrote about it said the company quickly worked out a different 1/4"foot. Mine is called the O foot, but this person said the one they would send free if you registered is called O2. Yes, I have done all the buttonholes except the eyelet, and they are all fine. I just used a folded piece of white sheet with a piece of interfacing in between. The problem with the zipper foot was that it slipped on the zipper tape. It was not on the stretch fabric which is why I thought that the Pfaff would work because now their integrated top feed foot will work with the zipper foot. On my old one, it only worked with 3 feet and not the zipper foot. Also, the new buttonhole foot has a rubber grip on the bottom to stop slipping on the fabric. I think that it is a good idea to do another project. The only reason I didn't get a Pfaff in December was that I was told the company was in a holding company, and I was afraid that since the company was not still owned by the Pfaff family, I could get stuck with a machine and no one to back up a warranty. I will also take your advice about taking stretch fabric with me to try out the Pfaff that seems like a nice machine. It seems to have the "goodies"like on the Janome, and people on the web say that it does nice buttonholes,and goes through thick fabric easily. I also liked the Babylock Quest Plus, but I have found alot of people unhappy and it seems there were too many lemons. They don't carry it where I bought my Janome,so it isn't even a possibility for a trade and someone said it was overpriced when it came out, but it has an integrated top feed foot that appears to be identical with the Pfaff except for color. How come I don't know what "minky" fabric is? Is it fake fur? I could just continue to use my old machine for all the "special" fabrics, but then what is the point since I paid so much for the Janome. It's a fine machine, it just does not sew on the 1/4" seam and does not feed difficult fabric. If they had said,"you only have 1 week to bring it back for a full refund",I would have done that, but with no refund, and a difference of about$500., it just seems pointless to even try to get a replacement. I think I will have to just try to sell it if I can't get it to sew 1/4 seam on knit fabric.

Anonymous said...

I am so happy I found your review...I spent a long time at the store and was seriouly considering a purchase...Last year I bouth the 4.0 Pfaff and had trouble for a year, finally trading it for a Smarter...I like this machine, but it is far too diffcult for me to change from stitching to has to manipulate a little screw that is way to tedious...for that reason I am looing for another machine...after reading all the reviews, I think I'll check out some more machines...the Bernina (I have a 1230 for 25 years, now) is way too expensive for me...what about the Symphony...I heard the Viking is not great anymore...Thanks again for posting such an informative piece...Hattie

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this review of the 7700. I wish I read it before I purchased one in August, 2010. The machine has been nothing but a major headache. My problems started from the first time I used the machine, it just stopped in mid-seam with an error message. When I start sewing at the top of a seam, the thread bunches up on the underside for about an 1 1/2 inches and it looks terrible (I don’t start sewing off the fabric and I do start with the needle down). I tried sewing a zipper into a bag I was making for an Xmas present, which after several attempts, the machine would not start stitching until I placed the foot about 1/2 inch from the beginning of the zipper. I have sewn in hundreds of zippers over the past 40 years and never had this happen on any of my machines. Now the problems are with the tension, too much top thread showing through on the underside even with the tension pushed up to 8 (and I do have the machine threaded correctly and new needle). When I sew a seam, I can put the bobbin thread tail and the whole row of stitching comes out (great if I make a mistake but it’s not a very strong seam and looks terrible). When I was working on a quilt and just doing cross hatch lines, the machine was cracking, crunching, pinging, and popping. Sounded like the needle and bobbin were going to explode. I almost went down the cellar to get on a pair of goggles. The only thing it is good for, is to use it as a door stop. This is coming from an experienced quilter/sewer who has owned and/or owns the Janome Schoolmate, 6500, 6600, 10000, 11000 and have loved them all. Janome dropped the ball when they made this machine. If anybody out there is thinking about buying the 7700, DON’T DO IT. Run from the machine as fast as you can because the glitter of the machines sleek good looks will suck you in before you even know it. I just so happened to stop into a dealer that was near my home town to ask them about the feedback on this machine and he was a condescending pompous ass who said “there is a wire inside the 7700 and if you don’t know what you are doing you can very easily bend the wire and the machine will not work right.” WHAT??!! As he walked away from me he said “the one thing we hate to do is to mix an experienced sewer with a brand new machine without taking lessons because the machines are made different today then they were years ago”. Yeah, but I bet if I walked into that shop with money in hand, he wouldn’t have been so condescending. So, tomorrow I am taking this machine back to the dealer I purchased it from to see what can be done if anything. Unfortunately, I traded in my 6500 for this machine. My sister also purchased the 7700 last year and is just starting to use it more and is having some of the same problems that I am having. I think that Janome should recall this machine and go back to the drawing board or give up making machines all together if this is what they are going to be producing from now on just to try to keep up with the other machine manufacturers. Sorry if I am offending anyone, but I am angry about this machine. Thanks for hearing me out. L.

Anonymous said...

I went to a shop to see this machine demonstrated today. I was thinking of buying a new machine after 25 years. I sew only occasionally, but now that I have 4 granddaughters I find that I am sewing more and more. The machine is a good price $2100, but my old Pfaff has many of the same features. I liked all the lights and the wider arm. Thirty five years ago I bought an Elna and was sorry that I could not afford a Viking. My Elna was ruined in a move and then I bought the Pfaff. I have always wanted a Viking. I am thinking after reading these reviews, I need to go see the Vikings.

Sandy said...

I purchased this machine a week ago. I have sewed on it everyday and it sews like a dream. I have had none of the problems others have mentioned. I have been doing applique and the stitches I have made with my Janome Horizon are the best I have ever seen. I love love love this machine. I contrast to the others Run to Your Dealer and Buy this machine. See Leah Day's review - she loves this machine and she provides an independent review.

Marti said...

Thank you for posting this review. I looked at this machine today at a retailer. It's on sale (with trade in of a Pfaff Creative 1471) for $2K. It sewed fine on the sample cotton fabric, but the thread jammed into a knot with the knit fabric sample. I left the machine there and thought I'd better do a lot of research before buying anything. The only thing I really wanted in a new machine was a wider opening for quilting and to be able to sew knits. I never had to have start and ender fabric with my 20+ yo New Home and don't want to mess with a machine that doesn't like to get started.

Anonymous said...

After 41 years of sewing on a 1970 Kenmore machine, I purchased the Janome 7700 on 9/2011. I was very concerned that any new machine that I purchased would be less reliable and not as sturdy as my Kenmore had been. The Janome 7700 has not disappointed me. It also runs like a tank. I already have my favorite stitches...#13 is perfect for knits, #15 is a great stitch in place of a serger, and I love the automatic backspace on D2. I have tried the O2 foot for perfect piecing at 1/4" measured perfect with a ruler afterward.

The very best part of this machine is the fact that I can take 3 stitches with this machine before I ever hit fabric and never have it knot up on me or have the needle lose the thread. No more nesting of thread that I have to go after with a seam ripper and scissors. I give this machine a 20 out of 10.

I am so sorry you had problems with your machine and never had a chance to fall in love with it as I have. There is such things as lemons and bugs in new and older machines, and I am afraid you may have had one. I hope you found happiness with your Viking Designer Ruby.

Mary said...

OMG! Thanks for the review! I was going to buy one until I read your review!! Thanks for saving me from making a big mistake!

Anonymous said...

I have owned the 7700 for a lttle over a year. I am an experienced quilter, but have been having some problems lately when FMQ. The top thread keeps breaking--it ravels gradually. I can also hear a clicking noise every once in awhile. Any suggestions from someone?

Bethany said...

Top thread breaking is usually a tension disc issue. If the thread isn't sliding through the discs right the thread unravels and breaks. Go through your tension discs with some paper and see if there is some lint.

Mine started doing that as well while FMQ about a year into owning it. It drove me nuts and no matter what I did, nothing worked. I traded it in so I don't know what the cause was.

If you've had your machine a year, I'd get it cleaned and checked out especially since FMQ creates tons of lint that goes everywhere. Clicking is never a good sign.

It used to be we could get into the machines and clean out and inspect the parts. Now everything is enclosed making it almost impossible and forcing us to see the dealer. It's extremely frustrating.

Jennifer said...

Hi! I am in search of a new machine. I have been seriously considering a viking sapphire and then a possible upgrade to the topaz 20 or 30 since my dealer will give me a great trade in value if I do it within the first year. I know you don't have a sapphire but I am having a hard time finding any reviews about it. I love the features and how it sews. I love the maintenance agreement they offer. The dealer seems to be very helpful and would be okay helping me learn how to use all the stitches, feet and features. I was just wondering if you still love your Ruby? There isn't a lot of info out there on the internet about the viking line. Another dealer told me they are going downhill. I am not sure who to believe. I need a dependable machine that will do everything and gives an accurate 1/4 inch seam for quilting. Any feedback you can give me would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!"

Bethany said...


I do have a Sapphire 870. They no longer make it and I think it's the 875 they carry now. Fantastic machine and it does everything beautifully. I haven't had any problems with mine. It's a great starter machine. I believe Yahoo! has a group for the Sapphire machines that might be helpful to you.

The Sapphire is just under the Topaz as it's the same machine w/o the embroidery features. The only thing is hard with the Topaz is the black/white screen for embroidery.

My only complaint with the Viking machines are how loud they are. There is also a learning curve to the machines as they don't act like the other machines out there and that may be why they aren't as popular.

As far as Viking going downhill, I have no idea. I think rumors of that have gone on for years though. Pfaff is part of their company or at least a sister company and they have similar machines. Viking machines are kind of off the beaten path and unless you don't know about them, most people gravitate to the other companies.

Janome has done a wonderful job with bringing TOL features to basic machines with great prices and their ease of use puts them out front of several companies like Viking and Bernina. Even if I don't like the machines, Janome has truly made a machine for everyone.

What I don't get is why Bernina is no longer being innovative. They still don't have a 12 inch bed machine and none of their machines have auto cutters except for a couple of their really expensive ones.

If you go for the Sapphire, make sure and get the 1/4 inch edge seam foot. It's different from the 1/4 inch piecing foot.

Hope that helps some.

Anonymous said...

Viking and Pfaff we purchased a few years back by a company by the name of VSM Group. They intern we're purchased in 2006 by Kohlburg & Co. Who also owns Singer. A new company was formed SVP Worldwide (Singer, Viking, Pfaff). Manufacturing of the Viking and Pfaff are no longer in Sweden but are now made in China.

This is the reason people feel Viking and Pfaff have lost the quality they were known for.

Janome is a japanese company. Bernina is a family owned Swiss company. Their machines are made in Swizerland and Thailand.


Constance Person said...

Can you tell me how much you paid for your Viking? My 7700 has been gathering dust for 2 yes. Thanks!

Bethany said...

Constance Person,

I think I paid 4000 for the Ruby. The owner gave me 2000 for the 7700 as a trade in. However; Viking makes some beautiful machines that are much cheaper if you don't need an embroidery machine.

Anonymous said...

I have had a Janome 7700 quilting machine for about 18 months. I have sewn all my life, over 50 years and had a series of machines, I loved the Pfaff most of all. When auntie left me some money I decided to buy a quilting machine because of the bigger area to sew curtains, blinds and quilts. I was told by retailers that Pfaff were no longer as good and persuaded to go for the Janome. Within a few months the automatic tension was off and it has not worked since, despite the retailers service engineer advising me to clean it (as a experienced operator I do that anyway). I now set it manually and it is OK, but definately not auto, which is one of the features I bought it for. The auto cut of threads cuts too short, so the bobbin thread has to be fiddled with to find again and bought out of bobbin casing - so that doesn't get used. THE most irritating thing though is that it refuses to sew an accurate quarter inch seam, no matter what. I have two different quarter inch feet for the machine, one was purchased seperately at cost of £25.00 UK, which is approx $50.00 US. It is supposed to work with the dual feet, but still wobbles around and produces inaccurate seams.The quilting bar does not screw or fix any way into the foot holder, so wobbles around, if you touch it accidently the quilting lines are off. The far simpler quarter inch foot on my old Pfaff, non quilting machine, worked far better with the inbuilt walking foot. I am so disappointed. On the plus side, it is a sturdy machine, it has not so far caught up at all in bottom race, the lights are great and the big table and space it offers is great too. The needles and other accessories are easily obtainable in stores locally. On the whole though, I would not recommend this machine, it should at very least do an accurate seam, a prerequite of any sewing machine by definition. I have not tried free machine embroidery on it yet, I'm hoping it will be OK for this at least. If so, I will stick to that and simple sewing on it, or worst of all, trade in for another machine, which is the expensive option. Where to go though - a Bernina? Never actually had one of those as yet.

iReviewable said...

Also check as well.

Rainbows in Wool said...

Just had occasion to use the button holes. I am unimpressed. I will dink with the buttons as discussed but am glad I have other machines that do much better button holes than what my 7700 is producing currently. Otherwise I like the machine just fine and have had it 3 years or so.