Thursday, April 18, 2013

Hello Kitty Janome Review

Good morning sewing friends!

Want to hear my big news? Tuesday, I had a total squeal with delight moment.

That's right, I'm a-goin' to Sewing Summit for the second year in a row!!! Already Instagram is buzzing as we post our registration confirmations (#sewingsummit) and its so awesome to see that many of the same people will be attending again. So interesting to me how friendships develop via the online world. Let the festivities begin! 

Also in the headlines this week, we gave Alexa an early birthday present, the Hello Kitty Janome sewing machine. She had her own squeal of delight! I would have saved it for June, but purchasing this while here on vacation meant I needed to check it out and sew on it before leaving for home, to ensure it was in good working order. 

There were a few little hiccups before we had this baby up and stitching - the bobbin case wasn't secured properly and the thing kept jamming up, but that was an easy fix. The case is held in place by two levers and one of them wasn't pulled over all the way. After that, we were off.

This 3/4 size basic machine has received amazing reviews and I must say, it hums along with some good steady stitching! 

She wanted to get right at it, so she made a REALLY basic little wallet from a 10" fabric square. She did 99% of the stitching herself!

Complete with little magnetic snap. We installed it right through all the layers, rather than hide it inside the flap. Like I said, its a *basic* wallet! I just want her to love to sew, and experience the satisfaction of creating something! And that means, do a good job but don't spend too much time on details that will cause her to lose interest. She is only 6. She was able to put this together in less than an hour.

She practiced a straight stitch and a zigzag stitch. She wanted a zigzag to show, like a decorative stitch, so what you are seeing above isn't a raw edge finish. It's decoration, she says! 

The machine gives you three choices each for the straight and the zigzag stitch. For example, you can choose either tiny, medium, or long basting-style straight stitches. You can't adjust the stitch length at all yourself, and for her there wouldn't be any need to. For the zigzag options, you can do a narrow, medium and wide zigzag. Again, no ability to custom-adjust your widths or lengths. But that's totally cool in this $119 price range (Target)!

Backstitching is easy on this machine, just press down the green lever in the middle of the machine and it reverses the feed dogs. Winding a bobbin is pretty simple too. The wound bobbin actually holds quite a bit of thread, maybe even more than a regular one! And, while I haven't tried one yet, the machine does a 4-step buttonhole. 

Hello Kitty Janome sewing machine

There are no extra feet but I did read about one woman who took the machine to her Janome dealer and purchased a 1/4" foot that fit. And interestingly, I read reviews by many women who purchased this machine for themselves, not for a child! Mostly because of: 

  • Cuteness factor with a capital C. Who can resist?
  • lightweight for portability - a good machine to take to a sewing retreat or pull out to do some quick mending
  • smaller size - fits under the airplane seat or can pack in a suitcase; at home it won't take up precious storage space
  • amazing price for a Janome sewing machine! I expect low prices for the Singer or the Brother from Big Box Stores, but a Janome?

All in all, I am quite pleased with this machine. It belongs to all my little girls, really. Alexa will eventually go into a full-size machine, passing this one down to Maria and Kate. I'm not sure how much time anyone will spend on the Singer Junior Miss anymore ...

OK, well, let's switch gears and talk about reading.

I went to a used bookstore here in Phoenix this week, and emerged with these treasures. How did I only come out with three books, you ask? Sometimes, I can show restraint. And hey, they had a beautiful and complete set of the Great Books of the Western World, for $500. They sure looked pretty ... but I digress.

I was thrilled with these finds. They are all beautiful books! We are hoping to travel to France next year, so I'm starting to collect resources that will help us become familiar with some of the things we are going to see - hence the book on the Louvre. The middle book will serve a similar purpose but that's hush hush right now. The Masterpieces of Religious Art book (1974), well, it was too good to pass up. Here are a few excerpts:

I'm still reading Uncle Tom's Cabin and it is such wonderful writing. A masterpiece. Already this is one of my all-time very favorite books. Ever. The subject matter itself, slavery, is horrific, really, but it needs to be read. It just does.

That's it from me for a bit, as you read this we'll be making our way to Salt Lake City (remember, I get to attend the homeschooling seminar I talked about earlier this week) and then home to Calgary by the weekend. I'm so sad to be saying goodbye to the beautiful warm weather and simple lifestyle here. But happy too, to get back into our normal routine and rhythm. Sort of ... anyone else doing Kids Clothes Week Challenge next week? That won't be a week of normal routine and rhythm ... but totally fun.

Have a great weekend and God bless all your sewing and reading adventures. 


  1. I happened upon your blog when I was looking for some info/reviews on the Janome Hello Kitty sewing machine. Is it still behaving ok? I actually prefer and use (and collect....) vintage sewing machines. But this Hello Kitty sewing machine caught my attention. Just plain simple cute, and the portability is super nice. But I didn't want to end up with a junky plastic machine that rattles and will quit working in a few months. So, I thought I'd ask...... Do you (and your girls) still love it and enjoy it? By the way, your patchwork reversible aprons are so sweet.

  2. Oh, I wouldn't consider using the Hello Kitty machine as my main machine. Just as "fun to have" and as a take-along machine on vacation, to a girlfriend's house to sew together, etc. So, wondering if you think it's adequate for that sort of purpose.

    1. Hi! We still love our Hello Kitty and I even take it myself to girls' sewing night because I don't want to lug my big Bernina. It doesn't get a LOT of use because my daughter just dabbles in it, so if you're wondering about performing well over the long haul I can't tell you that for sure. The housings are all metal - its very sturdy and its definitely not cheap plastic. I guess the only plastic part is the thread spool holder which protrudes out the back and it is made for regular size (aka the smallest) spool size. Is this model still available? I hope so. I noticed at the time I was shopping that other Hello Kitty models did not get as good reviews. For using as a back-up machine on vacation, I totally love it because it is so portable. It's 3/4 size and fits in my large tote bag. It does buttonholes. It does basic stitches. It makes a good zigzag. So, yes, I'd highly recommend! Hope that helps and good luck!


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