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Why I prefer sewing machines with top loading bobbins…

My 1950 Singer Featherweight aside, all of my machines use top loading bobbins – from Jewel (my Janome 6600) to my vintage Elna Carina. It’s not that I don’t like sewing machines with vertical/front loading bobbins, it’s just that, in my experience,  they can be super finicky and too easy for newbie stitchers to lose the separate bobbin case.

Santa brought my 7 year old niece a Hello Kitty sewing machine for Christmas (the green one that looks like the Janome 3128). Aunt ‘Resa (me) went out and purchased extra feet and accessories for said sewing machine.  I’d had a really positive experience with this machine in the snap bag class I taught this summer, so I thought it would be a good fit for my niece.

Not so fast.

The elves must have had a little too much spiked eggnog, because the machine did nothing but sew eyelashes on the underside of any seam we tried to sew when she came to my house for her first sewing lesson this week.  Little one had trouble loading the bobbin case and could not correctly reassemble the bobbin assembly if a thread got stuck.  After much frustration, I pulled out my Janome 5812 (a top load bobbin) and soon she was stitching merrily away.  She took that machine home with her and Aunt ‘Resa took Hello Kitty to the hospital.  Hello Kitty was deemed to need to need a new tension assembly and after consulting with her Dad, we decided decided the best course of action would be to return the defective Hello Kitty to sender (Target) and purchase a new machine – preferably with a top loading bobbin.

Given our budget of $200 or less and my desire to stick with a Janome product, we narrowed our choices down to the 5812, Jem Gold 660 and the MyStyle 100.  All three machines come with top loading bobbins and were within budget. Hancock’s actually had the 5812 on sale, but unfortunately this model has been discontinued and none of my local stores had one in stock.   The Jem Gold 660 is a sweet little machine, but my desire to have a fully adjustable zig zag stitch for machine applique won out over the automatic needle threader, so this meant I went home with the MyStyle 100.  If you are looking for a lightweight machine for travel or to take to classes and are on a budget, I’d give the MyStyle 100 some serious consideration.  Janome also makes machines for other sewing machine companies.  Baby Lock’s Anna sewing machine is identical to the Janome MyStyle 100.  Just another option in case you don’t have a Janome dealer nearby.