Since august 2018 have a JUKI TL-2200QVP MINI, she is what they call "a portable 1 needle straight stitch machine". But I like to say she is right between an domestic machine and an industrial. Her industrial quality build combined with the domestic size and ease of use is just amazing!
A little background/my sewing machine historyWhen I started my sewing career about 12 years ago (yep, I've not been sewing for longer than that, if you'd like to read about how my sewing journey started, this article from Rikstäcket is lovely) I had an Emerald Husqvarna 118 that I received for my 18th birthday from my lovely parents. While this is a great little machine, the space under the arm was a little too small once I started quilting, so I bought a Janome Horizon 7700.
That machine was my everything, it was sooo expensive to me back then but I wholeheartedly wanted it (it was the same machine the owner of the quilting retreat me and my mother attended had) so I splurged; not knowing anything about the brand, other brands or what options there were. I'm so happy that I did as that machine has allowed me to grow with it and learn with it for so long. But I apparently was lucky with mine as several friends who bought the same machine has had so many issues with theirs, while mine just kept on working.
However, after 10 years of hard work she started to give up and my dad who nowadays is a sewing machine repair man (I'm a lucky girl!) said it was not worth trying to save her as she was basically just too tired and worn all over. So the hunt for a replacement started!
Deciding on a machineI can honestly say I tried almost every big brand out there. Which I also recommend you to do if you have the possibility. As each brand has their own great features, uniquenesses and perks. Husqvarna and Pfaff (absolutely lovely machines in many aspects, my second machine is a Husqvarna Opal 690, but they in my experience nor after testing everything from their Epic to the cheaper options don't handle thick layers well unfortunately. My parents sell this brand, I was almost disowned buying a Juki *lol*), Bernina (they too have fantastic machines! But they're quite expensive and quite digital and advanced which isn't great when you live in a country almost completely without any qualified repair men on computerized machines. And they're a little to fuzzy and particular for me I realized after borrowing my friends fantastic machine to try for last years quilting retreat, thanks again Maria <3 ), Janome, Brother and so on. After reading up so much, testing soo many machines during the spring and summer of 2018 I pretty much only had Juki left and made an appointment with awesome Marie and Henry of https://juki.se/.
I had brought some thick vinyl fabric folded 8 times (as you can see in the photo above) to test with as I'd done for all other brands, and the only other brand which had managed this test of mine somewhat successfully was the Bernina 570 (which costs about three times more than the Juki), so I was so excited to see that the Juki managed it without a moment's hesitation. I also tested free motion quilting with it of course and it was a breeze.
When I then realized that industrial presser feet could be used, I was ecstatic and felt like a kid in a candy shop looking at all the options available to me in the presser feet drawers!
Review of the Juki TL-2200QVP miniI've now been exclusively sewing on my Juki for 6 months and she's been thoroughly tested, both for quilting and for sewing bags. And I LOVE HER! I could literally not be happier with this machine. She has everything I need, a super strong motor and feed (I broke so many needles on zippers before I got used to her strength! *lol*) that feeds so evenly.
She literally sews everything I've put before her so far, I've tested 10 layers of vinyl and even that she feeds like a champ and makes beautiful stitches! Doesn't matter if it's two thin layers of cotton or all the layers of a bag, the stitches are always perfect and so beautifully straight! Here I'm using one of my favourite feet the 1.5mm compensator foot, which makes all edge stitching a breeze and always perfect!
She has a big "lever" for backstitching which is easily used and she does cut my thread for me, which is something I just can't be without. you can actually have the pedal cut the thread for you by pressing the front part of it (which a lot of people love I know), that however was not for me so I use the plastic protection thing to disable that function as I just cut the thread accidentally too many times.
The knee lift is something I got use to with my Janome Horizon and I'm so happy to have one on the Juki, it's so convenient no matter if I'm free motion quilting or sewing bags. The knee lift also lifts the presser foot higher than the regular lift, which can be good to know. However, I do find the placement/angle of the knee a little less than optimum as it's so close to my leg when sewing that it's easily touched by mistake. That along with the relatively poor lighting are the only two little things I can say negatively about this fantastic machine.
At first I found it so difficult to not be able to move my needle sideways when sewing to use the presser feet as I was used to, but now when I have got a proper foot for everything, I don't even think about it anymore.
She's amazing for quilting, I bought the acrylic extension table and I'm so happy I did! You just turn the machine 90° and suddenly you have like a mid arm! Look at all that quilting space!
I also bought the turned open toe free motion quilting foot to make this easier and I'm so glad I did, so convenient! Here you can see the turned one on the left next to the regular one on the right. This way I see my stitches just as well when having my machine turned.
Here you see it in action.
I also absolutely love that I don't have to unthread my machine to wind a new bobbin (yes, I'm lazy!), I just plop down a new one next to the other and wind away!
So, do I recommend this machine? The answer is a resounding YES!! I'm so, so happy with it, I literally couldn't not have gotten a better machine for me! If you have any questions regarding this machine, please don't hesitate to ask them below.