Janome 3160QDC Sewing Machine Review

You might recall that a few months ago I was in the market for a new sewing machine, as mine was very basic and did not have a lot of features.

I spent SO much time researching, because the type of sewing machine I wanted was not cheap, and I’m not one to throw money around willy-nilly. So many weeks were spent reading reviews, watching Youtube videos, and generally trying to get as much information as possible before taking the plunge and buying my new machine.

My new sewing machine is a Janome 3160QDC. I ended up settling on this one after visiting a specialty sewing machine store and seeing it in action. I purchased in in December 2014 (so it’s still pretty new for me!), and thought I’d write a little review about it, because in all my researching, I found very few reviews / information about this machine. So here goes …

Janome 3160QDC Sewing Machine
Janome 3160QDC Sewing Machine

Janome 3160QDC Sewing Machine

Overview

  • Price – Approximately $999 AUD (I purchased on sale for $750, so I suggest doing some research before buying!)
  • Digital screen
  • 60 in built stitches
  • Needle Up / Down
  • Automatic thread cutter
  • Built in needle threader
  • Speed control slider

To begin, I would definitely recommend this sewing machine to any beginner or experienced quilter / sewer. Whilst I’d say this sewing machine is aimed at those who quilt and are a little more experienced, this sewing machine can definitely be used by anyone who is only just learning.

Here are some summary points of what I love about this sewing machine;

Extension Table

I know you can purchase after market ones for all kinds of machines, but I love the fact that the extension table is included when you get this machine out of the box. It makes sewing quilts and cushion covers so much easier – I’ll never go back to not having an extension table on my machine.

Pressure Foot Adjustment Dial

Pressure Foot Adjustment Dial

Presser Foot Adjustment

There is a dial to adjust the pressure foot on this machine which is so helpful to me whilst appliqueing. 6 is the highest, and 1 is the lowest. I have it set on about 3 when I’m appliqueing, which makes it a little easier to make minor curves whilst I’m sewing.

 
 
 
 
Speed Control Slider

This was one thing that was a non-negotiable for me on my new sewing machine. The speed control slider is great on this machine – the slow really is quite slow, and the fast is very very fast. I set mine to about mid usually (unless winding a bobbin and then it’s speed demon all the way!). The foot pedal is very well done, as it picks up on minor changes very easily.

Janome 3160QDC Controls

Janome 3160QDC Controls

Automatic Thread Cutter

The little scissor icon on the right is the thread cutter button. It’s not automatic in that it will cut a thread once you stop sewing, but when you press the button both threads are cut quite close to your piece. I think this is a great little feature, because I don’t have to go through and clip the thread later once I’ve finished piecing.

 
 
 
Needle Up / Down

A must for quilters in my mind, and another non-negotiable for me when I was researching sewing machines. A needle up / down function is so handy when turning corners for quilting, or appliqueing. You don’t lost your spot, and your fabric layers are kept together and supported. The function on this machine is remembered, so if you press it to down position, the needle will always finish down. One thing to remember is this function might mean you take an extra stitch – if you take your foot off the pedal and the needle would be up, it will automatically take another stitch.

Locking Stitch

The button on the left of the controls photo is the locking stitch, which is a great feature. It takes 3 small stitches in place of a backstitch to lock the stitches and ensure they don’t unravel – very helpful for any decorative stitches.

Janome 3160QDC Stitches

Janome 3160QDC Stitches

Stitches

There are 50 in-built stitches, with various widths and length options available. I particularly love stitch 17 which I use for appliqueing. The decorative stitches are great, and I’ve used stitched 36 for quilting before – it’s a very fun stitch for a baby or childrens quilt.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Janome 3160QDC Included Feet

Janome 3160QDC Included Feet

 Included Feet

I was really impressed by the feet that came with this sewing machine in the box, particularly the fact it came with a walking foot. A zipper foot, buttonhole, walking foot, overedge foot, 1/4″ foot are all included. For me, the 1/4″ and walking feet being included was awesome. I use these ones so often that it’s nice to know the ones I’m using a genuine Janome parts, that fit my machine. There’s no unnecessary bouncing around whilst I’m stitching which is great.

 
 

Janome 3160QDC Digital Display

Janome 3160QDC Digital Display

Digital Display

I find the digital display easy to read and use, which is perfect for me. It’s easy to change the stitch type, length and width with just a few button pushes.

 
 
 
 
 

Some aspects that I don’t like;

No Memory for Stitch Selection

I’d love if this machine would remember the last stitch picked. When I turn it off, it goes back to the default stitch which you can see in the digital display photo. I’ve been caught out a couple of time when I’ve taken a break, turned off my machine, gone to applique something with a blanket stitch and then realised it’s switch back to a straight stitch by default.

Location of Stop/ Start Button

This machine has a stop / start button which means you don’t need a presser foot. It takes a couple of slow stitches when starting, then goes to whatever speed you’ve selected with the slider, and then take slow stitches when stop is selected. I imagine this feature would be great for large amounts of quilting, but I find the button is in an awkward location. I’m constantly having to track where it’s located, so I take my eyes off my piece which has resulted in some wonky stitches right at the end. I’m also personally inclined to use the foot pedal, because I can regulate the speed really easily.


There’s a little overview of the Janome 3160QDC sewing machine – I hope it helps you if you’re considering buying one!

When I was researching, I came across some other reviews / guides. I’ve provided links below so you can do some more research before taking the plunge – it’s not a small amount of money by any means, but it’s so worth it I think.

I meant to do this little write up a few months ago, but I’m glad I waited. I’ve had 4 months to use it for all sorts of projects, so I know that I 100% love this machine.

Erin Says Sew – 3160QDC Review

Janome 3160QDC

Janome 3160QDC Review

Janome 3160QDC Review

 

Finito – Quilt Fabric Scraps Organised!

After recently pre-washing all my quilt fabric, I was inspired to organise the bag of scraps that have been sitting under my sewing desk.

Whenever I was sewing a project, I would pop all the off cuts into this bag for, ‘sometime later.’

Quilt Scrap Bag

Quilt Scrap Bag

I realised that this, ‘sometime later,’ was never going to happen, because this bag of scraps was so intimidating and overloaded, that I got tired just looking at it. No project was ever going to come from this bag of scraps, because any inspiration I felt for a scrap project was lost as soon as I started to look at that bag.

I definitely had to do something about this, because there’s really a lot of money tied in this bag of scraps. I’d also seen a lot of fabric scrap projects that I wanted to try, but once again, any inspiration was lost when I looked at this bag.

I wanted to share my steps for organising my quilt fabric scraps, just in case you need some inspiration so organise your own.

So first things first; there is no right way to organise your scraps. 

I had a look at how other people organised their fabric scraps when I was first researching. I’m not going to lie, it was really overwhelming seeing how everyone else does it. I realised there is no hard and fast rule on how to organise, and I realised I just needed to do whatever worked best for me.

So with this in mind, my pointers are just that .. pointers only, and not something you should use as the bible. No doubt you’ll have your own organisation style, your own sizing methods etc.

I decided that I wanted to store my scraps by cut size. I knew that if I was to sort by colour / shade, I’d still be put off by having to cut so much fabric straight off. So my organisation style revolves around cutting scrap fabric into different sizes

I originally decided to cut strips and squares to organise my fabric; 3.5″ strips, 2.5″ strips, 5.5″ squares, 3.5″ squares, and 2.5″ squares. Once I started cutting though, I added a few sizes because it just happened to work out that way – 2″ squares and 1″ squares.

image

I worked through cutting my whole bag over a few days. It was a lot harder than I originally anticipated .. SO much cutting. So from now on, whenever I have a scrap I plan on cutting and organising it straight away. There will be no more bag of scraps, because it because bigger than Ben Hurr!

Once I made my way through the whole bag, I had to decide how to keep them all organised. I saw some people use clear boxes, I saw some people use boxes without lids and so on. In all honesty, the style of my boxes came down to price. I was able to grab some cool coloured cardboard boxes for $2 each – what a bargain!

image

Quilt Fabric Storage Boxes

 

My largest boxes contains my strips – 3.5″ and 2.5″. The second holds my 5.5″ squares. The third holds 3.5″ squares and fussy cut squares. The fourth holds 2.5″ squares, 2″ squares, and 1″ squares.

These boxes are easily accessible in my space, so I won’t be tempted to pop scrap pieces into a big bag and start this process all over again.

image

It turns out 3.5″ squares are the biggest type in my scrap stash – I have a whole array of fabric to use – I can’t wait to get started!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

imageIf you’re about to embark on organising your own scraps, you can take a look at my previous post for some pointers. You’ll likely have your own way of organising things, and I think the only things that matters is that it helps you to use those bit of fabric that we all want to use up.

I’ll be sure to post once I make something from my scrap stash. Wishing you luck if you’re undertaking quilt fabric scrap organisation, because although it does take time and effort, it is SO worth it.

 Best of luck! x

 

 

Organising Quilt Scraps

Quilt Scrap Bag

Quilt Scrap Bag

How do you organise your quilt scraps?

After recently washing my entire fabric stash (read: don’t do this if you ever want to look at your pinking shears, washing machine, dryer and iron in the same way ever again ..), I’ve realised I have a lot of quilt scraps in a big bundle under my sewing desk.

It doesn’t look that bad, but it’s like this big gnarly beaPreviewst that has been in the back of my mind.

So. I’m going to wrangle the beast. And by that, I mean organise my scraps so that they’re usable.

Right now, all I do is through them into this bag when ever I have a scrap. There are all sorts of sizes .. From tiny little bits, to decent size bits.

I’ve seen lots of scrap quilts around and I think to myself, ‘wow – that looks great!’ and I’m inspired .. but the inspiration dies a slow death as soon as I look at that scrap bag.

I’d love your feedback on how you organise your scraps – by colour, by size? What size squares / strips do you keep?


Here’s a bit of my research if you’re inspired like me and looking to organise your scraps.

How to Organise your Quilt Scraps in 3 Steps 

Scrap System .. So jealous of this lady’s storage! I wish I had that space!

Organising Fabric Scraps

Prewashing Quilt Fabric

That age old question .. To wash or not to wash?

I’m all about honesty, so I’ll be the first to admit that I had never pre-washed fabric up until now. I thought it was waaay too time consuming, was tricky, I’d have difficulty with fraying, and mostly because I just wanted to get started on my new project straight away!

I recently posted about volunteering to make NICU premature baby outfits for our local hospital. One of the requirements is that fabric for outfits is prewashed. After reading this, my heart dropped a little bit. I had never prewashed any fabric before, and I quite honestly thought it was a little scary – what if the fabric bled?! what if the fabric frayed?!

After a moment of panic, I did some research about prewashing fabric and found that most people are on either extreme – ALWAYS prewash your fabric, or NEVER prewash your fabric. It seems there is no in between.

Here’s some reasons for pre-washing your fabric;

– Fabric shrinks after washing, so quilts can have a rippled effect due to the change in fabric size after washing.

– Fabric has sizing and chemicals on it after production, which stay on the fabric until it is washed.

– Farbic colours (like reds, pinks, browns) can bled when first washed. It’s best to ‘set’ the colour to the fabric before quilting or sewing, to ensure the colour won’t bleed.

Here’s some reasons against pre-washing your fabric;

– Shrinkage isn’t all bad; it can create a cozy, vintage finish to your quilt.

– Prewashing takes too much time; I just want to get stuck into my new project!

– Fabric sizing works to my advantage; it creates a crisp clean finish when cutting.

The point of this post is to tell you – I’VE SWAPPED SIDES!

This weekend, I pre-washed ALL of my fabric stash, pressed and folded it, and by goly, it’s the best thing I’ve done! Let me tell you the lead up and my reasons for this extreme switch.

1. The fray ain’t all that bad.

Lots of people recommend serging or overlocking the non-selvedge edges to ensure fabric doesn’t fray in the wash. I’ll be honest – I don’t have time for that. After reading online, I found you can pink the edges to avoid fraying. There’s also some talk of cutting triangles from the corners. I didn’t try this, so I can’t comment. I used the pinking method, and honestly, the amount of fray was far less than I originally expected – below is the extent of the fray that I had.

Minimal Fabric Fray after Pinking

Minimal Fabric Fray after Pinking

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Colours bleed, dammit!

You might think that your quilt fabric colour won’t bleed. Let me tell you it probably will, and most likely on the worst possible position on your finished piece. After washing a dark load, I had a number of fabrics get dottings of colour bleed. You can see this below. Imagine if that had’ve happened after I finished my project?! I would be devastated!

Colour Bleed

Colour Bleed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. The chemicals.

I never noticed it before, but fabric from the shop (at least in Australia), as a definite smell to it. Turns out this is sizing, which helps to keep the fabric in line on the bolt. I have really sensitive skin, so if I was wearing clothing that had sizing on it, I’d probably break out into a rash. For me personally, this is a definite reason to pre-wash fabric.

So, if like me you decide to give pre-washing a go .. Let me give you some tips.

1. Don’t pre-wash your fabric stash all in one go, unless you like a challenge.

That’s what I did, and I got a blister from my pinking shears (pinking all my fabric took me 2 and a half hours).

2. Use cold water in your wash, and delicate cycle.

You could wash your fabric by hand, but we all want to get started on our new projects straight away, so the sooner the better right? So use cold water in your washing machine for your fabrics and put it on a delicate cycle. I found putting my washing machine on a half load was best. In essence, the less room to move in the washing machine, the better for the fabric. Don’t pack it all in so that it can’t move at all, but if it’s a little snug, that’s okay. The cold water helps to set  the colour, and it’s better for your electricity bill.

3. Consider using a colour catcher.

I didn’t, and that is probably why about 5 of my fabrics came out with fabric bleeds. I read that putting salt in the  wash helped to set the colour also. I added it, and only had a few issues with colour bleeding.

4. Don’t dry your fabric all the way in the dryer.

Pop your fabric in the dryer once it’s washed, and put it on dry until it’s just damp. You don’t want to dry the your fabric all the way, otherwise the dryer might leave permanent crease marks which are hard to get out by pressing. If you don’t have a dryer, air dry inside on a rack. I don’t think air drying outside in the sun is the best idea, as you don’t want your fabric to fade.

5. Wash your fabric as soon as you buy it.

I will definitely be doing this from now on, to avoid washing my fabric all in one go. This is what our house looked like after 4 loads of quilt fabric was done. I spent about 6 hours pressing, folding and organising all my fabric too. Whilst it was definitely worth it, it would be much more manageable to do this only with my new purchases!

 

To end, if you don’t pre-wash your fabric, all power to you! Like I said, I never used to, and I don’t judge anyone who doesn’t.

The real point of my post is to say to anyone else who is scared by pre-washing their fabric – it’ll be okay! The fray won’t be that bad, and you’ll have lovely, clean, and wonderful smelling fabric in the end.

I think you should definitely pre-wash your fabric if you’re sewing anything for children or if you’d be devastated if something happened to your project at the very end (colour bleed, ripple effect).

I’d love to hear your thoughts on pre-washing your fabric. And just to be clear, there is zero judgement either way. We’re all creators of special wonderful things – that’s all that matters!

 

 

 

 

1 Year!

WordPress was kind enough to tell me that I have now been ‘blogging’ for a year – time really does fly when you’re having fun!

I just wanted to take a moment to savour this .. I never thought my little blog would go anywhere really – I just wanted to share what I love with others.

So;

  • 7,475 views,
  • 3,467 visitors,
  • 578 likes,
  • 109 posts,
  • 623 comments, and
  • 146 followers.

… feels pretty darn good!

I know these numbers are tiny in comparison to others .. For me, it’s never been about the numbers, or stats, or ‘hits.’

It has always been about sharing my creations with other like minded people – so I just wanted to pass a huge thank you onto those who read and / or comment on crosstitchery. Thank you all for your support!