"Juki deliberately concentrates on the production of a specific model range to service the needs of sewing enthusiasts. This philosophy ensures simple design, ease of use and reliable quality
which are the key focus in all Juki products."
Why have I chosen to stock, support and use JUKI for my personal sewing machines?
Reliability, Pleasure, Budget + Functionality.
JUKI began as an industrial sewing machine manufacturer in Japan almost 80 years ago. They have a long history of producing quality industrial machines that are used and loved all over the globe.
I like the fact the the domestic machines are based on the same premise as their renowned industrial machines; 'simple design, ease of use, reliable quality.' JUKI offer the domestic market workhorse machines that stands the test of time.
I have previously owned a JUKI DDL-227 straight stitch industrial and my experience with this machine was brilliant. Using this machine for both professional and personal use put the JUKI brand onto my radar when it came time to upgrade my personal machine in 2020.
If you speak with anyone who owns a Juki, virtually 100% of them will tell you they love it! Before deciding on a machine I spoke with as many JUKI owners as I could find before making my selection. They all mentioned the same key value as to why JUKI was their machine of choice: trusted name that offers reliability.
The pleasure sewing provides is a huge part of why we all sew!
My previous machine had limitations and this was reducing the joy I felt every time I sat down to sew. Sometimes if you've outgrown your machine, there are parts of the process that can feel very tedious.
I decided I had outgrown the previous machine and really wanted something I could enjoy working on for years to come. I was looking for a machine that would allow me to challenge myself creatively, that I could grow as a sewist with and that would offer enough automated features that it would be super simple and enjoyable to use.
My sewing practice had evolved considerably from my early years of dabbling with quilting cottons where so many of us start! I wanted to test my hand at jeans and pants, move onto making more detailed garments, finessing my silk shirt game, improve my construction and work with lace and trims for underwear.
All of the above had become a little tedious on my current machine. It struggled with heavier weight denims and woollen coatings, it didn't want to play nicely with anything slippery and attempting a bra without the floating foot function was definitely doable, but I didn't really enjoy the project.
When it come to the cost of your sewing equipment, everyone has different thoughts, ideas and needs.
Firstly I'd like to point out that if you're new to sewing and not certain if it's the hobby for you - grab yourself a secondhand machine! Get it serviced, learn how to thread it, change needles and have a play. If the sewing bug bites you - you can always upgrade at a later stage without breaking the bank if you decide later you'd rather switch to wood working or bee keeping!
One of the best pieces of advice I've read about selecting a new sewing machine if you are looking to upgrade or have outgrown your current machine is to list all of the things you want to be able to sew. From this list, figure out the core functions you require to make these items and buy the best machine you can afford with this functionality.
If sewing IS your jam, try to purchase a machine that will give you the opportunity to push forward as a sewist. If you never have to upgrade your machine again because the next one you select does everything you could ever wish for, it's probably a worthwhile investment for you.
This was my thinking on the budget aspect of a new machine for me personally. I figured I sew roughly every second day and would use the new machine for at least 10 years:
365 days per year / 2 (every second day of the year) = 182.5 days per year.
182.5 x 10 years of use = 1,825 days of use.
$2,000 for the machine / 1,825 = approximately $1.10 per sewing session.
This figure doesn't take into account servicing, oil, needles, electricity, etc, but it did give me a rough idea of what the cost of a new machine truly breaks down into. I was comfortable with this figure once I'd seen it as a per sewing session cost and with this in mind, I moved forward with looking at options around the $1,500 - $2,000 price point.
As mentioned, I had reached the point where the functionality of my previous machine was limiting what I could create and therefore affecting my enjoyment. Heavier weight fabrics like denim and boiled wool coating were a challenge and I found myself avoiding projects that I really wanted to tackle in fear or not enjoying the process.
So with the above budget in mind, I set out to research machines that included the following key functions:
- Must be able to handle a wide variety of fabrics;
I really wanted to be able to try my hand and pants / jeans which meant I needed a machine that could handle layers of denim and cotton twill better than my Janome.
I also love floaty, lightweight fabrics and want to experiment more with silk and delicate wovens, so the machine needs to have the capacity to work well with slippery fabrics too.
Must give me beautiful and consistent stitches;
- A no-brainer really, but even, consistent and beautiful stitches on any fabric at any speed was a must. I really wanted to push myself to create garments that have a commercial finish. I enjoy this challenge along with the thrill of completing something I can wear that looks store-bought. Inconsistent stitches are a pretty quick giveaway...
Create beautiful buttonholes on a wide range of fabrics;
- Buttonholes had been a challenge on the previous machine, I could only work very slowly to create relatively neat buttonholes. I also constantly bumped the foot causing the machine to think it had reached the correct length... I can't tell you how many times I had to unpick half finished buttonholes and start again.
- Light to medium weight fabrics had been ok to create buttonholes on, but I couldn't get the previous machine to create nice buttonholes on denim, heavier twill, etc.
Must include a walking foot and buttonhole foot as standard;
- I use one or both of these for almost every garment I sew, so felt they were absolutely necessary.
Be faster than my current machine;
- Speed isn't everything, but after working on a machine that felt like it was constantly lagging and taking forever to complete a dress or skirt hem, I really wanted something that was a tad faster.
Be quieter than my current machine;
- I have little people that still nap during the day and I find that I do sew often in the evenings, so another noisy, vibrating machine wasn't going to cut it.
More automated features than my current machine;
- Lockstitch - huge time saver, no more having to back stitch and pull through every, single thread during garment construction!
- Automatic thread cutter - huge time + thread saver!
- Simple needle threading - makes changing thread colour super fast and easy. I don't know how many times late at night I cursed my eyesight, machine needle and thread when trying to rethread a needle during a sewing session!
- Automatic floating foot function, the foot lifts up whilst the needle remains down so you can pivot your project or readjust your edges without having to take your hands off the project. I often find I now just hold certain seams in place without the need to pin everything as I don't have to move my hands away from the project.
Give me the ability to quilt with a free motion foot;
- It's not something I do all the time, but I love quilted garments and know that in the future I would love to pick up quilting again.
I discovered the JUKI DX5 ticked all the boxes based on the above. Fortunately it also came in at the lower end of my budget.
I like that JUKI offered a warranty and know that my local sewing machine repair gent is familiar with the brand. This is something definitely worth investigating before making your decision.
I watched countless YouTube reviews to make sure I was completely happy with my choice before hitting purchase. Here is a link to the list I watched.