I had an opportunity to review the Janome 4120 QDC [Quilt Décor Computerized] sewing and quilting machine at Sunshine Sewing and Quilting in Margate, Florida a little while ago.

At A Glance

To just look at it, the Janome 4120 QDC looks pretty much like may other sewing and quilting machines on the market today. The backlit LCD screen displays the stitch identification number, as well as the length and width settings.

Janome 4120

Janome 4120

There is a numerical touchpad along with several function control buttons, including a thread cutter and a needle up/down button. To the left, beneath the touchpad, is a start/stop button, a reverse stitch button and a stitch locking button.

The threading and bobbin winding guides are clearly indicated on the very top of the machine. The work table houses the accessories compartment, which can be removed to gain access to the free arm and to attach the extension table.

Threading and bobbin winding guides

Threading and bobbin winding guides

The needle plate is etched with clear, easy to read seam guides and the clear see through bobbin cover makes it easy to determine when it is time to reload the bobbin.

Features

The standard features found on the moderately priced Janome 4120 QDC is rather impressive. Many of the features found on this machine are limited to more costly sewing and quilting machines. They include:

  • 120 built-in decorative and utility
    • 7 one-step buttonholes
    • 3 alphanumeric fonts – including Cyrillic characters
  • Built-in one-hand needle threader
  • Snap-on presser feet
  • Memorized needle up/down with down as default setting
  • 7-piece feed dog
  • Drop feed
  • Built in thread cutter
  • Locking stitch button
  • Speed control slider
  • Twin needle guard
  • Easy reverse button
  • Start-stop button
  • Stitch pattern memory capability
  • Auto declutch bobbin winder
  • Extra high presser foot lift
  • LCD screen with enhanced informational display and touchpad for easy navigation
  • Foot pressure adjustment
  • Adjustable stitch length and width

Working on the Janome 4120 QDC

Threading and winding the bobbin on the Janome 4120 QDC is just as easy as it is on all of the other Janome sewing and quilting or embroidery machines. The standard built in automatic needle threader makes the process even easier to master.

Stitch selection chart

Stitch selection chart

The real fun is in the process of selecting stitches. The touchpad is set up in such a way that selecting stitches couldn’t be easier. The first step is to depress the ‘mode’ button until the desired stitch range is selected.

The choices – direct, decorative and the three alphanumeric fonts, are clearly identifiable by a lighted indicator that moves up and down as the mode button is touched.

Once you are within the desired stitch selection range, selecting you stitch is made even easier when you use the reversible stitch selection chart that is mounted just behind the thread guides and tension adjustment dial.

After identifying a specific stitch, simply program it into the machine by using the touchpad to dial up the desired stitch number.

I found that sampling the many available stitch options on the Janome 4120 QDC was not only easy it was actually fun. With the Janome 4120 QDC, it is possible to program a series of stitches to create customized sequences and monograms. In addition, the mirror image feature makes it possible for you to stretch your creativity to its fullest.

To be honest, I never gave much heed to the thread cutter feature… not the little gizmo on the side or back of the machine, but the button that literally cut the threads right at the point where you stop sewing.

While watching that feature in use, especially when executing decorative stitches, I came to a new appreciation for this seemingly inconsequential – at least to me – add-on.

Customized sequences and monograms

Customized sequences and monograms

I concede that having a built in thread cutter is a huge time saver, and I’m all for anything that can save me some time in the sewing room, especially when I’m extremely busy.

Another outstanding feature that I noticed on the Janome 4120 QDC was the bright LED light. Now, practically every sewing machine made in the 21st century is equipped with LED lighting. However, for some reason, this one seemed to be positioned in such a way that it was a little bit more advantageous than many others that I have seen.

Fabrics

  • Natural fibers/cotton-linen-wool
  • Fine fabrics/silk-satin-taffeta/velvet
  • Knits
  • Synthetic fabrics/blends-rayon-polyester
  • Upholstery
  • Leather/suede
  • Fur
  • Reptile skin
  • Canvas/Twill
  • Plastic/Rubber
  • Extra thick fabrics or multiple layers

Accessories

The list of accessories included with the Janome 4120 QDC includes:

  • 8 Snap on presser feet
    • Zigzag foot
    • Overedge foot
    • Zipper foot
    • Satin stitch foot
    • Blind hem foot
    • ¼˝ seam foot
    • Custom crafted zigzag foot
    • Automatic buttonhole foot
  • Assorted needle set
  • 2 Spool holders – 1 large/1 small
  • 2 Additional spool pins
  • Extra Bobbins
  • Screwdriver
  • Lint brush
  • Seam ripper/buttonhole opener
  • Stitch chart
  • Instruction book
  • Instructional DVD
  • Hard cover
  • Large extension table
Accessories

Accessories

Maintenance







After each useMonthly*Once Each Year**As Needed
Clean race hook and feed dogs
Wipe head with soft dry cloth
Wipe head with soft damp cloth
Lubricate
Service by sewing machine repair professional

* more often if the machine is used for extended periods of time or if used frequently

**more often if the machine is used heavily or if it is not operating properly

Tying Off The Loose Ends

If you are in the market for a new sewing and quilting machine, the Janome 4120 QDC is definitely a machine that deserves more than just a fleeting glance.

Direct and decorative mode stitches

Its moderate price and superior workmanship make it one of the best deals you will find in its price range. It is whisper quiet and fast, sewing at a maximum speed of approximately 800 stitches per minute.

The stitch quality is excellent. The utility stitches are well defined and the decorative stitches are perfectly formed, with no gaps or missed stitches.

In my opinion, the Janome 4120 QDC is a great choice for anyone who is looking for a lightweight portable sewing and quilting machine.

It is so easy to operate, learning to master this machine would take an intermediate home sewer just one lesson and a sewer at the advanced level will probably be able to master its operation without any lessons whatsoever.

If you are a beginner who wants to explore machine quilting, the Janome 4120 QDC is a good option because of its ease of operation as well.

Direct and decorative mode stitches

Direct and decorative mode stitches

Three alphanumeric font mode stitches

Three alphanumeric font mode stitches

 

Stitch quality

Stitch quality

The fact that it weighs only 14 pounds is another definite advantage, especially if you are sewing in a space that does not allow you to leave your sewing machine set up when it is not in use.

Its hard cover is ideal for storing it securely in a closet or on a shelf as well as for traveling to and from class. The Janome 4120 QDC is also great for the college student who loves to sew. The compact size and light weight are ideal for those cozy dorm rooms as well.

In short, for the size and weight, the moderately priced Janome 4120 QDC offers more features and benefits than practically any other machine in its class.

 

Janome 4120 QDC Review
Link To Official Website
Skill Level:
Beginner
Needs lots of help – able to sew a straight seam but unfamiliar with most sewing techniques; needs assistance and instruction on basic sewing techniques.
Intermediate
Competent – can make different clothing items without assistance or guidance, but not good enough to sew intricate projects or to sew without a pattern.
Expert
Expert – can sew anything without instruction or assistance; possesses an expansive knowledge of sewing techniques and terminology.
Stitch quality
Speed
Ease of use
Maintenance
Pros
  • Memorized needle up/down with down as default setting
  • Locking stitch button
  • Stitch pattern memory capability
Cons
  • Manual tension adjustment
5.0Overall Score
Reader Rating: (27 Votes)

24 Responses

  1. Ubik

    Thanks for the great review! Have you sewn any denim with this machine? I’m looking for a machine that can handle jeans construction as well as dress shirts. Not picky, huh? My dealer has a 3120qdc on sale, but I’m wondering if I should hold out for this one.

    Reply
    • Vernelle

      Ubik –

      Thank you for visiting Sewing Insight.

      I have not personally sewn denim on this machine, however, anything that is cleared to sew upholstery fabric should be able to handle denim with absolutely no trouble at all.

      You can expect to also be able to use the Janome 4120 QDC to make some wonderful shirts with ease.

      Happy stitching.

      Reply
  2. Lottie

    I just bought this machine and have only used it for a day or two, but I absolutely love it! It sews very well, is not noisy, and has great features. It is lightweight, but it feels sturdy and strong. I was looking for features like a stop-start button and some decorative stitches, and this machine has it all. It even has some features that I did not even know I wanted but now love, like the internal thread cutter. Based on what I’ve experienced with this machine so far, I would recommend it to any friend who is looking for a new sewing machine. It is on the smaller side, so I don’t know how easily it would do quilts, but it does come with everything you need for quilting, so I’m going to give it a try soon.

    Reply
  3. Mary Erickson

    Just bought the machine a couple of weeks ago and have been very happy, am doing things before that were much more complicated on my old machine and had given up. 4120QDC is very simple to use with very good even stitching.

    Reply
  4. Christine Z

    I’m considering this machine. Can you measure it and tell me the length and depth of it? I’m looking for something small like the Jem machines. Thanks.

    Reply
  5. Lynne S

    Thank you SO much for your wonderful reviews – I’m taking up sewing again after many years’ absence and need a new machine. Considering the 4120, the 3160 and a Pfaff, I found the best information here – your reviews have been a huge help! I’ve decided on the 4120. I notice that under Maintenance, you list service by a professional “annually”on the 3160, but on the 4120 you say “as needed”.

    Curious as to the difference…?

    Reply
  6. Vernelle

    Hello, Lynne –

    Thank you for visiting Sewing Insight.

    I say ‘as needed’ for servicing the 4120 for one simple reason… if you don’t use it often, you probably don’t need to have it serviced annually. This is true for most computerized machines. I have discovered that although manufacturers as well as dealers advise annual servicing, many people who actually own and use computerized sewing machines find that they can go longer than a year… again IF THEY ARE NOT USED FREQUENTLY. If you find that you are using your machine heavily, do not wait until it jams up before taking it in for servicing. Go ahead and follow the advice of the manufacturer and have it serviced once a year.

    Happy stitching.

    Reply
  7. Andrea

    I bought this machine 1 1/2 years ago, and I simply love it. I have a larger 7700QDC for most of my daily use, but I used this daily until I bought that a year ago. I use this machine when I travel to retreats, to sewing groups, and otherwise. It is a perfect weight for traveling around, and the sewing quality is second to none. It sews like butter–smooth, effortless over larger seams, and purrs quietly along. I could not be happier with this machine!

    Reply
  8. Lill Lidman

    I bought this machine recently and I love most of the features!
    One thing I have slight problems with is to make the twin needle work properly. What settings would you recommend?

    Reply
  9. myrna

    am considering this machine..light weight to take in my motorhome and does everything i want in a machine

    Reply
  10. Susan

    Just purchased this machine. Was making a stitch sampler to see how they all looked. The stitches look nice but the fabric is pulling to the left so all my row of stitches are at an angle. This is unacceptable for decorative stitch sewing or quilting. Am I doing something wrong or is this a problem with the janome SFS system. This machine will go back if issue is not resolved.

    Reply
  11. Kellie

    I just purchased this machine. I have made half of a quilt top so far. I just love this machine. I is so easy to use, I am amazed at the job it does. The only thing I am unsure of is Will I need an even feed (walking foot) to do the quilting on my quilt. Again, I would recommend this machine to any one that is looking for a new machine for sewing, quilting or decorative stitches. I can’t wait to use it some more.

    Reply
  12. Reta

    Had this machine for just over a year, sewn six quilts so far and love every minute, this is so easy to operate and the stitch quality is awesome! Would recommend this machine to anyone.

    Reply
  13. Carol

    Judging by the positive comments above on the 4120 Janome, I must have a dud. I cannot tell you how disappointed and frustrated I have been with this machine right from the start. I have various issues that have never been addressed by the store where I bought it or the company that made it. Neither are standing behind their product.

    Issues:
    thread cutting feature – I don’t use it any more as when I start the next seam after cutting, the bobbin thread usually knots up under the fabric and of course the machine refuses to continue.

    Intersection seams in quilting – the machine balks at crossing intersections, stops, or takes a twist causing the seam to be crooked.

    I am on my third foot pedal (in only 2 years and 4 months). A major issue. The machine frequently stops in mid-seam and refuses to go. What I do is disconnect the plug and reconnect it. Usually the machine will start again but sometimes it takes 2/3 tries to get it going again. This happens many times in a day. The store is happy to sell me a new foot pedal every time but that doesn’t fix the problem – they have no other solution than to make their till go ka-ching.

    Noisy – this machine is not what I would call quiet running. It does a lot of groaning, clunking, and lurching.

    Overall – my sewing experience is unhappy and frustrating.

    I will say the machine has some redeeming features. It has a lot of extras (attachments, fancy stitches, etc.), a nice table, etc. It rarely skips a stitch and the embroidery stitches (I use the blanket stitch a lot) are lovely. And some days it works performs without a fault. But then, it is unrealiable – I can’t depend on it to be good.

    Its assets do not outweight the detrimental issues that I have outlined above.

    Conclusion – In over 50 years of sewing, I can safely say I have never sewn on a worse machine. I have spent over 2 years of having to deal with these problems and store staff. I think that I at least deserve a replacement machine from the factory that works the way sewing machines should. Otherwise I must conclude that Janome cadges together crappy machines and doesn’t care about having satisfied customers.

    Reply
    • Reta

      In regards to bobbin, I know that the machine is touchy and I found using other and/or univeral bobbins will cause some problems. I have sewn six quilts on mine this year, a king size one, (sewed it togehter and shipped it out to be quilted due to the size) a full size quilt, a couple baby quilts and lap/robe quilts, and no problems yet. As for the foot control, I don’t use my much, but have not had any issues, I tend to use the finger control. Surprize the store has not offered to take it back

      Reply
    • Vernelle

      Hello, Carol –

      Thank you for visiting Sewing Insight.

      I’m rather surprised that you were not able to solve your problem with your local Janome dealer. You also mentioned that you did not get any satisfaction from the manufacturer. If your local dealer is unwilling or unable to help you find satisfaction, I suggest you try the manufacturer once more. If you are still unable to resolve the matter, write to the Janome US Corporate headquarters and describe your problem in detail. The address is:
      Janome America, Inc.
      10 Industrial Ave. Ste. 2
      Mahwah, NJ 07430

      Happy stitching.

      Reply
  14. Mary Jo E

    I am considering buying this machine. Can you please tell me how tall you can make the lettering or fonts. Can you make them different sizes is my question?

    Reply
    • Vernelle

      Hello, Mary Jo –

      Thank you for visiting Sewing Insight.

      After downloading and reading the owner’s manual, I can attest to the fact that you can program and reduce the font size. It doesn’t however, tell me the largest sizes available, now does the manual indicate that the default size letters can be enlarged. I suggest you call or visit your local Janome dealer on this one.

      Happy stitching.

      Reply
  15. ayuthia

    Hi, thank you for this review. I’m from jakarta, Indonesia. I want to buy a new sewing machine that could be used for quilting, I’m a beginner. I really interested in buying 4120qdc, but my teacher and some people say, sometimes when we touch the plate, it gives you a bit of electric current. Is that true? My teacher suggest me to buy 6260 qc. Which one is more recommended (4120 qdc or 6260 qc), or do you know any machine that is similar 4120 qdc and great for quilting? Thank you so much ! :)

    Reply
  16. Janet Gabbert

    I am having the same issues with the loops and birdsnests after using the thread cutter. Same with the 6500P. My 4120QC didn’t do that until I let the tech touch it. It had 1/4″ of thread each time, tech had adjusted it to 1/2″ with the first two stitches not staying. This machine is going somewhere else to try and correct the issue. Our local tech just shrugged his shoulders, walked away mumbling “I don’t know how else to adjust it.” Also, how do I set the memory so it always starts with the needle in 4.5 position? The manual is very much lacking.

    Reply
    • Elaine Hobden

      I have this and the Janome 8900, both cause a messy thread start after using the thread cutter. I believe this is a common problem and find using the thread cutter on the side more useful. Both great machines, though.

      Reply

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