During a visit to Sunshine Sewing and Quilting, I had an opportunity to review the Janome MB-7, a seven needle embroidery machine designed for home use. No doubt, this machine could also be used in a home based business as well as a professional embroidery studio where it is not the only machine in the shop.
At A Glance
The very first thing I noticed on the Janome MB-7 was the optional remote computer screen. When attached, it is capable of giving the user a visual image of the 50 on board designs and monogramming fonts along with a read-out of the thread colors, the time it takes to complete the design and the number of stitches required for each color.
The bobbin housing is located directly beneath the needles. There is also a separate bobbin winding motor, which can be engaged while the MB-7 is creating an embroidery design.
The model I reviewed was sitting atop an optional MB-4 table, which is very conveniently designed with shelves, drawers with racks to hold thread cones and all the other accessories one might need when working on either the MB-7 or the MB-4.
- 7″ Remote Computer Screen (RCS)
- Extra large bobbin
- 6 white LED lamps
- 50 built-in designs
- 10 monogramming fonts
- 2 and 3 letter monogramming
- Maximum embroidery area 9.4″ x 7.9″
- USB port
- Maximum embroidery speed 800 stitches per minute
- Programmable jump thread trimming
- Flexible stitch traveling
- Auto return after a thread break
- Adjustable hoop positioning
- 2 Sensors
- Upper thread
- Presser foot
- Stitch-out time indicator
- Stitch counter
- Independent bobbin winder
- Embroidery area tracing
Working on the Janome MB-7
While threading the Janome MB-7 is quite easy, winding and inserting the bobbin is not quite as simple. Properly inserting the new open bobbin case presented a little bit of a challenge, but after several references to the owner’s manual, Fay Nicoll, owner of Sunshine Sewing and Quilting and I were able to figure it out.
The trick is to carefully follow each step exactly as written in the manual. In all honesty, that is the only difference in setting up the new MB-7 and its predecessor, the MB-4.
If the optional remote computer screen is not attached, the Janome MB-7 can be connected to a desktop or laptop computer via the USB cable that is included as a standard accessory. Embroidery designs and all the other data that appears on the remote computer screen will appear on the computer monitor.
Even with the removable Janome optional remote computer screen in place, you can import an embroidery design from our computer via a USB port on the side of the removable screen.
Like the MB-4, the Janome MB-7 sews monograms, one of 50 on board embroidery designs or an embroidery design downloaded from the internet at speeds up to 800 stitches per minute. In the interest of time I selected a small two color design for this review.
The Janome MB-7 is solid and although not as quiet as many home embroidery machines, it is quieter than I had expected for a machine of its size. The actual stitch-out when completed was crisp and clean with even, well-formed stitches throughout.
- Natural fibers/cotton-linen-wool
- Fine fabrics/silk-satin-taffeta/velvet
- Synthetic fabrics/blends-rayon-polyester
- Reptile skin
- Extra thick fabrics or multiple layers
- Open metal bobbin
- 3 Embroidery hoops and grids
- M1: 9.4″ x 7.9″
- M2: 5″ x 4.3″
- M3: 2″ x 2″
- Seam Ripper
- Instructional DVD
- Spool pads
- USB cable
- Owner’s manual
- Remote computer screen
- Bobbin Cases (multi-needle embroidery)
- CD-Rom Drive
- Lettering Hoop Holder Unit
- MB-4 Support Table
- Needle Threader
- Embroidery needles
- Lettering hoops:
- 1 J7 (110mm x 95mm)
- 2 J6 (66mm x 66mm)
- 3 J5 (25mm x 54mm)
- 6 J2 (25 mm x 54mm)
- 7 J8 #7 (120mm x 121mm)
- 8 J4 (42mm x 67mm)
- 9 J6 (66mm x 66mm)
- 11 J1 (30mm)
- 12 J1 (30mm)
- 13 J3 (64mm x 28mm)
- Sock Hoop Kit
- Spool stand
|After each use||Monthly*||Once Each Year**||As Needed|
|Clean race hook and feed dogs|
|Wipe head with soft dry cloth|
|Wipe head with soft damp cloth|
|Service by sewing machine repair professional|
Tying Off The Loose Ends
The MB-7 is the next generation of the multi-needle embroidery machine from Janome. When compared to the Janome MB-4, the MB-7 can deliver embroidery designs faster with its capacity to work with up to seven threads while the MB-4 can handle only 4.
The MB-7 weighs 50 pounds, approximately five pounds more than the MB-4. The MB-7 allows users to resize, rotate and flip embroidery designs as well as group, re-edit, combine and duplicate designs. With the MB-4 users can perform all of these tasks with the exception of grouping and duplicating designs.
Both machines come with 50 on board embroidery designs and 10 monogramming fonts. They both have a maximum embroidery field of 9.4” x 7.9”, come with three embroidery hoops as standard accessories and both machines are compatible with JEF; JEF+ and DST embroidery formats.
The only other difference I could detect between the two machines is the fact that the MB-7 comes with that open bobbin case and the MB-4 has a standard bobbin case.
I honestly cannot say why the manufacturer switched to the open bobbin case. In my opinion, it is the only flaw in the design. As Fay and I struggled with inserting the bobbin so that it seated properly and did not create birds’ nests, I couldn’t help but wonder why in the world it didn’t have a closed bobbin case.
If you ask me, an open bobbin case is a) a chicken way of trying to save a few cents in production costs; and b) a good way to create unnecessary headaches with birds’ nests and worse in the bobbin area. If you are not careful when winding and inserting the bobbin, you could potentially create a very bad situation which might very well result in you taking land your MB-7 in for servicing.
As I said in the above section, however, when you follow the instructions to the letter, the bobbin goes in and works perfectly. It’s just a matter of mastering a new technique. No doubt, people who are not as accustomed to working with traditional closed bobbin cases will have much greater ease in getting acclimated to working with this new type of bobbin case.
I have no doubt that some people will say that the Janome MB-7 is a machine that can be used by beginners. I disagree because I believe that knowing more than just the basics of sewing machine operation will make learning to use this machine much easier.
Someone with little or no sewing machine knowledge or experience, even an adult, will have a very difficult time learning how to work with any machine with this many needles. Anyone who has never used a sewing machine or has no experience with machine embroidery at all should first start with a single needle machine before even attempting to use a multi-needle embroidery machine.
If your sewing skills are strong enough, and you are a machine embroidery enthusiast, you might very well be a viable candidate for moving up to the Janome MB-7. The only other consideration, in my opinion, is space. If your sewing room is large enough to accommodate a traditional size sewing machine, you will be able to accommodate the MB-7 with very little adjustment to your sewing space.
The Janome MB-7 is not for everybody. In fact, I do not recommend it for anyone who is beginning to create machine embroidery projects. Nor do I recommend it for anyone who is not serious about machine embroidery and only engage in machine embroidery on an occasional basis.
I do, however, believe the Janome MB-7 is an excellent choice for anyone who spends at least 50 percent of their time in the sewing room on machine embroidery projects of all sizes.
Before making a decision to add the Janome MB-7 to your sewing room, however, you should first visit our authorized Janome dealer. Ask a sales associate for a demonstration and see for yourself is this is, indeed, the multi-needle embroidery machine for you.
- Needs lots of help – able to sew a straight seam but unfamiliar with most sewing techniques; needs assistance and instruction on basic sewing techniques.
- 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 – can sew anything without instruction or assistance; possesses an expansive knowledge of sewing techniques and terminology.
- Fast seven thread embroidery machine
- Open bobbin presents a challenge to learn to use