I had heard and read a lot about the Janome Memory Craft 12000, but it wasn’t until I saw one at the Sunshine Sewing and Quilting that I actually had an opportunity to review it.

At A Glance

To look at it, the Janome Memory Craft 12000 looks pretty much like any other sewing machine. Upon closer inspection, however, I couldn’t help but notice a magnifying glass above the needle.

Janome MC12000

Janome MC12000

There is also a large workspace which can be removed to reveal the free arm, an accessories case that opens without having to remove the work table and a series of conveniently situated function buttons – start/stop; reverse stitch; presser foot up/down; thread snips; needle up/down; and pattern stop. Just above those buttons, a little to the right is the speed control slider.

Stitch selection guide

Stitch selection guide

When the top of the machine is lifted, users have immediate access to the threading and bobbin winding mechanism as well as a quick reference stitch selection guide.

Just beneath that, on front of the machine is a pop out light that illuminates the needle plate and etched seam guide. That, combined with the magnifying glass make working on the Janome Memory Craft 12000 so easy on the eyes, one might be tempted to set their eyeglasses aside.


Pop out light to illuminate the needle plate

Pop out light to illuminate the needle plate

The Janome Memory Craft 12000 is loaded with features that many of us have only dreamed of having at our disposal. The standard features that come on every machine in this line include:

  • 425 built-in utility, decorative and embroidery stitches
    • 13 one-step buttonholes
    • 338 Built-in embroidery designs
    • 10 Fonts with European characters
    • 2&3 Letter monogramming function
  • Built-in needle threader
  • AcuGuide automatic cloth guide
  • Memorized needle up/down
  • Automatic presser foot lift
  • One-step needle plate conversion
  • 7 piece feed dog
  • Stitch Composer stitch creation program
  • Free arm
  • Drop feed
  • Start/stop button
  • Speed control slider
  • Locking stitch button
  • Stitch Composer stitch creation program
  • Free arm
  • Drop feed
  • Start/stop button
  • Speed control slider
  • Locking stitch button
  • Twin needle guard
  • Easy reverse button
  • Adjustable knee lift
  • Extra high presser foot lift
  • LCD Full color touchscreen
  • Presser foot pressure adjustment
  • Presser foot height adjustment
  • On-screen assistance and tutorials
  • Retractable High Light and AcuView Magnifier
  • Linear Motion Embroidery System
  • Programmable jump thread trimming
  • Adjustable speed while embroidering
  • Flexible stitch travelling by units of 1, 10, and 100
  • Auto return post thread break
  • Adjustable hoop positioning

Working on the Janome Memory Craft 12000

As with all other Janome sewing machines, winding the bobbin and threading the Memory Craft 12000 are possibly the simplest, most user friendly systems available on any sewing machine – new or old.

Stitch settings on LCD

Stitch settings on LCD

The addition of the magnifying glass and pop out light make threading even easier. The same holds true for the stitch selection process. Users have the option of simply touching the desired stitch setting on the LCD touchscreen.

To access stitches that are not immediately visible on the touchscreen, simply use digital dial by simply moving their finger around inside the red circle at the bottom of the touchscreen until the desired stitch is highlighted.

The quality of the stitches made on the Janome Memory Craft 12000 is remarkable. I’m not certain if I have ever seen stitch quality this good on a new machine.

The quality of the stitches produced by the Memory Craft 12000 is very much like the stitchwork on vintage machines that render only simple straight and zigzag stitches.

I marveled at the ease with which Fay, owner/manager of the Sunshine Sewing and Quilting programmed the Janome 12000 to execute a scalloped stitch pattern.

Storing it in the memory was equally amazing. Users have the option of saving their favorite, frequently used stitch sequences on the machine’s hard drive, on a USB memory stick or sending it to a PC.

When saving a stitch sequence in the sewing machine’s memory, you have the option of saving it with a default file name that is automatically assigned or of giving the file any name you prefer.

Among the many presser feet included in the accessories kit is the border guide foot. With this foot in place, creating uniformly spaced rows of stitches is as easy as 1-2-3.

First, select your stitch pattern; second, sew your first row; third, place the guide channel over the row, centering it between the two red lines.

More stitch settings

More stitch settings

Scalloped stitch pattern

Scalloped stitch pattern


Zigzag sticthes

Zigzag sticthes

The border guide foot has guide channels to the left and right of the needle, giving users unlimited flexibility in creating evenly spaced rows of decorative stitches.

In addition to the 338 built in embroidery stitch patterns, users have access to an unlimited number of embroidery stitch options via the Janome Digitizer MBX software, photo imaging and an infinite number of choices via clipart and other embroidery patterns available on the internet.

One is tempted to ask why anyone would want to use any designs other than those already loaded onto the Janome Memory Craft 12000. With 338 embroidery designs to choose from, I find it difficult to believe that additional designs would be needed, especially since the Digitizer MBX software can be used to change the original designs, combine elements from two or more designs and add text with just a few clicks of the mouse.

Border guide presser foot

Border guide presser foot

The process is made easy by Corel technology. Although I had never before attempted to use the Janome Memory Craft 12000, mastering the process was very easy. Anyone who has a little experience with Word Art or bitmap software will be able to use the Digitizer MBX to create their own magnificent machine embroidery designs in no time at all.

Photo imaging

Photo imaging

As if that wasn’t enough, the Janome Memory Craft 12000 comes with one of the largest embroidery hoops available for home use. Janome was the very first manufacturer to offer real embroidery capabilities to the home sewer.

Embroidery design pattern

Embroidery design pattern

While other manufacturers offer machine embroidery capability with the use of a separate embroidery table that is attached to the machine for embroidery only. Most sewing and embroidery machines are not capable of sewing with the embroidery mechanism in place.

Digitizer MBX software

Digitizer MBX software

Janome’s patented embroidery system does not interfere machine with any of the machine’s other functions.

The patented embroidery arm on the Janome Memory Craft 12000 is extra large, enabling users to create embroidery designs up to 9.1 x 11.8 inches without concerns about slipping or shifting.

Patented Janome embroidery arm

Patented Janome embroidery arm


  • 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


The list of standard accessories that come with the Janome Memory Craft 12000 is even more impressive than the expansive list of features:

    • 43 Presser feet
      • ¼ inch seam
      • Ditch quilting
      • Straight stitch
      • Flex ¼ inch
      • Flex dual feed [twin]
      • Flex holder and foot VD [single]
      • 2 flex holder feet – 1 single/1 twin
      • Standard Zipper foot
      • Invisible zipper foot
      • Flex foot [single]
      • Appliqué
      • Automatic buttonhole
      • 2 beading feet – 1 narrow/1 wide
      • Binder
      • Blind hem
      • Border guide
      • Button
      • Clearview quilting foot
      • Darning
      • Embroidery
      • Edge stitching
      • Closed toe
      • Open toe
      • Extra large foot controller
      • Zigzag
      • Free motion couching
      • Gathering
      • Hat
      • 2 Hemmer feet – 4mm and 6mm
      • Open toe satin stitch
      • Overedge
      • 2 Pintucking feet – narrow/wide
      • Piping
      • Quilt binder
      • Ruffler
      • Rolled hem
      • Ribbon/sequin
      • Ribbon/sequin
      • Ultra guide
      • 3 way cording
    • Digitizer MBX
    • Digitizer JR
    • 6 Pintuck cord guides – 11000, 6500P, 6019QC, 6125 QC, 6260QC, 3160QDC
    • Embroidery bobbin thread
    • Embroidery metallic thread
    • Three boxes of assorted embroidery thread
    • Embroider A Cure collection
    • Button shank plate
    • Buttonhole stabilizing plate
    • Pre-wound bobbins
    • Quilting kit
    • 3 embroidery hoops
      • 9.1″ x 11.8″
      • 9.1″ x 9.1″
      • 5.5″ x 5.5″
    • Semi Hard Cover
    • Instructional DVDs
      • Hip Line Media – Pants That Fit Finally
      • Digitizer Pro/MB guide
      • Martha Pullen – Heirloom Sewing
      • Digitizer JR video guide
    • Jenny Haskins stabilizers
      • Cutaway magic
      • Hoop magic
      • Tearaway magic
      • Sheer magic plus
      • Web magic
    • Long quilting guidebar set
    • Assorted Scissors
    • Assorted needles
    • USB memory stick
    • Extension table
    • Rolling case
    • Knee lifter
    • Lint brush
    • Quilter bar
    • Screwdriver
    • Seam ripper
    • 2 spool holders – 1 large/1 small
    • Spool pin
    • 2 Spool stands – 1 to accommodate 2 different threads/1 to accommodate up to 5 threads
    • Jenny Haskins quilting projects



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
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

A sample design

A sample design

The embroidery and quilting projects created on the Janome Memory Craft 12000 are phenomenal. Fay shared some of the projects created by the staff at Sunshine Sewing and Quilting using built in stitch options only.

Embroidery and quilting projects

Embroidery and quilting projects

I’ve seen many quilting projects in my day, but I must admit, the quilts created on the Memory Craft12000 stand out among all the rest.

The Memory Craft 12000 works great with metallic thread as well as nearly every specialty thread from all of the top manufacturers.

This is by far one of the best sewing, quilting and embroidery machines on the market today. In my opinion, anyone who is seriously considering a new embroidery machine should take a very close look at the Janome Memory Craft 12000.

The MSRP is on the high end. Purchasing this machine would require a serious investment of capital. The cost is worth it, however, but only if you are committed to machine embroidery as a primary function.

The Janome Memory Craft 12000 is so user friendly a home sewer at the intermediate skill level would be very comfortable. An expert sewer will not be disappointed. The many desirable functions and exceptional features and accessories make this an excellent addition to any sewing room.

I do not, however, recommend the Memory Craft 12000 for use by beginners. The many features could be overwhelming for someone who is just starting out.

Some fine designs

Some fine designs

Besides, the cost should be prohibitive for anyone who has not yet decided if they really want to spend a lot of time creating machine embroidery projects.

If, however, you are already committed to machine embroidery and have the wherewithal to make the investment required to acquire the Janome Memory Craft 12000, by all means, visit your nearest Janome dealer and ask for a demonstration. Don’t forget to ask about payment options while you’re there.

Some creative designs

Some creative designs


Janome Memory Craft 12000 Review
Link To Official Website
Skill Level:
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.
Stitch quality
Ease of use
  • Real time computer connection
  • User friendly interactive software
  • Works with extra large embroidery hoops
  • Pricey – but less costly than other machines in the same class
5.0Overall Score
Reader Rating: (36 Votes)

39 Responses

  1. Heather

    Thank you for doing these reviews. I have a 20 year old Pfaff (only straight and zigzag)that I looking to replace soon so I am glad I found your sight. I wish I could justify the price for this one, but I think it is out of my reach.

  2. Vernelle

    Heather – Thank you for visiting Sewing Insight.

    The MSRP is the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price… emphasis on SUGGESTED.

    If you are really interested in purchasing this or any other sewing machine on this site, I suggest you visit your local dealer. You will find that the actual sales price is quite often significantly lower.

    They also offer discounts, sales, promotions, and other incentives. You may discover that buying a new sewing machine these days can be similar to buying a new car. Be ready to negotiate the price on very expensive sewing machines and don’t be afraid to ask about discounts.

    Happy stitching.

  3. michelle gilbert

    Good review. I am trying to decide on a machine. Looking at brother quattro 2 and janome 12000. Can’t decide. Like both. I like the free arm flexibility for embroidery and quiet running. I like the idea of camera on quattro. Any comments. Which one sews best? Thanks

    • J Estabrooks

      do not recommend the 12000, large hoops but low stitch limit, auto threader seldom works, poor quality manual and low on information. Buy the 15000. Or another brand such as a Babylock.

  4. Vernelle

    Michelle –

    Thanks for visiting Sewing Insight.

    In my opinion, you might be happier with the Janome 12000.

    The idea of having a camera on the Quattro is an intriguing one, but I’m not sure they have had time to get out all of the bugs. Besides, the Quattro has a higher MSRP, and overall, the Janome brand is more highly rated than Brother.

    Happy Stitching.

  5. Mary

    Thank you for writing about the Janome 12000. I have been considering it for $7000 verses the Praff for $8200.00.
    I have had a Viking #1 for over 20 years now. I refused to invest in another one.
    I also have a Juki 634 serger that has been pretty good but after 23 years I need to replace it too. I been looking at the Imagine Babylock for $1500.00 Any suggestions on what I am thinking about buying?

  6. Elaine

    I have a Janome 12,000 and it is wonderful. It sews through anything! It is so easy and straightforward to use. The embroidery is beautiful too.

  7. Chris

    Hi all! I recently purchased a 12000 after having my 11000 for about 2 years. I fully agree with the review! I am a designer by profession and used to lecture for the local university, so i have used many many machines. I absolutely love my 12000 and would not swop it for any other machine on the market! It is by far the easiest most feature rich machine i have ever used. Quilting is an absolute pleasure! I also like to experiment with many mediums when designing the ultimate dress, and my 12000 supports me brilliantly all the way. Embroidery! Well all i can say is wow. The quality is really magnifying glass precise on the sewing and embroidery side. Only con was that it was a bit pricey, but i cannot say that i will ever regret buying it. Not at all. Infact given my experience with Janome, i would recommend this fantastic high end machine to any one who loves sewing and embroidery, and wants a machine that can do it all!

    • Nan

      Can you tell me if you have ever experienced a problem sewing over intersecting seams.
      I had a 7700 and it would stall and sew in place when sewing over intersecting seams. Very annoying. I otherwise loved the machine. Clearly a problem when just sewing though.

      • Vernelle

        Hello, Nan –

        Thank you for visiting sewing Insight.

        Sewing over intersection seams should never be a problem. Depending upon the thickness, it may be necessary for you to make an adjustment to the presser foot pressure, but that should only necessary when you are using thicker fabrics.

        Happy stitching.

      • Chris

        Hi Nan
        No I have not experienced it with the mc 12000 or the 11000, but i totally agree with Vernelle. It depends on what weight of fabric you may be using. You will definately have to increase the pressure on your presserfoot when sewing heavier fabrics. If you find it happens with thinner fabrics, you should try using a thinner needle, as thicker needles will push fabrick into the needle plate. If it still occurs, try decentering your needle to the left, and try again. On excessively thick fabrics, you can use a piece of thick folded paper and place it behind the needle under the presserfoot, so that the pressure on the foot is evenly distributed, and the intersecting seem should run through smooth and without a problem

      • Chris

        Hi Nan
        No I have not experienced it with the mc 12000 or the 11000, but i totally agree with Vernelle. It depends on what weight of fabric you may be using. You will definately have to increase the pressure on your presserfoot when sewing heavier fabrics. If you find it happens with thinner fabrics, you should try using a thinner needle, as thicker needles will push fabrick into the needle plate. If it still occurs, try decentering your needle to the left, and try again. On excessively thick fabrics, you can use a piece of thick folded paper and place it behind the needle under the presserfoot, so that the pressure on the foot is evenly distributed, and the intersecting seem should run through smooth and without a problem

  8. Lora Frymoyer

    I have a Janome 350e I love, also. Have MB4 also looking to up grade the single needle wish to have larger embroidery area thinking about 12000. Like the MB4 but always have trouble with tensions. Do you all think 12000 would be a good choice?

  9. Angela

    I’m Looking for a new machine and I came down to 3 choices. The Janome 9900 or a used janome 12000 or a used Viking ruby. I like them all. Any advice?

    • Sue

      I have owned the Janome 9900 and loved it!! I also recently purchased the Ruby Royall and it does a lot but it is not near as user friendly. Instead of enjoying sewing I am always trying to figure it out….So sold it. I am sure both are good products. I traded in my 9900 for the 12000. I have rave reviews when it comes to Janome.

      • Angela

        I ended up buying the new janome 9900. I love it, but as I got into the embroidery, I find that I want the bigger hoops. I may soon need to upgrade 🙂
        As I look around there seems to be a lot of used Bernina 830 lately…But I still like janomes…

  10. Angela

    I’m looking to either get the 12000 used or a new Janome 9900. What do you advise? Sometimes I’m not sure I can trust the salesperson fully.

  11. Neal Smith

    Dear Vernelle ,
    I,m reading your review with grate interest.I am looking for a good all purpose sewing
    machine and I have noted that you rated this machine for all material.Please can you
    elaborate on that.I would like to get the most use of this machine by stitching various
    home craft projects other the just quilting and embroidery.
    Regards: N L Smith

  12. Linda h

    I have a janome 12000 and nothing but problems. The bobbin casing jumps up, pushing on the plate and needle breaks. Rattles and nosey. I have had it in for repairs, works good on regular sewing, but as soon as the free motion foot is attached and and straight plate put on, problems, so back to repair shop again for the 3rd time . So not happy.

    • Lora Frymoyer

      My 12000 has been stopping in the middle of an embroidery design, when this happens none of the buttons function, the only way I can get it to do anything is turn it off. Then sometimes it doesn’t turn back on, lights go on but machine does not. At times when stopped I get a ticking sound. At repair but of course it won’t do it for him. Any suggestions

      • Vernelle

        Hello, Lora –

        Thank you for visiting Sewing Insight.

        If your 12000 does not jam when for the repair person, perhaps it is not threaded correctly. That, however, should not interfere with the machine’s functioning after it is turned off and back on. My only other guess is that there is a problem with one of the internal components that has not yet been detected by your repairman. Is there another Janome repair facility in your area? You may need a second opinion.

        Happy stitching.

      • Lora Frymoyer

        It was a misplaced micro switch all fixed and ready to sew again. I am so happy

  13. Barbara

    Hello, it is a pleasure to read through all your reviews. I need to replace my ancient Janome and have been considering the 12000. It is a considerable financial investment – I want a machine that will tackle upholstery fabric for new seat covers, blinds etc. as well as handling fine fabrics for lingerie, and of course beautiful embroidery. Am a looking for “a racing car that ploughs fields?”, or do you think this machine is suitable? Many thx.

  14. Alleta

    I recently bought a Janome mail order from Florida (Martelli). The price was great. It came & is beautiful, but doesn’t work right. I am now heading to Salt Lake City to get it repaired – as Martelli didn’t want me to ship it to them, and so the warranty will only cover parts, not labor. Ho hum. Should have bought closer to home. Not such a great deal now.
    Hope they can get the bobbin fixed right – a lot to pay for a machine that doesn’t work. My $100 Janome machine that gives me no trouble is now looking like the bargain. Stay tuned – it is a beautiful machine with lots of parts, etc. so hope it will work well!

    • Vernelle

      Hello, Alleta –

      Unfortunately your situation is the prime reason for NOT purchasing sewing machines via the internet or mail order. The most reliable way to purchase a sewing machine is to visit an authorized dealer where you not only have access to real live people who are able to give you personal attention, hands on assistance, and lessons when needed. An added advantage is you do not run the risk of a machine being damaged in transit when being shipped from a mailing house. All of the authorized dealers I work with will take the time to sit with you and check out the machine before you leave the store, avoiding the problem you seem to be having.

  15. Cheryal

    Hi Vernelle, my name is Cheryal and am seeking consult on my 12000 model. I love the machine as it performs beautifully on all that I have done with it, however this last project (easy squeezy one), a lovely everyday dress. I sewed it in jersey knit last week and its beautiful. This week I am working the same pattern in a polyester knit. My thread continually breaks. I can hear it in the machine when it starts….then the thread gets thinner and thinner through the needle as it is shredding and balling up a little higher up the thread. I can usually go about 5″ of sewing when it begins. I am using Gutermann thread. I lock my machine while threading (at least 50 times now), the needle is positioned at its highest point and my needle is new/sharp. At first I was using ballpoint 75/11. Changed needle to ballpoint 90/14 hoping/praying that was it/nope….it just pushed my mat into the machine. I decreased tension and got loopy threads so thats not it either. I have also taken the bobbin out at least a dozen times just to make sure its inserted correctly. It changed nothing. I then just buried my face in my sleeping curled up kitty and felt better. I dont know what else to do so I am searching the forums and am very open to suggestions.

    • Vernelle

      Hello, Cheryal –

      Thank you for visiting Sewing Insight.

      From your description, I believe the problem is probably the needle. How thick is this polyester knit? It may be necessary for you to switch from a ball point to a universal needle. Although every resource tells us to use ball point needles with knits, the newer fabrics sometimes call for some thinking outside the box. Finding the right needle for some of these new synthetics can be extremely frustrating, but don’t give up. Here’s a tip for not having to endure this yet again. When you do find the needle that works with this fabric, write the size on a piece of masking tape and put it on the remaining fabric. This way, you’ll know which needle to use when you start the next project with this same fabric.

      Happy stitching.

  16. Cheryal

    That all sounds like sound advice. Thank you. After the holiday when I get back into my sewing world I will try the universal needle. The material is pretty cushy and the regular needle will probably do the trick. I like how your suggestion also on keeping history up to date for the future too!!

  17. Sandra

    I have updated my MC12000 to version 1.20 and my Horizon Link to version 1.20
    My machine still does not recognize the USB port connection between my laptop and the Janome sewing machine. Do you have any suggestions that might resolve the problem?

  18. Kay

    I was using my janome horizon mc12000 doing an embroidry but it got tangled up in the bobbin and the mschine shut off, i cleared everything and the machine will not power back on what can i do????0 HELP

    • Elaine

      Your best bet is to go to the janome forum on the janome USA website, join it and ask for help. There are sewits from all over that can help you. Good luck.

    • Vernelle

      Hello, Kay –

      Thank you for visiting Sewing Insight.

      My suggestion is that you take your 12000 to a certified Janome service provider ASAP.

    • T. Mama

      If this machine is like previous models it has fuses. The fuse will blow in situations like this instead of blowing your whole motherboard. I have replaced many fuses in my MC9000. Cheap fix but not a fix that can be done by just anyone. May want to consult a sewing machine repair shop, but may easily be your issue.

  19. Linda

    I love my 12000. It is by far the best machine I have owned. I have had several Husqvarna machines but could not deal with the lack of service. The stitch quality of the 12000 is amazing. I just finished a backpack from my grand daughter, it cruised through many layers of fabric, batting, backing without a hitch. I have owned the machine for several years and had never used the embroidery unit ( I have a 10 needle Baby Lock ) until recently. The machine is a joy to work with, the embroidery stitched out flawlessly, quietly. I was so impressed with the end result, beautiful quality. This machine is a work horse, would definitely purchase it again!!!

    • Edward Kurbec

      I disagree, Janome has provided terrible customer service with our 12000. They have been totally unresponsive to our request for help in resolving a transfer issue.

  20. Renee

    I just purchased the Janome MC 12000. I’ve been sewing many years! I wanted the combo of embroidery, sewing and the ability to do quilting as well. I am overwhelmed at the potential! Loving this machine. My local dealer offers classes, 4 for this machine, included in the purchase price. I’ve had Janome’s for years (disguised as Kenmores). I learned on a Singer, my first personal machine was an Elna, but it had problems, so I traded it for a Janome (Kenmore). Later I bought a high dollar Viking, that was an expensive mistake, so back to Janome (Kenmore). I received the Janome MC 200E for Christmas, but quickly learned I needed more embroidery space. So with once purchase I upgraded both machines! I’m looking forward to many happy hears of sewing, quilting, and embroidery. I’m keeping my old Janome/Kenmore because it is more portable to take to quilt classes. If there is a downside to this machine, it might be the weight. Loving learning how to use this machine!

  21. Paula Holbrook

    Vernelle, I have owned a MC11000 for many years; totally loved it. Thinking about purchasing the MC12000, but would like to know if the hoops, feet and other accessories will be compatible with the 12000.
    Thank you


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