Insightful sewing machine reviews

Janome Memory Craft 9900 Review

Janome Memory Craft 9900 Review
Janome Memory Craft 9900 Review
  • Stitch quality
  • Speed
  • Ease of use
  • Maintenance
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.

When I reviewed Janome’s Memory Craft 9900 sewing and embroidery machine, I was truly pleased with the new features. It was a real treat for me to review this machine, especially since it is Janome’s most recent release. It’s always an honor to be one of the first to review a brand new sewing machine.

Janome Memory Craft 9900

Janome Memory Craft 9900


  • Vertical or horizontal lettering
  • Energy saver
  • Vertical and horizontal stitch rotation


  • Program 1 thread color at a time

At A Glance

LCD backlit touchscreen

LCD backlit touchscreen

To look at it, the Janome Memory Craft 9900 looks very much like most other Janome sewing and embroidery machines. That’s until you learn that this machine comes with three separate face plates.

The on board stitch guide is a convenient flip-up screen that is situated directly above the machine. When you lift the door to thread the machine, it’s right there.

The clear bobbin cover is a definite plus. With this, it is almost impossible for users to run out of bobbin thread in the middle of a delicate embroidery project, while inserting a zipper, making a buttonhole, putting in a sleeve or just sewing a simple seam.


The standard features on the Janome Memory Craft 9900 include:

  • 200 built-in utility and decorative stitches
    • 6 One-step buttonholes
  • Automatic thread tension
  • Built-in needle threader
  • AcuGuide automatic cloth guide
  • Snap-on presser feet
  • Memorized needle up/down
  • Fast, one-step needle plate conversion – no screws
  • 7 piece feed dog
  • Stitch Composer stitch creation program
  • Free arm
  • Drop feed
  • Start/stop button
  • Speed control slider
  • Locking stitch button
  • Extra high presser foot lift
  • Full color LCD touchscreen
  • Foot pressure adjustment
  • Adjustable stitch length and width
    • Maximum stitch width: 9mm
    • Maximum stitch length: 5mm
  • On-screen assistance
  • Built in timer tells you how long it will take to complete an embroidery project
  • Easy set bobbin
  • Bobbin winder with plate and cutting blade
  • 175 Built-in embroidery designs
  • 3 Fonts – 1 Cyrillic
  • 2 &3 Letter monogramming function
  • Maximum embroidery size: 6.7″ x 7.9″ (170mm x 200mm)
  • Design transfer options: USB port
  • On-screen editing: ability to resize, combine, duplicate, flip, arc, group, drag & drop, zoom, trace, select/change color choices
  • Programmable jump thread trimming
  • Flexible stitch travelling by units of 1, 10, and 100
  • Auto return post thread break
  • Adjustable hoop positioning

Working on the Janome Memory Craft 9900

Threading the Janome Memory Craft 9900 and winding the bobbin is as easy and uncomplicated as on almost any other Janome sewing, quilting or embroidery machine.

When inserting the bobbin, however, I discovered a new feature that makes tangling or bunching bobbin thread impossible.

Clear plastic bobbin cover

Clear plastic bobbin cover

There’s a thumb sized guide next to the rotary hook that automatically ensures the perfect thread position each and every time.

In addition, the clear plastic bobbin cover, seam guides etched on the interchangeable needle plates and five bright LED lights make working on the Janome Memory Craft 9900 an enjoyable experience.

At first, I thought the interchangeable face plates were an unnecessary add-on, but when you think about it, they are a wonderful way for your sewing machine to match your decor.

On top of the machine is a flip top that not only gives you access to the spool and bobbin winding pins, it also reveals the stitch selection chart. All 200 stitch options, including three monogramming and lettering fonts.

Stitch selection chart

Stitch selection chart

All of the decorative stitches can be rotated vertically or horizontally. Decorative stitches highlighted in pink are capable of rotating at 90o increments.

Watching the Memory Craft 9900 in action is a real treat. Completing this particular design takes about 90 minutes. As the work progresses, the tiny time clock in the upper right hand of the LCD screen counts the seconds down until the project is finished.

When the machine stops for thread color changes or to refill the bobbin, the clock stops and then starts back up when sewing is resumed. This feature makes it possible for you to always know exactly how much time is required for you to finish your embroidery project.

Changing the color of a design or a single element of any embroidery design is as simple as touching the elements you want to change and then using the stylus to touch the new replacement color on the on-board color palate.

The stitchwork is equivalent to any professional embroidery machine. Janome, after all, is the company that brought machine embroidery out of the factory and into the private home. It is still the leader of the pack when it comes to the quality of embroidery designs and ease of operation.

Professional stitchwork

Professional stitchwork

One of the most interesting new features on the Janome Memory Craft 9900 is the energy saver. If the machine sits idle for more than just a few minutes, the LED screen goes dark.

Energy saver mode

Energy saver mode

Although you can’t see it, you will not lose anything. Your work comes back up with a simple touch of the fingertip anywhere on the touchscreen.

Work comes back up with a simple touch

Work comes back up with a simple touch


  • 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


Standard Accessories

  • 11 Presser feet
    • Zigzag foot
    • Overedge foot
    • Satin stitch foot
    • Blind hemming foot
    • Zipper foot
    • Rolled hem foot
    • Darning foot
    • Button sewing foot
    • ¼” seam foot
    • Embroidery foot
    • Automatic buttonhole foot R
  • Stabilizer plate
  • Two needle plates – 1Straight stitch/1Zigzag stitch needle plate
  • 5 Bobbins
  • Needle set
  • Screwdriver
  • Lint brush
  • Seam ripper (buttonhole opener)
  • Quilting guide bar
  • 2 Spool holders – 1 large/1 small
  • Extra spool pin
  • Scissors
  • Button shank plate
  • Touch panel stylus
  • Bobbin holder cleaner
  • 3 interchangeable face plates – Metallic teal, red, pearl white
  • Cloth guide
  • Semi hard cover
  • Embroidery unit carrying case
  • Instructional DVD
  • 2 Embroidery hoops:
    • SQ20a: 6.7″ x 7.9″
    • SQ14a: 5.5″ x 5.5″


Optional Accessories available through janome:

  • Free Arm FA10: 3.9″ x 1.6″
  • 9mm presser feet
  • Additional embroidery hoops


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

The Janome Memory Craft 9900 is whisper quiet. Although it weighs less than 30 pounds, I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a ‘portable’ sewing machine, but it is not a real heavy one either.

The carrying handle makes it easy to move about from one part of the house to another when necessary. The interchangeable color face plates are ideal accessories for the home sewer who feels it necessary to have a completely color coordinated sewing room.

Just image a sewing room that is so thoroughly color coordinated that even the machines complement the carpets, curtains, cabinetry and upholstery. To many, a sewing room like that would be a dream come true.

I can’t think of anything of significance that I don’t like about this machine. The fact that you cannot program more than one thread color at a time is in my opinion a very minor thing.

Besides, I cannot recall any other sewing and embroidery machine in the same weight and price range that allows you to program two or more thread colors at a time.

The Janome Memory Craft 9900 is great for the person who is new to machine embroidery because it is so easy to learn to operate.

In addition, anyone who has been embroidering on a sewing machine for any length of time would definitely appreciate the long list of features and the specifications that make this machine stand apart from just about every other sewing and embroidery machine on the market.


  1. Fantastic. Shame small hoop doesn’t come with machine

  2. I got this machine about a month a go. I’m new to sewing of any kind so I really like the way I produced professional looking embroidery from the start. My grand children love the designs I’ve made for them and now my children are asking for stuff!

  3. i love ur reviews. i would like to know if this machine can sew multiple layers and extra thick fabrics.

    • Hello, Has –

      Thank you for visiting Sewing Insight. The Janome Memory Craft 9000 is a sewing and embroidery machine. I hesitate to recommend attempting to sew extra thick layers of fabric. My advice would be to try varying thicknesses, but do not attempt anything like sailboat cloth, heavy canvass or thick leather.

      Happy stitching.

      • I have embroidered with the MC9900 on Garment Leather,Canvas from Nancys Notions child workbook project,embroidered an Ipad cover with 2 layers fabric and quilt batting,Denim and Ultrasuede.
        Using a #90 titanium embroidery needle it worked flawlessly.

  4. What software are you using with this machine….if any?

    • Dear Stacie –

      Thank you for visiting Sewing Insight.

      The software I used during the review was the standard software that was built in the machine. Perhaps some of the readers who actually own the Janome Memory Craft 9900 might be able to share their experiences with the software packages they are using.

      Happy Stitching.

  5. I have just received my new Janome MC 9900. There are two needle plates, could you describe which looking plate is for what purpose. Thanks.

  6. Jules, read your manual. I have the 9900. The second needle plate AND the second bobbin case are for the embroidery function. I have not experienced any thread breaks while embroidering. A huge improvement over my 9700. I am always “amused” or confused with the question of whether a sewing machine will sew layers. I assume the question is in regard to typical sewing room fabric. A decent machine will sew layers. But if one is making sails for a sail boat, or tents…i would buy a a professional heavy duty industrial machine. I hem my denims, i make purses, etc on all of my Janomes. They can handle it. I do go slower tho. And depending on the project, Zi use a Jean needle. I love my Janome. 9900. I am working on an “in the hoop ” embroidery project. I am using the small hoop that comes with the machine…..perfect for the 5 x 5 square blocks.

  7. Vernelle, i am still using my customizer 10000 plus that I bought in 2005 when I purchased my Janome 9700. I recently bought Embrilliance tho I have not used it yet. I do not. ” digitize”. I use software to combine designs…editing software.

  8. I purchased this machine in January 2014 and had a hard time finding reviews so thought I would add to this review which is great and helped me make my decision to purchase. I have been sewing/embroidering for three months with zero problems. I have made a dozen purses, canvas and leather with no problem. I have always changed my needles after every project, buy them by the 100’s so I do not have to worry about having enough. This machine is high quality and has many features for the price point. I planned on buying software but to date have been able to do everything I need on the machine – rotate/size/copy. Would recommend without hesitation if you are in the market for a new machine.

  9. I have been sewing up a storm with my 9900. I love it! The editing software that I bought and use is Embrilliance Essentials with Alpha Tricks. There are a few reviews of this machine on Pattern Review, btw.

    In regard to the question about the two needle plates, Each communicate to the machine which functions you can use when in place. For example, if you have the embroidery plate & bobbin in the machine (single needle plate vs, the 9mm opening), the machine will not allow you to program it for wide stitches . Only straight stitching options are allowed to operate. Sweet!

    The wo hoops that come with the machine are more than sufficient for my needs. I am pretty sure that there is a small hoop accessory purchase for stitching cuffs, etc. No GIGA hoop tho…fine by me. The one Zi bought for my 9700 collects dust…..never ever used it.

  10. Hello, I want to buy this machine, but I have a question… above in your review, you indicate with an “X” next to the items listed below:

    Reptile skin
    Extra thick fabrics or multiple layers
    Does this mean that I can’t sew four layers of denim? Or 8 layers of cotton – which is not uncommon when quilting.

    ?? I thought Janome was a hearty machine? Please respond. Thank you.

  11. Nancy, Vernelle gave a thorough and fair review of the Janome 9900. I assume the “x” meant that she did not test sew on those particular “fabrics”. Why would she???

    Nancy, sounds like you sew more industrial type fabrics. Of course this machine sews multiple layers of fabric.. I embroider on faux leather (vinyl) with no issues. As for real leather, real fur (dead animals) i cannot attest to that. Frankly, i would look into a true “industrial” machine designed fr heavy duty sewing. There are plenty of reviews on the 9900. At Pattern Review. Join some Yahoo! Groups fir other reviews and real life usage on the machine. I adore this machine and don’t regret the purchase.


  12. I have been disappointed in the MC9900. It’s a great sewing machine, but as for the embroidery not so good. I use the Floriani Total Pro program, and have had no success in downloading designs to the embroidery machine. I even hired a computer tech to help me and she was puzzled. I have seen many complaints about this machine, and frankly am sorry I bought it.

    • Sharon i felt your pain and aggravation when i purchased my 9900. Saving embroidery files to USB is not the same process in the traditional sense.

      I had the same issue until i scrolled the screen on. My 9900. Use the right and left arrows at the bottom of the screen . They were there.

      ****My Trial and error “tips”. Your experience may vary….****

      **SAVE embroidery designs in the proper hoop size for your machine. Make sure that the design is saved inside the hoop side. (I use Embrilliance)

      **Locate the design file on your PC and right click the file to “copy”

      **Open the USB file then ” paste” the file to the embf folder. Why oh why you cannot “Save as” to the USB is a mystery but it is what it is. Here is my tutorial. Stacie

      **FROM YOUR SEWING MACHINE, When trying to locate files on the USB , use the left/right arrows on the screen for scrolling.

      I have had my machine since November and using the USB for transferring designs to the machine has been a very frustrating process. It has been trial and error as I also learn Embrilliance. I am getting there!

  13. Ooops. I guess that I should explain that ALL embroidery design files should be saved to a folder named embf . To save them, you have to copy/paste them to the embf folder on your PC. YOU CANNOT “save as”. You do need to insert the uSB into the 9900 to format the folder onto the stick. Then take the USB and insert it into your PC. Open your design files, copy the file, then OPEN the USB drive and then PASTE it into the embf file on the USB. Insert the USB into the 9900. Open the USB icon and then scroll thru the designs that are on the USB by using the left/right arrows on the bottom of the machine screen. Gee, i hope this clears up the issues. I probably should make a tutorial in .pdf to share.

    I love love my 9900 now that I understand the goofy process for saving embroidery designs in the folder on the USB.


  14. While digitizing a large file to my wife’s MC9900, I found out that if the design is even one millimeter larger in any direction than the maximum size stated for the hoop, the machine will never even “see” the file on the USB stick. For example, I would recommend a max size of 198mm X 168 mm for the large hoop.

    Also, if your design is too large (comes too near the edge of the allowed area) you cannot shrink it enough in the machine to rotate the design. On my project, I had to rotate the design 180 degrees in photoshop and then create the stitching file (.jef) afterwards.

  15. I have just purchased the 9900 after owning the 350e for six years. I have been sent 2 needle plates but they are exactly the same. can I embroider using the sewing needle plate or do I have to change the plate.

    • Karima,

      Congratulations on purchasing the 9900. I bought this machine in January and love it. Page 87 of the manual shows the needle plate to use, the straight stitch needle plate. Good luck with your machine and hope you get both needle plates soon.

  16. Hello, Karima –

    Thank you for visiting Sewing Insight.

    Yes. You can use the same needle plate to embroider on your Janome MC 9900.

    Happy stitching.

  17. just wondering if this would be a good machine for doing some quilting on?

    • Hello, Mandy –

      Thank you for visiting Sewing Insight.

      According to the owner’s manual, it is possible to execute some quilting tasks on the MC 9900. This machine is primarily designed to perform sewing and embroidery functions. The quilting stitches and features are available n the MC 9900 are significnatly limited when compared with a machine that is specifically designed for quilting.

  18. How much is this sewing machine?

    • MSRP is $4999.00. Negotiate for a better orice.

    • I bought my 9900 a year ago. I’ve made a few smaller quilts since then and have no problem with it. I love how it sews, it is really quiet. I’ve only done one embroidery design, one of the built in ones, and it came out really nice. I am hoping to do some more embroidery very soon. It is really helpful to use the manual. It does tell you exactly how to set up the machine for embroidery. Also the shop where you bought it should provide lessons. Also Janome runs specials about every 6 mos. so that even though the MSRP is 4999, you should be able to get it for 3999 when they do.

  19. Hi,
    Great info, I love my 9900, you have stated Optional Accessories available through janome:

    Additional embroidery hoops???? What size hoops are available?? I would love a larger hoop.
    From Australia

  20. Hi, I am thinking of purchasing the memory craft 9900, can you please tell me if you doing several lines of wording will the machine automatically centralize the words.
    Many thanks

    • Hello, Tina –

      Thank you for visiting Sewing Insight. Since I didn’t think i had enough information to answer your question, I asked one of my Janome resources… Faye Nicholl at Sunshine Sewing and Quilting. She agreed that we need more information in order to adequately respond to your inquiry. Specifically… how will you be loading the information in to the machine? You have several options here… Will you be entering the wording line by line? will it be downloaded from a computer or will you be programming it directly to the sewing machine?

  21. I have a MC9900 and so far I love it. I’ve downloaded some designs from Embroidery Library to my computer, but not sure if I can use them as downloaded by saving them to my USB stick. Do I need to open them first on the computer. I don’t have a separate embroidery program. Do I need to get one? I hope someone can clarify this for me. Thank you so much.

    • Cecelia, You have to at least save the design file in an .embf folder and then load the embf folder onto the USB cannot load the file to the USB stick without the folder.

      Please read my previous posts for explanation of the file.

      I love Embrilliance software for editing and combining design files. And I want to see the designs too.

      • You might want to look at Floriani or DIME for your software program. Totally usable with Janome, easy to use, and you NEVER pay for an upgrade.

  22. I have purchased Janome MC9900 recently. I have no experience of stitching / embroidery. As a first step, I tried winding thread to the bobbin looking at the instruction manual. For my luck, the thread got wound up to the bottom side of winder spindle (not on the bobbin). I don’t know what to do? Please help.

    • You have to make certain that the thread is under tension from the moment you begin winding, and adjust the speed of the machine down to about 25% or less. All my bobbins wound at a faster speed performed erratically. Also, the bobbin should be adjusted to be around 3/4 full when wound, NOT 100%
      full. I couldn’t get my wife’s winder off either, but I used a sort of dental probe and the scissors to clear the thread.
      Keep at it!

  23. Hello, the same thing happened to me. But all you need to do is hold it between your fingers and pull the bobbin winder up and off. It may be a little stiff to do. There are no screws to undo. Good luck.

    • Thanks I will try it out!

    • Thank you. I’ll try that.

  24. I bought my 9900 in August 2014 and have had no real problems with it. I didn’t have any lessons, just went through the instruction book. One mistake I made was using the straight sewing needle plate for embroidery. It was fabulous (great embroidery results). I took this needle plate off, cleaned the machine as instructed then I had problems with embroidery. Ripped my hair hair out trying to fix problem. Re-read instructions. Changed needle quite a few times etc etc. Even went back to Janome store to check whether I was threading properly, blah blah blah. Tried what she said, still a problem. One last trick up my sleeve before I took machine back. As last resort I went back to instruction book. Guess what? I was using the wrong needle plate. I found the slight variations on the needle plate itself. Using the embroidery needle plate, the embroidery is perfect again.
    One of the ladies at a different Janome shop had told me you did not need to change it for embroidery. I had this in the back of my mind all along. So girls, please make sure you change the needle plate for embroidery, also read instruction book carefully in front of your machine and try the instructions out

    Also when I bought the 9900 it came with the Janome Digitiser Junior as a freebie and I have had no trouble using reputable dealers embroidery designs. Machine cost me $3000, complete with the latest Digitizer Junior software, valued at $495 Aussie dollars, free. I would highly recommend the Janome 9900!!

  25. Hi! purchased my Janome 9900 back in September 2014. Haven’t had a chance to explore embroidery except once. I had a Kenmore sewing machine for 17 years that was really a nice experience but needed a replacement. I am still confused if this was a good choice to buy 9900 since I am very good at sewing but don’t know if I will learn to use all the features on the embroidery on this machine. Looking at the manual the options seems endless.Are the built in designs on 9900 enough or this machine encourages to purchase online designs and import? Please advice since I still have the option to get a 6600 by Janome and return this one.

    • If the shop where you purchased your machine offers embroidery lessons, you should take them. It’s a little complicated to learn on your own. Embroidery is lots of fun and you might enjoy it.

    • Juhi, No embroidery machine “built-in” designs will be enough. Frankly, i rarely use them. I buy the deigns I need/want. The Janome 9900 has USB an it is easy to transfer designs from your PC to the machine. BUT, pls. Read the above discussion on how to do it. It is tricky but once you understand it, it works. I love my 9900.


    • Juhi, I would keep the 9900 but I am so into machine embroidery. There are good built in embroidery designs, but there are heaps and heaps of others online at a reasonable cost and you can download them in the JEF format (for Janome current machines). I am like Stacie, I love my 9900 too. I have done more embroidery than ordinary sewing up to this date. Try and have some lessons from place of purchase, for the machine embroidery.


  26. Love my Janome 9900 which I purchased last summer. I am puzzled about one thing and hope you can help. With my older Janome embroidery machine I could open an embroidery file (I will use a flower design as an example) and then go into the edit mode and add lettering so all could be viewed on the screen and stitched out at the same time. This was a big hit with my kids who liked to see their name included on things I embroidered for them. Is there a way to combine a design and text with this machine? I will go bonkers if I am no longer able to do this.

    • Susan, yes this can be done easily. Go back to your Dealer and ask for a demo. This would be much better than me writing it in the comments section of this blog!!

      • You have no idea how relieved I am! I much appreciate your response and will follow up with my dealer this week.

  27. I have purchased Janome 9900 in 2014

    I love it

    • I bought mine a little over a year ago, and I love it too. I haven’t done much embroidery on it yet, but did try out that part and I very pleased with it. I’m looking forward to doing more embroidery after I finish a few quilts for friends.


    Stacie, THANK YOU! My neighbor recently purchased a Janome 9900 and asked for my help with the “computer” side of her machine. I was going nuts trying to figure out how to get from the thumb drive to the 9900. THANK YOU for explaining the process (convoluted and crazy as it is)! She is *thrilled* now with her machine.

    And I no longer feel I’ve lost my computer cred.


  29. I purchased my Janome 9900 in October! I’ve not sewn a stitch in years. I’ve done some patches on leather vests with no problems using a leather needle. I’ve not done much conventional sewing but it does work great. The screen for altering designs is awesome! I’m buying all kinds of projects the transfer process is painless as stated it is sad that it is just not a bit bigger in stitch field and I’m so hooked I may upsize already! If you are just starting out this is a great little machine!

  30. I have just received my 9900 as a birthday present, I am confused about the two sewing plates, the instruction manual States to use the straight stitch plate for embroidery, so when do I use the embroidery plate? Am I using the correct plate for embroidery? Also the top thread keeps breaking, I have turned down the tension, but feel that the embroidery threads are not as strong as normal sewing threads, can I use the normal threads for embroidery?

  31. I absolutely love this machine. High quality to the embroidery, silent, easy to thread, great with so many lights to light up work area. I was told in the shop that sells Janome that it easily can sew heavier fabrics, and I have tried both canvas, leather, suede (several layers) without any problem at all. The machine should come with all three hoops is my opinion. As it is now you have to by the smallest one separate.

  32. The 99000 senses which plate is installed. It will not function if the wrong plate is installed for the function selected. You use the embroidery plate when the machine is set to “embroidery”. I use embroidery thread to embroidery. The thread is designed to handle the speed of embroidering .

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