While visiting Sunshine Sewing and Quilting in Margate, Florida, I had an opportunity to review the Skyline S5 from Janome.

This is one of the most user friendly sewing and quilting machines I have seen in a very long time. Not only is it easy to thread, the stitch selection process is ideal and changing the needle plate is possibly the easiest I have ever seen.

At A Glance

Janome Skyline S5

Janome Skyline S5

Some sewing machines just look like they are well built and capable of handling the tough jobs. The Skyline S5 from Janome is one of those machines. I can’t pinpoint it, but you just know that this is a sturdy machine by its looks.

Conveniently situated function buttons

Conveniently situated function buttons

It has cool blue accents, an on board stitch selection guide, an automatic needle threader, an on board ruler that gives you measurements in both inches and centimeters.

Large monochromatic touch screen

Large monochromatic touch screen

In addition, conveniently situated function buttons allow the user to perform the most essential sewing functions with just a touch of a finger… start/stop; needle up/down; reverse stitch; tie off; and cut.

The large monochromatic touch screen displays the stitch number along with an image of the proper presser foot to use for best results and the default stitch length and width settings. A numerical pad on the column allows you to simply dial up the stitch number easily and quickly.

The on board accessories case easily snaps on and off to give you quick access to the free arm. I was very pleased to discover that the drop feed control switch is located on the right side of the machine, beneath the balance wheel.


  • 170 utility and decorative stitch options
  • 91 needle positions
  • Adjustable stitch length and width
  • Maximum 9mm Stitch Width
  • 6 ultra-bright LED lights
  • Automatic tension adjustment
  • Backlit Digital LCD Screen
  • Start/stop button
  • Automatic thread cutter
  • Reverse button
  • Locking stitch button
  • Needle up/down
  • One-step needle plate converter
  • Knee lift
  • Free arm
  • Drop feed

Working on the Janome Skyline S5

The threading guide on the Janome Skyline S5 is not as clearly defined as you might find on some other sewing and quilting machines, but the process is so simple, detailed guides are not really necessary.

Winding the bobbin is very easy to master. In fact, I don’t think a beginner would have any difficulty mastering these two basic tasks with very little if any assistance at all.

Selecting the right stitch is as simple as referring to the on board stitch selectin guide and dialing up the number on the numerical keypad on the column.

On board stitch selectin guide

On board stitch selectin guide

Once the stitch is selected, the default length and width settings appear as well as the identification for the presser foot that is needed to execute the stitch properly.

If you want to adjust the stitch length or width to accommodate a special desire, merely use the up and down arrows beneath the bright blue LCD display.

Not only are the stitches perfectly formed, the Janome Skyline S5 is whisper quiet and has absolutely no vibration whatsoever.

Stitches perfectly formed

Stitches perfectly formed

I really like the fact that the drop feed control is easily accessible. Finally, I am beginning to feel like the people who design and manufacture sewing machines are beginning to take note.

Needle plate pops up and slides off easily

Needle plate pops up and slides off easily

Rather than hiding the drop feed control, the switch to lower and raise the feed dogs on the Janome Skyline S5 is located on the right hand side of the machine, near the bottom, just a few inches beneath the balance wheel.

On board accessories case

On board accessories case

If you prefer to use the straight stitch needle plate it only takes one hand to complete the task. Although the needle plate pops up and slides off easily, it is only engaged when you depress the black button and not before, making it impossible for the needle plate to become disengaged while you are working.

When you are ready to go back to the standard needle plate, simply pop out the straight stitch plate and reinsert the standard plate.

The on board accessories case is not only functional, it is easy to open and close while it is in place, a feature that is not always as user-friendly on some other machines.

This makes changing presser feet and needles far more efficient than having to remove the case or use two hands just to get into the accessory case.

In addition to everything else, the bright LED lighting makes working on the Janome Skyline S5 even more comfortable while it also helps reduce eye strain.


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


Standard accessories

  • 11 Snap on presser feet
    • Zigzag foot
    • Rolled hem foot
    • Zipper foot
    • Satin stitch foot
    • Blind hemming foot
    • Overcast foot
    • ¼” seam foot
    • Darning foot
    • Automatic buttonhole foot
    • Even feed foot
    • Button sewing foot
  • Quilting guide bar
  • Buttonhole stabilizer plate
  • 5 Bobbins
  • 3 Spool pins (1 large, 1 small, 1 special)
  • Extra spool pin
  • Needle set
  • Screwdriver
  • Lint brush
  • Seam ripper
  • Knee lifter
  • Straight stitch needle plate
  • Stylus
  • Semi-hard fabric cover
  • Instructional video DVD
  • Owner’s manual


Optional accessories

  • Straight stitch foot
  • Ruffler
Buttonhole stabilizer plate

Buttonhole stabilizer plate


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 Skyline S5 is an excellent sewing and quilting machine for the novice as well as the individual who has been sewing for several decades.

I highly recommend this machine for anyone who was at one time an avid home sewer, but put their passion for sewing on hold while raising a family or building a career, and now has the time to once again devote to sewing.

If you are new to sewing and want a machine that has more to offer than a basic sewing machine, the Skyline S5 might just be the machine for you.

It is not one that I would recommend for use by young children, not because it is overly complicated, but because I feel there are less costly, user friendly machines that are better suited for use by children younger than ten years of age.

A child of ten or 12 would do well on the Janome Skyline S5 because it is so easy to operate. Learning to use this machine is easy. The stitch selection process could only be easier if you could push a button to get the stitch you want.

Anyone who has been sewing consistently for a long time will be pleased with the convenient features and the ease of operation as well.

I was particularly impressed with the fact that this machine does not take a lot of time or manipulation to manage its different functions, including changing the settings, stitches, adjusting tension or to raising and lowering the feed dogs.

All in all, the Janome Skyline S5 is a great machine for anyone who likes to sew and is interested in machine quilting, but does not have the luxury of living in a home with enough space to accommodate a large quilting frame, or a long arm quilting machine.

A great machine for anyone

A great machine for anyone

The Skyline S5 is large and sturdy enough to handle those large quilting jobs, but small enough to be stowed away when it is not in use and space is a concern.

The Janome Skyline S5 is one of those machines that is a real treat to work on. It is quiet, does not vibrate, has excellent stitch quality and is so user friendly that it is actually time efficient.

This is a major concern for people who have busy lives and still enjoy sewing. When I’m in the sewing room, I want to get as much done in as little time as possible.

The Janome Skyline S5 fits the bill for quick, efficient sewing in every way possible. This is why I recommend this sewing and quilting machine for anyone for whom time management is a concern.

This machine is uncomplicated yet it has all of the essential features the 21st Century home sewer could want. I believe the Janome Skyline S5 is an excellent choice for home sewers at all skill levels.

Beginners will be happy with it because learning to sew will be a delight. Intermediate and advanced home sewers who are in the market for a new sewing and quilting machine that comes with all the essential features, a large number of stitch choices and durability will appreciate it because of the careful design features like putting the drop feed control in a convenient location.

The individual who set home sewing aside for a career and raising a family will love the fact that adjusting to this new machine after many years away from sewing will be ecstatic with the ease with which they will be able to get back in the swing of sewing and machine quilting.

If you are in the market for a new sewing and quilting machine, regardless of your skill level, you owe it to yourself to visit your local Janome dealer and ask for a demonstration of the Skyline S5 before making a final decision.

Janome Skyline S5 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
  • Easy to change needle plate
  • Easy stitch selection
  • User friendly
  • Manual tension adjustment
5.0Overall Score
Reader Rating: (134 Votes)

24 Responses

    • Vernelle

      Hello, Susan –

      Thank you for visiting Sewing Insight.

      To baste on a sewing machine, select the straight stitch option and then adjust the stitch length to the longest setting.

      Happy stitching.

      • Kay

        Hi I’m having computer problems.
        I turn the machine on and off and I am unable to set a MODE I tried the “reset” to factory settings and it still does not let me select a different MODE.

  1. Dolores

    I am in the market for a sewing machine. I recently visited one of my local Janome dealers in my area, and I must say it is a beautiful machine. My only question to you is that on the fabric selection it seems to only handle light to medium weight materials, denim being the heaviest. Will it not handle upholstery? My other option is that I am also looking at the Juki G210 and the F300 which seems to have to most of the same features, but handle a wider range of materials.

  2. Ev Joens

    The Janome website says that this machine has automatic tension, you just have to push the A on the screen and then you have automatic tension or you can choose to manually adjust it ( I guess by taking the A off the screen).

    • Darlene

      I also read on the Janome Website that this has automatic thread tension AND up above under “Description” it also says automatic tension adjustment…or does that refer to something else? I’m confused by “Con” under the “Review”. Thanks for any clarification on this, 🙂

  3. Rosemary

    I am looking for a machine with a variety of monogramme letters not just capitals

  4. Louise

    Dear Vernelle, thank you so much for all your clear and unbiased machine reviews. I currently have a dear (my first) little Janome DC2050, a very special birthday gift from my sister. Can you please advise what you would suggest is a good Janome machine to be onto after this one? She is very portable, as I take her to sewing lessons without any problem, but was wondering if there is a ‘heavier duty’ Janome, or Pfaff machine after DC2050 and would value your comments/suggestions. Thank you again for your invaluable website.

    • Vernelle

      Hello, Louise –

      Thank you for visiting Sewing Insight.

      Janome has been able to retain its status as one of the most reliable sewing machine brands on the market. Since you already have a Janome and are familiar with the Janome basics, I recommend the light weight, user friendly Janome Magnolia 7330 or one of the machines in what I like to call the Janome annual series. The machines have not changed in the last five years or so … just the color http://www.sewinginsight.com/janome/janome-dc-2012-review/.

      Happy stitching.

  5. Pat

    This machine looks good, but I do a lot of sewing with thick layers on bags and with leather. Will this machine handle both of those?

  6. Michele Etter

    What is the difference between this and the 6600? My 6600 is a workhorse! I love it! Is it worth the money to upgrade?

    • Vernelle

      Hello, Michele –

      Thank you for visiting Sewing Insight.

      The short answer to your question… While the S5 is a very good machine, I would not upgrade from the 6600.

  7. Kathy

    Having trouble with my Janome skyline s5. My seam is loose on the back. I have it on auto tension and have tried adjusting it.mingot it for Christmas it was working fine and now I can’t get a straight stitch. I have it on mode 1 1st stitch at 4.5 and 2.4. Help!

  8. Yvonne Gerichhausen

    First my compliments for your excellent reviews! I live in the Netherlands and its very difficult to find good reviews on sewing machines out here.
    I’m in the market for buying a new sewing machine. I have two favourites right now: the Husqvarna Viking Opal 690Q and the Janome Skyline S5.
    I’m a very experienced sewer, my old machine is a Brother Compal Opus 845, so I’m used to computer based sewing. Wich machine would you advise for me?

    • Vernelle

      Hello, Yvonne –

      Thank you for visiting Sewing Insight and many thanks for the lovely compliments.

      In my opinion, the Janome Skyline S5 is an excellent choice. The Husqvarna/Viking Opal is an excellent machine. However, in my opinion, a person who has been working on an older machine for a very long time would be happier and more comfortable with the S5.

      Happy stitching.

  9. Linda

    Hello Vernelle!
    I’ve looked at the Janome S5 and S7 along with the Viking Sapphire 930 and 960Q (the 960Q is too expensive for my consideration) and wondered what your suggestion would be between the 3. Of Course the S7 is quite a bit more expensive but I liked the auto walking foot and auto fabric thickness adjustment.
    Thank you for your help.

    • Carrie Wilson

      Vernelle’s review is right on the money; I think the S5 (and fancier S7) are like baby sisters to the Janome MC 15000 in many ways only without the embroidery attachment. Both of them have the 9mm stitch width like the ginormous embroidery machines and so many built in decorative, quilting and utility stitches; I bought the S5 this week. I found I could not live without the automatic functions, LED lights, no vibration, and noise level reduction my previous tiny Bernette lacked. The S5 was in my price range, had all the great functions and power that save time, and meets my needs for size, weight, and overall sewing ability.

  10. Lissa

    Hello, I am seriously considering buying this machine, it seems to be highly reviewed and versatile for the many types of sewing that I do. However, I am concerned that you did not rate the machine for use with upholstery or canvas. Would it be able to handle an occasional upholstery or canvas project, or is it not strong enough for these fabrics at all?

  11. D. Humphries

    I have a janome skyline s5. I am always having problems with the walking foot. The metal plate on the bottom keeps slipping off, causing the needle to push into it and the needle then breaks off. Any suggestions what to do?

    • TL

      D. Humphries I have the same problem. The walking foot is unreliable and a bad design. I have went through 2 not using it much at all. Now I am going to my local dealer to see what my options are.

  12. Ely

    Hello Vernelle!
    It’s years I read your reviews, in fact, after reading one of these I’ve decided to buy a Janome DC2160 🙂
    Now I am thinking to upgrade.
    I live in a country where unfortunately there are just few brands and models available and worst no dealers in my area…so I base my research on internte reviews and so on.I am focused between the Skyline S5 and the MC 6300p.
    The “little” DC2160 does the job, I primarily sew edges of thik and bulky materials(woven ,knitted etc.) and quilt and FMQ, but now I am starting to do some garment as skirts and bags and I think I need a sturdier strong machine.
    I’m reading from your review the Skyline does not sew multiple layers so you would suggest I go with the 6300p? I do not need fancy stitches but good quality stitches.
    Thank you in advance.

  13. Alanna

    Would you recommend this machine for quilting? I read in your review that it does not handle multiple layers of fabric well, which is a concern!

  14. Therese J Campagna

    Hello from HOT Sun City Center, Fl,
    Am having problem with Even Feed Foot on Janome Skyline S5. It stays stuck in up position and stitch length goes from 3 to clumped. I’ve learned from another site this is common with Skyline S5. Have also noticed lever on E.F.F. turns slightly to the left. Bought the machine in 2014 and can’t recall if lever on E.F.F. was straight or not. E.F.F came with machine. Used it for 1st time recently and it worked well till 2 days ago. Am reluctant to oil it.
    Thanks and stay cool,


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