After several months of hearing and reading about the Janome Skyline S7, I finally had an opportunity to review it at Sunshine Sewing and Quilting in Margate, FL. This computerized sewing and quilting machine has been highly praised, and is very popular.
So popular, in fact, that when I was forced to postpone reviewing this machine due to illness, they had sold out by the time I had recovered. After that, I had to wait until a new shipment was delivered. On the day I did this review, there were only a few left in stock.
At A Glance
In all honesty, the Janome Skyline S7 looks almost exactly like the Skyline S5 to me.
When I asked Sunshine owner and manager Fay Nicoll to explain the difference between the two machines, she quickly pointed out that that the major external difference between these two machines is the advanced needle threader.
On the S5, the needle threader moves the thread from left to right. The thread moves to the front of the needle on the S7.
An online comparison revealed that the S5 is equipped with the Superior Feed System Plus (SFS) while the S7 has the more up to date AccuFeed. Finally, the Janome website revealed that the stitch selection process is different. The S7 has a touch screen stitch selection process.
Selecting stitches on the S5 is accomplished with direct selection buttons. The final difference between the S5 and the S7 is the number of stitch options.
The S5 has 170 decorative and utility stitches including 10 one step buttonholes. The S7 brings with it 11 buttonholes and a total of 236 stitch options.
The Janome Skyline S7 has an on board stitch selection guide inside the top lid. When it’s closed, the machine has the appearance of a sleek opened, it has the appearance of a sleek 21st Century machine with practically a minimum of visible controls or switches: start/stop; presser foot up/down; thread tie-off/cut; design stop and a three level speed control slider.
The USB port is on the right column with the balance wheel and power switch. Opening the lid not only reveals the stitch selection guide but also the thread and bobbin winder along with detailed threading and bobbin winding guides.
One thing that I noticed that was of particular interest to me was the placement of the drop feed control lever. Rather than hiding it, the folks at Janome seem to have heard my complaints and placed the drop feed control lever on the right side of the machine, beneath the balance wheel.
Beneath the machine head are bright LED lights and a large workspace that features an oversized needle plate that is easily removed with just one hand. Two needle plates come with the S7, one for straight stitches and the other for working with zigzag and decorative stitches.
Rather than the numerical keypad that is found on the S5, the S7 has a large touchpad which is used to select stitches, lock the machine, access the stitch memory and all of the other on board functions that make working on this machine user friendly.
- 240 Onboard decorative and utility stitches
- 11 One-step buttonholes
- 7 Alphanumeric fonts
- Top loading 9mm full rotary hook
- USB port
- Stitch composer stitch creation program
- Automatic thread tension
- On board advanced needle threader
- Easy set bobbin
- Bobbin winding plate with thread cutter
- Function buttons:
- Needle Up/Down
- Presser Foot Lift
- Thread Cutter
- AcuFeed™ flex layered fabric feeding system
- Variable zig-zag for free motion quilting
- One-step needle plate conversion
- Free arm
- On board accessory storage
Working on the Janome Skyline S7
Threading the Janome Skyline S7 and winding the bobbin are completely routine. If you are accustomed to threading any other modern day sewing machine and winding its bobbin, you will have no difficulty in preparing this machine to get down to doing some serious sewing and/or quilting.
The addition of a safety lock is one of the most functional safety features this machine has to offer. By locking the Janome Skyline S7, users are able to thread the needle, change the needle plate and perform other non-sewing tasks without having to worry about injury caused by inadvertently touching he start/stop button in the process.
After the Janome is threaded and the bobbin in place, the next step is to select a stitch option from one of the six on board decorative and utility stitch menus. The needle up/down position and thread tie-off/cut functions can be preprogrammed to increase the efficiency and decrease the time spent performing routine sewing machine tasks.
For this review, I sampled several stitch options and discovered that the quality of the stitches produced by the Janome Skyline S7 is superior to many other sewing and quilting machines in its class.
- Natural fibers/cotton-linen-wool
- Fine fabrics/silk-satin-taffeta/velvet
- Synthetic fabrics/blends-rayon-polyester
- Reptile skin
- Extra thick fabrics or multiple layers
- 9 Snap on presser feet
- ¼” Seam Foot
- Zigzag foot
- AcuFeed Flex™ dual feed holder with AD foot
- Automatic buttonhole foot
- Blind hem foot
- Darning foot
- Overedge foot
- Rolled hem foot
- Satin stitch foot
- Seam ripper
- Extra large foot controller
- Spool pins
- Owner’s manual
- Extra needles
- Spool caps
- Snap on presser feet
- 3-way cording foot
- AcuFeed Flex™ ¼” seam foot (twin)
- AcuFeed Flex™ holder and foot (single)
- AcuFeed open toe foot
- AcuFeed straight stitch foot
- AcuFeed zipper foot (single)
- Applique foot
- Beading foot narrow
- Beading foot wide
- Binder foot
- Blue tip needles
- Bobbin (specialized)
- Bobbin holder for free motion quilting
- Bobbins (plastic)
- Border guide foot
- Button sewing foot
- Buttonhole foot
- Buttonhole stabilizer plate
- Circular sewing attachment
- Clear view 1/4 seam foot 9mm
- Clear view quilting foot and guide set
- Concealed zipper foot
- Crafting and home decor accessory kit
- Ditch quilting foot
- Ditch quilting foot for AcuFeed Flex™
- Edge guide foot
- Fashion and finishing kit
- Free motion couching foot
- Free motion quilting closed toe foot
- Free motion quilting holder
- Free motion quilting open toe foot
- Free motion quilting zig-zag foot
- Gathering foot
- Ultraglide foot
- 9 Piece scissor kit
- Horizontal spool holder
- Long quilting guide bar set
- Needle set
- Needle threader
- Optic magnifier
- Pink and white pincushion
- Purple tip needle
- Quilt binder set
- Quilting accessory kit
- Red tip needle
- Remote thread cutter switch
- Skyline accessory case
- Sliding guide foot 9mm
- Spool stand (2 threads)
- Ultraglide needle plate and foot set
- Universal sewing table
|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
To sum it all up, I find the Janome Skyline S7 to be a superior sewing and quilting machine. The machine is extremely quiet. I didn’t notice any vibration until the speed setting was set at its highest level, and even then, the amount of vibration was minimal.
This could have been caused by the fact that it was not set up on a sewing table, but on a folding worktable instead. My guess is that if this machine were mounted on a more stable surface, especially a table or desk designed to support a sewing machine, there would be no vibration whatsoever.
The Janome Skyline S7 is an excellent choice for someone who is learning how to sew. I hesitate, however, to recommend it for use by a child younger than 10 or 12 years of age. It isn’t the least bit complicated, but it could be a bit intimidating for a young child.
I believe an older child, teenager or adult would be quite comfortable learning the art of sewing on this very sturdy sewing machine. An experienced home sewer or someone who has taken a break from sewing for a few years and returning to the sewing machine would have no problem adjusting to the features found on the Janome Skyline S7 that may not have been available on machines they operated in the past.
The workspace is extra-large, making it possible to quite handle on small to medium size quilting projects with ease. The free arm and on board accessory storage are merely added advantages.
When compared with the Janome Skyline S5, the S7 is a comparable machine, offering a few additional stitch options and a little more convenience. While the advanced needle threader is a significant difference between the two machines, I feel that the biggest difference is the stitch selection process.
Some people prefer to dial up a stitch on a numerical keypad while others are more comfortable with a touchscreen. In my opinion, the decision between purchasing the S5 or the S7 rests largely with that one consideration.
Before making a decision to purchase the S5 or the S7, I recommend that you take the time to visit an authorized Janome dealer in your area and try them both for yourself. Ask for a demonstration and make your own comparison. I have no doubt that you will be happy with either one.
The Janome Skyline S7 is definitely a well-built, reliable sewing and quilting machine. You cannot imagine my surprise when I learned that Janome has already released the Skyline S9. My first response was to wonder whether or not folks at Janome were losing it until I discovered that it is a step above the S7.
The S9 is a combination sewing, quilting and embroidery machine that has all the features of the S7, but comes with additional utility and decorative stitch options along with three embroidery hoops
- 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.
- State of the art safety features
- Last stitch recall
- Noticeable vibration when sewing at the highest speed setting