Not long ago, I took a trip to Stuart Sew and Vac in Jensen Beach, Florida to see the newly re-designed store. While there, I had an opportunity to review the Juki HZL 355 ZW-A.
At A Glance
When I first saw the Juki HZL 355 ZW-A, I instantly thought that it would be a good choice for children to learn the art of sewing.
The warm pink color, the easy to understand stitch selection guide, the large window that displays the stitch setting and the oversized reverse button are not only kid friendly, but user friendly for anyone with a challenge with arthritis or some other sort of mobility challenge.
The drop in bobbin, on board needle threader and large dials that control the thread tension and stitch length and width settings are also designed to make the sewing experience an enjoyable one for children as well as home sewers who like to keep things simple and uncomplicated.
There is also an on board seam guide and a thread cutter on the left side of the machine. The stitch selection dial and buttonhole balance control dial are situated on the right column beneath the balance wheel.
- 26 Utility and decorative stitch options
- One 1-step buttonhole
- Manual thread tension adjustment
- Adjustable presser foot pressure
- On board thread cutter
- One step buttonhole
- Buttonhole balance control dial
- Automatic needle threader
- On board accessory storage
- Adjustable stitch length and width
- Large stitch display window
- Reverse stitch lever
- Patten selector dial
- Drop feed
Working on the Juki HZL 355 ZW-A
Easy to following guides on top of the Juki HZL 355 ZW-A make the processes of winding the bobbin and threading easy enough for a child in elementary school to master.
Once those tasks are complete, the stitch selection process is equally as easy. All it takes is a turn of the dial on the right side of the machine. The selected stitch appears in the large magnifier window on the column.
While sewing on the Juki HZL 355 ZW-A, I found it to be stable, sturdy and quiet with no noticeable vibration at all. The stitches produced by this machine are well defined, sturdy and secure.
There are not as many stitch options as one would find on a machine with more features; but the stitch options that are available on the Juki HZL 355 ZW-A are all that are needed for basic clothing construction, sewing accessories or for making home décor items such as throw pillows, curtains and table accessories like napkins, table runners, placemats and tablecloths.
- Natural fibers/cotton-linen-wool
- Fine fabrics/silk-satin-taffeta/velvet
- Synthetic fabrics/blends-rayon-polyester
- Reptile skin
- Extra thick fabrics or multiple layers
- 4 Snap on presser feet
- Standard foot
- Zipper foot
- Buttonhole foot
- Button sewing foot
- 2 Screwdrivers (1 large/1 small)
- Spool pin felt
- Seam ripper/lint brush
- Extra needles
- 4 Bobbins
- Quilt guide
- Spool cap
- Auxiliary spool pin
- Hard case
- 9 Snap on presser feet
- Decorate stitch foot
- Overcasting foot
- Rolled hemming foot
- Cording foot
- Blind stitch foot
- Quilt foot
- Straight stitch foot
- Gathering foot
- Walking foot
- Twin needle
|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
I like the look and feel of the Juki HZL 355 ZW-A. My one and only complaint about the design of this machine is the placement of the drop feed control lever.
It is impossible to gain access to the drop feed control lever without first removing the accessories case – which is necessary workspace unless you are using the free arm.
Anyone who has taken the time to read the reviews on this site know that this is my pet peeve with many of the newer sewing machines on the market.
Making it necessary to stop and remove the work table in order to gain access to the drop feed control lever is a design flaw that could only be installed by someone who knows sewing machines, but has no idea about their actual use.
In my opinion, anyone who uses a sewing machine in a real sewing room would know that the drop feed control absolutely MUST be easily accessible.
Having to stop working to remove the accessories case/work table and put it back in order to successfully accomplish a free motion sewing task is not only time consuming, it is highly inefficient and just plain impractical.
While it is true that going through the process of taking off the accessories case and putting it back to perform a free motion sewing task and putting it back only takes a few seconds, but those few seconds add up when time is of the essence.
Everyone has obligations outside the sewing room and the more efficient a sewing machine is, the more we can accomplish with our limited time in the sewing room. I like the easy to use stitch length and width adjustment dials and the presser foot adjustment control.
The placement of the tension adjustment and buttonhole balance control dials is not only user friendly, but ergonomic and efficient. My only wish is that one day I will be able to say the same thing about the drop feed control lever.
My other concern about the Juki HZL 355 ZW-A is the fact that I could not find it on the Juki website. I did, however, find the manual online. The interesting thing is that the primary language in the manual is Japanese.
After scrolling through several pages, I did find English translations of the Japanese language pages in manual. While I have encountered this phenomenon with other machines in the past, I must say that the English translation in this manual was superior to others I have seen.
It was obvious that this translation was written by someone who truly knows and understands the English language. The grammar, spelling and sentence structure are perfectly written, easy to read and understand.
The Juki HZL 355 ZW-A is an ideal sewing machine for youngsters who are learning how to sew. It is also an excellent choice for use in the dormitory room, for carrying to and from sewing class and for senior citizens who are more comfortable with simple sewing machines that do not have lots of features or options that they might find intimidating.
I would not recommend the Juki HZL 355 ZW-A for anyone who is in the market for a sewing machine that can offer lots of different stitch options.
I also hesitate to recommend its use for very large jobs that require working with lots of heavy fabrics or large quilting jobs.
Even though the HZL 355 ZW-A has a presser foot adjustment feature, I believe this lightweight machine would be able to provide longer periods of uninterrupted service if the use of fabrics heavier then jeans weight denim was limited.
Using it to work on very heavy fabric over a prolonged period of time could have an effect on the machine’s ability to perform over time, possibly requiring more frequent service calls.
In my opinion, a better choice for working on those large sewing and quilting jobs and working with heavy fabrics would be one of the machines in the Juki HZL Exceed series.
These machines are built to handle quilts and heavy fabrics with ease. In my opinion, the HZL 355 ZW-A is better used for light to medium weight fabrics.
The Juki HZL 355 ZW-A is a no frills sewing machine that one that just might be a perfect fit for your personal style and your very own sewing room. If you are in the market for a good basic sewing machine that is best used for working with light to medium weight fabrics, you owe it to yourself and your sewing room to take the time to visit your local Juki dealer.
Ask for a demonstration of the HZL 355 ZW-A and compare it to several other machines in its class. No doubt you will come to the same conclusion I did… HZL 355 ZW-A is a very good basic sewing machine. It’s not perfect, but it gets very high marks where it really matters.
- 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.
- Good option for beginners of all ages
- Placement of drop feed control lever