Not Martha

my Juki and me

Craft magazine blog is doing a round up of what sewing machines crafters actually use and you can see the all of the posts so far here. If you’re thinking about buying a machine there is a round up of articles and three solid recommendations in the mid-range round up post, and see Stitch Lounge recommends starter machines, and one serious Bernina.

You can read about my machine, a Juki, at Craft blog here.

I chose it primarily because it has a longer than normal arm, meaning I can shove unusual things underneath it. My machine isn’t an industrial, though Juki is a name usually associated with industrial machines. This is, as far as I can tell, Juki’s first portable home machine (and I think they have a newer model now). It’s mostly metal and pretty heavy, but it has a handle and is transportable (I’ve owned it over a span of five homes now). I used industrial machines in college and was comfortable with only have a straight stitch, though the lack of a free arm is an occasional drawback. (I do have an old Singer with a free arm and button hole features, as well as a serger that I have used twice. Twice.)


Picture from afar to show the knee presser foot lift, a tremendous saver of aggravation. See this picture in Flickr with Notes.

I’m pretty sure I inspired Cinnamon of Poise to buy the same sewing machine after raving about it in emails, and after the holidays I’m going to have to do this to mine as well. I’ve hesitated to pry the bottom off, but I can see the fuzz that has accumulated deep inside and it’s time.

updated: Oh wow, you can actually buy a very similar model on Amazon.com now, when I sought mine out it took a lot of research to find an online seller.

· comments [15] · 12-5-2006 · categories:sewing ·

15 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Dr. B. // Dec 5, 2006 at 11:06 am

    This is great, great, GREAT! Hearing from other people what they use/like is key! Thank you so much for posting this.

  • 2 Sarah // Dec 5, 2006 at 4:44 pm

    I have a Brother CS-8150 that I bought from Wal-Mart for about $300. I love it and use it all the time. The only problem I’ve encountered is the automatic needle threader doesn’t work anymore. I can get it fixed but don’t want to part with my machine for very long! It also took a while to figure out how to wind the bobbin thread but I’ve now got it figured out. Threading the machine is a cinch and it has a lot of stitch functions which I take advantage of.

    I bought the Brother because I read somewhere that Brother makes the computer innards for the Bernina machines.

  • 3 RR Anderson // Dec 5, 2006 at 5:45 pm

    I found my wife a nice little Pfaff creative 14** on craigslist. This machine was recommended to us by death-portrait quilting superstar Deidre Scherer. My wife taught me how to sew on it too, she thinks the Pfaff kicks ass.

  • 4 Naik’s News » Sewing machine roundup // Dec 5, 2006 at 8:25 pm

    [...] I’m hoping to get sewing lessons this Christmas. First I need a sewing machine. For the last couple of weeks, the CRAFT magazine blog has been reviewing entry level machines. I have a Juki TL-98E, it’s a straight stitch machine usually marketed towards quilters. I bought when I was starting The Organized Knitter for purely practical reasons – knee presser foot lift, extra wide and tall area under the arm, a very large removable working surface, and mostly metal body and parts. I got to use a lot of industrial machines in college and trusted the brand. Because it is a straight stitch machine it is very fast and strong, and I have not missed zig zag or decorative stitches yet. I’ve used it nearly every day for about three years and have had no troubles, which makes me very happy. The only disadvantage is the lack of a free arm which would be nice to have when doing things such as hemming cuffs. — Megan Reardon of Not Martha [...]

  • 5 Anita // Dec 6, 2006 at 7:09 am

    I’ve heard it called a light industrial machine – it sews 3 times faster than other home sewing machines. I have the Brother equivalant and love it! And there now are other brands coming out with similar types of machines.

  • 6 laurel // Dec 6, 2006 at 7:11 am

    My “vintage” Bernina 830 was a high school graduation present and while it is a great machine with many great features, the knee presser foot lifter is probably the one I appreciate the most. It’s great to see that manufacturers of home machines are still making these – I’ve only seen them on the older Berninas. The importance of metal parts can’t be overstated, either – I’ve dragged this baby back and forth across the country several times and it still works like a dream.

  • 7 kerflop // Dec 8, 2006 at 1:35 pm

    Thank you very much for posting this, I’ve been combing the internet and asking my blog readers for advice as I’m ready to turn in my necchi.

  • 8 Cinnamon // Dec 10, 2006 at 8:35 pm

    You are indeed the inspiration for the Juki purchase. Juki was a name I’d heard only associated with industrial machines and I was afraid that it would be too expensive to repair. I’ve had my Juki for almost three years now and with the amount of time that I’ve logged on the machine, I’ve been delighted and happy to never need repairs. I like that I can take it apart and clean it (it really isn’t scary at all, just get a bowl for screws so you don’t lose them. And I tell myself that I will be able to figure out what part needs to be fixed and replace it all by myself. Although I’m hoping that won’t happen.

    And it took a while, but I can now hear when I’m about ready to run out of thread. Which is great for those top-stitching areas that I want to have on continuous line of thread for. I recommend this machine to anyone sewing heavy duty fabrics, or doing heavy sewing.

  • 9 megan // Dec 10, 2006 at 10:53 pm

    Cinnamon – doing purses do you miss the free arm? I imagine you would need one more often than I would.

  • 10 Cinnamon // Dec 11, 2006 at 4:11 pm

    I’ve managed to work around it, actually. Sometimes it would be nice, but I’m happy enough with the ability to smoothly go over tons of seams that I don’t miss it too much.

    I have a serger that I bought at a yard sale that I need to get a manual for and overcome my fear of. I think that would be helpful for many things.

  • 11 Linda Conn // Oct 17, 2008 at 6:24 am

    Hi- I have a new Juki TL-98Q and am having a terrible time breaking needles. I am using a thick polyester batting. Could it be a problem with the batting? Or the type of thread? I broke at least 10 needles on my first quilt!! HELP!!!!

  • 12 megan // Oct 17, 2008 at 8:40 am

    Linda – I have not used the machine for quilting so I’m afraid I cannot diagnose. Are you using heavy weight needles? I use Denim needles when I know the fabric is going to be thick.

  • 13 Jennifer // Oct 18, 2008 at 1:39 pm

    Thanks for writing about your Juki. I just purchased the same machine (called the 25-DX here in Japan) last week, and I am in love. I already wonder what I did without it.

  • 14 WyoCarol // Jan 13, 2010 at 11:51 pm

    Ok Ladies I think I have another solution for the Juki TL-98Q Upper thread breakage. I just spent 7 hours unpicking the loopy thread on 4 rows of my quilt. I tried again and it did it again. so I got that scrap piece of quilt sandwich and started testing. (I was a machinest for 10 years and was gonna figure this crap out) I did all the typical things that have been suggested.

    1-Check to see if it’s threaded Right

    2-Check the upper thread tension

    3-Change the needle

    4-Check the bobbin tension

    5-Use silicon on a sponge and have the thread drag thru it.

    6-??? #5 helped me figure out my problem. as your threading your machine… when you get to the last stationary loop before you go down to the loop on the needle shaft…… Mine was jumping out of that thing enuff that even tho it looked like it was threaded thru there is WASN”T!!!! so as you r going along it shreading itself on the out side and that where those dang loops on the under side come from.. then it just breaks.

    SOLUTION— 1st I opened the door that covers the light and you can see a tiny screw that holds that particular loop in place. If you losen it just enuff you will notice it will swivel some. Mine was laying back against the body of the machine so I tipped it up as far as it would go and tightened it. Then I began to sew some more. Seamed to work and then WALLA out again.

    2nd you know thos type of paper clips that are like jaws but if you flip their little handles over they will lay against your paper??? I got a tiny one of those and clipped it in such a way that the thread is untouched but it can’t get out of that loop any more. Time to chage the thread? Remove the paper clip change the thread and put the clip back. Hows that!!! Need a picture email me at jamesie7@msn.com Carol

  • 15 Michelle // Jun 23, 2012 at 1:37 am

    I have had a Juki for several years now. Mine is the TL-98E, so probably the first one out. I use mine on a quilting frame with a quilter’s cruise control. I have the pressure foot bar set clear up at the top of the scale, and I use TOPSTITCH needles, which gives you a bigger eye. They are sharper too, to go through many layers. In response to Linda’s comment, if she is quilting, and breaking needles, is she running the machine fast enough so when moving the fabric that the needle can keep up? That will break a needle. I love this machine…..but then, I have a sewing machine obsession addiction, and I pretty much love them all! Have fun with your new machine!!

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