The Janome Sew Mini:  A ReFashionista Review 1
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The Janome Sew Mini: A ReFashionista Review

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As most of you know, I like to bring a little friend with me when I travel.  His name is Janome.  🙂

Heeeey Ladies!
Heeeey Ladies!

I get a lot of questions about this little guy, so I thought I write up a review for you to share my thoughts on this Tiny Tim of the sewing machine world.  🙂

This is the Janome Sew Mini 2-Stitch Sewing Machine.  I bought this machine strictly for travel purposes.  I prefer to not mess with checked bags when I fly, so I needed something that could fit in my carry on while still leaving room for other necessities…which it definitely does!

Not bad!
Not bad!

Weighing in at 8 lbs, the Janome Sew Mini is 10 lbs lighter than my regular Brother XL-3750.  This will definitely make your arm happy when you’re wheeling your luggage through a big airport.

There are plenty of mini sewing machines in the world, but I kept encountering at least one of two problems with them.

1.  They have terrible reviews.

"I must have been on medication when I clicked BUY!"  Not exactly a ringing endorsement.
“I must have been on medication when I clicked BUY!” Not exactly a ringing endorsement.

2.  They look like these.

No thank you.
I have done away with childish things.
I have done away with childish things.

The Janome Sew Mini  seemed like a healthy mix of decent quality and grown-up design.  Janome is a respected brand, and this little feller is made in the same factory that makes their bigger, fancier machines.

Several of you have asked if I think this would be a good first sewing machine for a total beginner.  I’m going to go against most of the reviewers and say no, unless you’re a small child.  Most retailers sell this machine for about $70.  For just $30 more, you could buy a much better machine with features like a light, several stitches, a zipper foot, a 1-step buttonhole attachment, and it will sew much faster (Seriously…this machine is incredibly sllllow.)  I’ve also had issues with getting this machine to sew through thicker fabrics, like denim or over zippers.

That being said, the Sew Mini is extremely user-friendly…even if this is simply a result of not having many features.  It has a drop-in bobbin, and threading it is a breeze.  I’ve used it a good bit and haven’t had any issues with any plastic parts snapping off.  Getting it through airport security isn’t too much trouble (although I did get stopped and searched once) either.

The Janome Sew Mini is a great travel buddy and a decent backup machine.  But if you’re just getting started, its limitations will probably frustrate you, and $70 seems a bit much for such a basic machine.



  • Folasade Oginni

    Just read this review, what sewing machine would you recommend for a beginner (not a mini sewing machine) that costs about $100.thank you

  • Jen

    Yay! My daughter has this machine, and after a million pillows she’s ready to move on to new projects. She just started a sewing class, and the instructor asked that she get a zipper foot for the Sew Mini. Is it sort of a hack, since they’re not standard for it? Did you find a way to do it? Thanks much!

    • ReFashionista

      I just pulled mine out, and I don’t see how to attach a zipper foot, since the one foot it has doesn’t seem to be switch-outable. :/

  • Alice

    I have a Janome Mini, too! Love it – and I also have a 6600P and a 1600P QC Mid Arm on a Grace frame – love all my Janome babies!

  • CindyT.

    You are too funny with the little kitty and “barbie” machine! lol!
    I also am in the market for a non-travel machine, I noticed your brother -wondering if it has made you super happy? My brother has lasted so long it is ancient now, I’m ready for an upgrade. Would appreciate your advise. I don’t sew much more than you do – just personal use and refashion purposes.

  • h

    What machine *would* you suggest for a new sewer? I have an 8yo who is dyyying to start sewing! (She loves your before and after pics, BTW)

    • ReFashionista

      Ah! See my “unless you’re a small child” comment which I really should have clarified. This machine would be great for an 8-year-old due to its size and lightness (they can carry it around to where they want to work easily). It’s nice and unintimidating.

      Also, because it sews so slowly, their fabric won’t “get away” from them like it would on a bigger/faster machine.

      I totally recommend this as a kid’s machine. 🙂

        • Laura

          I hope you don’t mind if I add a comment here. I don’t have a machine to recommend for a child but a feature to look for: variable speed. My machine can be adjusted from very slow to very fast and it’s a great feature. It has allowed my kids to feel comfortable sewing first at a slow speed, and I can use it on fast myself.

What do you think?

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