My list of wants included:
- Drop-in bobbin
- Convenient reverse
- Easy to thread
- 4-step button hole
- Free arm (just remove the accessory storage)
|Test stitches - Janome 11542
I tested the stitches and played with the tension, using yellow on the top and black in the bobbin so that problems would be easier to spot. The tension dial came pre-set at five, which was fine for most stitches. In fact, it was actually fine for all the stitches but the quality improved at a lower setting for some. Anyway, I marked the tension dial setting for each line of stitching on my test fabric for use as a reference.
The machine runs smoothly and sounds fine - no scary noises. I’m a little concerned about the thread holder, however, as it is plastic and seems a little hard to snap into place. If a kid is going to break something, I put my money there. But I think if it is left in place instead taken off when not in use, it should be fine.
Update 1/22/13 - If you're having sewing machine issues, I just discovered that Craftsy has a free online class that may help. I signed up and so should you!