I recently had the opportunity to test-drive Janome's brand new MC500E embroidery machine....and what a machine it is!
The 500E is a dedicated embroidery machine that rivals the embroidery quality of some of it's more expensive cousins from the Janome line-up (the MC12000 and MC15000). While I think the 15000MC embroidery quality is hard to beat, the MC500E comes close, but is offered at a more reasonable price. This makes it an excellent choice if you are only looking for an embroidery machine without the sewing capabilities of the more expensive (but amazing) 10,000 series.
As with any new machine, I am always nervous about the learning curve and how fast I will be able to get "up and running." Fortunately, this machine was very easy to set up, partly because it had the familiarity of other Janome machines I've used. Also, because the manual gave clear instructions. After reading the basic set up, it was just a matter of threading the machine, transferring a file, attaching my hoop, lowering the foot, and pressing start.
One of my favorite things about this machine is that you can hook up your PC to it. I don't like to have to transfer to a memory stick, then stick it in the machine...I'd just rather hook up my laptop and easily transfer the design--it saves me a step. It also keeps my laptop nearby so I can make any necessary changes to a design should I change my mind in how I digitized a design.
The 500E comes with a simple embroidery program. I did not dabble in it too much except to open the logo design that I had already digitized in the Artistic Suite (a more powerful embroidery software by Janome.) I was able to easily transfer the design from the embroidery software that the 500e came with to the machine.
I tested out a rather complicated design that I recently digitized, to see how the machine would handle. While I experienced some thread breakage, it was minimal.
The machine comes with 4 hoops of varying size. I wanted to see the largest hoop in action to get a feel for how big this machine can go. Hoop size is always important when selecting an embroidery machine. The largest hoop that comes with the 500E is 200x280mm. It is a generous area and allowed me to embroider the logo, from my husband's veteran's organization, across the back of his shirt. I could have gone even larger, but did not opt to fill the entire hoop area with design. The largest hoop also allows you do utilize the quilting patterns that come built into the machine. The other hoops range between 140x140mm, 140x200mm, and 200x200mm.
The hoops are easy to use, and simple to snap in place. I had to switch back and forth between black and white bobbin thread as my design went through the various steps. I was impressed that the hoop stayed lined up each time I had to detach then reattach.
This machine steps above the previous embroidery dedicated machines from the 200 and 300 series, boasting a larger full color touch screen. The screen is easy to navigate, and gives a great amount of valid information. I appreciated the ability to see the stitch count through the design. I also liked the clock showing approximately how much longer the design had to embroider. Their is a cursor that appears over the part of the design that is actively being stitched. You have the ability to change the alignment, and edit right there on the screen.
The machine comes preloaded with 160 great designs. While you can go through and view the designs on the machines display, I appreciated that they are also pictured in the back of the instruction manual--so you can see all of them at a glance. The preloaded designs include a selection of boy and girl themed designs, some decorative floral and geometric designs, some quilting designs, borders, and monograms alphabets and more. There's plenty to keep you busy on projects for quite a while. When you are ready for more designs, you can check out Janome's Acudesign app that allows you to download more designs and edit right on your iPad.
Of course one of the best things about an embroidery machine is the fun in watching it stitch like magic. My eight year old son loves this part the most! He helped me choose thread colors too. He was most impressed with the speed at which it stitched.
This is the result of my first project with this machine!
standingquietly.com This organization is 1 year young this month. He has a simple concept that is making a huge impact on communities in bringing more awareness to Veterans Day and filling people with a sense of good ol' American pride. Stop by to see what you can do in your community to make Veteran's Day a day to be remembered and not forgotten.