Janome 3160QDC-T Review
Pros: Automatic thread cutter, easy to use
Cons: Expensive, built-in light can create harsh shadows
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|Pros||Automatic thread cutter, easy to use||Automatic thread cutter, tons of stitch options||Good sewing performance, easy to use, high value||Excellent lighting, clear and easy stitch selection, very easy buttonhole set-up||Excellent straight stitching on cotton jersey, very easy to get stitches set up|
|Cons||Expensive, built-in light can create harsh shadows||Big learning curve||A bit harder to set up||Trouble with the bottom of zippers, basic side-mounted manual thread cutter||Lacks a needle up/down button, no presser foot lock, trouble with bottom strap of average zipper|
|Bottom Line||An easy to set up and use machine with slightly above average stitches and a high price tag||An all-around great machine with more than enough stitches for even the pickiest sewer||A great machine for the price and a good bet for both beginning and seasoned users||Good for those starting out, but advanced users will get better performance out of other machines||Great machine for a beginning sewer, but lacking a few helpful computerized features|
|Rating Categories||Janome 3160QDC-T||Singer 9960 Quantum...||Singer 7258 Stylist||Brother CS6000i||Brother CS5055|
|Ease of use (35%)|
|Specs||Janome 3160QDC-T||Singer 9960 Quantum...||Singer 7258 Stylist||Brother CS6000i||Brother CS5055|
|# of Built-in Stitches||60||600||100||60||60|
|# of Buttonhole Styles||6||13||6||7||7|
|Measured Weight||13.5 lbs||19.7 lbs||14.6 lbs||9.4 lbs||10.8 lbs|
|Maximum Sewing Speed (stitches per minute)||N/A||850||750||850||750|
|Buttonhole Sewing (number of steps)||1-Step||1-Step||1-Step||1-Step||1-Step|
|Maximum Stitch Width||7mm||7mm||6mm||7mm||7mm|
|Maximum Stitch Length||5mm||5mm||4.8mm||5mm||5mm|
|Automatic Bobbin Winder?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Twin Needle Capability?||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Janome 3160QDC-T is quite a sewing machine. Priced at the top of the machines we tested, this heavy machine has 60 built-in stitches and six buttonholes styles with a truly automatic thread cutter that was an absolute joy to use. It really excelled at sewing zippers as well, and doing buttonholes were a breeze. Overall, this is a great machine for someone with a lot of sewing experience who wants to buy something that will last and isn't afraid to pay for what they want.
With very high scores on the straight stitch and the basting stitch, our reviewers were impressed with how evenly the stitching was on the 3160QDC-T and how clean and flat the various materials lay. Then we tested the zig-zag stitches and were very unimpressed. No matter which material was used — satin, chiffon, cotton jersey — the tension was overly tight, causing bunching and uneven stitching on the bottom side. In fact, the scallop stitching was the lowest of any score of any machine, and the blind hem wasn't much better.
But then we got to the zipper test, and all was forgiven. Super smooth and easy, the bottom stop of the zipper went right under the presser foot with no problems or hitches at all, giving a beautiful, finished product and earning a perfect score from our testers. The multi-layer denim test was also very, very good, with even and consistent stitching despite the thickness of the layers.
Ease of Use
With clear, clean, easy instructions, the Janome 3160QDC-T earned a high score for this metric. From the stitch set-up to the consistent needle stop position to the automatic thread cutter that really was automatic, this machine was a breeze to set up and use.
There is a very nice lit onscreen display showing which presser foot you need or which mode you are in — button, bobbin, etc. The stitches are all clearly labeled and numbered, and though there is no label for stitch tension, the average or commonly-used tensions are marked. Our testers found it all refreshingly clear and well-labeled and particularly liked the lighted screen.
But all was not joy with the Janome 3160QDC-T. We found that, though the bobbin winding and loading instructions were very clear and concise, the actual wind itself was lacking. The sewing light is also very average, illuminating only a small area with some shadowing to the left.
A good, easy-to-use buttonhole attachment that provides you with smooth, symmetrical buttonholes can go a long way toward making up for other things that are lacking in a sewing machine. Fortunately, the Janome 3160QDC-T scored above average in both buttonhole set-up and quality. There are no colored lines to help you line up the buttonhole, and there is a plastic wall that somewhat impedes your view, but sewing the buttonhole itself is a breeze and provides a clean, smooth end product.
It's difficult to set a value on a sewing machine because each person has specific needs and desires. Overall, the Janome 3160QDC-T scored well, and we believe that the pros far outweigh the cons. While we would certainly not recommend this sewing machine for a beginner, an experienced sewist who has the money to spend would enjoy this machine for many, many years. Still, the price is very high, and other machines scored better in our lineup while costing much less, making this one not a very good value.
The Janome 3160QDC-T will not be everybody's cup of tea, but the ease of set-up, the lit screen showing how to select your stitches, the beautiful buttonholes, and the superb zippering all help make this sewing machine a great one to own if you are willing to part with the cash.
— Austin Palmer and Ruth Bruckbauer
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