Review: The Janome AMH M100 Sewing Machine

19 Dec

Good morning, everyone! I have a review post today (if you’re not into reviews, no worries – I will have a ~normal~ post later this week, too! So much catching up on projects before the year ends!) – for a sewing machine! NGL, I am pretty excited about this little machine.

As you may or may not know, I started working for Craft South earlier this year. Craft South is an adorable little fabric/yarn/crafty store, located in the seriously hip 12 South neighborhood in Nashville, TN, and owned by our fearless leader, Anna Maria Horner. In addition to our sewing, fiber and other craft supplies, we also sell Janome sewing machines. Now, I am not particularly attached to any one brand of sewing machine – I have several different brands that I use at home myself – and I strongly believe that all brands are good brands, it’s just a matter of what fits best with your budget and needs. Whenever I have the opportunity to try out a new machine – especially one that’s perhaps a little more budget-minded than whatever I have on my sewing table at home (sorry, guys, but I LURVE me some expensive-ass sewing machine hahahaha) – I am ALL about that! This particular machine is especially delightful to me, cos it’s a branded Anna Maria Horner machine *and* it’s our future classroom machine for Craft South.

I will lead with a stock photo from the Janome website, because it’s much prettier than the pile of trash photos you’ll see in the rest of this post, lolz

AMH M100

This is the AMH M100 – designed by Anna Maria Horner, and manufactured by Janome sewing machines. It’s a reasonably basic machine – no crazy embroidery functions, a few decorative stitches – that is easy to use, has some fun features, and is just plan adorable! It’s a fairly small machine, and I think the floral design is so beautiful! There’s also a big honkin’ space that is perfect for having signed by Anna herself, and yes, speaking from experience here.

There are a lot of features about this machine – too many to put in a blog post (well, without making this post insanely boring), so I am just going to touch on the ones that I think are really cool, as a sewist and also a sewing teacher. You can always go to the website and get the full run-down, or, if you’re local – come in our shop and play with the machine.

AMH M100 Sewing Machine

The machine has 99 stitch designs – ranging from your basic utility stitches (straight, zigzag, button hole, etc) to some crazy looking embroidery stitches that are perfect for quilting and applique projects. They’re all based on Anna Maria Horner designs – so lots of hearts, swirls, girly things like that. I admit, I don’t ever use stitches like this in my projects, but they are REALLY fun to just sew samples on and ooh and ahh over.

As a sewer of garments, the stitches I use most are 00, 01, 04, 06, 07 & 18. That’s your basic straight stitch, the Lock-O-Matic stitch (it will automatically backstitch at the beginning and end of your seam, which I find especially useful for bra making), the triple stitch (which is what I use now for topstitching, instead of topstitching thread + straight stitch), zigzag stitches, and the button hole stitch. There is also a locking stitch (02, it’s the same idea as the lock-o-matic, except it locks the stitches by stitching in one place instead of backstitching), stretch stitches, overcasting stitches, darning stitches, blind hem stitches, the triple zigzag, and all those applique stitches. One thing I do appreciate is that there isn’t a mass overload of decorative stitches – just a handful. It’s not overwhelming, but there are a few cute options to play around with.

AMH M100 Sewing Machine

AMH M100 Sewing Machine

The little stitch card fits in a piece that clips to the machine, so you can keep it attached to your machine if you want to reference it. The clip also folds down, so you don’t have to stare at it if you don’t want to. Or you can take it off completely and lose it somewhere in your sewing space, which is generally what I do.

AMH M100 Sewing Machine

There are several feet and accessories included with the machine – a straight stitch foot (not shown in this photo, but it’s attached to the machine), a clear satin stitch foot, a 1/4″ foot (PRAISE), an overcasting foot, a blind hem foot (which I use as an edgestitching foot), a zipper foot, a button hole foot, *and* an Even-Feed Foot. The Even-Feed foot is similar to a walking foot, except instead of “walking”, it clamps down on the fabric and moves it. I am told this is more precise than a walking foot, since the pieces are held together when they are moved. At any rate, that alone is a pretty sweet add-on! Those feet tend to be pretty expensive on their own.

The machine also comes with boring but useful things, like extra bobbins, spool caps, a seam ripper, etc. The Organ needles included are a new thing for me – I’d never heard of this brand before I started working at Craft South, but they are just as nice as Schmetz and soooooo much cheaper. I can get a pack of 10 Organ needles for like $2.30, WTF. Janome machines are made to work specifically with Organ needles – they will work with other brands, including Schmetz, but the needle-threader is calibrated to work with the eye placement of an Organ needle. So you can sew on the machine with any brand of needle, but you may or may not be able to use the needle threader if it’s not an Organ brand. I haven’t tested this theory bc Organ is all I keep in my sewing room now (and it’s all we have at Craft South, too).

AMH M100 Sewing Machine

AMH M100 Sewing Machine

The front box opens up so you can store all your feet and accessories in one handy spot. This piece can also be removed so that the machine has a free arm – useful for sewing stuff with a small circumference, such as sleeves and pants hems.

AMH M100 Sewing Machine

AMH M100 Sewing Machine

Threading is super easy. For the needle, there are numbers and arrows to direct you the thread path (if you’ve ever threaded ANY sewing machine before, just know that they are all mostly the same in this regard), and then there is an automatic needle threader to pull the thread through the eye if you have trouble seeing / are lazy.

AMH M100 Sewing Machine

The bobbin winder also has a clear diagram. One thing I really love that about this machine is that the bobbin can be wound without the foot pedal – just unplug it and press the Start/Stop button on the machine. This is incredibly handy when I am setting up for class – sometimes I’ll have all 10 machines winding bobbins simultaneously and I feel like a little Sewing Machine Goddess hahahaha

AMH M100 Sewing Machine

The AMH M100 has a drop-in bobbin, which makes it incredibly easy to thread. There is a little diagram on the case cover to show you how it is threaded – just a head’s up, 9 out of 10 of my students always thread it backwards the first time (actually, on my old Janome – I had it threaded backwards for like the first 6 months of use haha). The threading feels counterintuitive to what you’d think, but it’s necessary for proper tension. At any rate, you’ll know if you thread it backwards because your stitches will pull out very easily.

AMH M100 Sewing Machine
To thread the bobbin, you drop in your spool and pull the thread down, with the tail pointing toward the left…

AMH M100 Sewing Machine

Then you pull it under the metal piece and up the channel, toward the 1…

AMH M100 Sewing Machine

And pull the thread down toward the 2…

AMH M100 Sewing Machine

Where there’s a built-in thread cutter that will clip the tail to the correct length. Then you just put the cover on. That’s it! No need to pull up the bobbin threads, it’s ready to sew.

A word about drop-in bobbins: I’ve used both drop-in and front-loading, and both have their merits. The front-loading bobbins will give you a more even, precise stitch. However, they are also prone to tangling and creating thread needs on the underside of your work. The drop-in bobbins don’t give you quite as beautiful of a stitch (I think this is negotiable, though, since very few people are going to be able to tell the difference just by glancing), but they are a lot more user-error-proof. These bobbins in particular are known for being really really hard to mess up. We rarely have problems with the bobbin in our classes, unless something else is wrong (such as a dull needle, or incorrect threading). Our Janome rep loves to do this trick where she throws a big thread nest in the bobbin and sews a seam – the nest just shoots out of the back and doesn’t affect the stitching. It’s kind of weird and also really amazing haha. I think this sort of bobbin is really ideal for the beginner sewer, or someone who buys a machine for their kid and doesn’t want to mess with fixing it when they inevitably screw something up. Like I said, it’s really hard to jam it up, even if you intentionally shove a thread nest in it.

AMH M100 Sewing Machine

Here are the buttons on this machine. The Start/Stop can control the machine without the foot pedal – you just have to unplug it first. I will admit I’ve never personally used this button except to wind the bobbin, but kids whose feet don’t quite reach the floor love it. ha. There is also a backstitch, locking stitch (again, same as the backstitch except it stitches in one place to lock. This is really useful for those embroidery stitches), needle up/down, aaaaand my favorite button – the scissors! Press that little dude after you finish sewing, and it will raise the needle and clip your threads! Argh I love that feature so much! There is also a slider to control the machine speed.

AMH M100 Sewing Machine

The stitch buttons are in the green section. From here you can select your stitch, move the needle position, adjust length/width, make a button hole, and there’s also a “memory” feature for the scissors button.

AMH M100 Sewing Machine

The throat plate has a ton of markings for measurements, which are especially useful for quilting and applique. This is my only beef with the machine, actually – I absolutely hate the guide markings. I find them really confusing to see which one you’re using, and I don’t like that they are only on one side of the needle. This is easily solved by slapping a piece of tape on the machine along the markings, which is what I do for my classes.

AMH M100 Sewing Machine

AMH M100 Sewing Machine

The machine also comes with this giant (removeable) tabletop, which is ideal for quilting.

Finally, here are some stitch samples:

AMH M100 Sewing Machine

AMH M100 Sewing Machine

Just your basic straight stitch. The top fold is the bobbin stitching.

AMH M100 Sewing Machine

Here is the straight stitch with a triple stitch underneath. These stitches used the exact same thread – just basic polyester Gutterman, the stuff you use to sew a garment. This is why I love that triple stitch – it’s sooo much thicker than the straight stitch, but doesn’t require a special thread or needle.

AMH M100 Sewing Machine

I also played around with some of the embroidery stitches.

AMH M100 Sewing Machine

And a few of the utility stitches (zigzag, triple zigzag, and stretch/lightning bolt stitch). Sorry the angles are so weird and artsy, it was really hard to take a photo without a huge shadow over it.

Here are some more photos of the machine working her glorious angles:

AMH M100 Sewing Machine

AMH M100 Sewing Machine

AMH M100 Sewing Machine

AMH M100 Sewing Machine

In conclusion, this is a fantastic little machine and I’m excited to bring these into the Craft South classroom! It’s very easy to use (as in, intuitive and user-friendly) and a solid little machine that doesn’t bounce around the table when you’ve got it on a high speed. It’s very similar to our current classroom machines, the Janome 4120 – the main differences that I have noticed thus far is that the AMH M-100 has less decorative stitches (and doesn’t have the stitch alphabet – which, let’s be honest, rarely gets used). However, the AMH M-100 does come with that Even-Feed foot. I love those 4120s and think they are wonderful machines, but I can’t wait to make our classroom just a little bit prettier πŸ™‚

AMH M100 Sewing Machine

Note: I was not compensated in any way for this post (no, I did not get a free machine either). However, if you come to Craft South and buy a machine from me, I *do* get a commission. If you’re not local and are interested in this machine, visit your local Janome dealer!

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29 Responses to “Review: The Janome AMH M100 Sewing Machine”

  1. Indoor Kitty December 19, 2016 at 9:58 am #

    I have a Janome HD-1000, and compared to that entry level Walmart Brother POS, it is glorious. (I can’t tell you how many people I’ve discouraged from the Brothers that they sell at Walmart. Apollo, Hera, and Zeus* those are terrible machines.)

    Do y’all sell the “Hello Kitty” Janome, and if so, what do you think of it? Indoor Kitten is fascinated with my machine, so I’m going to need to buy her one in a couple of years. The HK Janome seems to be the consensus pick for a “my first sewing machine” choice, but if something like this model is a better machine for learning, I might think of going down that route.

    *I’m trying not to swear so much since I’m responsible for a small person. I’ve started using the names of dead religion’s gods in vain as an alternative.

    • LLADYBIRD December 19, 2016 at 10:21 am #

      Oh yeah, I agree with you – those super entry-level machines can be sooo frustrating to sew on. I understand not wanting to spend a lot of $ on a hobby you’re just starting and not sure if you’ll even like – but I don’t think there is a decent machine that exists for under $150-$200, unless it’s a refurb/used/on crazy sale. Not new in the box, anyway.

      We don’t sell the Hello Kitty machine – I think we did before I started working there, but we haven’t since I’ve been at the shop. I am not crazy about those Hello Kitty machines because they are really mechanical with the front-loading bobbin, which isn’t ideal for a kid – although, you sew, so you can troubleshoot any issues no problem πŸ™‚ (I guess the “ease-of-use” machines are best for parents who DON’T sew and don’t want to mess with the machine haha). I love love love the 4120 and the AMH M100, but again they can be pricey for a first machine. Our DC2015 is a good middle-ground – it’s about half the price of the AMH M100, easy to use with the top-loading bobbin and computerized features. But it doesn’t have the scissor button πŸ˜‰ and if you buy it from Craft South, you do get a couple perks, like free private lessons and a fabric gift card!

      • Indoor Kitty December 19, 2016 at 7:55 pm #

        We’re still a few years out on the kid machine purchase, but this has been a really useful information. I learned on my mother’s old Singer that had a top load bobbin, and it never occurred to me that the bobbin could be such a source of success vs. frustration for a beginner. (I actually like the front load bobbin because I keep a couple of different bobbin cases set to different tensions.) My HD is a mechanical beast, and the closest consumer model to the machines that the Home Ec teacher had in her class. Not having a lot of tension drama for a novice sewer sounds like it might be a really good idea, though.

        In the meantime, I might get Kitten one of these:

        http://woodentoyjunction.com/sewingmachine.htm

        • LLADYBIRD December 20, 2016 at 8:58 am #

          Yeah, my very first sewing machine (that wasn’t me using my mom’s) was a Brother with a front-loading bobbin. I will admit – it sat in the box for about 8 months unused because I couldn’t figure out how to thread it, nor could my mom. As a more seasoned sewer, I do prefer the front-loading now – but it was certainly a deterrent when I was a beginner.

          And that toy sewing machine is ADORABLE!!!

  2. Lisa Poblenz (patternandbranch) December 19, 2016 at 10:52 am #

    Great review and really interesting. I have an elna and really like the similarities between mine and this one. I dread the day mine dies, but if it ever does, I’ll take a look at Janome so I don’t have to learn a million new things. πŸ˜‰

    • LLADYBIRD December 19, 2016 at 1:54 pm #

      TBH, I doubt your Elna will ever truly die πŸ™‚ but you’re right that they are similar to Janomes, so that’s good to know if you ever do decide to replace your current machine!

  3. Splinters&Stitches December 19, 2016 at 1:39 pm #

    *Sigh* If only this machine were a Pfaff…I’m just not sure about a machine that doesn’t have the IDT function any more, even if it does have a walking foot. If you’ve never had IDT though, this machine is probably pretty dreamy! One thing you didn’t mention is how those buttonholes look–especially on an actual garment (which is a completely different animal than on samples for whatever reason.)

    • LLADYBIRD December 19, 2016 at 1:59 pm #

      I have an older Pfaff with the IDT and I agree that it’s pretty fantastic. However, my other machine does not have it, nor do these Janomes, and it really isn’t that giant of a deal-breaker to me. I have no problems sewing silks or matching plaids without it, although I can’t vouch for quilting functions as I don’t quilt!

      And you’re right, I didn’t go over the button holes on this machine. They do a decent button hole, it’s just not something that I necessarily consider when I’m machine shopping. If I find them to be subpar, it’s easy enough to go over them again with a tight satin stitch. But I can assure you the button holes are fine haha

      When you say your button holes don’t look the same on your garment as they do on a sample – are you testing your button holes on the actual garment fabric + interfacing used? I always do this when I make a button hole and they are always the same. I can’t imagine the machine doing a test differently, unless you’re testing on a completely different fabric.

      • Splinters&Stitches December 19, 2016 at 2:08 pm #

        I would say that I don’t quilt either, but as I’m currently quilting, that would be a lie, LOL! I never really gave buttonholes much thought until I got my Pfaff–it would do them perfectly in the store with the super starched small pieces of fabric, but get a shirt under there, and it’s a nightmare. Maybe it’s because I don’t have a large or inset table, but they are terrible, namely they don’t end properly, and the manual function doesn’t work. So now I keep an old Singer with a buttonholer around for shirts.

        • LLADYBIRD December 19, 2016 at 3:01 pm #

          Yeah, I’m not super crazy about the ones on my Pfaff either haha! But like I said, it’s easy to just go over the stitching again – or use a different machine entirely πŸ™‚ I don’t have any problems with the size, though, that is pretty weird – have you brought it back to the shop to make sure everything is functioning correctly? It sounds like something isn’t calibrated right.

  4. beakie48 December 19, 2016 at 2:02 pm #

    My mother was a Pfaff dealer back in the ’60s and I used to think they were the best. The company has been bought and sold many times since and the quality has suffered. I bought a Janome ten years ago and another five years ago. Both do embroidery but my 11000 I use strictly for embroidery and the 979 I use for sewing. I love them. I gave my Pfaff to my daughter.

    • LLADYBIRD December 19, 2016 at 3:03 pm #

      I love my old Pfaff! I haven’t had much experience with the newer ones, so I can’t really comment on that (I think the only time I’ve used one was for my video for The Sewing Party, ha!). To be fair, though, I feel like all sewing machines are worse off than what was manufactured in the 60s. Don’t get me wrong – I LOVE computerized machines, I live and die by them – but there are so many more components that can go wrong, so many more moving parts. They really aren’t the same at all, regardless of the brand you’re sewing on.

      • Indoor Kitty December 19, 2016 at 7:35 pm #

        So I am showing one of my theatre kids how to thread an old machine that someone’s grandma donated, and the kid says, “How do you back stitch?” I lower the needle, raise the presser foot, pivot the fabric 180 degrees, and stitch back over the the line I just made.

        It was even funnier than the time I explained that Oklahoma! was actually all about sex.

        I miss teaching sometimes.

        • LLADYBIRD December 20, 2016 at 8:58 am #

          Haha yeaaah that kind of “backstitching” would make me not want to sew! πŸ˜› Too much effort!

  5. Deborah Penner December 19, 2016 at 2:53 pm #

    Do you have mail order from your shop? I have two granddaughters that I want to teach to sew. Have been looking for a good machine to purchase that has the new features. My current machines are old (a reconditioned Slant O Matic similar to the one I learned on so many years ago and an old Nechi I used for years). I live in a rural area that is far away from any shop (over an hour away in an obscure part of a large city). Mail or internet order is the only way. Our local fabric store used to carry Brother but after two years, they took away the franchise because “there was not enough business.” I know that the shops want you to come in for lessons, but this is not practical for some of us who live in declining rural areas. Would love to be able to purchase this machine by mail.

    • LLADYBIRD December 19, 2016 at 3:06 pm #

      I completely understand being too far away to visit a local dealer! We can totally ship you a machine from Craft South – just give us a call ((615) 928-8766) and we can go over all that with you, as well as run the purchase over the phone. The shop is closed today, but we’ll be open for the rest of the week from 9-6 CST πŸ™‚

  6. Alice Childress December 19, 2016 at 5:40 pm #

    Miss Lladybird: what is the price of this machine? And do you still sell the ones we use in class?
    Thanks
    Alice Childress

    • LLADYBIRD December 20, 2016 at 8:59 am #

      I believe we are selling it for $999 with some perks, but let me check when I get in the store this afternoon! And yes, we still have the current classroom models, but we will be phasing them out of the classroom and replacing them with these AMH ones. I am not sure if we will continue to sell the classroom model, though.

    • LLADYBIRD December 20, 2016 at 2:08 pm #

      Hello again! I just checked and the AMH M100 is for sale at Craft South for $899. With this purchase, you also get 2 private lessons, one free Craft South class of your choice, and a $50 fabric gift card πŸ™‚

  7. Carolyn December 19, 2016 at 9:26 pm #

    Being #TeamJanome it was great to read your review. I’ve been sewing on various Janome machines for 20 years and love them. I love the same stitches you do but primarily use the lock stitch that does the short stitches at the beginning and end of a seam. I didn’t understand why sewists used topstitching thread and a straight stitch until I realized that it’s not a common stitch on other machines.

    I, too, sew on a high end sewing machine and will never go back but Janome does make an excellent mid-line machine that is worth the investment. Great review!

    • LLADYBIRD December 20, 2016 at 9:02 am #

      You know, I think all my machines have had the triple stitch but I never knew what it was until someone showed it to me! I wish more people knew about it. Topstiching thread has its merits, I’m sure, but that triple stitch is the JAM.

      I agree with you about never going back from the higher-end machines, and also that the mid-range Jaomes are seriously nice! I guess technically my Bernina is a mid-range (it’s under $2k, which is a lot of money… but nothing compared to those $5k-$10k machines haha), and it only has about half the features that the similarly-priced Janomes have.

  8. sakijane December 20, 2016 at 11:36 am #

    Great machine! That’s so interesting about the Stop/Start button… I’ve never seen those in the states before, but they come standard on machines in Japan (with a speed gauge and without a pedal most of the time) because the assumption is you’ll be sewing while sitting on the ground rather than at a desk or western-height table.

    • LLADYBIRD December 20, 2016 at 11:40 am #

      That is really interesting – I admit, I didn’t see much of a use for the Start/Stop button (other than winding bobbins, or kids who can’t reach the pedal haha), but that makes total sense if you’re sitting on the ground!

  9. PsychicKathleen December 20, 2016 at 3:09 pm #

    This IS an amazing machine Lauren – I have an Elna Excellence 740 which is one of those “fancy” machines (and I love it!) but this little machine has a lot of features – and with an included walking foot too that’s a real bonus. I had to laugh by the way at your introduction, “I will have a normal post later this week”. Your postings are anything but NORMAL πŸ™‚ and I love ’em all πŸ™‚

    • LLADYBIRD December 22, 2016 at 9:47 am #

      Haha well I personally get agitated if I feel like a blog is just back-to-back-to-back review posts, so I try not to do it too much myself! But that’s what I get for waiting until the last minute to get my shit all written up haha!

  10. theknittingarchaeologist December 20, 2016 at 4:00 pm #

    Lauren!!! This is the machine your were talking about during the Pants workshop, right? Soooo pretty! How does it compare to the Singer we used? That machine was so smooth and also has the auto cut feature. I want a new machine JUST for that feature. I currently have a Janome 720, but it’s pretty loud at high speed, it tangles a bit (servicing time?), and it’s got a very small throat. I’m dreading the free-motion phase coming up for my my three quilts-in-progress. The AMH’s quilt table has me swooning, even though I know I can buy one separately. Hang on. Do you quilt? I can’t remember seeing one here…

    • LLADYBIRD December 22, 2016 at 9:49 am #

      Yep, this is the machine! It’s BEAUTIFUL, ain’t it? I feel like it’s pretty on-par with those Singers at WS – nice and solid, really easy to figure out, easy to thread, just a good beginner/classroom machine. That auto cut feature is my JAM and I’m more than a little bummed that my machines at home don’t have it haha! I am always punching the screen with my finger out of habit hahaha.

      And NO girl, I don’t quilt – yet. I started one. I got as far as cutting the squares (ok that’s a lie, my awesome coworker Amanda cut most of the squares when she saw me struggling hahaha) and learned how to do a half-square triangle aaaaaand that’s it. They are still in the box. Too many clothes to make! πŸ™‚

  11. Charlotte E December 26, 2016 at 1:04 am #

    This is very similar but probably a few levels up to the Janome DC4030 that I have, Its my first and only sewing machine but I am more than happy with what is does and how it is running. I love how the bobbin loads and find the markings on the needle pad really helpful. When I do decide to upgrade it will be to another Janome, especially as I should be able to use the extra feet I have bought for mine on a later model (hopefully). In saying that my Janome (bought new) already came with a heap of feet including a walking foot and 1/4″ foot.

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