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Are you looking for a basic sewing machine, for when you just need to do a quick hem or don’t want to take the time to sew by hand?
Are you looking for a sewing machine that is kid-friendly for a younger sewer? Or maybe you are looking for a smaller machine you can take with you to your sewing classes or when you travel?
The Janome Graceful Gray Basic Sewing Machine may be for you. It comes in a wide variety of colors, is only five pounds, and comes with finger guards to protect younger or beginner sewers.
While there have been user complaints about the machine being noisy, it being unreliable, and the bobbin being difficult to thread, it might be just what you’re looking for.
Let’s take a closer look at the Janome Graceful Gray Basic Sewing Machine and then you can make a more informed decision about whether it is the right one for you.
Janome Graceful Gray Basic Sewing Machine: The Details
The Janome Graceful Gray is a very compact machine that comes in a wide variety of colors. At 5 lbs., it is the perfect machine to travel with or take to your sewing group.
The machine is about the size of a large textbook. As it comes in 11 different colors, from gray to fuchsia, you can choose how basic or modern your sewing machine looks.
- Weight: 5lbs.
- Dimensions: 10.5 x 5 x 9 inches
- Stitches: Four stitches with six stitch width and length variations; no buttonhole stitch
- Speed: 350 stitches per minute
- Computerized/Mechanic: Mechanic
- Bobbin: Top-loading, drop-in bobbin
- Warranty: 25-year limited warranty
- Clear cover
- Three plastic bobbins
- Two #14 needles
- A needle threader
- Instruction manual
Janome: The Brand
Janome started off as The Pine Sewing Machine Factory in 1921, founded by Yosaku Ose, and was renamed Janome in 1954.
Janome’s stated mission is to create the most easy-to-use, reliable, and quality-made sewing machines and sergers.
They are looking to get their customers to “make the most out of their creativity” through the use of their products.
The Janome Graceful Gray comes with a 25-year limited warranty.
The warranty protects the user against any problems they have with the “materials or workmanship, with the exception of electrical/electronic equipment, which is warranted for a period of two years from the date of original purchase.”
During the first year that you have the machine, you will be able to receive replacements for any parts that are defective and any labor will be free of charge.
After the first year, any defective parts can be replaced for free, but you must pay for any labor that is needed to fix your Janome.
The warranty does not cover anything any damage that is caused by a lack of maintenance or repairs on your machine, nor does it cover any damage caused by “normal wear and tear.”
The warranty also only applies to machines that are bought through an authorized Janome retailer.
4 Built-In Stitches
The Janome Graceful Gray comes with four built-in stitches, which include the straight stitch, zig-zag stitch, crescent stitch, and multi zig-zag stitch.
Additionally, there are six different stitch width and length variations for you to choose from.
Top Loading, Drop-In Bobbin
The Janome Graceful Gray also has a top-loading, drop-in bobbin, meaning you simply open the cover near the needle and place your threaded bobbin inside.
For beginners, this is the easiest type of bobbin system that you can get.
This machine also comes with finger guards near the needle so that beginners or younger sewers do not accidentally get their fingers caught under the needle (OUCH!).
This model also comes with a threading diagram to help new sewers learn how to thread the machine.
Two Needle Positions
Having multiple needle positions allows you to put the needle where you want it and not have to maneuver the fabric in an awkward way that might cause jams or mistakes.
Being able to change the needle positions means you have more control over where your stitch goes and how it turns out.
Janome Graceful Gray Basic Sewing Machine Review
Compact and Portable
The Janome Graceful Gray – at only five pounds, and 10.5 inches tall and 9 inches wide – means it is by far one of the lightest, most compact sewing machine out on the market.
If you live in a small flat or just have a small amount of space to work in, this machine will be the perfect solution for you.
Also, if you need to take your machine with you, it’s so lightweight, that shouldn’t be a problem. Whether you’re going to class, or just wish to help a friend across town, carrying this machine with you won’t be a hassle.
Since this machine is marketed to beginners, it was a great design choice by Janome to give the machine a top-loading bobbin.
It is easier to load, easier to see what’s going on since it has a clear cover, and easier to get to if there are any problems.
This takes away any deterring frustration and hassle that can arise for new users and beginner sewers.
Comes in a Ton of Colors
The Janome Graceful Gray comes in 11 different colors and the names are just as fun as the colors themselves; Bandana Blush, Graceful Gray, Citrus Circus, Fastlane Fuchsia, Lady Lilac, Marine Magic, Mystical Mint, Pink Lightning, Purple Thunder, Turbo Teal, and Watermelon Crush.
All you have to do is pick your favorite.
Not only do these fun colors really make your sewing machine stand out, but it will be easy to give your flat or crafting room a touch of whimsy with these machines.
Extra High Presser Foot Lift
The extra-high presser foot lift allows you to fit all kinds of fabrics between the presser foot and the needle plate.
You can fit everything from lightweight denim to heavier knits. But you don’t have to only use fabrics; you can also use the Janome Graceful Gray Machine to sew paper for crafting as well.
Great for Learning
While advanced sewers may be underwhelmed by the lack of features and settings this machine provides, it’s a great tool for curious beginners and children looking to learn this craft.
Features like the finger guard, and the fact that it’s lightweight, makes it safe for kids and starters to learn and play with, and to get the basics down before moving on to bigger projects.
It only has a small number of built-in stitches making this not too overwhelming for starters, and the speed is great for perfecting basic sewing skills.
Here’s what the Janome Graceful Gray looks like out of the box and operating.
Jams a Lot
Unfortunately, the Janome Graceful Gray jams quite frequently.
Multiple users complained that they had to rethread the machine, fix the jam, only for it to happen again. In more extreme case the machine would stall altogether after a jam.
A machine isn’t of much use if the user has to stop to fix problems every few minutes. You may be required to learn patience with this machine.
Multiple users complained that this sewing machine was very noisy. It didn’t matter what they did, the loud noise persisted.
While this isn’t the biggest problem, it can be a deal breaker for a lot of people – especially those with sensitive ears.
Nobody wants to lose their hearing or wake up everyone in their house because they wanted to hem some pants.
In this case, it’s probably best to use this in an area where noise isn’t an issue, or in a craft room where you won’t be bothering others.
Since the Janome Graceful Gray only has one speed, some users found that it was too slow for what they wanted.
It might be fine for beginners and kids, but most of the adults wanted a faster machine. This may not be the machine for an experienced sewer, even if it is just a back-up or travel machine.
No Built-In Light
The Janome Graceful Gray also doesn’t have a built-in light, so you are going to have to put a lamp near or over your machine, or place your machine in a spot that has good lighting.
While this isn’t the biggest issue, multiple users noted it in their reviews.
Can’t Sew Thicker Fabrics
While the extra high presser foot lift is a great feature, according to multiple reviews, the machine cannot handle thicker, heavier fabrics. It might jam or stop midway through sewing.
It can sew through several layers of a light fabric, but if you are trying to sew anything thicker than that, you might want to move to a different machine.
After considering all the factors, we would recommend the Janome Graceful Gray Basic Sewing Machine to someone just wanting to give sewing a try, or children who want to try their hand at crafting.
With the number of complaints about this machine, it might not work consistently enough for it to be worth purchasing for bigger, heavier projects.
The price for this machine reflects its performance, so this is very much a “you get what you pay for” situation.
If you’re really looking to dive deeper into the world of sewing, it would be better to pay a little more for a machine that can really handle larger tasks.
That being said, for the price and the design of the Janome Graceful Gray Basic Sewing Machine, it will also make a great gift to inspire future sewers or nudge them in a more artistic direction.
Where to Buy the Janome Graceful Gray Sewing Machine
Janome is a brand known for creating solid sewing machines. While the Janome Graceful Gray Sewing Machine is on the lower end of the models Janome offers, it’s still a popular choice amongst crafters.
This sewing machine can be found at retailers both in-store and online.
To start your search, check out the following online retailers.
And of course, you can also find this machine on Amazon.
That’s it for our review on the Janome Graceful Gray Sewing Machine. Have we tempted you to give it a try?