The Janome Marine Magic Basic Compact Sewing Machine is one of those rare machines that looks as pretty on the outside as it does on the, well, inside.
With a beautifully colorful design and a high accessibility level, the Marine Magic’s ingenuity is not found in its gadgetry, but rather in its fine-tuned, basic approach, packed into a light, portable frame.
But, of course, while sometimes less is more, a minimalist approach (no matter how pretty) comes with its own drawbacks.
We’ve got the low-down on everything that’s great and everything that can be improved with this machine. How does it rank against the best sewing machines?
Let’s find out!
Janome Marine Magic Sewing Machine: The Details
One of the things we like best about the Marine Magic Basic sewing machine is its intuitive design. While the manual (of course) comes with the package, we found that it barely required any consulting: you plug it in, connect the pedal, and the rest is pretty self-explanatory.
Now, while the Marine Magic might be light on the gadgets, it goes all out on the looks: the machine is available in eleven different color combinations.
- Marine blue
This, on top of the fact that it’s easy to use, makes this bad boy quite appealing for those looking for a beginner’s machine for young children.
And one more thing: weighing a marginal 5 lbs, the Janome Marine Magic is all too easy to transport, store, or walk around with like it’s a fashion accessory (we’ll have the pink one, thank you).
- Weight: 5 lbs
- Dimensions: 10.5 x 5 x 9
- Stitches: 10 built-in stitches
- Computerized/Mechanic: Mechanic
- Bobbin: A drop-in bobbin with a clear cover
- Warranty: 25-year limited warranty
As mentioned, the Janome Marine Magic aims to make life easier for beginners and sewers-on-the-road by leaving out unnecessary add-ons. The accessories are basic, but they’re all you need to get the machine going within minutes flat.
We’re looking at:
- Three plastic bobbins
- Two #14 needles
- A needle threader
- And, should it be needed, an instruction manual
Janome: The Company
Janome is not new to the game. In fact, the company might’ve helped actually creating the game.
It’s based in Japan and the US, and is in its current form a merging of several original production lines dating to the 1860s and 1920s. This is part of the company’s strength: time-tested knowledge of what’s needed in a good, baseline machine.
Beyond that, Janome has been on the frontline of research and innovation for a while now. They developed the first computerized and programmable machine in the 1970s, and in the decades since they’ve put several ‘firsts’ on the market.
But, despite some of their space-agey inventions, a huge part of what Janome produces is aimed as intuitive design and accessibility. Their products, they say, are made to “inspire, not intimidate.”
The Janome Basic sewing machine comes with a limited 25-year warranty.
This means that most defects that could occur in the machine are covered, though there are a few exceptions. If the repair needs additional labor, this will be covered only in the first year after the purchase—after that, you’ll be responsible for the repair costs, though not for the cost of the replaced parts.
For more information on what you can and can’t expect, see Janome’s official warranty booklet here.
The Janome Marine Magic has 10 in-built stitches — which doesn’t sound like a lot in comparison to the more heavy-duty machines out there, but is certainly enough to satisfy two kinds of people: an overwhelmed beginner, and the sewer on-the-go who needs a light machine for quick repair work.
There’s five straight stitches and five zigzags to choose from, all with different widths so you can have a go at elastic insertion, scalloping, or a nice and neat topstitch.
Here’s another little element that shows how this design was made with its audience in mind: the presser foot is cased in a little plastic finger guard to protect little fingers from the sharp needle.
If you’re considering purchasing the Janome Marine Magic sewing machine for your own little one, put an exclamation mark next to this feature, because it will reduce the worries around the young’uns exploring.
High Presser Foot Lift
Another reason why we like the Marine Magic: it invites its users to try out all kinds of crafts.
The extra-high presser foot lift allows you to fit all kinds of fabrics, from lightweight denim to knits, but also other kinds of materials. Paper crafts, appliqué, quilting — or all of the above.
Clear-Cover Top Drop-In Bobbin
Just like the finger guard, this feature is designed to make this machine an easy one to learn on.
While the top drop-in bobbin system makes it easy to set up the machine, it’s the clear-cover element that makes the process comprehensible for beginners: you get to see how the bobbin thread moves, how it’s picked up by the needle, which means you also quickly learn now to re-thread.
The Janome Magic sewing machine also benefits from the easy to use push-pull bobbin winder system.
Four Point Feed Dog System
The Janome Marine Magic Basic really stands out from its competitors thanks to its impressive sewing potential.
OK — it’s not quite at the same level as the more advanced and expensive Janome machines, but it’s certainly streets ahead of other beginner sewing machines, in our opinion.
Part of this is down to the 4-point feed dogs, which keep your fabrics in place and the feed smooth.
Need to tighten up the starts and ends of those stitches? No problem with the Janome reverse lever!
It really is as simple as flicking a switch.
Two Needle Positions
A feature that’s not often seen on sewing machines at the Marine Magic’s price point is the fact that two needle positions are available, giving you the freedom to sew at the angle you want to sew at — left or center.
Not only does this open up the variety of sewing that you can do with this machine, but allows your skills and confidence to grow with the machine.
Beginners and kids won’t grow out of this immediately like they might other ‘starter’ machines.
Another feature designed to hone your sewing skills is the adjustable tension. Try it out!
We’re always fans of hidden storage spaces, and we’re pleased to report that the [easyazon_link identifier=”B00VU065H6″ locale=”US” tag=”sewingfromhome-20″]Janome Marine Magic[/easyazon_link] has a lovely little tray for you to store any extra bobbins, needles and spools of thread.
Janome Marine Magic Compact Sewing Machine Review
Rather than made to fit a specific sewer, the Marine Magic is made to fit all potential sewers.
Specifically, it keeps in mind the youngest beginners as well as people who haven’t been able to purchase a sewing machine yet due to dorm or apartment living with little storage space.
Either way, it was designed with accessibility in mind: it’s light, it’s small, and it does what it needs to do.
Between the threading diagrams, the clear-over drop-in bobbin and the as-little-buttons-as-possible approach, this machine is incredibly easy to set up.
The design invites learning by doing, and is — as we’ve mentioned — made to cover the basics.
True, it won’t take you very far in terms of tricks and gadgets, but it can definitely level up your next arts and crafts project.
Won’t Break the Bank
And we haven’t even mentioned the price yet. The Marine Magic retails in the lower market, depending on the color scheme you have in mind.
For a sturdy (and really pretty) beginner’s machine with — mind! — a 25-year warranty, it’s not a bad deal at all.
A Joy to Look At
The Janome Marine Magic Basic has that colorful retro look, which makes it just a straight up joy to look at.
Of course this isn’t the make-or-break reason for purchase, but there’s always something appealing about a good aesthetic to go with a good design.
So while the size and weight of the machine makes it easy to store, you might want to leave it out when friends are visiting. They will marvel. (Especially at the pink one.)
Threading Can Be Difficult
Remember the presser foot guard, made to protect the little fingers?
Well, as lovely as that is, it unfortunately also makes it a little harder for not-so-little-fingers to thread the needle.
So, while this means that your child’s fingers are protected from pricking, you will have to work a little harder to pass that thread through the eye of the needle.
Unfortunately, we found that the needle becomes unthreaded pretty frequently so this is some fairly significant extra work for you. Set and forget it? Not with this machine sadly.
Here’s a handy video on how to thread the Janome New Home basic sewing machines:
Where’s the Light?
While not unfixable (a little clip-on reading light also works), the lack of light on the Janome Marine Magic Basic machine makes it a little less equipped to be a great on-the-road sewing machine.
On top of that, as the presser foot casing makes it a little harder to thread the needle, a little light above it would’ve certainly helped the ordeal.
Runs on Mains Power Only
It doesn’t have any battery power option, which reiterates the would’ve-been-nice comment above: for a machine that claims to be perfect for sewers on the road, a battery option would’ve helped.
Has Its Limits
Perhaps not surprising, but bears mentioning: this machine is not made for heavy-duty fabrics.
It can handle thin denims and other materials such as thick paper, but balks at thicker fabrics and runs the risk of jamming.
All in all, while we would certainly recommend the Janome Marine Magic Basic sewing machine, it’s not a universal across the board kind of machine.
It’s perfect to teach on, it’s perfect for beginners, and it’s definitely perfect for young children. Even if you’re a more advanced sewer who’s looking for something basic to take on the road — this could also be great choice.
The Janome Marine Magic certainly sews well for a machine at this price point, but it’s not the most reliable model we’ve ever tried — frequent unthreading isn’t unheard of. Plus, we’d love a light!
Where to Buy the Janome Marine Magic Basic Compact Sewing Machine
As Janome is such a trusted and widely loved brand, it’s possible to pick up the Marine Magic sewing machine in a host of stores, both online and in person.
Check these out for starters:
And, of course, it’s available on Amazon.
Have you tried the Janome Marine Magic basic sewing machine yet?
Not sure if this is the model for you? Browse through the rest of our sewing machine reviews.
Janome Marine Magic Review
Good for Beginners?
Craft Sewing Specs
Value for Money
The Janome Marine Magic Basic Compact Sewing Machine represents great value for money: it sews well and is perfectly suited to kids and beginners. Plus check out those beautiful colors available!
It’s not perfect: it’s basic and not the most reliable mini machine we’ve ever tested — but when it sews well, it really sews well.