The Janome 5270QDC (called the Janome 5300QDC-T in the US) is the latest computerised sewing machine from this much-loved manufacturer, and has been designed for both experienced stitchers and complete beginners. The big question then, is can Janome 5270QDC meet the needs of both groups. I'll answer this in my detailed review below, but first let's get an overview of what's on offer.
Bundled features such as a wide (11x16-inch) extension table, a knee lift and three optical magnifiers of different strengths give the Janome 5270QDC creative possibilities beyond basic home sewing – it’s especially suitable for quilters, who need functions that aren’t standard on basic machines.
Janome has a long and established history of creating sewing machines that last and meet many needs. Our Janome Continental M7 Professional review looks at one of the company's premium machines, that brings industrial grade features into the home, but at a price. This review of the Janome 5270QDC considers a top sewing machine at the other end, and we also have more to find in our guide to the best sewing machines.
The Janome 5270QDC is easy enough to get started with that a beginner can begin using it straight away. I tested it over a number of weeks by running through its stitches and functions, but also used it to make a garment, to appreciate how it feels to use for hours at a time.
Janome 5270QDC review: build and design
When you take it out of the box, you’ll notice how pleasingly solid the Janome 5270QDC is compared to modern basic machines. It’s made from die-cast aluminium, so is nonetheless lightweight for what it is, weighing around the same as some portable machines like the Pfaff Passport.
You probably won’t want to regularly lug it around on public transport unless you’re fairly fit, but if you need to take it to a class or to sew away from home, it’s definitely manageable (and comes with a hard case, so you can transport it safely).
Janome 5270QDC review: setup
Setting up the Janome 5270QDC is simple and straightforward, with the usual power cable and foot pedal to plug in. The pedal’s not especially wide and feels less robust than the machine itself.
Loading the bobbin is simple and straightforward. Using the automatic needle threader, however is not – it’s a more complex process than on some other modern sewing machines and can take a few goes to get it to work, which I didn’t expect from a machine in this price bracket.
Adjusting tension and the presser foot pressure is a breeze, however. Overall this is a simple and easily assembled modern sewing machine that I was able to get up and running with quickly, even with the machine's bobbin misstep.
Janome 5270QDC review: performance
There are three speed settings on the Janome 5270QDC. The first’s a little slow for garment sewing, even for beginners, but will be handy when you want to place stitches precisely (when quilting, say, or working along a curve, or doing some form of creative work like appliqué or embroidery). The second, however, is possibly a little too fast for beginners, and the third is definitely one for experienced sewers – you’ll whizz through those straight seams.
The Janome 5270QDC can convert from flatbed to free arm sewing, meaning you’ve got support for your fabric when needed, but sewing hems on sleeves and trousers is much less of a fuss. The accessory box/extension table comes off when pulled gently (though it feels solid and stable when attached) and you simply slide your fabric tube over the end of the machine.
Changing stitches is simple, and the machine’s bundled with a card showing them all so you don’t have to remember the codes for each and every one. The LCD display shows the mode you’re in, the number of the stitch pattern selected, the design of the stitch and both the current stitch width and stitch length, plus which presser foot you need to have attached.
It’s possible to insert pintucks and drawn edgings, add scalloped edgings and more to garments and homewares, than there’s a stippling stitch for quickly quilting small areas.Because some of the stitches are quite specialised there’s a troubleshooting guide at the back of the manual, which makes it easy to get the spacing and effect you’re looking for.You can also programme the machine with combinations of stitch patterns.
The number of stitches sounds impressive but I do feel most of them are unlikely to get used very often. They’ll allow you to jazz up an otherwise plain home-made item, and I can see them being useful if you’re into heirloom sewing but if you already love the freedom and artistry of hand embroidery, they’re not going to replace it in your affections.
With some of the stitches on offer that imitate functional hand embroidery techniques (smocking in particular) you’ll have to decide for yourself what’s most important to you: it’s not going to have the precision and up-close impact of the hand-worked equivalent, but it will allow you to add an interesting detail to a garment in a fraction of the time.
Also, note that though the pre-programmed embroidered letters are a big selling point for this machine, it’s a very plain font, and limited to the Latin alphabet (sales material says ‘European’, but Cyrillic is not included).
Janome 5270QDC review: the extras
The bundled accessories are excellent, and include a selection of additional feet (buttonhole, blind hem stitch, satin stitch, darning/embroidery). Those are the basics, and should be enough for most purposes; depending on where your creativity leads you you may want to buy additional feet, especially ones for quilting, in which case specific feet for applique, piping, bias binding and more are available.
This is a machine that you can skill up with, which is a good selling point. It's good to know that you can begin on this sewing machine but there's room to grow as your skill, experience and ambition increases.
Janome 5270QDC review: should I buy one?
All in all, this is a really nice machine. If you’re at all interested in quilting, you’ll definitely want to have a look at one of the Janome 5270QDC (know as the Janome 5300QDC-T in the US). It might seem expensive to start with, costing $1,599 / £799 but buying a basic machine will be false economy if you’re then going to buy something like this not long after because you’re frustrated with a very basic machine’s limitations.
If quilting and applique are not your bag and you’re most interested in making clothes, you might want to consider a cheaper computerised sewing machine that can still meet your needs. This has way more one-step buttonholes than my usual machine, a Pfaff 260C, which I admit to getting very excited at, and while I was hands-on with it I was seriously tempted to try quilting, so it’s definitely inspirational, but it’s double the price, and if faced with both in a shop, knowing what I sew, I’d stick with the one I’ve got. Really, it depends on what you’re hoping to make.