Buying a Janome Overlocker

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Janome 8002DX
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Janome 8002DX

Introduction

Choosing an overlocker or serger can be a tough but they save you an immense amount of time, I can personally finish an after 5 gown in a night on my 644D  (with no zips or buttons of course :p). this makes them invaluable!

But how do you choose the right machine for yourself? The first thing that is brilliant about overlockers is that the cheapest one will do what the most expensive overlocker will do but as you pay more  life begins to get much easier with threading the machine, setting your tensions and changing the style of hem.  Janome offer a few overlockers in the range, the Janome 8002DX is the base model followed by  the Janome 644D and the Janome 744D. these are the most popular models so they will be the focus of this guide.
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Janome 744D
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Janome 744D

The key differences!

The 8002DX utilizes the older style "pull in" tension system, whereby you move the thread around the tension dial and give it a little 'tug' to lock it in. While this is a perfectly easy system, both the Janome 744D and 644D have "top lay in" thread tensions, which allow for slightly easier control of the tensions as the thread only needs to be placed on top of the tension disk and it will lock itself in.

When it comes to threading overlockers, the lower looper can be a bit of a hassle as it is located underneath the needle bar, as it is in the 8002DX. On the 644D and 744D however it has been made much easier to get to, as the lower looper has a threading hook guide to help with threading the lower looper. This dramatically reduces the time required to thread your overlocker.  Of course if your like me threading an overlocker is a matter of tying the new cotton onto the old reel setting your tensions to 0 and feeding them through, just remember to always thread your needles last because if you keep them threaded your lower looper will ALWAYS snap because it will be all out of sequence! 

When converting your overlocker for rolled hem work, both models have a slide on the plate which converts the plate instantly, this means that you no longer have to change the plate every time you want to do something different. The added benefit of the 744D and 644D is that it is easier to change from 4 thread Overlocking to Rolled Hemming as you don't need to change all your tensions. You simply move your looper tension switch to "RH" and when you're wanting to go back to do 4 Thread Overlocking, you move the looper tension back to "STD". 

As for the design, both machines are based on the Janome 8002DX however the Janome 744D  has a free arm, allowing it to do tighter hem (similar to what is seen in baby clothing) without unpicking the seam.  The 644D on the other hand is a weightier machine so it handles heavier fabrics much nicer and doesn't jump about if your churning through more than a few layers of canvas.
Janome 644D
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Janome 644D

What do I Recommend?

I get asked this question every day (hopefully more than once if i'm good at my job). I love my 644D so I'm pretty biased, I have had it for about 5 years and it works harder than I do for sure! If you want a good cheap overlocker and are willing to learn how to thread it and fiddle with tension the the Janome 8002DX is perfect! if you take care of it, it will take care of you plus there are some great deals out there if you keep an eye out. 

If your a new mummy then you probably should keep an eye on the 744D the free arm on this machine will make your life super easy, it is hard to clean out though so just keep that in mind.

Like I said I am super biased towards the 644D though, I  do work on the side in alterations and my 644D has seen me through,  it is easy to clean, easy to use and a true work horse  but that's just my thoughts :)
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