Janome 2212 Review: a mechanical sewing machine for the masses?

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Sewing enthusiasts will tell you that there’s nothing quite like a Janome. Janome sewing machines tend to be expensive, but in exchange you get unparalleled quality and durability. Whilst conducting this Janome 2212 review, we’ll take this reputation into account. But no machine is perfect, and no machine is perfect for every user. So we’ll consider its drawbacks as well.

Janome 2212 Review at a glance

janome 2212 review

From its beginnings in 1920, the Janome Sewing Machine Company has been a leader in innovation. Janome means “snake’s eye” in Japanese. It refers to the round bobbin, which, at the time the company was founded, was a new development.

Janome also produced the first programmable sewing machine, the first computerized sewing machine for home use, the first professional quality home embroidery machine, and the first consumer longarm quilting machine.

Janome sewing machines tend to be straightforward, hardworking, and user-centered. Even advanced computerized models like the Skyline S9 organize their impressive number of functions behind easy-to-use interfaces. The Janome 2212 sewing machine isn’t complicated, but it is straightforward, intuitive, and it will get the job done.

Who should consider the Janome 2212?

The Janome 2212 is a basic, no-frills mechanical sewing machine. This means that instead of a wide range of pre-programmed push-button stitches, there are two stitch selection dials: one to choose the stitch itself, and another to choose the stitch size.

On one hand, this limits the number of stitches you have to work with. On the other hand, the dials give you extremely fine control over stitch size that you don’t get with a computerized machine.

What does this mean for the user? Well, the simplicity and approachability make the Janome 2212 an excellent machine for learners. It’s pretty much identical to the Schoolmate S-3105, which is aimed at the school home ec market. And in this capacity, it excels.

janome 2212 pros

Like all good entry-level sewing machines, the 2212 is intuitive. What you see is what you get. This eliminates a lot of frustration before it begins. If you’re looking for a first sewing machine, the Janome 2212 is a solid investment. In fact, Janome calls it “the world’s easiest sewing machine.”

The 2212 also makes a reliable, high-quality option for general home sewing. Its 12 stitches include all of those that general-purpose sewists use most: the straight stitch, the zigzag stitch, the blind hem stitch, and the buttonhole. Quilters and garment makers will get a lot of use out of this model, provided their work sticks to the basics.

At the same time, if you’re looking to branch out into different crafts like embroidery or decorative sewing, you might find this model too basic for your needs. There are no embroidery patterns, no monograms, and only functional stitches. Also, the single buttonhole is a four-stepper, as opposed to the one-step buttonholes you find with many other machines.

Overall, the Janome 2212 is a solid machine at a reasonable price point. However, there’s no shortage of entry-level mechanical sewing machines in today’s market. You could absolutely do worse for a first sewing machine. But could you do better? Let’s have a look.

What’s in the box? 

Accessories that come with the Janome 2212, include:

  • Janome 2212 sewing machine
  • Janome 2212 manual
  • Specialized bobbin
  • Three presser feet:
    • Blind hem foot
    • Buttonhole foot
    • Zigzag foot

Technical Specifications

That’s a pretty basic accessories kit, to be honest. On one hand, useless accessories are one way a lot of companies justify putting up the price. On the other hand, a few more included accessories, like a hard cover, a screwdriver, or a dust brush, wouldn’t go amiss. Especially considering that the Janome 2212 is priced a bit higher than many entry-level sewing machines.

Of course there are a wide array of available add-on accessories that you can purchase separately if you want to increase your machine’s capabilities. But if you’re already paying more, we feel that you shouldn’t have to separately purchase things that come standard with similar machines.

As far as specs go, the Janome 2212 is very similar to other entry-level mechanical sewing machines, except, perhaps, for the front-loading specialized bobbin.

Let’s have a look:

The good, the bad, and the borderline

We love Janome, and we love a good, solid mechanical sewing machine. But what makes the Janome 2212 a good machine doesn’t necessarily make it a good machine for you

What are your dealbreakers?

  • Simple, intuitive manual controls
  • Solid construction
  • Free arm
  • Extra-high presser foot lift
  • Easy to follow threading diagram
  • Oscillating hook bobbin
  • Lightweight
  • 25-year limited warranty
  • Not for thick fabrics or multiple layers
  • No needle-threader
  • No start/stop button
  • No speed control
  • Minimal accessories pack
  • No hard case included
  • Noisy
  • Drop feed feature is difficult to access

In short, the Janome 2212 has most of the essential features a general home sewist will use, but not all of them. Does this make it a bad machine?

Not at all.

However, it does mean that you’ll have to think carefully about your sewing needs and which features are essential to you.

What are Essential Features, Anyway? 

janome 2212 dial

When it comes to entry-level sewing machines, it’s all about the essential features — that is, the features that you will be using over and over, and which you’ll find yourself missing if they’re not present. To determine your essential features, you need to ask yourself a few questions.

Who are you as a sewist?

It sounds like an easy question, but there are a lot of moving parts, here, so to speak.

Be honest with yourself. What’s your level in your craft? Are you a new sewist? An experienced beginner? Perhaps you’re a seasoned crafter looking to start your own business. Maybe, just maybe, you’re ready for a dedicated, craft-specific professional or semi-pro sewing machine to take your work to the next level.

In any case, where you are in your craft is going to determine which features are essential for your sewing.

An all-purpose sewing machine like the Janome 2212 is perfect for the learner, as well as for anyone who needs a sewing machine for general home sewing projects like mending, hemming, and housewares.

Toward this end, there are a handful of must-haves, including:

  • Straight stitch
  • Zigzag stitch
  • Serging stitch
  • A buttonhole function
  • Speed control
  • Reverse stitching

As far as the machine itself, look for:

  • Intuitive, easy-to-read controls
  • A simple threading diagram
  • Easy setup right out of the box

Where do you see your sewing taking you?

General home sewing is one thing. On the other hand, if you’re looking for an entry into different kinds of crafts, such as quilting or embroidery, there are specific features that can help you get there.

Aspiring quilters can go far with an all-purpose sewing machine. But after a certain point, you will want some craft-specific features. These include:

  • A knee lifter to allow easier manipulation of your work during free-motion quilting
  • High stitch speed for long, straight stretches of stitching
  • A strong motor to power through multiple layers
  • An extendable wide table

For embroidery enthusiasts, these features may include:

  • A selection of decorative or embroidery stitches
  • A library of monogram fonts
  • WiFi connectivity and/or a USB port to import designs
  • Capacity to edit stitches on your machine

These features will allow your machine to grow with you in your craft.

What are the basics a sewist cannot do without?

In addition to stitches and functions, there are a few basics that we all need.

Speed control is important, no matter what your craft. Most sewing machines allow you to control your stitching speed with the foot pedal. But many machines also have a knob or slider that allows you to set the maximum speed. Why do we consider this essential?

A speed control mechanism gives you fine control over your stitching speed. If your foot slips, it will prevent an uncontrolled surge of speed. And if you are unable to use the foot pedal, it’s another way to make your machine go fast over long, straight rows of stitching and slow down around the tricky bits.

The start/stop button is another essential manual control. Yes, you can start and stop the motor using the foot pedal. However, a push-button is an important accessibility option for anyone who is unable to use the pedal. It also allows finer control over the start or stop action.

Reverse stitching is an absolute deal breaker for us. Not only is it easier to stitch certain parts of work in reverse, but it’s essential for lock-stitching at the beginning and end. It’s possible, of course, to lockstitch without a reverse function. But it’s so much easier with that handy little lever.

An automatic needle threader isn’t strictly essential, but it’s awfully convenient. I, for one, appreciate not having to squint at that tiny hole and wispy thread-end every time I change my thread.

The same goes for a thread cutter. One can always use snips, but I much prefer using my machine’s built-in thread cutter.

How Does the Janome 2212 Stack Up?

If you’re looking for a first machine, or a tool for general home sewing projects, you could do worse. At the same time, this model isn’t as feature-rich as some of its competitors.

What we love

There’s a lot to love, here, and not just for the beginning sewist.

Simple but powerful controls

janome 2212 stitch selection

The Janome 2212 is a friendly, easy-to-use machine. Two dials allow you to choose your stitch and finely alter its length. Simple diagrams show you your stitch choices, and lead you through threading the machine. If you want to start sewing right out of the box, you won’t have a difficult time of it.

Free arm

A free arm makes it easy to sew round work like hems and cuffs. Some bare-bones sewing machines have them, and others don’t. The Janome 2212 does indeed have a free-arm, which makes it a good choice for mending and garment making. 

Extra-high presser foot lift

2212 janome needle plate

If you’re working with multiple layers of thick fabric, it’s convenient to be able to lift your presser foot clear of the work. Some machines make this easier than others. The Janome 2212’s extra-high presser foot lift facilitates working with thick fabrics. 

Unfortunately, its average motor isn’t ideal for heavy work, and user experience bears this out.

Oscillating hook bobbin

The advantage of an oscillating hook bobbin machine is its simplicity. Sewing machines with an oscillating hook bobbin have fewer rotating parts. As a result, they require less maintenance than a rotary hook bobbin construction. They’re also more forgiving of timing issues.

The Janome 2212 has an oscillating hook bobbin mechanism which is well suited to an all-purpose sewing machine, if a bit noisier than a rotary mechanism.

What we found lacking

While the Janome 2212 has a lot to recommend it, we feel that this model falls short in a couple of important areas.

The buttonholer

Most of the lower-tier Janome machines have a four-step buttonhole maker, and that includes the 2212. For a one-step buttonhole, you’d have to go to a much more expensive model. What’s the difference? Here’s a one-step buttonholer in action on the Janome HD3000.

By contrast, check out the four-step Janome buttonhole.

You might be thinking buttonholes aren’t such a big deal. And for a lot of projects, they’re not. But if you’re planning on making clothing, a one-step buttonhole maker will make a big difference.

Speed control

With the Janome 2212, the only way to control the speed is with the foot pedal. This gives you less control overall, and that control isn’t as fine. Moreover, if you can’t set the maximum speed, you run the risk of a sudden surge of speed if your foot slips. A speed control lever also allows you to set a constant speed, which is more difficult to do with a foot pedal alone.

Start/stop button

Yes, you can run your machine without a start/stop button — unless an injury or disability prevents you from using a foot pedal. If your foot pedal breaks or gets lost, a start/stop button allows you to use your machine anyway. Unfortunately, the Janome 2212 doesn’t have this feature.

Automatic needle threader

It’s not a dealbreaker, but it is very convenient, and the Janome 2212 doesn’t have one.

The Competition: Janome 2212 alternatives

Depending on your needs and preferences, you might consider one of these alternatives to the Janome 2212:

The Brother CS6000I

Brother CS6000i

The Brother CS6000I (and its virtually identical successor, the CS7000I) is a computerized sewing machine, as opposed to a mechanical one. Like the Janome 2212, it’s an excellent machine for learners, as well as for general home sewing enthusiasts.

What sets the CS6000I/CS7000I apart is that it has several important features that the Janome 2212 lacks. These include:

  • Variable speed control
  • A start/stop button
  • One-step buttonhole making
  • An automatic needle threader

The newer CS7000I is priced similarly to the Janome 2212, but you can find the CS6000I for substantially less. On top of that, the CS6000I/CS7000I has a variety of craft-specific features such as decorative stitches and an extendable work table.

The Singer 4423

singer heavy duty 4423

Users report that both the Janome 2212 and the Brother CS6000I are less than ideal when it comes to thick fabric and multiple layers. If you’re going to be doing heavy work, it’s worthwhile to invest in a heavy-duty sewing machine.

The Singer 4423 is a no-frills all-purpose heavy-duty mechanical sewing machine. It has a small number of stitches, but its all-metal frame and more powerful motor make it a natural for heavy work. It has a stitch speed of 1,100 stitches per minute, which makes it faster than both the Janome 2212 and the Brother CS6000i, as well. 

And it even has an automatic needle threader.

If you have your heart set on a mechanical sewing machine, you’d be hard pressed to find a better heavy option at this price point.

The Janome Sewist 725S

If you want an entry-level Janome machine, but are concerned about the lack of certain features, the Sewist 725S could be a good alternative.

The MSRP for the Sewist 725S is considerably higher than that of the 2212. However, you can find it online for about the same price as the 2212.

What does the Sewist 725S have that the 2212 doesn’t?

  • 25 built-in stitches, including a few decorative ones
  • One-step buttonhole function
  • Automatic needle threader
  • Hard cover

To name a few.

Janome 2212 review: Final Thoughts

rear view janome 2212

The Janome 2212 is a sound option for a first sewing machine, especially if you want that first sewing machine to be a Janome.

On the other hand, there are a lot of entry-level sewing machines on the market, and many of them have more of the must-have features than the 2212.

So, while you could do a lot worse for a no-frills mechanical sewing machine, we think you could do better as well.

Janome 2212 full review