You can do a lot with an inexpensive sewing machine. But have you ever wondered what you could do if money were no object? The Janome Horizon Memory Craft line has some of the priciest home sewing machines on the market. But these machines set the standards in their class. Is the 8900 QCP worth it? Our Janome 8900 review will lay it all out.
The Janome 8900: Review and Analysis
The reputation of the Janome Sewing Machine Company rests on three pillars: innovation, reliability, and quality manufacture. Unfortunately, these things don’t come cheaply, and neither do Janome sewing machines.
While you can find bargains from time to time, even a bare-bones mechanical Janome will sit at the higher end of the price spectrum for its class. And though they’re well made, many Janome machines tend to be minimalistic on features and sparing when it comes to accessories.
But their high-end, craft-specific machines? That’s another matter entirely.
About the Janome Horizon Memory Craft 8900 QCP
The Janome Horizon Memory Craft 8900QCP special edition is a quilting, sewing, and embroidery machine. There are plenty of those about, and most of them cost less than the Horizon Memory Craft 8900QCP. But this is no ordinary do-it-all sewing machine. Everything it does, it does demonstrably better.
Let’s talk about stitch speed. The average stitching speed for a home sewing machine is 850 stitches per minute. A few do more, and many do less. But the Janome Horizon 8900 gives you 1,000 stitches per minute, which is approaching professional sewing machine speeds. If you’re sewing long, straight stretches, as you might in quilting, that speed could make a difference.
Also, plenty of computerized sewing machines have an LCD screen. The Janome Memory Craft 8900 QCP, on the other hand, has a high-resolution touchscreen. And while lots of all-purpose sewing machines have an extensive selection of stitch designs, the Janome 8900 QCP allows you to combine its 270 stitches into unique sequences and to sew those sequences.
The Janome 8900 QCP also comes with Janome’s proprietary Accu-feed system, which specifically addresses the problems that a lot of sewing machines have with difficult-to-sew fabrics and layered fabrics.
Many sewing machines marketed to quilters come with an extension table. But the extension table that comes with the 8900 QCP is huge. It’s also made from sturdy acrylic instead of light plastic. On top of that, this machine has an 11-inch throat and comes with a knee lifter. The same cannot be said for most all-purpose machines aimed at quilters.
Do you see where I’m going with this?
It’s not perfect. In fact, there are a few features that we think would make this machine even better. But it’s a lot more than just an overpriced all-purpose sewing machine with a quilting-flavoured accessories pack.
- 270 stitch designs
- 11 one-step automatic buttonholes
- 3 alphabets
- Press-button thread cutter
- Adjustable foot pressure
- Included adjustable knee-lifter
- Extended throat space
- Accu-feed fabric feeding system
- Large LCD touch-screen
- Extra-largeacrylic extension table
- Large selection of included quilting-specific presser feet
- Extended upper and lower storage compartments
- Extra-bright LED lighting
- Complicated interface
- No connectivity or design transfer technology
Who is the Janome Horizon Memory Craft 8900QCP For?
Somewhere between the home sewing machine and the industrial machine lies the semi-professional sewing machine.
A semi-pro machine is aimed at serious sewists and crafters. They generally have sturdier construction and are built for heavier and more continuous use.
Many semi-pro sewing machines are either craft-specific or heavily angled toward one craft or another. They also often have advanced crafting features like a knee lifter, embroidery designs (not just decorative stitches) or an extended throat space.
The target market for a semi-professional sewing machine like the Janome Horizon Memory Craft 8900QCP includes:
- Competitive quilters and crafters
- People with a home-based business
- Amateurs who spend a lot of time pursuing their craft
This doesn’t mean that a general home sewist can’t get a lot of use out of a machine like the Janome 8900QCP. Indeed, its smorgasbord of advanced features could provide decades of enjoyment for any enthusiast.
What it does mean, though, is that sewists who need advanced, approaching-professional features will find quite a few of them here.
What’s in the box?
Accessories that come with the Janome Memory Craft 8900QCP, include:
- Free Motion Quilting Closed Toe Foot
- Free Motion Quilting Open Toe Foot
- Free Motion Quilting Zig-Zag Foot
- AcuFeed Flex™ Dual Feed Holder with AD Foot
- 1/4 Inch Seam Foot O
- Automatic Buttonhole Foot
- Blind Hem Foot G
- Button Sewing Foot
- Darning Foot
- Open Toe Satin Stitch Foot
- Overedge Foot M
- Rolled Hem Foot
- Satin Stitch Foot
- Zig-Zag Foot
- Zipper Foot E
- Cloth Guide
- Extra Large Foot Controller
- Straight Stitch Needle Plate
- Protective cover
- Janome 8900 QCP manual
|5||STITCHES PER MINUTE (SPM)||1000|
|13||BOBBIN TYPE||Top Drop-In|
|16||DIMENSIONS||20.4 x 12.4 x 9.1 inches|
|18||WARRANTY||25 year limited|
What to Look For in a Semi-Professional Sewing Machine
If you’re thinking about taking the plunge into the world of high-end, high-function sewing machines, there are things you’ll have to consider beyond your budget and your wish list. Here are a few qualities that every semi-pro sewing machine should have.
A semi-professional sewing machine is going to cost a lot more than a general-purpose home sewing machine. If you’re going to be laying out that kind of money, you have a right to expect features that go above and beyond.
If you’re looking at a craft-specific sewing machine, then look for advanced crafting features. Quilters, for example, should seek out:
- Higher stitch speed
- Enhanced ability to handle layers
- The ability to import, edit, and program quilting designs on the machine
- A large throat space
- An included extension table
- A knee lifter, especially an adjustable one
- Twin needle
- An extra-high presser-foot lift
Other advanced features you might desire include:
- On-the-machine stitch and/or pattern editing
- Stitch combinations
- Stitch memory
- USB or WiFi connectivity for uploading your own stitches and designs
These are just a few of the features that can separate a lower-end do-it-all sewing machine from a higher-level semi-pro model.
One of the target markets for a semi-professional sewing machine is home-based businesses. Although a home business owner won’t be churning out projects on an industrial scale, they will be using their machine more often and more continuously than the average home sewist. Their sewing machine needs to be able to stand up to that level of work.
Many advanced artists and crafters have moved beyond working with other people’s patterns and ideas. If you’re working at semi-pro level, chances are, you have your own ideas and want the technology to bring them to life.
Higher level machines will have features that allow you to go beyond pre-programmed stitches and patterns. You should be able to import designs that you buy from other providers. You might also want to design your own patterns and stitches and bring them to your machine. And once those designs are safely on your machine, you might want to customize them even further.
Connectivity, editing capabilities, and interactive touchscreens are key for creating, rather than simply using other people’s designs. Semi-pro level machines should allow you to create, customize, mix, alter, and reuse.
Features and Benefits of the Janome 8900 QCP Special Edition
If we haven’t stated it adequately, the Janome 8900QCP is not only rich in features, but those features go above and beyond similar features in lesser machines. No sewing machine is perfect for all users, but there’s a lot to love here, whether you’re a quilter or a general sewist.
What sets the Janome Horizon Memory Craft 8900QCP apart? Here are a few things.
First, it comes with a few quilting must-have that you don’t often see on lower-end machines.
The knee lifter, for example, allows you to raise and lower the presser foot with your knee. This leaves you free to maneuver your work with both hands.
The throat space, that is, the space to the right of the needle, is a generous 11 inches. For larger work like a quilt, this is exactly what you need.
The extra-large extension table that comes with this model supports more of your project, which makes it easier to both see and to manipulate.
Most lower-end sewing machines use a single pressure foot pressure that works well for most kinds of work. However, some materials respond differently to that standard pressure. Adjustable pressure foot pressure allows you to tailor your settings to the optimal ones for your particular project.
Janome’s proprietary Accu-feed system feeds layers through the machine in a uniform way. It’s also quite effective for sewing slippery and difficult-to-sew materials.
You can see how it works here:
The Janome 8900 QCP also has stitch combining capabilities, which means that in addition to altering stitch height and width, you can combine different patterns into sequences and sew the entire sequence. This can give you some pretty amazing results for decorative stitching.
In addition to decorative stitch sequences, you can use this function to create sequences of letters and numbers using the three alphanumeric fonts.
This is how it works.
Finally, Janome’s accessories packs tend to be a bit stingy, but this is not the case, here. The accessories pack includes an excellent assortment of bonus presser feet, many of which are specific quilting feet.
What We Think Could be Better
The 8900 QCP is one of Janome’s older models, so perhaps it’s unfair to compare it to more recent sewing and quilting machines. On the other hand, it’s still rather expensive, so you want to be sure that you’re getting the most for your money. Here are a few things that we wish it had. 
When it comes to maximizing your creative potential, connectivity is a must. Connected sewing machines typically have either WiFi connectivity or a USB port. This connection to the “outside world” allows you to purchase designs from creators, or even create your own and use them with your machine.
The Janome Horizon Memory Craft 8900QCP has no connectivity, which means that you’re limited to the stitches pre-programmed into the machine. Again, this is an older machine. However, plenty of newer, less expensive machines have this capability.
Better stitch editing capabilities
The 8900 QCP is, principally, a quilting machine. You don’t need a huge library of embroidery designs or the ability to create your own.
However, quite a few higher-end quilting machines have the ability to not only import stippling patterns and other quilting patterns, but also to customize them and to map them onto your project. The 8900 QCP, unfortunately, lacks this ability.
Alternatives to the Janome Horizon Memory Craft 8900 QCP
The MC 8900 QCP is an excellent machine, and it has a lot of terrific quilting features. At the same time, it always pays to consider the competition.
Singer Quantum Stylist 9980
The first thing you might notice about the Singer Quantum Stylist 9980 is its considerably lower price tag. The second thing you may notice is that it’s a bit more feature rich than the 8900 QCP. Some of its additional features include:
- 820 built-in stitch designs
- 13 one-step automatic buttonholes
- 5 alphanumeric fonts
- Extended editing functions including mirror imaging
Like the 8900 QCP, the Quantum Stylist 9980 also comes with an (albeit smaller) extension table and several quilting feet. If you like the looks of the 8900 QCP, but are wary of the price tag, this might be a good option for you.
Pfaff Creative 3.0 IDT
The Pfaff Creative 3.0 IDT is a sewing, embroidery, and quilting machine that sits around the same price point as the Janome 8900QCP. However, it’s a newer machine, and its features reflect that. These include:
- A colour touch screen
- The ability to edit and customize designs using the touch screen
- “Stitch creator” technology for creating your own stitch designs on the touch screen
- Three free-motion quilting modes
- An extended workspace
- Lots of memory to store your own designs
- USB Connectivity
If you like the 8900 QCP, but want a few of the more modern features, this could be one to consider.
Janome Horizon Memory Craft 11000
If money really is no object, and you want a quilting machine on the bleeding edge, then have a look at the Janome Horizon Memory Craft 11000. Check out these features:
- 24 built-in stippling designs
- 170 built-in embroidery designs
- 10 monogram fonts, including European characters
- Advanced editing options, including enlarge/reduce, drag-and-drop, and more
- 4 different design transfer technologies, including USB
- A large, full-color touchscreen
- Included quilting and embroidery hoops
This is a lot of machine, and it has a price tag to match. But if you want features, these are pretty difficult to top.
The Final Analysis
The Janome Horizon Memory Craft 8900 QCP is an excellent, highly-rated semi-professional sewing machine with advanced features that quilters will love. It would make a great machine for a serious hobbyist or someone starting a home-based business.
At the same time, there are newer machines with even more advanced features, some of which cost less. Is this one the right machine for your quilting and sewing needs? That depends on you. But the Memory Craft 8900 QCP is definitely one to consider.
- Janome | Retired Models | https://www.janome.com/support/retired-machine-manuals/