I’ve now had my machine for almost two years and I still love it! I did end up purchasing editing software (Embird) about 6 months ago, as I started manipulating designs more and it is quicker and easier with the software. It was nice to be able to use the built-in editing capabilities of my machine for a while first, since there are so many initial costs with starting machine embroidery.
Janome Memory Craft 350E Features
- Needle Threader
- Needle Up/Down Setting
- Embroidery Stitches
- Drop-In bobbin
- Free Arm
- Adjustable Stitch Length and Width
- Adjustable Presser Foot Pressure
- Adjustable Needle Position
- Embroidery Machine
- Auto Threading
Janome Memory Craft 350E Pros
I knew I wanted at least a 5×7. I read enough about those with 4×4’s wanting to upgrade and I wanted a machine I was going to be satisfied with for many years. This machine has hoops for sewing 4×4 and 5×7 designs, though the actual stitch area is a little larger than that.
Memory cards for embroidery machines are a bit dated. They’re still in use, available, and this machine has a slot for one, but a USB port was essential in my book. I know technology changes frequently, so it didn’t make sense to buy a machine that didn’t have a USB port. I use it to transfer designs from my computer to my machine.
I have room to have all my machines out (my sewing machine, serger, and this one), so I wanted a stand-alone embroidery machine. I like the ability to sew on my Jem at the same time my 350e is running, and I like having the separate functions if repairs are ever needed.
I won’t get into all the specs and other information you can find on the Janome site about this machine, but I will comment on a few features.
I only stitched one out, for my first sample, and it was a very pretty butterfly. It stitched out very nicely. I don’t see the built-in designs as being a selling point, as there are so many options online and in stores and you can even digitize your own.
There are 3 fonts that come with this machine. They can be used in 3 sizes each. There are also several monogramming options, which I have not used yet. I have tried a few of the fonts and they are okay. I don’t feel like they stitch out quite as nice as some fonts that I’ve purchased, but the difference is not too noticeable and the built-in ones can be made small enough to be very useful. Also, the spacing is done automatically, as opposed to purchased fonts, where you each letter is a single file that has to be positioned individually. I found it very easy to use this feature.
I bought some Madeira thread in a sampler kit of 1000m spools for a great deal (48 colors for about $80, including a case). I was not sure if my machine would be picky about thread (though Janomes are very forgiving), and thought I’d get the name brand since it was pretty comparable price-wise to Metro and some other recommended threads. Also, Madeira is one of the 4 brands of thread whose color codes come with the machine. (You can change which one is displayed in the settings of the machine). I have not had any problems with my machine and this thread.
The dealer included a pack of pre-wound Janome bobbins and when those ran out I bought some no-name bobbins and the machine liked both equally well.
I probably should have started with this, since I think this is one of my favorite things about Janome machines. The tension was very easy to set, and I have had no need to change it since. Even when I swapped out bobbin thread types, my machine kept stitching along with no problems. I LOVE how it makes my machine so easy to use.
I have seen some variations in stitch quality when using designs from different designers. I think the machine stitches beautifully; it’s the designs themselves that aren’t always digitized so well. None of the designs I have stitched out have turned out poorly, but again, quality varies depending on who created the design.
I know some folks have struggled a bit with how to format and use the USB. I had read about it before purchasing my machine and had no troubles. I only use one flash drive for my machine, and empty it after I have used the designs, so I only had to format once. I remember the process being very simple, though I am rather comfortable with computers.
The touch screen is black and white, but I actually like that, since I don’t use the recommended colors when I applique, I use thread that matches my fabric choices. So I don’t get confused by the screen showing something different than what I’m using. The screen does show what piece of the design that you’re working on.
You can move through the design +/- 10 stitches at a time. That’s incredibly useful if you ever have to “fix” a design by going back and re-stitching a portion.
You can also scroll through the thread changes, which is great if you want to skip part of a design (say one that has a picture and a saying and you just want to stitch the picture).
The machine beeps, as another reviewer mentioned, if you have a low bobbin or some other problem with the stitch out. It also will give you messages if you try to run the machine with the presser foot up, or if you try to move the design with the presser foot down, etc. Between that and the built-in help menu, I haven’t referred to the manual very much.
I haven’t had to clean my machine very often. I think it is rather easy to do and the machine gives very good visuals on it. I thought the included tools made it easy as well.
Now that I know about this, if I were to talk to someone about what to look for in a machine, I would include this as a purchasing requirement.
Most machines seem to do some re-sizing and rotating. This machine essentially allows for complete rotation, along with flipping images along both the horizontal and vertical access, and resizing from 90% to 120%. I have resized quite a few designs with my machine and have been very pleased with how they stitch out. I can’t speak for other machines, but I think this one does a wonderful job with the size adjustments.
You can easily load several files to the screen and position them where you want (like putting a name under a design), and you can save those as files, both to your machine or to the USB. Because you can save an edited design to your USB and then transfer it to your computer, it’s like having unlimited storage space, which is fantastic. I am not sure how many designs can be saved to the machine itself–I have about a dozen I keep on my machine right now.
So far I have had my machine just under a year, and there is nothing I have wanted to do with a design that I haven’t been able to do with my on-screen editing abilities. It may not be as large or as fast as doing it on a computer, but I haven’t had to purchase an editing or digitizing program to do what I want.
I think one review, at least, mentioned there can be a delay and several steps to get to the designs you want to use. That’s true, but I love the benefit of being able to do so much on my machine, even if it’s slow.
I think this machine is one that is very reliable, easy to use and maintain and stitches beautifully. It has a 5×7 hoop and USB port, which means it should not become outdated any time soon. So I would say it is worth the money.
Janome Memory Craft 350E Cons
The main thing I dislike is that there are marks on the hoops that indicate the centers, but that doesn’t align with the center of the design field that is displayed on the screen. I hadn’t read the manual in it’s entirety, but when I went to look this issue up, it did indeed mention that the template grid has the correct center and that it’s not the same as the centers on the hoop. I don’t use the grid much, so I don’t care for this. I ended up making a little mark on the hoop to show where the actual center line was. I do think the grid templates are useful if you want to hoop what you are embroidering. But with the t-shirts and burp cloths and other items I tend to embroider, I hoop the stabilizer and then just center the item on that, so the hoop center helps more than the grid.
The only other minor dislike is the speed when loading several files (like letters to spell a name) onto the design screen. But, as I mentioned above in the editing ability section, being able to do so much on-screen editing means I don’t need to purchase additional software, so the delay is worth it to me.
I am glad I upgraded my 300E for the 350E. There are many new features that I personally prefer to have. In my previous review of the 300E, I mentioned that a bobbin low sensor would be neat to have. Well, I am happy to have this feature on the 350E. The machine does not stop stitching. The LCD will show a warning that the bobbin is running low. So far I am using pre-wound bobbins and noticing the warning comes with ~1cm of thread left. I will be winding my own bobbins shortly and update my review with my findings.
Tip#1. I learned this trick from my old 300E. Depending on your machine, when you wind the bobbins yourself…you may not be winding the bobbin full. I have taken a screwdriver to loosen the bobbin guide/arm “slightly” to the right of the bobbin holder and then tighten the guide/arm. Be sure to have a bobbin in your holder, so you can see how much to move the guide/arm. Also, do not try to fill the bobbin too full…like those pre-wounds.
I absolutely enjoy having the automatic thread cutter. It is actually a timesaver as I don’t have to stop and cut my thread between colors. The machine stops and I remove the thread from the machine and thread the next color.
Tip #2. The noticed the 350E thread tension was set to 3 when I pulled my machine out of the box. After several test samples, I have adjusted the thread tension down to 2-1/2. You may or may not need to do this. I just noticed that the bobbin thread was showing a bit on the top of my fabric.
Tip #3. If you have the Clothsetter and the Gigahoop but you can’t afford to purchase the extension table right away, you can reuse the clothsetter box (the box that contained your clothsetter) to help support the Gigahoop while stitching. Place the box to the left of the machine. 🙂
I have noticed I have been using my USB thumb drives more than my PC cards for saving designs and transferring to the machine. I think it’s a personal preference and what media I have available.
I am now using the needle threader and love it (as a result of my dealer’s comment about not using it on my old 300E). I’m hooked and it works beautifully.
The LCD touch panel has a faster response. This is a big improvement over the 300E.
Overall, the machine is noticeably quieter. I still have the little chirping sound from the embroidery arm, but it’s not as noticeable as it was on my old 300E. The stitching area is definitely quieter.
I have been happily stitching along with my new machine. I still love the quality of the stitches that are produced with the Janome embroidery machines.