RIP Janome DC 1050 – Your Life was Too Short


Ah, me. I am so disappointed. My lovely Janome has died. I have had her a little over a year when I started experiencing some tension problems. First, it was clunking and bird-nesting that no amount of re-threading or changing needles, thread, etc., would fix.


Then, I found a small nick in the thread uptake arm. I thought, maybe the thread is getting hung up there.


I meticulously buffed out the nick and made sure there were no other problems I could see. But, my little machine was still unhappy. I packed her up and brought her to the spa, where I was assured that routine maintenance would put a smile back on her face (and mine). A week later, and a hundred dollars poorer, she was home and back on my sewing table, happily humming along.

For 2 days.

Then, clunking and bird-nesting began again.

So, I brought her back to the spa where the “nice” lady behind the counter told me I had threaded her wrong. She gave me this look like I was a complete idiot and I had no business with a sewing machine. I looked at her, thinking, I did NOT forget how to thread my sewing machine in the week we were separated. I shrugged my shoulders, packed her back up, and hoping she was right brought her home.

Guess what? When I had her set back up she immediately clunked and threw a bird nest my way. She’s getting a little pissy now.

I hear, you, I hear you, I know something is wrong. SO, I head on back for trip #3 to the local sewing machine repair shop. This time, luckily, I got to actually speak to the man who does the repairs. He threaded my machine, stitched a few stitches, and CLUNK!


It’s losing tension somewhere, he says. You think???

He takes her to the back and they tell me to come back in yet another week, which was today.

I arrive at the shop to be greeting with frowns and apologies.

Apparently there is a part in the bobbin case on the Janome DC 1050 that is made out of plastic and it was completely bent. The technician was baffled as to how it got bent, and, more importantly, WHY it was made out of plastic in the first place. He told me he had been repairing machines for over 30 years and had never seen a machine with this particular part made out of plastic.

Where does this leave me? With no sewing machine!!!

I’ve contacted the store I bought it from and am shipping it back to them so they can survey the damage. Hopefully, whatever is wrong is covered by the warranty and it will be replaced. But, this roller-coaster of a journey I’ve been on the past month has got me thinking about several questions and I would like my fellow stitches to weigh in.

1) How much to you pay for routine maintenance of your machine?

I ask because my Janome DC 1050 cost $300, my Brother 1034D serger was less than $200, and it cost me $100 to have the Janome serviced. From a cost breakdown analysis standpoint it really doesn’t make much sense to service machines in this price range. Let’s pretend I never service my serger and run it into the ground. But, it lasts 3 years before breaking down. Well, then I buy a brand new machine for $200 with all new parts (not just serviced ones) and I saved $100. In the end I save money and I have a new machine. Obviously, if you have the dough the shell out the $1K+ on higher end machines, paying $100 for yearly service is now worth it. But, how inexpensive of a machine does one need to have before yearly service is no longer a good idea?

2) I thought Janome was a reputable “mid range” brand. Was I wrong, or did I get a lemon?

The service tech thinks Janome used to be a good brand, but have not kept up with the market. He also is a licensed seller of Pfaff, so I am sure there a little bit if bias. 🙂

3) Are the higher end companies – Bernina, Viking, Pfaff, worth the price tag?

I know that I sew daily, and perhaps I just overworked my poor Janome.  Should I be looking to replace my Janome with a higher quality machine? An industrial grade machine?  And, does an increase in price actually correlate with an increase in quality?

4) Any of you lucky seamstresses that own a Bernina, Viking, or Pfaff, what are your thoughts? What model do you have?

Apparently, I am back on the market. And, I don’t really know what my budget looks like yet.

Happy Sewing Machine Shopping!

25 thoughts on “RIP Janome DC 1050 – Your Life was Too Short

  1. I do as much maintenance on my machines as I can myself because it costs me about $95 per cleaning/tuneup as well. (I have been able to have my machines serviced occasionally on the job for free, which also helps.)

    My machines are probably worth about $350 each – I like manual (no computer-brain) machines so I’m usually happiest with models one-step up from the lowest offered.

    I would never spend my money on a Bernina. I’ve used many different models of them and have found them all to be really picky (in different ways) and I refuse to buy a machine that requires me to baby it, especially when they are so over-priced. I chose my Baby Lock after killing a 14-year old modern Singer and you can read about the whys in this blog post. But I also bought a vintage all-metal machine, so now I have 2 reliable machines that I love.

    I hope the repair place refunded some of your repair bill – so maddening when they don’t listen to you in the first place!

  2. My machine is a Janome, not a very sophisticated one, just the entry level computerised one. Never a moment’s trouble outside of operator error. I think, unfortunately, you got a lemon.
    Having said that, I do have my very beady eye on either the Juki Exceed F600 or a Bernina 710 for my next machine, which I’ll hopefully be purchasing later this year. I need to do a test drive first to see which I’ll choose.
    Perhaps, now you’re sewing professionally, you need to upgrade? Could you claim it as a business expense?

    • Thanks Fiona. It’s good to hear entry level Janomes are functioning properly for some people. Hopefully the store I bought it from will replace it with a new non-lemon. I probably could buy a grander machine and write it off, but I really like(d) my Janome.

  3. First, I am so sorry your machine is being snotty. One year? You definitely got a lemon. I do hope you can get something done from the seller. Even a less expensive machine is expected to last much longer than this. Damn plastic parts! Argh.

  4. I also sew on an entry level Janome, and I have never had a moment’s trouble with her, in the decade I’ve had her, and you know how much I sew! I think you got a dud. I wouldn’t write off Janome yet!

    • Thanks Katie! If yours is good, then mine MUST be a lemon. I really like the machine. I hope they can fix her or replace her under warranty. If not, I may buy the same machine, or similar. Which model do you have?

  5. I have a Bernina, but it was my Grandmother’s machine from the 70s sometime. I have been in possession of it for about 8 years and haven’t serviced it at all……

    Bad sewist!

    It occasionally does bad things, but that is usually user error.

    It is pretty much the only machine I have ever used, so I can’t really compare.

  6. I hope they will at least replace it. I had the cheapest possible brother machine until recently and no problems in 2 years (and no servicing).

    But I recently bought a pfaff ambition 1.5. I was actually sold into it vs bernina as the spec was equivalent to the bernina that was £300 more. I was told there is a bernina premium you need to pay.

    But I’m really happy with my. Pfaff. I can tell the difference in stitch quality and how quiet it is. The button holes are gorgeous and I have a lot more control on the foot pedal.

  7. Melanie, this is so sad. Is the spa location the same dealer where you purchased your machine? Usually dealers are interested in maintaining your business and supporting their brand. The mother board on a machine I still own needed to be replaced shortly after the warranty expired. If it wasn’t for my dealer, I probably would not have been able to have it repaired.
    Here is an interesting blog post I came across which might help you sort things out (or add more confusion!).
    I have been a Pfaff owner for over 20 years, and before that a mechanical Viking owner. Servicing usually runs about $100, but I don’t have it done every year. Good luck in getting it fixed or replaced.

    • No, the spa was a local place and I bought the machine online (better price). I am sending the machine back to the dealer I bought it from so they can determine if they can fix it, replace it, etc. I don’t think I will be returning to the local shop. When I called to see if my machine was ready they didn’t even tell me they didn’t fix it, just that it was ready for pick up. Kind got my hackles up a bit. Thanks for the link, I’ll check it out.

  8. So sorry to hear about your dc 1050. I have many machines including Janomes and they are all work horses. I did spend for a good mid range – I’m harsh on things ;). My niece now has my dc 3050 and she’s still purring. Love my 12000 and like my 4120. LOVE LOVE LOVE my BerninaS 630 (go to girl), 1008- love a great mechanical (hoping to get a 1020 or 1030), 215, Viking mega quilter and enjoy my pfaff 1.5 ambition. Each has their spot of greatness. If had to only choose one- Bernina hand down for me. It’s all a preference thing like a car.
    I think you got a lemon- yes you sew a lot but also care for your machine. One year- nonesense. You should IMHO get a replacement. I would recommend since you are a heavy sewer getting a bit more mid range one though (motor power), but honestly- it’s budget and what feels good etc that will dictate it.
    Good luck!

    • Thanks for the info! I may need to upgrade to mid range.I wonder if the shop can credit my account for the amount I spent om my DC 1050 and I can upgrade a step or two.

  9. That sucks. I got my machine back from maintenance yesterday and it cost me 112 euro. It was the first time I had it serviced since I bought it in 2010. I have a Janome 3160 QDC and haven’t had any issues with it, I think I originally paid 700 euro for it. The problem you described happening after just 1 year seems ridiculous and really shouldn’t have happened.

  10. So sorry to hear about your bad luck. In 1987 I bought my Bernina. It cost me 1800 dollars, which was an awful amount of money for a young family in those years. In 27 years it has been serviced…..twice. I know, I know. But despite heavy usage I have never, ever had any troubles with my machine. So, although I follow your economics on buying cheaper machines and replace them after several years, when I break down my investment in yearly costs it will be much lower. As a bonus I’ve been happily sewing on this flawless machine. I never regretted my decision, although I was on a very restricted fabric budget those first years to overcome this big financial issue. It was so worth it.
    In an episode of Great British Sewing Bee it was mentioned the first sewing machines were by far the most expensive item in the house, sometimes even more expensive than the house itself. Good tools are worth some financial pain!

  11. AAhhh! That is a tragedy. I bought a mid-range machine ($750) and have it serviced every year. It is in it’s third year and still doing well. I wonder how long it will last though, and I am not sure it was worth the money spent yet/

  12. Wish I had seen this sooner but I guess it’s never too late to share. Sorry to hear about this. Losing a sewing machine is no fun!
    First, I would definitely recommend you get a home industrial machine because of the amount of sewing you do! I have a home industrial Necchi that breezes through denim and chiffon and everything in between. I believe it cost around $600 and the dealer I got it from included a teflon foot and a ton of the other specialty feet. I’ve had it for a minimum of 5 yrs. probably much longer since I can’t remember and I’ve never had to take it in to get serviced and I’ve put the miles on it.
    I have a White’s Serger. I’ve had it for 10 yrs. It’s been serviced at least once, maybe twice, and it still works very well on knits and wovens.
    Neither of my machines have any computery bits in them and I’ve never felt like I was missing something. Hope you find something that works for you soon!

  13. So sad! I have a all metal Kenmore from the 1970s that I got from Freecycle. I remember the Berninas in our college’s costume shop were workhorses. They were there well before I showed up and ran like a dream the entire 4 years I was there. I really like the old machines, even if they don’t have as many stitch options. I find that I mostly need straight stitch and zig-zag. You can even do buttonholes without a special “buttonhole stitch.”

  14. I’m having the same problems that you were having, Including the “you’re threading it wrong” comment. I’m trying really hard not to send it in for service. Do you know if there is a replacement part for bobbin holder? I’m thinking of using a resin or fiberglass to repair it until I can find a way to replace the part. From what I can see it has taken to many broken needles. some sanding is helping but the thread is still catching and nesting.

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