The Janome Fastlane Basic is a super affordable compact mechanical sewing machine that is perfect for teaching kids the basics. Although, it isn’t only for kids. It is a great for those that need to be an able to do some simple stitches of fairly light fabric. Advanced users or those that wish to taken more complex problems will find something more suitable click here. Read my full review below to see why this fun little machine actually has a lot to offer. If you are in the market for a sewing machine that is great for kids make sure to take a look at my list of the best sewing machines for kids.
The most striking thing about the Janome Fastlane Basic is its color. I got the fuschia version that has some bright yellow thrown in. It is a gorgeous little machine clearly inspired by vintage pop art. The colors are bright, vibrant and really standout. As well as the fuschia one it is also available in blue, green, grey, lilac, mint, pint, purple, red, teal and yellow. Each color is looks really nice, which is best for you is personal preference. As well as the fuschia one the green and yellow really stood out to me. The glossy finish of the plastic really makes the colors pop giving it a really fun youthful feel.
Being a compact machine it is very light weighing only 5 lbs. It is small to with dimensions of 9 x 5 x 10.5 inches. Perfect for those that with to sew on the go or put it away after use. Most importantly it allow kids to use it safely since it is a suitable size. The buttons and dials feel pretty well made considering the price, which is quite surprising.
Thankfully, Janome have included a top loading bobbin. This is such a plus as it seems a trend that more affordable machines feature front loading bobbins. Top loading bobbins are much easier and quicker to change as well as being much more reliable, jamming much less often. The Bobbin winding uses a push/pull system not quite an automatic bobbin winder however, it is still easy to use a pretty quick.
From the colors to the size it is clear that Janome wanted the Fastlane to appeal to kids. While getting kids involved in sewing is great idea, parents will always worry about safety. Thankfully Janome have thought of that too by adding a finger guard perfect for little fingers.
There is also a reverse switch that is located on the front the machine to allow for reverse sewing. At the bottom of the case there is little put draw to sort accessories. Finally the Janome Fastlane Basic features a free arm perfect for cuffs and sleeves.
As expected from this type of machine there is not a huge amount of variety in terms of stitches. While often advertised to have 10 different stitches there are really 4 with some variations. The stitches are: straight stitch, zigzag stitch, crescent stitch and multiple zigzag stitch. The straight stitch has 5 variations and the zig zag has 3 variations. This is enough to be able to do some of the basics like garment repair or customization, while the crescent stitch will allow for decorative work. When children are learning to sew I think that simplicity it really important, the Janome Fastlane Basic offers this. More serious users clearly will not get everything that they want from this machine but it could be a great second machine. Something to pull out to make quick repairs or perform a simple straight stitch.
The face of the machine features a stitch diagram that has picture of each stitch. Selecting a stitch is done by simply turning the dial to the letter corresponding to stitch that you want.
SETUP AND ACCESSORIES
Setup is simple, there is an instructional manual that comes with the machine that explains exactly what do and how to use it once setup. I always recommend going through the user manual of new machine, not matter how much experience that you have. As well the manual there is a ranger of other accessories including:
- Needles threader
- Power cord and a foot control
There a general purpose presser foot on the machine too. Everything needed to get start but only a basic range of accessories. Notably there no case included, for those that will need transport their machine around a purchasing a case may be necessary.
During my time with the Janome Fastlane Basic I was happy with how it performed. All the stitches we smooth and consistent, rarely skipping. Obviously it is a small machine and is not recommended for thick fabric. The thickest that I would suggest is light denim. Considering this machines best use it for young beginners, the performance is more than adequate. Especially considering the price. One negative is that the only way to control the speed is the foot pedal. Might take a little bit of getting used to for beginners. Would have been nice to see a speed control.
Number of Stitches: 4
Stitch Speed: 500
Bobbin Loading: Top
Weight: 5 lbs
Dimensions: 9 x 5 x 10.5 inches
Included Presser feet: 1
Auto Buttonholes: No
Auto Needle Threading: no
Warranty: 25 Years Limited
To conclude this review: The Janome Fastlane Basic is small fun sewing machine perfect for kids to learn on. The range of beautiful colors mean that it has something for everyone. It comes at one of the lowest prices on the market and doesn’t try to do much. It does the basics well and I would recommend this machine to anyone want to teach their kid to sew.
PROS AND CONS
- Fantastic for beginners
- Super affordable
- Range of fun colors
- No light
- No automatic threader
- Only one speed