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Janome 219-S sewing machine review

Should you buy a Janome Janome 219-S manual sewing machine? See how this handy beginner machine fared in our in depth expert testing

Our rating 
4.1 out of 5 star rating 4.1
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Our review

A seriously handy manual machine that makes light work of a variety of fabric weights. The perfect beginner machine if you're looking to alter clothes, try basic dressmaking or make your first quilt. Offers enough stitch options and functions to support a range of uses without overwhelming first timers.
Easy to use
5.0 out of 5 rating 5.0
Durability
3.5 out of 5 rating 3.5
Extra functions
3.5 out of 5 rating 3.5
Stitch options
3.0 out of 5 rating 3.0
Portability
4.5 out of 5 rating 4.5
Worth the money
5.0 out of 5 rating 5.0
Pros: Easy to thread and use, Lightweight, Great value for money, perfect for beginners.
Cons: You can't lower the feed dogs, no needle-cutter, basic dust cover (no pocket)

Let’s start with the headline news – we really love this machine. We put it to the test on a variety of everyday sewing jobs and fabrics, from alterations to basic dressmaking and quilt making, and we liked what we found. If you’re looking for your first sewing machine, or you’re a little bit intimidated by the thought of how to use one, the Janome 291-S is a worthy choice for beginners.

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We tested this on lightweight cotton fabric for patchwork, sewing a buttonhole on a child’s dress, quilting a quilt sandwich, turning up a pair of jeans and sewing a roman blind using upholstery fabric.

The striking thing about it is how simple it is to use. It has a front-loading bobbin which is easy to remove and change, threading it is simple, and you can easily switch between stitch types, lengths and adjust the tension using the dials at the front – without a daunting electric display or thousands of stitch options (which you’ll never use) to navigate.

With 14 stitch options including a 4-step-button holer, it will offer you a great range of basic dressmaking functions to build your skills.

One of its best features is how easy it is to take out and about, as it’s a lightweight model. This makes it a good choice if you don’t have a dedicated sewing area in your home but find yourself often putting away and then setting up your machine, for example at a dining table. Likewise it’s a useful option if you often take your machine to the homes of friend and family to sew with.

Janome 291-S Sewing machine review: summary

  • Nifty beginner machine that’s great value for money
  • Price: £125
  • 14 stitch options, 4 feet options including zipper and buttonholer
  • Lightweight and portable

What is the Janome 219-S sewing machine?

The Janome 219-S is an affordable entry-level, mechanical sewing machine that’s aimed at first-time stitchers, or sewists who are looking for a reliable machine to handle basic alterations, dressmaking and the odd home sewing project, from quilts to roman blinds.

It has enough stitch options to offer you a range of initial uses, from inserting button holes to sewing blind hems and quilting, but with a very simple-to-use design and a pared down range of functions that won’t overwhelm.

This machine can handle a wide range of fabric types, from lightweight voile, to medium weight linens and cottons to denim, tweed or upholstery fabric.

What does the Janome 219-S do?

The Janome 219-S is an affordable entry-level, mechanical sewing machine that’s aimed at first-time stitchers, or sewists who are looking for a reliable machine to handle basic alterations, dressmaking and the odd home sewing project, from quilts to roman blinds.

It has enough stitch options to offer you a range of initial uses, from inserting button holes to sewing blind hems, machine appliqué and quilting, but with a very simple-to-use design and a pared down range of functions that won’t overwhelm.

  • 14 stitch options
  • 5mm maximum stitch width
  • Front loading bobbin
  • 5.4kg weight – lighter than most similar manual machines
  • Two retractable spool pins
  • 4 step button hole function
  • Removable extension table for free arm sewing
  • Manual stitch length and tension control

As this machine is made for beginners, it may struggle with some more advanced techniques. We’d like to see a built-in thread cutter and you can’t lower the feed dogs, so it’s not the one if you’re looking to try free motion embroidery or quilting. But it can comfortably handle most of your day-to-day sewing needs!

Janome 219 S

How much is the Janome 219-S?

This machine retails for around £125.

You can also head to Janome’s website to find a nearby retailer to you, if you prefer to see a machine before you buy.

Is the Janome 219-S good value for money?

In short, yes. You get a reliable sewing machine with a good range of functions for your money. Janome is a trusted brand that is always a favourite with sewists and this machine will last you years. Plus it comes with a 2 year warranty to put your mind at ease.


Janome 219-S is it easy to use?

This mechanical sewing machine is made for beginners, and it shows. It easily passed our test for how easy it was to set up for beginners.

It has a front-loading bobbin which is easy to remove, wind and load, and you can thread the top thread easily following the step by step instructions in the manual. The bobbin winder automatically finishes for you when your bobbin is full.

You can change the stitch type, thread tension and stitch length quickly using the dials at the front, and it has a reverse stitch lever at the front too that you just press to switch the direction of your stitching (useful for securing your stitching).

It comes with 4 different sewing feet and a magnetic presser foot holder, so you can simply change the foot by raising the presser foot and needle, then gently pressing the current foot down to remove, and snapping the new one back in place by lowering the presser foot holder on to it.

The needle itself is easy to change by unscrewing the needle clamp screw and removing the current needle, then inserting the new one and tightening. This makes easy work of switching to the right needle to suit your fabric.

The  needle plate has markings for mm or inches, which is handy for this particular quilt maker who doesn’t work in mm! This means you can easily position your needle the right distance from your fabric edge, allowing you to sew seams in increments to suit your sewing pattern or quilt pattern instructions.

The only thing that tripped us up a bit was that we you just have to remember to pull out the hand wheel to move the machine into bobbin winding mode (and push it back in after). But this will become second nature with a bit of practise.

Janome 219-S quality and durablity

This is a robust machine that will last you for years – Janome machines are widely loved for their trustworthiness. We found it sewed a variety of fabrics (from lightweight cottons to denim, upholstery and several layers of fabric and wadding for a quilt) and it coped with all with ease and sewed high quality stitching.

We had to play around about with the thread tension to match the fabric a bit, so would have found it useful to see a stitch tension guide for different fabrics for beginners in the manual, but this isn’t an exclusive issue for this machine – it’s all part of the sewing process and we soon worked out which thread tensions worked best for which fabric.

In terms of sturdiness of the main machine, we tested sewing at full speed and did vibrate a bit, so there maybe quieter machines out there but this doesn’t especially put us off.

Janome 219-S extra functions

This machine will offer you a good, solid range of  functions to support your dressmaking, quilting or home sewing.  Here are a few of our favourites…

If you’re looking to make or fix clothes, the removable storage compartment slides away easily for free arm sewing, making it do basic dressmaking jobs like sewing trouser hems, sleeve cuffs or other smaller, tubular projects

I found it simple to remove the table to sew a waistband on to a skirt I was making. I also tried out the blind hem stitch to take up a pair of jeans – it was really straightforward to switch the presser foot and the stitch was easy to use. 

The 4 step button hole took a couple of goes for me to master, mainly due to stitch tension, but the manual and step by step instructions made it a very simple process.

The biggest drawback for us for this model is that you can’t lower the feed dogs, which means you can’t use it for freehand quilting or embroidery, but there’s plenty of other snazzy things you can do with it to keep you busy.

What accessories does it come with?

  • 3 spare bobbins
  • Seam ripper
  • Needle set
  • Sliding buttonhole foot
  • Blind hem foot
  • Zipper foot
  • Darning plate

Janome 219-S stitch options

This machine comes with 14 stitch options including:

  • Straight stitch
  • Zig zag stitch
  • Tricot stitch
  • Knit stitch
  • Rick-rack stretch
  • Buttonhole stitch (4 parts)
  • Shell Tuck
  • Smocking

I tried out the zig zag stitch to sew appliqué some cotton flowers on to a  daughter’s dress. and it made light weight of machine appliqué – it was actually so good it’s  converted me a bit to appliqué (after my previous attempts at hand appliqué had mixed results).

We also tried some basic smocking on the girl’s dress and this was easy peasy and only took a few minutes using the manual to walk me through which stitches and feet to use.

More advanced machines will offer a wider range of stitch options but these are more than enough for most dressmaking and quilting needs.

How portable is the Janome 219-S?

Weighing in 5.4kg, this machine is one of the lightest beginner machines of it’s type on the market. I was pleasantly surprised with how easy it was to carry it to my friend’s house for a sewing night.

It comes with two retractable spool pins which you can push down when not in use for storage.

One thing that would be handy would be for the dust cover to include a pocket to store the leads and presser foot – we had to carry these in an additional bag.


Our verdict: should you buy Janome 219-S

If you’re new to sewing, or looking for a trusted machine that will do regular alterations, dressmaking and home sewing then yes. This great little beginner machine makes surprisingly light work of a variety of fabric weights and can offer you a versatile manual machine with some next-step functions to play around with from buttonholes to zips, smocking or quilting.

As with a beginner machine at the lower cost-end of the market, there will be other machines out there which offer you a wider range of more advanced functions, stitches and accessories, but this affordable all-rounder is great value for money.

Where to buy the Janome 219-S

This model has seen a huge surge in demand during lockdown, so it’s not the easiest to find a lot of models online at the time of writing but we hear on the grapevine that more stock is on the way. We’ll keep this section updated with the latest places to buy.

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You can also head to Janome’s website to find a nearby retailer to you, if you prefer to see a machine before you buy.