A thorough and honest review of Janome’s Continental M7

I have wanted to write a complete and thorough review about Janome’s newest sewing machine, the Continental M7, for many months. I was first introduced to this machine before the official launch during the summer of 2019 and then a new M7 arrived in my studio last November. I’m glad I waited to formulate my thoughts and put them in writing until now for many reasons. The main reason is that while I’ve been at home during the pandemic, I’ve had large chunks of uninterrupted time to dive deep and really get to explore and learn about this machine and all it’s capabilities. I’ve done more than give this machine a test drive; I’ve had the opportunity to really put it through it’s paces. From this experience and what I’ve learned, I’d like to share honestly with you. 

When I flew to Janome headquarters in July of last year to experience the machine and test it firsthand, I expected to find Janome’s high-level of quality which is standard on every machine. I had been very happily using Janome’s Memory Craft 15000 and the Horizon 9450 QCP for more than three years to create quilts and many other sewing and embroidery projects. I would teasingly say I was so bonded with both of these machines I would never let another machine turn my head, so to speak. So, I was admittedly a teensy bit resistant as I flew to the Janome headquarters in NJ to meet the “new kid on the block” because I was quite convinced I already had the equivalent of sewing machine perfection back home in my studio. (And rest assured, those machines are still perfection — and still in use in my studio today.)

But I was not prepared for all the innovative new features on the Continental M7. When I first entered the room and saw the sheer size of the M7, I was truly taken aback. This machine has the largest open area of throat space of any sit-down, domestic sewing machine on the market! There are more than 13″+ of space from the needle to the arm of the machine and the clearance in height is more than other machines, too. The machine itself is not only sleek but incredibly sturdy. However, ALL Janome machines are sturdy — so I expected nothing less and was not disappointed.

I turned on the machine and threaded it easily with the smooth-path, one-button, needle threading system. Most impressive! Immediately, I noticed the unobstructed line of sight with almost 4″ above the needle; there is nothing to impede your view! This was another delightfully unexpected design feature of the carriage itself. 

The brightly-lit, 7″ high definition color touch screen is strategically located for easy accessibility and the interface is very user-friendly for even the most beginning level sewist. In other words, the icons and touch-screen buttons simply make sense to most people. Although the instruction manual is an excellent reference guide, you may not even need it to decipher commands and features or how the buttons are to be used. A true beginner could easily use this machine and not feel intimidated.

When I began testing different stitches, it whirred quietly like the fine-tuned machine it is. The stitch quality? Oh-so incredibly smooth, balanced and well… perfect.

There is an adjustable lever for the ultimate in precise speed control but this machine can sew a whopping 1300 stitches per minute! Again, this has everything you would expect from Janome’s “dependability by design.” And the motor is incredibly powerful. I was given twelve layers of denim and stitched through those layers like a hot knife through butter. Really.

Then I was asked to change the needle plate. Instead of pushing an actual button or lever on the machine you simply touch the locking “key” icon on the screen and instantly — magically — the needle plate automatically lifts so you can change it for any one of three needle plates which come standard with the accessories. Once removed, you simply line up one side of the plate you wish to insert and it is pulled securely in place through the fully computerized system. I was so enthralled, I went through this process several more times for the fun of it! This brilliant feature will save many polished nails from being chipped; let alone the hassle of having to use a screwdriver or tools to change a needle plate! 

And of course, the M7 comes standard with the incredible HP foot and plate system (the HP plate, HP foot and HP2 presser foot) which is my most favorite method for achieving the perfect scant 1/4″ seam with ease . (In case you missed it, you can read about the definition and how to achieve that otherwise elusive scant 1/4″ seam by CLICKING HERE.) If you’re ready to perform curved piecing with absolute ease, NOTHING does it better than the HP system! 

If I hadn’t already been excited about the M7 by this point (which I was) the next feature absolutely cinched the deal for me. The AcuSpark App, which incidentally, isn’t even on the machine itself, is available as a free download for iOS or Android users to any smartphone or tablet. This powerful little app is jam-packed with information about every feature and function on the Continental M7. On the bottom right side of the M7 screen there is a small UPC code which changes with each stitch or function you select. Simply open the AcuSpark App, scan the UPC code, and up pops all the information about that particular feature or stitch selection! You may never need the user manual because this little gem provides almost everything you could ever want or need to know. I think this new feature alone is worth its weight in sheer sewing gold!

The M7 has another fabulous new design called the SFS-I. What does this mean for you? This intelligent feed-dog system allows the feed dogs to always end lowered beneath the needle plate surface when you stop sewing so when you move or position your fabric underneath the presser foot, there is nothing to cause “drag” on your fabric. When you begin sewing (whether you use the foot pedal or the start button), the feed dogs instantly lift and engage your fabric with the presser foot to move it with precision and accuracy. It’s positively brilliant — especially when you are maneuvering a quilt sandwich for either free motion or ruler work quilting!

Some of my other personal favorite features on this fabulous machine include:

  • Independent bobbin winding motor. You can wind bobbins at the same time you continue to sew. It’s a great time-saver and allows me to multi-task.
  • Automatic Presser foot lift / hoover feature. I use this feature ALL THE TIME. You can even program how high — or low — the presser foot lifts which is handy for different sewing applications.
  • Quilt Block Advisor. Choose from a variety of traditional quilt blocks in customizable sizes and the machine will tell you the size of each piece to cut and how to construct the block. 
  • Optical bobbin sensor. You can turn this feature on or off in the Settings Menu, but it is very accurate and saves me from sewing untold seam lengths without bobbin thread. 
  • On-Screen clock. You wouldn’t think this little feature would make such a big difference but it does. I am surprised at how much I use this time-keeping feature to keep me on task for meetings or deadlines….or for when I need to go to bed!
  • AcuFeed Flex Plus upper feed system. I absolutely love this even-feed system and have all the different sole plates for my AcuFeed Flex Foot. Once you’ve used this, you’ll never want to go back to using any other walking foot or dual feed system. It’s THAT GOOD.
  • 400 built-in stitches. I have enjoyed using many of the decorative stitches for so many different applications! These stitches, which can be altered in dozens of ways by changing the stitch length and width, give me so many options that I’ll never be able to exhaust them all!
  • Snap-on presser feet. The ease of switching out the different presser feet is second to none. They make it so easy even for arthritic fingers!
  • Ruler work mode. All the rage in the quilting world these days, this allows quilters to use a variety of quilting rulers to create the most stunning quilts! I’ve only just begun to really scratch the surface on how this function will change the way I quilt my quilts in the future. 
  • Stitch Tapering function. Is there a way for me to express just how much I adore this amazing feature? This might be my most favorite feature on the machine of all! There is a menu of a wide variety of stitches which lend themselves perfectly to tapering the beginning and ends of the stitches by changing the angles. There are so many amazing sewing applications for this feature, I think I would buy the M7 for this alone! Perfect for machine applique and so much more, there are an infinite number of ways to customize the stitch angles for the most professional quality results ever. Bar none!
  • Sashiko stitches by machine. This feature, also found in the Stitch Applications guide (the little t-shirt icon on the screen), literally blew my socks off! You can easily create hand-look quilting stitches or Sashiko stitches by machine that look just like they were done by hand! The potential for different sewing applications for using this feature alone boggles my mind. I have so many ideas of what I want to create using this. You’ll be hearing more from me about this in the future. 
  • Twin needle safety setting. Completely goof-proof. Inset a twin needle, set the machine and never break those expensive twin needles again!
  • Start/Stop button. I never thought I could get used to sewing with a start/stop button in lieu of the foot pedal, but I must admit….this feature is mighty nice and there are times when you’ll really want to use it!
  • Stitch Composer software. 400+ stitches aren’t enough? No problem. You can create your own originally designed stitches right on the screen. Brilliant! 
  • Locking stitch button. This starts and stops your stitches with a locking stitch so you can trim your thread tails right down to the fabric and never need to bury the threads again. 
  • Scissors button. The ultimate in automatic thread cutters. It leaves enough thread after cutting so your needle will not come unthreaded. There is also a small foot pedal you can attach to a plate next to your large foot pedal which cuts your threads with the tap of your toe. Brilliant!
These are the standard accessories which come with the M7:

Happiness really is a full accessory box!

My secret wishes?

In all honesty, there are a couple of things about the M7 which might have been nice and in a perfect universe, I would ask to change. For one, perhaps it would be a nice touch to include a scrolling accent light which changes pretty colors (like the 15000) on the front of the machine. And sometimes I miss having the optional “spot light” on the left side of the machine as there is on the 15000 and the 9450. Although truthfully there is plenty of bright, true light focused right on the bed of the M7. So lighting is not an issue in the least. 

Also, the machine’s extra large size meant I couldn’t use my current sewing cabinet because the opening to hold the machine was not large enough. So I had to buy a new sewing cabinet. I chose an Arrow Cabinet and you can find out more by CLICKING HERE  and HERE. Or, you can go to your local Janome dealer and order an Eddycrest Janome exclusive cabinet to hold your M7. Find out more by CLICKING HERE. But still, I wouldn’t consider this an actual problem.

Finally….

As if all the reasons I have listed above weren’t enough to love Janome’s Continental M7, the ultimate reason is this: it is 100% Cheeto approved. He’s a large boy and he takes his Quality Control duties seriously. With the M7, there is plenty of room for him to supervise while I stitch. 

For someone like me who thought Janome couldn’t find a way to improve on perfection, they did. Not to worry, though. My 15000 and 9450 are still loved and frequently used. But we’ve made space for the Continental M7 as the resident of honor in my studio and I often have my 15000 embroidering while I’m stitching on the M7 at the same time. This is double duty and multi-tasking at it’s finest!

Bottom line: the M7 will turn the head of the most discerning sewist or quilter; it’s simply that amazing. It certainly turned mine!

Thank you, Janome. For setting the bar high and surpassing it yet again. 

54 Comments
  1. It really is an incredible machine! You know how much I adore mine!

  2. Sounds great, but I do not want to get a new sewing table so that would be the reason not to buy this ultimate sewing machine, I paid 1000.00 for my cabinet years ago. I do have the janome 9450 so guess I will be happy with that, and I can imagine the price. Thanks for a good article.

    • I completely understand! And the 9450 is a spectacular machine; I still LOVE mine and everytime I sit to sew on it, it feels like I’m visiting with an old friend.

      • Well I did it bought the M7 I hope for a good price $4000.00 can’t believe I impulsed shopped but saw it online on sale and that was it.. yikes I’m nervous about this big machine.

        • You got a fantastic price! And don’t be nervous — you will seriously LOVE this machine.
          Congratulations!

        • Hi, I got mine two days ago. The price for the M7 in Germany is currently 3.500 EUR. I only had time to play with it a little – looking forward to the week end 🙂
          So far, it looks great. There is only one thing bothering me: The machine is said to be for quilters (big throat space etc.). Why on earth don’t they either put the blue bobbin case holder in? Instead the yellow one is installed, which to much tension (even more than the red one) for free motion quilting. I find that a bit half hearted… Happy quilting, everybody 🙂

        • I live this machine could you tell me where you purchased yours for $4000. Thanks

  3. I enjoyed seeing with the Janomi machine when I was on a cruise with Kimberly and probably would have been tempted to buy one only I had just got aviking epic 2

  4. Now I am wondering whether I should trade in my 9400? Those features sound just awesome!

    • Emily, the dealers were just having a trade in sale where you could get up to 100% of your purchase price of your current machine toward an M7 or an upgrade. Contact your dealer and ask about this — then at least go and see the machine in person and see if it might be just the ticket for you!

      • Thanks so much for your review! I am looking for an upgrade from my Brother VQ3000 and wondered if the M7 was a quiet machine. I looked at a Bernina 770QE today but after researching online, heard it could be a fussy machine. Plus I cannot trade in my Brother for it. Now about this trade in deal, where can I find more info before I ask my local dealer about it? Thanks so much for sharing!

        • The M7 is very quiet! I love that feature about the machine. As for the trade in deal, I don’t know if that applies to Janome only machines or not. Best to ask your local Janome dealer. There is a dealer locator on the http://www.janome-america.com website if you need to find one close to you! Good luck!

  5. Clearly, I have not even scratched the surface with my machine! This review was helpful with ideas for me to discover. In fact I never even noticed the clock ! Can’t wait to dive deeper and look at some of the described features. It is truly an AMAZING machine!

  6. Thank you Kimberly!
    I have fallen in love with my M7!

  7. The M7 is a magnificent machine! I have a 15000, an S7, and a 550e. And my husband has a Janome long arm. He LOVES when you post pictures of Cheeto on the Janome page. He always says, “Kimberly has her cat with her again!” We’re a three cat, four Janome machine family, so we love to hear what you are up to.

  8. Thanks for your thoughts. I have the M7 and love it. I still don’t know all the features but Janome has made it easy to find info about machine. Glad I made the investment

  9. Kimberly, thank you so much for all the great information and the details. Love seeing Cheetos picture, I also have an orange tabby and he does the same thing.

    I really need to make the investment as I love quilting with rulers and free motion.

  10. Hi Kimberly! Thank you for this in depth review. I’ve enjoyed watching the many live videos that you and other members of the Janome team have made over the last six months. They have been packed with information and entertaining! I have a 15000, which I love, and am considering purchasing another Janome as we are snowbirds and not able to transport a machine between the two locations. I’m considering another 15000, or perhaps the M7 and the 550e. The only feature that the M7 seems to lack is a free arm which would be great for garment sewing. Would you add that to your wish list for the M7? With Janome’s 100th anniversary coming up so soon….. can you give us any hints about whether there will be any special editions or a new TOL combo machine offered?

    • You’re actually right about the free arm. I agree with you; it would have been a nice touch. As for the 100th anniversary, I honestly haven’t heard anything about new machine releases yet!

  11. Can you give a hint what the price range in this Janome is?

    • I think the MSRP is around $8,000 — but there are so many great sales right now! Check with your local Janome dealer for the BEST price and purchase options. I think you’ll find it very affordable! 😉

    • I was quoted 4000.00 from a dealer.

  12. Sounds like a fantastic machine I want one so much so I will have to work real hard to save 8000.00 dollars by that time it will cost way more than that. But everything you really want is worth the sacrifice .

    • Sherry – That’s the MSRP price. I can tell you that the dealers are selling them for quite a bit less than this amount and Janome is offering great sales right now on all their machines!

  13. I have used my M7 and find that it is loud? I thought it was a quiet machine, has anyone noticed it’s not real quiet?
    Lots to learn on this machine, wish I had known about trade in cause I have 9450 less than two years old….will be selling but it’s a great machine.

  14. I am highly considering purchasing the M7. I have the 9400, upgraded with ruler work and wonder what is the advantage of keeping it? Does it do anything you would miss by only having the M7? I am thinking I should trade it in. I also have the 15000 and initially was just going to trade in my 8900. Thank you for any guidance you can give me.

  15. I appreciate this in depth review. I have had the Brother Luminaire for almost 2 years now. I love It. However, I am struggling to sew my three or four layers of minky, fleece,batting on my Luminaire and have been considering a semi-industrial or industrial machine. I like what I am reading an hearing from artists using the Janome M7. I may be buying the Janome M7 this week. My husband and I have a custom embroidery business and I need to finish 3 blankets for Christmas. Thank you for all your input.

    • Vicki – Please keep me posted! I’d love to know if that M7 comes home with you! I don’t think you’ll be one bit disappointed.

  16. I’ve had my machine a week and just experimented with the decorative stitches. I took my machine back in to the dealer. The stitches were very poor quality. The back was a mess. My machine is still in the shop for the tension to be fixed. It’s been 2 weeks since I purchased my machine.

    • Rachel – Oh my goodness….that is NOT typical Janome quality (assuming your machine is a Janome? You didn’t say….) Hang in there and work with your dealer by trying the machine before you leave the shop. Make sure it stitches beautifully and then you’ll be off on your own to creative gorgeous things!

  17. Hi Kimberly,
    I bought the M7 last November and I just love it. I am wanting to buy and embroidery machine from Janome. I really like the 550E but then I am now considering the MC15000. I need your advice please.
    Thank you, Carla

    • Carla – You honestly can’t go wrong with either machine. I love the 550E because of the RB36 hoop — that amazing hoop alone is worth everything! I’m not sure that hoop is available on the 15000. Ask your local dealer to be sure. For me personally, if I was going to buy one or the other, I’d go with the 550E. It is amazing.

  18. Which dealer is selling the M7 for $4,000? I want to buy one.

  19. I have a Bernina. Looking at the Janome M7 or the Horizon MC9345. I have applique quilts to machine quilt. I like the idea of the M7’s stitch resembling hand quilting but worry if I need the free quilting around curved applique.
    Your advice? Can I do some embroidery with either?

    • Melanie – I don’t think you should — or need — to do the hand-look style stitches around the applique shapes. I would simply use a fine thread (60wt or thinner) matching the background fabric and stitch closely around the shapes to anchor them. Then you can use the hand-look style stitches in the negative background spaces. The M7 is not an embroidery machine. But you could look at the 550E which is embroidery only — and have both in your studio for less than the cost of a combo machine! (MC15000). There are lots of options. I recommend visiting your local Janome dealer and taking a sample piece with you to literally try at the dealer. Have fun, and do let me know what you end up with!

  20. Absolutely cannot get the Continental M7 needle threader to thread. I have been to the manual time after time. I have changed needles. I have changed thread. I have looked on YouTube. Can’t find any information that helps. The older and simpler needle threaders on earlier Janomes always worked fine for me. But this is the second machine that has the newfangled threader that I have had, and I could not work the last one either. Can anyone suggest any help for me.

    • Have you downloaded the Acuspark app? It is free and has all sorts of great little video snippets which will help you learn how to use the threader. Also, Alba just did a video on the Janome Sewing Machines page within the past week showing how to use the threader. Be sure to check out these options!

  21. Could you tell me what the space is from the sewing bed to the bottom of the touch screen?

  22. One more question. Have you done any Free Motion Top Stitching and/or Top Stitching using Rulers on the M7? This is a big part of what I would like to do on the M7. Thank you!

    • Ruler work is a breeze on this machine! It comes with a special foot made just for quilting rulers — and it performs beautifully! I haven’t had as much time as I would like to practice my ruler work but the amount I did do was easy and FUN!

  23. I am toying between the M7 and the 9450. This is my 50th birthday present, and honestly hope that this will be the last sewing machine I purchase. I heard that sewing machines are supposed to last 25 years, not sure if that’s true but if I make it to 75, I will be getting a new “space age” machine then.

    My question is between the 2, which would be the one you want with you in 25 years? I do primarily quilting, piecing and bag making.

    • Traci — BOTH machines are excellent. They are both work horses. I love both of my machines — the M7 AND the 9450. But, if you’re only going to buy one, buy the M7. It has the throat space to see you through MANY large projects and the Acuspark App, which the 9450 doesn’t have, is AMAZING.

  24. I am an avid quilter and thread painter. I love, love this machine! The throat plate lift, the throat size, sturdiness, stitch quality. Truly the best machine I have ever owned, and have had a bunch, all brands.

  25. I have an m7 and love it. My daughter in law just asked me how much it weighs and I can’t find that anywhere?

  26. Hi Kimberly,
    I have purchased the M7 and have enjoyed reading your blog post. It was very informative. I am now looking for a sewing table. In your pictures, it looks like you have purchased a table that can fit two machines with the quilt leaf extending the entire length. I am not able to find the table off the links you’ve provided. I was wondering if you could give me your exact table information. Thank you.

    • Tami – In the studio in our main house (not shown yesterday during the Facebook LIVE event), those are actually two different sewing machine cabinets pushed back to back to make it look and work as one large surface. One of them is a Koala cabinet and the other, the one holding my M7 is an Arrow sewing cabinet. The cabinet is: https://www.arrowcabinets.com/shop/embroidery/cabinets-embroidery/mod-electric-lift-sewing-cabinet/ but to extend the area to the left of the machine, I added a cabinet with drawers (very handy!) and you can find that one here: https://www.arrowcabinets.com/shop/embroidery/storage-embroidery/mod-5-drawer-caddy/
      The Koala cabinet is over fifteen years old and the opening is smaller and won’t handle an M7 or large machine. I have enjoyed both cabinets and they actually do work quite well lined up the way I have shown them (but honestly, necessity if the mother of invention and with such a small sewing space, I didn’t have much choice in how I put all the furniture in there!) I highly recommend looking at Eddycrest cabinets. https://eddycrest.com
      They are such high quality — solid wood — and just amazing for whatever machine you have.

  27. Thank you for sharing this information with me. I’ll check out these links. I have seen the Eddycrest cabinet and will consider that too.

  28. Hi, I didn’t see anything about the HP foot in your review or in the links below it that had all of the part explanations. I’ve heard from quilters that the HP foot is better than the O foot. Do you agree and if so, why?
    Thank you.

  29. I’ve had this machine now since it was first offered. The large throat space is great and there are wonderful features. There are a couple of things that I would like to see improved in the next version of this machine.
    1. After using the automatic thread cutter, the next stitching line gets all messy on the backside. Making it difficult to use if you work on a quilt you want to enter into a competition.
    2. When you select a zigzag option, the machine make a kind of prestitching “dance” instead of starting the zigzag right away. So you have to be careful that the beginning of the seam looks clean.
    3. Threading the machine is really easy, but watch out that you thread the bobbin carefully. Often it ends up needing to be redone due to wrong tension. Always try it first on a scrap after rethreading.
    4. I wish there was a horizontal top thread holder in addition to the upright one. Some spools don’t flow well on the upright one, even with the disc applied on top of it.
    5. The manual is pretty bad. It gives you names and function, nothing more, except for a few basic uses. The icons and symbols are a mystery that you have to solve. Maybe in Japan these icons mean what they are supposed to represent.

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