A Review of Mongo Jennie, my new Janome M7
Updated: Aug 16
So here it is, finally - my review of my Janome Continental M7, also known as Mongo Jennie. I’ve had her since February, but I really wanted to use her for a while before I wrote about her.
Let me begin by saying - I love this machine! It’s a few inches bigger than my Bernina 750B, with a longer sewing space (14 inches!) as well, which is of course nice to have, especially since I do all my own quilting. It has all the important, fancy features (auto thread cutter, hover foot, (I’ll get to the other stuff later) plus many interesting stitches and fancy embroidery and clothes-making sewing features which I admit I’ll probably rarely, if ever use; it even has three different stitch plates, which are for different functions. In fact Mongo Jennie is so tricked out, it will take me years to use and figure out everything about her, which is fine. Just thank goodness for the internet - I’d never take the time to figure it out on my own, and frankly, the manuals are never really all that helpful.
So there are a few particular things about this machine that really make me swoon. First of all, it’s a commercial machine, meant to be used all day every day. Mongo can withstand a LOT of hard sewing. This is important for me because, well - I sew a lot. I just didn’t feel like my old machine could keep up with me.
I really love the threader. The one on Audrey always broke, once even the first day I got her back from routine maintenance, which was quite irritating. I really need this feature to work because my eyes aren’t what they used to be, ya know? It’s a real time-saver.
I’m also a little swoon-y over the bobbin winder. First of all, it’s not at all finicky - it’s easy to get a nicely wound bobbin with it. Secondly and more fun, it can wind the bobbin WHILE I’M STILL SEWING! Saves on the minor irritation of having to wait to sew while I wind the bobbin. I also like the drop-in bobbin case - just easier to change bobbins . I appreciate the thread-holders as well - there are two, and they can adapt to almost any size spool easily.
Mongo J also came two different dual feed feet, plus a walking foot. I use one of them -pictured in the video above - to piece and to straight line quilt - it is a quarter inch foot as well as a heavy duty sewing foot. Also there are three (that I’ve discovered so far anyway) different free motion feet to choose from for FMQ. I tried all of them and I really like them all.
I don’t have to oil this machine, in fact the guy I got it from told me very sternly NOT to oil it. He said it only needs oiling when it needs maintenance, which is nice. I do clean it a lot - every other day. I don’t know if I need to, but I do. I figure it’s the least I can do to keep everything running smoothly.
I feel like the LED display is pretty easy to understand for the most part as well - I’m not intimidated by it like I was on the last one, but that just may be due to experience. I like how I can drop the feed dogs on there, and I love how I can lock the machine to change needles, clean it, or switch the stitch plates.
Also notable is how this machine stops sewing immediately when I hit the thread cutter. My other machine always went a couple of extra stitches when I did, which could be problematic. It has a special setting you can use when you’re quilting where the needle goes up and down once, then stops so you can pull up the bottom thread when quilting, which is excellent as well.
I could go on and on about fun features because there are many, but hey - a lot of machines have the same ones and many more, however; the most important reason I am nuts about Mongo Jennie is that I feel so much more in control when I’m free motion quilting with this machine. I feel like I get the rhythm of this machine - it can go fast or slow, and I can tell I am more steady on it, and my stitches are more even and better when I quilt. Mongo Jennie just feels good to me - she’s heavy-duty and tough, she has every feature that’s important to me, and (go ahead and roll your eyes or laugh at me if you must) we are somehow one when I’m using her - I get her and she gets me. I honestly didn’t have that with my last machine. And I knew it the moment I sat down and began to sew with her.
So I don’t know if this was helpful to you or not; hope it was. I guess if I’m trying to give any real advice here, it’s for you to spend some time sewing on a machine before you buy it. Make a mental list of the features that are important to you as a maker that it must have, but really just see how you feel when you use it. There are machines out there that have a cult following, I know. But don’t be swayed by popularity. Try them all if you have to, but wait until you find a machine that you instantly feel comfortable with before you buy a machine that other people rave about. For me, that is my Mongo Jennie!