I am posting this review as part of my entry in Walmart's Sewing Contest.
You will not regret buying this cute, lightweight workhorse!
I randomly decided that I wanted to really learn to make my own clothes and researched about starter-friendly machines that would allow me to grow and sew more complicated garments down the line. At first I ordered a Singer "heavy duty" sewing machine and the first night I got it, I couldn't get it to work. Long story short, I tried everything under the sun to just get the thing to start sewing two thin layers of cotton. No such luck. I went as far as going to a local repair shop later that week, quickly realized how ridiculous I was being, and promptly retuned it! I was a little frustrated and discouraged, needless to say.
The next day I went to my local Walmart and picked up this baby and I haven't had one regret since! It comes with an in-depth manual and a quick reference guide for those who only need to quickly familiarize themselves with this particular machine. It already came with a bobbin of white thread loaded in the machine and ready to go! If you want to start sewing with another color, there are a few extra bobbins provided. I was able to wind my first bobbin in under five minutes. The instructions and directions on the machine are no nonsense and very easy to follow. Kids in elementary school to adults will be able to follow the instructions with little problem. And, if you're not sure, there's an instructional DVD that comes with your machine and plenty of YouTube videos that show you how to operate your JX2517.
The process of setting up this machine was a breeze! It has 17 different stitches, like the straight and zigzag stitches, the satin stitch, blind hem stitch, and even an overedge stitch (if you don't have a serger, you don't need one with this stitch). You might think there aren't many stitches like with another, more expensive machine, but trust me when I tell you these will be more than enough. I've worked with industrial sewers and sergers (with all the bells and whistles) and I have rarely used anything other than the straight and zig-zag stitch. You also get a variety of other accessories, like the zipper foot and the buttonhole foot. Why spend more money when you can get what you need for less?
This beauty is so quiet while sewing! I've spent many nights patching up holes in shirts, pants, undergarments, anything I could get my hands on. My neighbors weren't even aware I had a machine until I told them. It won't disrupt others from what they're doing, the next room over either. As a student surrounded by other grad students, that is a necessity. The light on this machine is perfect for sewing in a low-light setting and at night. All I use is the machine light and a small lamp and I don't have to squint or struggle to see what I'm sewing.
I can control the speed of the foot pedal with how lightly or hard I press down. It's convenient when I need to control the direction and movement of the fabric, especially with slippery fabrics like satin. On the other end, I've gone through three layers of denim quickly and with no problems. The machine didn't clog up or sputter once. But, please note that you may need to use a certain type of needle to accommodate the fabric you want to sew. I used a denim needle, size 16, in my case. One reason a lot of people's needles break while sewing is because they are using the wrong needle size. Your machine comes with a universal size 14 needle, which will work for most general light-weight to mid-weight fabrics.
I decided I wanted to be Little Miss Muffet for Halloween and sewed the whole costume in under 2 hours. I got compliments the whole night and was proud to say I made it myself! I've always wanted to say I made something I'm wearing as I am completely self-taught. Now I can! I usually worry about quality and pricing but this is one machine that was worth the price and didn't break the bank! As I'm becoming more experienced with garment-making, I don't see myself buying another machine anytime soon. I highly recommend this machine for beginners and more experienced sewists alike!
P.S. Please only turn the handwheel TOWARDS you (counter-clockwise) to prevent your machine from jamming the thread or getting out of tune.