Monday, January 12, 2015

A Review Juki DDL-9000B-SS 4 Years Later

How does this happen, four years gone by and never done a proper review of this machine.  Well this may not be a proper review but some thoughts on it.   I got my Juki DDL-9000B-SS in early 2011, I got it brand new from a local dealer.  I did several blog posts as I went through the buying process at that time. 

I use this machine (at the time of this post) for 99% of my sewing, both for items for sale and personal items as well.  It is really my only fully functioning machine, I have two home machines, a Viking which is considered my back up and an old Kenmore which has not been turned on in over 10 years. 

My first thought to share is this was absolutely the best decision for my sewing needs, four years later I know it was the right decision.  I love this machine, its reliability, speed and power and quality of stitching with little thought to running the machine in terms of adjustments and tension quality.

The pros and cons, I took care to not look at an much earlier post on this topic as to live in the now of using this machine, though I am guessing some of the pros and cons will be the same. 

  • Speed, it is fast, faster then I use and also faster in capability then I can handle, though to go along with this "pro" item two:
  • Amazing control and responsiveness from the foot pedal, I can go crazy fast, or painfully slow with a great amount of control from the foot pedal. 
  • Stitches beautifully regardless of item being sewn stitches are tight and well formed.  All this with virtually no adjustment of tensions. 
  • Machine is sturdy and steady, being of metal construction, and being mounted to a fairly hefty table, it is unwavering during sewing.  When I would sew certain items with my old machine, loud grinding, and shifting would happen and was additionally more noise in the household.
  • Lighting, I have gotten very use to the external light of the machine, the gooseneck light is bright and adjustable I can really zone in on certain items as needed. 
  • Presser foot lift with foot pedal....ahhh all I can say I got use to this feature very quickly and it is awesome.  I use this all the time, for turning corners and for manipulating layers around the needle, I can work with both hands at the same time, and raise lower presser foot with my foot on the foot pedal. 
  • Needle down positioning, this too is used during many of my creations during construction.  When turning a corner, coming to a stop, the needle stays in the fabric, I simply lift presser foot (see above), adjust then continue sewing.  I know this is a common feature on home machines as well.
  • Back tack located in two positions, this is very nice, but I could live without it.  It has a lever to the right which would be a traditional location for this, but it also has a button (it is oval shaped above) on the neck of the machine just right of the needle, this is a button I can push with my finger.  It is handy as I can reach over as needed without removing my hands from the item in construction.  It is a nice feature I and use it a lot but it is not that hard to reach over 12 inches and use the lever. 
  • Thread cutting again, this is very nice and would be hard to not have now, when completing an item a quick rock backwards on the foot pedal cuts the thread and sweeps it away to the right for the next sewing.  
  • Begin and ending sewing auto back tacking.  At the start and end of every new sewing the machine automatically sews forward, back 4 stitches, then forward again to continue to sewing.  It did take a bit of getting used to but now I know how to use it or work around it as needed, and not having to backtack all the time is nice.
  • Needle finishes "up" I do love this, when you complete sewing and clear an item away the machine is ready to go, no need to get the bobbin thread to the top of the plate, no worrying the machine will come unthreaded.
  • Quiet operation, my machine does not hum, I know there are industrial machines with motors that can sit idle and have a mechanical hum to them, this does not.  Going from memory, I believe this is because of the internal motor.  It is also a quieter machine to use then any plastic home machine I have had, my husband who is in the office next to mine also said it is significantly quieter. 
  • Winding a bobbin the same time as sewing, this is nifty to wind from a separate thread bobbins as I sew...but with this pro, there will be a con listed below.
  • Sewing with monofilament thread, in any combination this has been a nice surprise, the stitch quality and reliability is great, both when I have monofilament on top and bottom-which I could not do on my home machine, and when I have mono on top and cotton/poly in the bobbin.  I use monofilament thread often and rely on it often, this was a dreaded task on my home machine.
  • Threading this machine....I hate it, in most instances I plan my sewing by color anyway and sew large quantities not having to change threads, but when I do it is a pain.  There are from placing the spool on the to holder all the way to needle thirteen (13) points in which the thread needs to pass, and I have to stand up to start the process.  Along with this, I have had to get reading glasses to see the needle of course that is a con :(
Servicing, I have had to have this done 2 times now and being in a niche situation there are not a lot of service options available.  I have had an independent service tech out to my house on two occasions, and of course there are not a lot of people servicing this market.  I have only had to wait a few days for service, but like servicing an appliance (if anyone actually does this anymore) there is a fee for just walking in the door, then the repairs/parts fees.  In my two instances I have spent about $375.00 in servicing.  Which leads to my next con.
  • I know very little about the internal workings of the machine, I have not spent a lot of time or energy trying to figure it out.  In most sewing and use of this machine it is just fine, but I am unable to diagnose and fix bigger problems that arise, which resulted in service calls.  In both instances I sort of knew what the problem was but was incapable of fixing them.  I can add to this since my two calls, I am slightly more able to fix certain problems.  But in general if the machine stops...I need help.
  • Ordering from my dealer, there is a $20.00 minimum, now that is not very much but I had a zipper foot break, its replacement was less then $2.00 so I had to order more stuff to get to $20.00, then I needed a light bulb this was $4.00 so I had to order more stuff.  Let's just say I have enough bulbs and needles to last a good long while. 
  • It is not portable...obviously, so when I want to be on the go, out comes my old awful home machine.  Minor but one of those things to consider, not having a decent travel machine is something I want to fix.
  • Winding the bobbin, you pretty much have to be sewing to wind a bobbin, in a home machine you can just wind a bobbin when you need it.  For this machine the needle is always going up and down, and not having it sewing is bad on the machine.  So if I want or need a new color, I will just sew and waste thread to get it filled.  I am sort of use to this and can plan ahead, but it can be a pain.  Also to threading, like the needle the thread has to pass through 4 locations to be ready to wind. 
  • I cannot sew delicate items, now this may be a combination of my needles, threads, and tensions (which I have not bothered to figure) but sewing tulle is impossible as an example.  Also sewing ribbons on with monofilament thread is impossible as well.
All in all, I love this machine and would pick it all over again.  But there are a few cons that have me on the verge of purchasing a new home sewing machine, that with the portability should address my sewing needs. 

Next up, will be hauling out my serger and seeing if I can bring that back to life, and to complete my sewing repartee I would love an embroidery machine and a steam press.


fabelaktig said...


About treading the machine.
I just cut the tread at the top, make a knot with the old color tread and new color tread. Then I use the knee lift.
All the tension in the machine stops, and you can easily pull the tread through without difficulty.
You have to cut the knot by the needle before you tread it through the eye.
It's no hassle at all with this method :)



Eva said...

Thanks Fabelaktig :-)

Looking into Jukis, I probably ought to go for a semi industrial but I hate the idea of oiling every day. Also the industrials are surprisingly inexpensive compared to the semis. Thank you for removing the threading con :-)

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