Reviews · Sewing

Janome Mini 145 – Review

Where to begin! It’s safe to say I have a love hate relationship with this machine. There’s some good points but it can be incredibly frustrating. It ranges in price between £40-50 depending on where you buy it from and if you can find it on offer. It’s the sort of machine that is ideal if you want something small to travel with, for young children or just small sewing jobs around the house (You wouldn’t use it for advanced projects or anything heavy duty).

Having said that I always say to people that it really is worth spending an extra £20-30 and buying a basic started machine rather than a small mini machine. Paying the extra makes up for the time in which you will most likely find yourself swearing at it!


So here we go…..

The Good Points

  • Its small and sturdy – it comes as no surprise that its small, it’s called Mini after all, but for the size it’s surprisingly sturdy and doesn’t move around on the table. Often with these “mini” machines they are flimsy and one slight knock sends it flying across the table. Not with this however, it stays firmly in its place.


  • Portable – The size of it makes it ideal if you want something portable for a weekend away or just to have in the cupboard for mending things. With it being light to carry many people also use it to take to craft classes.


  • Ideal as an introduction to sewing for children or novices – If you have young children that you want to introduce to sewing, but you’re not quite sure how they will take to it. This machine is a good option to get them started without paying masses in case they get bored quickly. Plus it seems to take rough handling well!


  • Easy layout – Stitch selection and the diagrams printed onto the machine are clear and easy to follow.


The Bad Points

  • Fixed foot – The foot on this machine is fixed so there is no buttonhole foot or zipper foot. You may think “oh I wouldn’t use those anyway” but they are basic functions on pretty much all other machines, even if you don’t use them often. You can make your own buttonhole by just using the zig zag stitch. And attach a zipper but you won’t be able to get nice and close to the zip as you normally would. So you won’t get the same finish as they are “make shift” solutions to not having these functions on the machine.

  • Its fiddly – threading the machine is the same process as normal except you have to thread the cotton through a hole on the top. It’s only a small thing but I find threading standard machines to be a quicker process and small children may find it a bit fiddlier. With it being a small machine in general it naturally makes it slightly more intricate. Picking up the bobbin thread from underneath seems to be an issue from some people i’ve spoken to with this machine. Often taking them numerous attempts.

  • No thread cutter – This is probably a personal thing! But I find it frustrating not having that little cutter on the side of the machine. Meaning constantly having to reach for scissors.


  • No light or needle threader – Having a light is essential for some people, so this might be something to bare in mind if you have a hard time seeing. The machine is designed for small sewing jobs so this is probably why it doesn’t have a light, its not a machine intended to be sat at for hours on end.


  • It’s great until it goes wrong – I have helped quite a few people now teaching them how to set up and do the basics on their machine. On a number of occasions everything can be going smoothly until out of the blue it starts jamming and making clunky noises. Even after cleaning out the bobbin casing for loose threads it persists. Once it goes wrong it can be hard to fix.

Extra information

There are eight stitches on the machine: 5 straight stitches in different lengths and three zigzag stitches in different widths.

Drop in bobbin system:

The features included are

  • Suitable for children over 8 years old
  • Ideal beginner sewing machine
  • Straight stitch: 5 Lengths.
  • 8 built in stitches for general sewing
  • Zigzag stitching in 3 widths.
  • Create Buttonholes with the zigzag stitch
  • Easy stitch selection.
  • Operated with a single selector dial for ease of use
  • 2 Needle Positions.
  • Various fixed widths & lengths for easy sewing
  • Adjustable tension: There is a tension dial for fine tuning stitches
  • Portable; weighs only 2.5kg
  • Drop-in Bobbin System.
  • Reverse stitching: Lock off seam ends by simply depressing the reverse button
  • Handy freearm – perfect for circular sewing on cuffs or trouser bottoms
  • Double-Lift Presser Foot.
  • Variable Tension.
  • Comes complete with two bobbins, a needle, a needle threader, an adapter and an instruction book
  • Approx. Dimensions: 23 x 27 x 13cm (9.1 x 10.6 x 5.1 Inches) (H x W x D)

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