Review: Juki HZL-F600

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

It’s been a few months since I brought home my new sewing machine, a Juki F600. They say all the best sewing machines have names, so I named her Brienne after one of my top three favorite Game of Thrones characters. Why? Because like Brienne, this machine is big and badass! Now that I’ve had plenty of time training with my new BFF, I wanted to share my thoughts with everyone on this machine!

What I Love Most About My Juki

Automatic thread trimming with the foot pedal - I used to keep a “trash bowl” next my machine with the intent of of throwing trimmed threads into it. Intent be damned, because less than 10% of my trimmed threads ever made it in, and my desk was a filthy. Automatic thread trimming means I don’t have a million pieces of thread adding to the mess. The other bonus is the saved time since I don’t have to stop, raise the presser foot, pull my piece out, and trim the threads by hand. A push of the heel, and snip!

Roomy extension table - This was number one on my list for a new machine. I had previously stacked a dictionary and an old textbook beside my machine which worked about as well as you’d guess: pretty crappy. Having the extension table makes HUGE difference for quilting and you’re missing out if you don’t have one. Even when I don’t need the extra support, I like to use it as a “staging area” for piecing. 

Clean “lid” design - I worry a lot about dust getting into my machine so being able to close the lid on top helps ease those concerns. It also just looks nicer. :)

Adjustable presser foot pressure - I used to think I was just a crappy quilter when I got puckers. Okay...I may be part of the problem, but being able to reduce the presser foot pressure (say that 5 times fast) makes straight-line quilting less stressful. 

Auto-tension - This item was second on my checklist. Broseph (my old machine) could be finicky with tension and FMQ created even more headaches. Remembering to check my tension is not one of my strengths either, so I wanted a machine that would pick up my slack. I rarely have to adjust my tension manually now (the tension dial goes from -3 to +3), and it takes a lot of guesswork out of the equation.
...but the option is nice.

Speed control - I didn’t think I was ever going to use with this feature. I’m such an impatient person. Why would I want to limit my speed? I was so wrong. This feature is great for starting FMQ projects when I’m not 100% comfortable with the motif. By limiting the speed, I can still press my pedal to the floor, take it slow, and not worry suddenly hitting warp speed. Before, attention would be split because I was half concentrating on how much pressure I was applying to the pedal, and half on my quilting. Now I can focus on the quilting and turn up the speed when I have it all figured out. 

Bobbin winding - I like that I can wind bobbins without having to stand on the foot pedal. The F600 has a separate motor so you can just start your bobbin and walk away...not that you’d really want to, because it winds bobbins fast! It usually gives me a few seconds to tidy up my work area instead of standing there like a sack of potatoes.

Needle up/down button - I don’t think I’ve touched the flywheel on my Brienne much thanks to this button. With one tap, it takes your needle to the highest or lowest position. Another time saver.

Knee-lift - I haven’t been able to make the best use of this since my current sewing station is a tad bit too high, but it’s very handy for situations where I want to slightly easy up the presser foot while I’m sewing.

Things I think could be improved

Quilting guide - These are small gripes, because I honestly don’t use the quilting guide often. However, when you pay nearly $1K for a machine, you’d expect a simple quilting guide to meet your expectations. Right off the bat, I don’t like the style of the guide. It only works when positioned on the right, unlike the quilting guide Brother makes. I still use my old one with my standard presser feet. When it’s attached to the walking foot, the Juki quilting guide sits WAY too far back to be useful. Compounding the problem is the looseness. While the guide fits snuggly in the standard shank, any little bump may reposition your guide while used with the walking foot. Talk about counterproductive. The Brother quilting guide is just as loose on the Juki walking foot, so until I can janky-rig myself a solution, I won’t be using the guide with my walking foot.   

Reverse stitching (with auto lock stitch/thread trim function) - Reverse stitching is slow when the automatic lock stitch/thread trimming function is used. I liked using the feature since it’s meant to be another time-saver, but in practice it ends up being a moot point. For some reason, the reverse lock stitch goes at a low speed by default in this setting (pushing the pedal doesn’t actually do anything at this point; you don’t even need to push on the pedal at all). If you were to do the same thing manually by holding the reverse stitch button, the speed would be the same as if you were stitching forward (which depends on how much pressure you apply to the foot pedal). I guess this is a safety feature, but it just seems to defeat the purpose by being slow.


  1. I purchased the Baby Lock 1/4 inch foot and it fits perfectly and is the absolute best foot for quilting.