I picked up a new sewing machine from shopgoodwill.com. It was sort of an accident. A friend linked to a knitting machine for sale (cheap!) and I noticed they have a ton of old sewing machines. Most of them are junk but a few are just solid old machines in need of love.
I have two other machines in addition to the one I just purchased, the younger of which is approaching 70. Both work flawlessly. But every now and then I have a need for a zig-zag stitch, and neither machine can do that.
While poking around the Goodwill website I saw a Janome My Excel 4023 for sale. It’s description merely said “works.” I couldn’t find much information about the particular model but I figured for under $50 it was worth a gamble. Even the low end Janome machines are made with metal frames (and then covered in plastic for aesthetics), so as long as the machine was in decent shape it would suit my limited needs.
$37 later the machine was mine. Goodwill of Indiana did a thorough job packing it up, and sent it along with a scrap of cloth, spool of thread, and full bobbin loaded up and ready to go. I plugged it in, turned it on, and realized I had no idea what half the knobs did. The machine didn’t come with a manual and I couldn’t find one online. So I did the unthinkable: I contacted Janome customer support. 15 minutes later, a PDF instruction manual landed in my inbox. Magic!
Some less than scrupulous companies are selling digital copies of the PDF, despite it being freely available from Janome. If you are looking for a copy you can download the Janome My Excel 4023 for free.
It’s an all-mechanical machine. Each of the 24 stitch patterns has a little metal disc with grooves for the needle positioning. I did a test swatch of each pattern on some scrap felt.
After a quick cleaning everything looks to be in good shape. The My Excel line was made in the 90s, so I’m guessing this machine is 15 years old, and is in incredible shape given that. It barely looks used and could probably use a professional once-over, but for $37 I feel like I got a really good deal.