This year I decided to add 4 new sergers to the exisiting pair of Singer sergers that have been doing yeoman’s service in the classroom. Prior to purchasing the MO-50E, I did some research online and found out that it is basically the same machine as the MO-51E but without the cute flower decal (I don’t need it). I decided to compare the two carefully myself so that I could be sure that I was getting the best value for my dollars.
My conclusion is that the two machines are indeed identical.
The good stuff about these machines:
They both feature lay-in threading with the easiest looper threading I have ever encountered. There is a lever for the lower looper, just lay the thread on it and flip the lever. The machine automatically threads the end portion (the hard part on most sergers) for you. But, just in case there is a problem or you have decided to use fancy thread, the sewing bed opens up to give you access. Top to bottom this is the fastest serger to manually thread that I know of (jet-air is faster and costs about $1000 more:) ). It is also heavy and very strong. I have tested all four of my units and they do not bop around like my Singer Pro 5 and Finishing Touch 14SH654. The presser feet for my Singer Pro 5 fit on the Juki, just like sewing snap-on feet fit most brands of sewing machines. Anyhoo, the fact that such an inexpensive machine is capable of expansion allowing it to perform tasks using the additional attachments is very cool.
The metal feet shown below are the ones that came with my Singer serger and also fit on the Juki MO-50E. (Clear plastic are cover stitch feet)
These include: 1. Blind Hem / Lace foot 2. Cording / Piping foot 3. Shirring foot 4. Taping foot 5. Pearl (Bead) and Sequins Foot 6. Elastic / Elasticator foot .
The two feet that I find the most useful are #6 for attaching elastic to swimsuits and athletic apparel and # 3, the Shirring Foot which is a fantastic way to rapidly attach ruffles to clothing. It is also the fastest way to make a Dirndl skirt that I know of. These sets go for between $65 and $75 online. The nice thing is that the purchase can be made later, when needed. I tried the blind hem foot but it leaves a really obvious ladder on the front side of the garment. It might be nice if done as a contrast but I haven’t figured out how to make the ladder small and discreet yet. All in all, I am happy that I can use the same feet on both Singer and Juki.
The differential feed is sweet. And this is where the Juki leaves Singer behind. It has settings from -5 to +8. The Stretching effect (1-5 under the N on the dial ) prevents certain fabrics such as fine jerseys or tightly woven light fabrics from puckering or make gathers. Cool. To prevent waving on knits I can use the numbers over the dial. For the fun of it, I cranked the dial all the way up to 8 on a single layer of interlock and it created gathers beautifully, but I still prefer the Shirring foot since it allows me to gather, serge and trim all in one shot.
It does a nice rolled hem with a flip of the switch – which is the same as my other sergers so no big deal here.
The really cool this is that this is the only serger I have ever owned that has a built-in drawer (look under the differential feed dial) to store the accessories, shown below.
The bad news:
These machines are limited in their scope of work by the dismally small amount of space under the presser foot. Barely 1/4″. Ugh. While this is fine for the classroom where we are working on garments, I wouldn’t want to try to wedge thick fleece or heavy fabric in there.
All in all, this is a great machine for the dollars. I have used my MO-50 for a number of projects but mostly sewing light interlock and stretch wovens. Each project has come out perfectly with nicely balanced tension. On that note, since the MO-50 and 51 are the same machine, why not pay less and get the 50? It’s a savings of up to $100 and that’s a big difference for something that is identical.
If you are in the market for a serger and are thinking about Juki, I hope this review helps! Happy Serging!