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This Memory Craft Sewing Machine Was Just What The Doctor Ordered

7 December, 2005

MAHWAH , N.J. ñ For ten years after her auto accident, Nancy Olsen of Columbus, Ohio, couldn't sew. But thanks to the Memory Craft 6500 Professional machine from Janome, she not only returned to an activity she loved but she finished an intricate set of PhD robes for her son.

The auto accident left Nancy with long-term neck and shoulder injuries that made it impossible to sew for more than a few minutes at a time without intense pain. Reaching for the presser foot lifter; reaching in to snip the thread; reaching in to tie off the thread at the end of a seam--repetitive movements that are a necessary part of sewing--were now off-limits. This was discouraging for Nancy, who had been sewing since she was 7 years old. She had sewn her wedding dress and even made business suits for her husband.

Then her Janome dealer showed her the Memory Craft 6500 Professional. It had a knee lift, so she wouldn't have to reach for the presser foot lever. It had a programmable auto thread cutter, so she wouldn't have to reach with scissors. It automatically locked off seams and had half a dozen other features that would allow Nancy to sew without constantly reaching out with her arms. And with a workspace measuring 9" x 5" (the largest bed space of any home machine), speeds of up to 1,000 stitches per minute, and hundreds of programmable stitches, it was ideal for an advanced seamstress like Nancy.

After bringing home her MC6500 Professional and testing it on a few small items, Nancy decided to embark on the ambitious project she'd been wanting to make for years: Her son Mark's doctoral robes.

As an Assistant Professor of Biochemistry at West Texas A & M, Dr. Mark Olsen attends multiple graduation ceremonies each spring. Unlike the undergraduates, who wear simple robes, Dr. Olsen must wear a three piece set of doctoral regalia. It consists of a robe, a draping collar, and a professor's cap. Dr. Olsen was renting his robes for $80 at least three times a year. But buying them could cost as much as $2,000.

Nancy explained this high price was because the robes are much more intricate than you might notice at first glance. For instance, the sleeves on this kind of robe measure fifty-one inches around and have twenty-two pleats each. The robe has two interlaced velvet panels running down the front and three across each sleeve. The four foot long hood is made from lightweight wool, more velvet, and three additional colored fabrics. For a hat, a professor may wear either the traditional mortar board or a less rigid tam.

Nancy estimates she spent about $200 on the fabric and notions, but more than a hundred hours on the project. She couldn't find a pattern to work from or even instructions. So she borrowed three hoods and measured the robe Mark rented for his own doctoral graduation.

The MC6500P turned out to be the perfect machine for the task. Nancy estimates that it cut down on her arm movement by 70%.

"I was able to sew with no pain," she says. "The 6500 has great stitch quality, including a very even satin stitch." And the extra large bed space gave her lots of room to turn the yards of fabric.

Her son received the robes as his birthday present--in time for 2004-2005 graduation ceremonies.

Now that she's sewing again, Nancy's next project is a set of new altar linens for her church. It's going to require lots of intricate appliquÈ. Perfect for the MC6500 Professional.

Janome has recently introduced a new version of the machine called the Memory Craft 6600 Professional with even more automatic features, including an innovative AccuFeed feetóa built-in layered fabric feeding system.

Janome America, celebrating its 145th anniversary in 2005, is the largest subsidiary of Janome Sewing Machine Company of Tokyo, which produces more than one million sewing machines annually as well as a line of related sewing products and embroidery software. It is a category leader in innovation, and Janome sewing machines are recognized throughout the industry for their ease-of-use and unsurpassed stitch quality.