Juki TL-98P

Introducing Suki: My Juki TL-98P

I love my new(ish) Juki! Her name is Suki, I bought her second hand about a month ago after debating for some time about upgrading my current machine, a Brother NS50. She’s now my main machine and gets to sit out on the dining table all the time. It’s a long story but with a happy ending, if you’re keen to find out more about the Juki and my experience, you might want to grab a cup of tea and get comfy.

Yesterday was the first time in a month that I’ve needed to zig zag stitch, I’d taken in a top and wanted to tidy up the seams, and wanted to experiement with making frankenbatting (which was awesome by the way) so I had the two out together, below you can see them side by side.

Juki TL-98P (right) and Brother NS50 (left)

The Brother NS50 is a great machine, it was simple enough to get started on with a few fun features for me to grow into from when I first began sewing. It does all the utility things I might need (button holes, overcast, zigzag, fancy stitches, has a free arm) so I’ll be holding on to it for some time still. I should probably name him to…

After quilting my first lap sized quilt and getting a really sore wrist while doing it I thought there’s no way I’m going to get anything bigger under here or have enough space to be able to free-motion quilt comfortably. I’m not saying it wasn’t possible, it just wasn’t easy. I want to be able to enjoy quilting and I know that sewing and quilting are going to be something I’ll do for a long time so about 2 years after I started on the Brother I was ready to invest in a machine that would make things a bit easier for me.

I’ll admit, I’d been sucked into the hype about Bernina’s and started investigating those after trying out a 440 during a free motion quilting class. It was as if the quilt was floating over the surface. I knew they would be expensive but I was prepared to make an investment so I started looking around. Turns out, the larger machines that would meet my number one request of more throat/harp space were beyond what I was ready to invest, and I didn’t see it as good value, I didn’t need more stitches and all the other nice-to-have features that were only a bit of an improvement on what my Brother could already do.

That lead me to put together the wishlist below of the things I really wanted/needed to make a new machine worthwhile.

  1. More throat space for machine quilting
  2. Needle down on stopping
  3. Knee lift for the presser foot, so I could keep my hands on what I was sewing
  4. Nice straight stitch
  5. Walking foot, 1/4″ foot and free motion feet included would be a bonus
  6. Extension table would be nice to have while I sort out my furniture situation (I hope to eventually have a drop in table, but don’t think I’ll be cutting a hole in my dining table any time soon).

Juki TL-98P

I’ve been seeing and hearing so many good things about the Juki TL98 machines, and the newer TL2010 machines, mostly from my favourite bloggers and while reading reviews. It’s pretty hard to find someone who doesn’t love their Juki or who has had issues with it.

It ticked all the boxes, and then some. It has a thread cutter with a button on the foot pedal, I didn’t think I needed that but now I’ve used it a bit it sure does come in handy. It’s got a reverse lever and feed dog up/down switch on the front where it’s easy to access. Foot and thread tensions will take some getting used to but surely can only improve my stitches. It also came with a knee lift, extension table and quilting related feet as standard. While it has all these great, relevant, features, it’s a really simple machine, it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles that I didn’t need or want, another huge plus for me.

It wasn’t long before I was convinced this was the machine I wanted, and I didn’t look any further. It’s a mechanical, semi-industrial machine (Juki make a lot of industrial sewing machines) it also goes really, really fast. I would have liked a speed limiter, I use that a bit on my Brother, but that was only introduced on the 2010 model which is not available here, so I’ll just have to learn to control my foot pressure, not a bad skill to develop.

My biggest issue is they’re not easy to find here in Australia. Over here we only have the TL-98P (Perfection), which I believe is the equivalent to the TL-98Q feature wise, but it’s built for 240v power supplies, used here and also in Europe. There aren’t any local dealers, when I contacted Juki there were only 2 authorised sellers listed and they were in different states. I have since found a couple places in Sydney that stock Juki and I didn’t get around to arranging a trip up to test drive any when I came across the listing for mine.

I ended up purchasing Suki from Sewing Machine Warehouse via eBay. She was a trade in from another customer who had a frame setup for quilting, tried it out for a little while and then decided to upgrade to a table top mid arm machine instead. I have to say, I was hesitant about buying a machine, particularly a second hand one, online without getting to try it out first, not even a new one of the same model. I asked questions about the machines history and saw a lot of good reviews for the seller, being a physical store as well gave some reassurance and ultimately the price was too good to pass up. They were easy to deal with and took extra care when packing the machine for delivery.

I bought my current machine new from my local sewing machine shop Vera’s Machine Center and couldn’t have been happier with the help I received in choosing a machine, learning to use it, and when taking it in for servicing. I’d absolutely recommend finding a good local dealer and buying from them if you can. In this case I couldn’t find the machine I wanted locally, but I’m hoping I can get my machine serviced through them and hope to continue that relationship.

So far, I’m really happy with my Juki. I’m still figuring out a few things and looking at a few additional accessories, extra bobbins etc and hope to share more as I get to know her better. If you have any questions about the Juki TL-98P ask away and I’ll try to answer them as best I can. It wasn’t easy to find a lot of information about the machine and how to purchase one in Australia so I’m happy to share what I know and hope it will help someone else.

  • Everyone time I see someone with one of these it makes me want one too! I’m sure the two of you will have tons of fun together.

    • Ditto, I feel the same about vintage Singers. I was aware of the Juki machines being mentioned by a few bloggers I follow but it was a great lightbulb moment when I read a blog post specifically about the machine and realised it ticked all the boxes. Nearly fell over when the price was reasonable to.

      We shall have many an adventure together, just need to work out a good transportation arrangement.

  • Serena Edwards

    Thanks for this review! I too live in Australia (Perth) and currently have a Brother BC-2500 sewing machine. I’m enjoying doing quilting and also find that the quilting part is not that easy on my little Brother so I need a bigger machine. I’ve had my eye on the Juki and am hoping to get one soon! I’ll definitely be keeping my Brother as well though as he’s really handy for all other sewing projects :)

    • You’re very welcome Serena, I hope to get some more info & examples together on purchasing a Juki in Australia & using it more shortly so be sure to check back (:

  • Emma

    Hi Jessica,
    Thanks very much for the information. I’m thinking about buying Juki. I’m wondering why noone in Australia carries Juki TL2010qi. I have got a few things that I bought from the US with 110volts. I use a transformer fro JayCar to help regulate the voltage. So, I may buy Juki from the US but I’m still thinking about it.

    • Hi Emma,

      I’d assume that for some kind of legal reason they don’t sell the TL-2000Qi or TL-2010Q here due to the power supply incompatibility. Yes you can buy one from overseas and use a transformer, just like you could with any other appliance, but there’s the risk of not being covered by a warranty. I wonder if it might be hard to find someone who’s happy to service it due to the power differences as well, might be worth checking.

      It’s quite annoying that those models aren’t available in an equivalent here yet, and the same old price markup here over the US is questionable as always. All that aside if you do get one I’m sure you’ll be in love with it as I am.

      Good luck!

      • Heather

        I have a Juki on my John Watts quilting frame. I bout both in Brisbane for John Watts Sewing. Love the machine.

        • I did come across the John Watts setup, looks like they’re rebranding the Juki machines as part of their own packages for frames. Glad to hear you’re loving it Heather!

  • CAP83

    Why do I keep coming back to this page? I think I will get one when I upgrade… which will I hope will not take forever…

    • Don’t worry you’re not the only one, and it’s a fabulous machine. Let me know if you have any questions, I’m happy to help.

  • Talula Indigo

    Hi, I am looking at investing in a new sewing machine and I was wondering if you are still happy with your Juki machine now that it’s been over a year since this review? I feel like it’s the right machine for me but I was just wondering if you’ve had any difficulties/issues?

    • Thanks for stopping by. I’m still in love with my Juki and very happy with my purchase. No dramas with thread or tension or stitching and she’s really easy to care for with cleaning and oiling. I occasionally don’t quite get the bobbin all the way in but as soon as I try to start sewing I know straight away. That’s more user error and maybe because of my DIY drop in table makes it a little tricky to get to. The needle threader has a bit of a knack to it but once you learn that it’s fine. My only other small issue is the placement of the knee lift, I love it and use it all the time but if I could choose I would prefer to have it a little further to the right. I think that’s more personal preference and a combination of my size/shape, the chair I use and how I sit at the machine, probably just need to be more lady like and have my legs together in front. Best of luck finding your next machine.

  • Jodie Nelson

    Hi Jessica, I have just started to look for a new machine, and I think I read somewhere that the Juki Tl98P is similar to Brother PQ-1500s. Do you know what the differences are ? Also is the 2000 QI ever going to be available here in Australia ?

    • Hi Jodie,

      It certainly looks almost identical to the Brother PQ-1500s, I dare say they’re manufactured in the same or similar way with different branding, but I don’t know the exact details.

      I’ve just been in contact with Juki and unfortunately they still have no plans to release updated versions here in Aus, so the TL-98P is still the current model.

      Cheers (:

  • Juki

    Elizabeth Machines are the Juki agents in Australia. Syd, Melb, Adel & Brisbane Ph Syd 02-97644455

    • Thanks for the comment, great to know the other options out there for industrial Juki machines to.

  • TC

    I feel like this post was wriiten for me :). May i ask if you have used thick fabric on this machine, and how she handled? Cheers, T

  • ayman

    please what is the difference between TL 2010 2000 98 and what is the year manufactured ?

  • Thank you for your very helpful review. I notice you have your Juki machine fitted into a table-top.
    Do you have easy access to the bobbin case?
    I would love this machine and a table so the working area is flat, like yours, but since the machine extension as a window opening next to the bobbin case, I am wondering if the bobbin case is still accessible without the ‘window’.
    much appreciate your help.