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buying a machine…pls help

Twinmom | Posted in Machine Embroidery on


First of all I’d like to say how much I appreciate your wonderful feedback, incredible information, and wisdom on this great site! May I please join in and pick your brains a little?

My blessed hubby has given me permission to purchase a new sewing/embroidery machine for our anniversary. It is a serious upgrade from my little Singer I bought at Walmart back in the 90’s. I’m not extremely new to sewing, but I am to embroidery. I plan on investing a lot of time and brain cells in this being that I have twin 4 year old girls to sew for. Since this is a huge investment and very generous gift on his part, I am really trying hard to make a good decision. So far, I’ve only made it to the Viking dealership. I was really impressed with the Designer I and SE, as well as the customer service/care/etc… My problem is being able to get out there and test-drive these machines without two 4 year olds in tote. My options for machines are a little limited, too…babylock dealers are not in this area, the Elna/Janome dealer is not a nice person to deal with per reputation/word of mouth…that leaves me with the Bernina/brother/Singer and as the other option. A pfaff dealer is, here, also…not too familar with these folks, but not in the greatest area of town to go for classes. Another thing pertaining to the Viking Designers…is it worth paying the extra for the SE? I’m willing to invest a little more if it a better upgrade.

Sorry for the long post. I’ve been researching online like crazy. I’m finding that the best research is your tried and true opinions.

Thanks again for any feeback and nice to “meet” you!


  1. ValerieJ | | #1

    Hi Deb,

    One thing I'd think about is what kinds of designs you're going to want to embroider, and what kinds of extras you might eventually want. I have a Bernina Artista 180, which I really like, but I didn't give file formats any thought at all when I bought it. What I learned afterward was that there are many different file formats, and not everything is available for an Artista.

    I buy most designs from Cactus Punch via Embroidery.com. Google embroidery web sites, check out the designs, and the file formats. If you find that there's a vendor you love, that might help you narrow things down a bit.

    Also check out extras and where you can buy them. For instance, Nancy's Notions sells hooping accessories for some machines, but not for Bernina. There's not necessarily a price difference, but there might be a convenience difference for you.

    If you're a savvy computer user, you might not need lessons on using your machine. I found it to be fairly simple to learn how to transfer designs to the machine. What isn't so simple is figuring out what kind of stabilizer to use, when to adjust the stitch density - things that you need to learn through trial and error, and participating in forums like this!

    Maybe you can get your husband to be extra nice a couple of days and keep the kids entertained while you shop! Good luck with your shopping!


  2. mem1 | | #2

    try pattern review .com as a good source of reader opinion. That is what i did when I bought my Janome 300e . Its a stand alone embroidery machine which has the advantage of being alot cheaper and you cans sew while it embroiders. I didnt use my dealer very much as i bought some basic machine embroidery books via amazon and they, along with the machine manual got me well and truley started . Dont be put off by word of mouth regarding dealers afterall being forwarned is also being forarmed. After all opinion is such a subjective thing and it seems a shame to limit your choices for such a big purchase. Having said that I love the embroidery designs offered by husqvarna viking . You can get most designs in different formats these days.My dealer tells me that if I want to but CDs with Viking designs he can make them JEF compatable for my machine . I havent tried this yet as i seem to have enough to be going on with.One thing I would love is a digitizing and editing program which allows me to break up designs and rearrange them so that might be something to consider as well. I would get some easy to read books on the subject and do a bit of non pressured research of your ownbefore you go into the dealers den as i find it hard to evaluate things very effectively when they are busy trying to persuade me to buy THEIR machine.

     I have twins too 2 boys who have just turned 12. You will get back to sewing and they will so appreciate it . My boys are very proud of my abilities and sends such great messages about not just buying everything and being willing to have a go at doing things for yourself.

    Good liuck Marianne

  3. suesew | | #3

    I don't know anyone who has purchased a Viking who was unhappy with it. Happy machine hunting.

  4. feismom | | #4

    My basic but supposedly heavy duty Janome had a hissy fit while sewing an Irish dance costome.  I replaced it with a Designer II and broke the bank going for the Husqvarna software.  I LOVE my machine and don't feel I have to be a computer geek to get great things out of it or the software.  My Husqvarna dealer is fantastic - creative, knowledgable, runs fantastic training and other seminars.  I feel my machine is well worth the investment.  Have fun.

    1. Twinmom | | #5

      Hi, Well, I did it!!! I made the big plunge today and bought myself the Viking Designer SE. Thank you SOOOOO much for helping me with this decision and for your wonderful feedback and info. I look forward to learning all I can about this machine. I hope I can be of assistance to you all in the future and thanks again!!! Can you tell I'm excited? :)

      1. Elisabeth | | #6

        Congratulations! You are going to have so much fun!

      2. mem1 | | #7

        I am just sitting here grinning at your excitemwnt . Have fun!

      3. loomchick | | #8

        Shouldn't there be some kind of tradition when we buy a new sewing machine? It happens so infrequently for most of us.

  5. user99 | | #9

    Brother PE700 is best embroidery machine in my opinion you can see more machinse on this comparision site LooksFishy Website ,this machine has very good feature like 136 built in design , 5x7 inch area, 6 fonts and many other features.

  6. MarkKutler | | #10

    Hi, aside from a machine that runs well, you'll want one that can easily accept a format you can write your digitizing software -- if you don't have embroidery digitizing software, you'll need that; it's different from other kinds of digitizing. When you look at embroidery machines, consider: who are your clients? Are they big shops with industrial machines, or are they home users who need one or two things custom done? And then, do you want the biggest available sewing area, or are you interested in having the same challenges some of your clients may have, with smaller sewing areas, or both?

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