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Mac Supported Embroidery

soreal | Posted in Equipment and Supplies on

I’ve been looking into all of the higher end sewing/embroidery machines out there – which is more than a little confusing after 15 years of little sewing. The real conundrum seems to be with the various modes of computer interface. Is anyone out there using one of the newer machines with a Mac? OS X vs OS 9? Virtual PC? Anything solid on what works/doesn’t work in the way of interface and software would sure be appreciated.



  1. SEWSERIOU1 | | #1

    I believe there are some people using the Janome 10000/10001, (also it's sister machine The Kenmore Ergo Eilite 19010) with Virtual PC.  There is a list for them on Yahoo groups.  You might also try the machine forums at Sewing World.  A search through the older posts might turn up something.

  2. stitchmd | | #2

    I googled "embroidery machines" then did search within results for "mac os" and got lots of hits. Happy hunting.

  3. FitnessNut | | #3

    Good luck! Just about everything available is for the PC. I think the only software with a Mac version is Pfaff's, and I've read that it isn't wonderful. I could be wrong as I was researching this about 18 months ago. I ended up buying the Bernina 180E that I had my heart set on, realizing that any software would come several years down the road due to the cost of having to buy a computer as well as the very expensive software. (Bernina's software is generally recognized as the best on the market....but it will not run with Virtual PC). If you have any success, please pass it along. I'm sure there are other "Mac Addicts" who will be interested.


  4. soreal | | #4

    Thanks for the info. I did follow the first 200 or so Google results that looked promising, but not too much of value was in there. The seemingly most pertinent:

    ... XY told us that his wife's embroidery/stitching business used a Husqvarna-Viking Designer 1 machine (which has a built in floppy disk drive) and the Husqvarna-Viking Customizing Plus software which runs "just fine" on Virtual PC version 5.0 (Windows 98 version). It has a hardware USB dongle for copyright protection, that works fine on an iMac. X X said his wife is very active in machine embroidery using Brother embroidery machines and their PE Design software. This stuff is Wintel only, but it doesn't work with Virtual PC because: ... They use a flash card to transfer custom designs from the computer to the sewing machine and their flash card reader/writer only has PC style com and parallel connections. "We tried a USB to com port adapter, but it would not flash the card." ... The flash card reader/writer also must be installed and detected for the software to open because they use it as a dongle for copy protection. ... "Between Virtual PC and serial to USB adapters we invested over $250 in our attempt, with no success," XX said. "I am very interested in finding out if a newer version of VPC or newer adapters are more successful. There is some speculation that the next version of PE Design will use a USB connection, but they are also now using a PC style parallel port dongle, which may complicate things.

    I've downloaded the Punto software - which IS OS X savvy - and am going to have a look-see. I was down to a final three in my very very confusing machine selection process - Bernina, Babylock and Viking. I seem to remember reading somewhere previously that the Bernina software does not work on an emulator. So, I think a Designer 1 is what I'll end up with because I've caught more than a few threads (ahem :-) ) around implying that the Babylock is less than great with heavy fabrics. If I'm not seeing something in this morass of sewing/embroidery/software mess, please feel free to jump in and help me think.

    1. FitnessNut | | #5

      I checked out the first few pages of Google results too, and downloaded the Punto brochure. It looks very interesting, but my question about it is what kind of domestic embroidery machine can it be used with (and what format do you save your work in)? If it states this somewhere, I've missed it. It might be for commercial embroidery machines only. On one of the sites in the Google results there are prices for Punto....and it sure is expensive. I think I can probably buy a PC and the top of the line Bernina Artista software for that amount...in Canadian dollars yet!

      One thing I can say for the Bernina (having no experience with any of the other brands you mentioned) is that it does absolutely beautiful embroidery. However, you are somewhat limited if you can't connect it to your computer. A number of people on the Bernina message boards have had success using Virtual PC with the two programmes that come with the Artista machines, CPS (Custom Pattern Selection, which allows you to swap stitch patterns and embroidery designs stored in the embroidery module's memory) and Artlink (which allows you to transfer downloaded designs to your sewing machine). But the digitizing and editing versions of the Artista Software are not compatible with Virtual PC : (

      I really wish that the sewing machine manufacturers would address the needs of Mac users. I realize that we are a smaller portion of the overall pie, but the fit of the Mac and digitizing is a natural one. It really is frustrating to have to contemplate purchasing another computer that I really don't want just so I can do one thing. And to top it off, there are numerous problems with Windows machines and the software.....bugs, install/reinstall stuff, crashes....things that Macs just don't have. Anyway, I'll get off my soapbox now......


      1. soreal | | #6

        Sandy, I, too, am rather amazed at the lack of Mac embroidery software given the Mac presence in all of the creative arenas. One of the Google results took me to a funny critical take on the Windows presence on the Berninas - how it sends all of your personal information back to MS, virus downloads, etc. Note: It was a satire :-)

        I just keep going around and around with all of this. A side brain loop is to forget the combo machines and get the Pfaff Quilt Expression and one of the pro embroidery machines. I also am replacing an old Elna serger, so I am deep in tech spec overload at the moment. I'm pretty certain I'm going to go with a Babylock serger, though, which helps. I have yet to talk to anyone who hasn't been hog wild over the threading on the Babylock sergers.

        1. FitnessNut | | #7

          I found the satire on Windows/Berninas quite amusing as well, as I'm sure any Mac user would. I have to admit that I had a little smirk when I first saw the new Bernina 200 with its "Powered by Windows" sticker on it.....and a price tag of over $8,000 Canadian. Have to wonder how frequently it crashes ;-)

          Good luck sorting through all this. I'm interested to know what you finally decide.


      2. SEWSERIOU1 | | #8

        Windows crashing all the time is actually a fallicy.  I have had it since 3.1 and with the new XP crashes are a thing of the past!

        1. soreal | | #9

          Just kidding, sewseriou, about the windows eval. I do understand that XP is fairly robust and stable. Mac users are just used to a less invasive and vulnerable OS. And when the occasional proprietary software issue raises its head, we start grumbling. I've used Macs for almost 20 years now and I can honestly say that this is the first time I've run into an absolutely solid usability wall. I have Virtual PC and I've never even had to use it for anything before. And I do find it rather incomprehensible that the usability wall would be in a creative modality.

          Now, to add to the obfuscation, my local Pfaff dealer called to remind me that the 2144 special ends tomorrow and when I told her that I thought that I'd probably be going with the Designer 1 because it could be used with Virtual PC, she told me that the Pfaff software is exactly the same as the Viking software. And then she called her software support to confirm that. On the pfaffsoftware.com site, under support, if one were to search for FAQ L04 (Can I run the software on a Macintosh computer?) we find out that people are having some success under OS9. OS X use is unconfirmed.

          Can y'all hear the loud screaching in my head? :-)

          1. FitnessNut | | #10

            Loud and clear.....

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