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need advice….new emb. machine

iwantedtobestressed | Posted in Machine Embroidery on

I am thinking about buying an embroidery machine soon, and  I am sooooo confused.

 Have been sewing for at least ten years on a viking sewing machine and love it, but would like to crazy quilt on a machine. My viking does not do fancy stitches.

 Should I buy a used viking with fancy stiches, or should I go on and get a embroidery machine that does it all?  I think I would enjoy embroidery, but not sure of which machine to buy! Gosh…..sorry….Just plain frustrated when I talk about spending so much money!

Have been searching ebay and would like to know this……Is it best to go ahead and buy a emb machine that does large designs, or should I start out with one that sews 4×4 inches? I dont want to turn around in a couple of years and have to sell a machine because I need one that embroiders larger areas.  ( I would use this machine to emb large monograms in the middle of pillows, ends of beach towels etc.)

Seems to me I should go ahead and bite the bullet and spend 1200 dollars on a used emb machine ….. do sewing shops have used ones? Should I trust ebay?




Jeri Feldenzer


  1. mimi | | #1

    I would suggest you go look into the new Viking machines.  They can do amazing things that were unheard of 10 years ago, and can be updated.


    1. SewTruTerry | | #2

      I agree with Mimi to buy new and from a trusted dealer because you will get needed support with your purchase.  And yes the dealers will sometimes have pre-owned machines usually ones that have been traded in for the bigger model.  Expect to pay about $5-6000.00 for a new D1 but a good pre-owned may bring the price down by $1000.00. The advantage that you get with the D1 is the larger sewing field and ability to sew the small delicate things as well, and Viking comes out with an update for it about once a year.  The updates are free all you have to do is download them from their site and install in the machine.  The D1 is also a sewing machine with lots and lots of wonderful stitches including those for crazy quilting.  Hope this helps.

      1. iwantedtobestressed | | #3

        Gosh..... you would have to take out a loan at the bank just to buy a new machine! UUUHHHHHHGGGGG  Do most people use a layaway plan or are they just rich women with alot of money laying around? lol It is so discouraging to see such high prices for these machines! I know that they are awesome and that a good machine will last me forever, but it is just so hard to justify even 1800.00 on a used machine. Maybe I should wait to make the plunge after hitting the lottery! lol

        Thanks for your advice....and could you spare me a couple a thousand? lol



        1. SewTruTerry | | #4

          Actually no I can't loan you a couple thousand dollars but ironically there are finance packages out there that you can get just for the machine.  Another reason to look at the dealers.  I justified my purchase by opening my door to sewing for other people and letting them pay me to do it for them.  That is right I opened an embroidery business to pay off my machine and it has paid off in other ways.  Just this morning a client dropped off 4 pieces of "leather" car interior for me to embroider and I will get well reimbursed for it.  Just some thoughts.  Also I remember when I bought my first car while in college and paid a whopping $5000.00 for it new.  I won't tell you what my current car cost but I will say that it has been very dependable hardly breaks down and has always gotten me to where I wanted to go.

          1. iwantedtobestressed | | #7

            Wow, I work with 1500 women (hospital) and I bet I could make some good money doing this! What other kind of things do you embroider?

            My husband may even go for this idea!!! lol


            Edited 9/9/2005 11:45 pm ET by iwantedtobestressed

          2. SewTruTerry | | #9

            Well to be honest there is nothing that I have not embroidered on.  Actually that is not exactly true but close enough.  Besides the car interiors I have embroidered on soap, panty hose, ballerina costumes, wood, fleece, varsity letter jackets, baseball caps, pants, shirts, ect...  You just have to remember what stabilizer to use and determine what color thread you want to use and the rest is easy.  The best part is when I find a good deal at the local department store and add embroidery to it and people ooh and aah over it and say it looks like it cost a ton more than what I originally paid for the garment.

        2. Elisabeth | | #6

          That is so funny, getting a loan to buy a machine, how true! I have the same feeling about the outrageous pricing. The cost of innovation is high, to the buyer anyway. The price should go down when the technology is not so exclusive. I have wondered why the computer is inside the sewing machine in the first place. Singer took the step with the Quantum Futura where the big computer power for embroidery comes from your own PC or laptop. If good software is available for your computer and designs can be sent to the sewingmachine, well, that makes sense to me, and the price of the actual machine is much less. Reviews are on http://www.patternreview.com for the Futura, it's not a perfect machine according to the reviewers but they seem ok with it. Seems like another company is doing the same thing now with one of their machines but I can't think of who. A machine that can do a satin stitch can do monograms and a machine that can do zig zag can do satin stitch. I'll bet your Viking can do it. It would be the old fashioned way where you control everything, nothing preprogrammed. A little practice and it will look pretty darn good. Maybe a little practice is worth $5000? Think of all the fabric you could buy with the saved $5000. I hope you don't mind if I suggest a re-read of your machine's manual. I recently re-read mine sort of by accident (I was looking something up)and I saw things that I had never done with my machine and that I was surprised to be reminded it could do. I have had my Viking for 20 years.

  2. mem | | #5

    Ok , well I would get one which uses larger hoops . The problem is that to buy a machine which does both plain sewing and embroidery and embroidery in a hoop is going to cost you a lot more than 1200.I was reading an add for a machine which did all this and used an external computer as the driver so if you have a laptop you could do that I think it was a SInger.It was a lot cheaper than the super machines.Maybe you could stage your purchases and buy a good sewing machine and then buy and embroidery only machine  later on . This is what I have done and it works very well as I can sew on my project while right beside me the embroidery machine is doing its thing. I am making a quilt at the moment where i an sewing the blocks while my embroidery machine is doing the embroidery which I am doing on the blocks.I have a Janome 4800 and Janome 300e. I have spent about 3000$ for them and this compares to about 5000$ min for one super machine .Go to pattern review.com for some good reviews of machines.

    Good luck


    1. iwantedtobestressed | | #8

      I guess I never thought about it before, but the machines are computers that can sew! No wonder they are so high!  I do have a laptop, but I am leary of buying a singer due to the fact that they are not the same company they were 40 years ago.

      Any singer owners out there?

  3. roone | | #10

    Hi iwantedtobestressed, I've been sewing for over forty years and have taught sewing in our high school system. My advise to you regarding upgrading your machine is; before going to a dealer decide what kind of sewing you do and what kind of sewing you would like to do. Then go to a dealer and get pamphlets on various models. Take them home and read them. Do not get caught up in the hype of top of the line etc. What is the point of spending more money than you need to. Find a model that will do what YOU want to do. Many models have so many features that if you are not going to use them they are a waste of money. Take that money and spend it on attachments that will make your sewing more pleasurable or on beautiful fabrics. Sometimes I think we forget that we can sew something very elegant and beautiful with the basics, good fit, and good fabric selection for its use. All the embroidery features can be lost. I have a top of the line Husquvarna and I love it but it's my job and I use the features I have. I think that's the key - buy what you are going to use. If in time to want to upgrade trade-ins and private sales work. Good luck Roone

    1. KarenW | | #11

      The advice to first determine what you want to sew, what you want on your machine, etc. is great just don't restrict yourself to that list!   If indeed you do find that dealers have good used machines availabe, you may be able to get more machine than you budgeted for with more capabilities.  Some you may never use, some you may grow to depend on them once you have them, others may be features/functions/stitches you may not have thought were within your budget but are if you have the opportunity to get a previously loved machine.  (Disclaimer, I work for a dealer).  I had a customer in yesterday who'd been shopping months ago in a certain price range.  Since one of our lines has a new TOL since she originally came in, we now have tradeins of former TOL machines that are priced in the same range as what she was looking at before for much less machine... plus the manufacturer has a free upgrade for the last couple TOL models to add features/functions of the new TOL so for the same amount of money she can now purchase a LOT more machine!

      As far as financing - as someone said most dealers offer this and it's usually 12 months same as cash (over a certain amount).  Some require you to pay some nominal amount, i.e. 3% of the purchase price per month, then at 12 months you can pay it all w/o interest.  One person I know does big purchases this way, then at the 12 months does a balance transfer to a credit card that gets airline miles, pays it in 30 days or whenever his bill comes, so he's still gotten 12 months same as cash PLUS airline miles (or reward points or whatever your card earns).  Of course you have to be diligent to do that but what a way to maximize your opportunities!One other note about "taking a loan" for a sewing machine.... some sewing trivia... Isaac Singer is often miscredited with inventing the sewing machine.   Singer's REAL invention?  Paying monthly over time toward ownership.  That's how he got so many sewing machines into the home was by creating a payment plan to just pay $X/month to own the machine. 


      1. roone | | #12

        Hi Karen Just read your response to mine. I agree, don't restrict yourself. The reason I mentioned know what you want in a machine and what type of sewer you are, before going in, was not to insult any dealer. It was the fact that many sewers get overwhelmed when they go in and literally panic thinking that they need more when in reality they don't. As a sewing teacher I would prefer people to purchase a machine with features they will use and be comfortable and confident with rather than purchasing one that has features that they will be afraid to use because they got in over their head at this point. You are exactly right when you said that there are often second hand machines that offer more for the same price but a buyer can always move up and be one of those selling a used machine and feel confident that they are ready to move up. At that point they can easily justify the expense and will use what is new because they will have the confidence of having exhausted their last machine. It also ups the enthusiasm for sewing level.Roone

        1. KarenW | | #13

          Oh, I wasn't offended in any way, hope I didn't come across that way!  I guess what I was thinking was that, while you're right that it's easy to become overwhelmed, sometimes there are features that are SO nice to have that aren't into all the frivolous bells and whistles that someone doesn't know they "need" or would put as a high priority on their list because they haven't seen that it even exists.  A couple examples that come to mind right away are needle down - can't tell you how many people we get in that don't know that you can have a push button needle down option or a foot pedal so sensitive that you can stop w/needle down and pivot without having to use the handwheel to put it down!  Another is a one step buttonhole.  Those aren't 200 stitches and alphabets and embroidery and all kinds of other "toys" - but sure make sewing easier if you know about them!


          1. roone | | #14

            Hi Karen it's Roone again. Thanks for your reply. I am glad to chat with you, I think we are both on the same wavelength. I love the features you were talking about and I think you are right those are the features one might not think of but come in handy. The over whelming ones I was referring to were the built in stitches versus the computer ones,the designer ones and the ones on CD that requires programing etc. they are the ones that one might not need in the beginning. Hope we chat again Roone

    2. iwantedtobestressed | | #15

      I spent an entire day the other day looking at two machines. I still need to visit a third dealer here in town to make a decision on which brand to go with.  The prices from the two dealers are similar, and they both offered 12 month same as cash. One of the machines is a designer I viking, and the other a bernina (latest machine in the 4000.00 price range). The bernina has the new free motion technology which seems so cool. The machine sews without the use of the pedal, and stops in the up or down position. The lady at bernina says that they are the only one with this technology. ??? Sorry, cant remember the exact name for it......  It runs off of a memory stick too, not a floppy, or disc. This seemed like the latest thing in machines.

        The viking machine that runs off of a memory stick is about three thousand more. (the new TOL viiking) I spent some time watching the ladies in a class sew with the new TOL and the designer I. They both seem to do the same things for what I could tell, the only obvious thing was the new light on the TOL. Much softer light.

      The bernina machine I looked at had this same light.... It is so wierd, it seems the cheaper bernina does the same things as the high dollar viking.

      Can anyone elaborate on this?



      1. roone | | #16

        Hi Iwantedtobestressed Just read your message. I have never owned a Bernina. I looked at them, tried them but at that time I purchased a Pfaff. Then I went to Husquvarna and I'm on my fourth one. I know they are expensive but I like the way they handle, I've seldom had any problems and when I trade them in I like the fact that many of my acquired accessories adapt to the new, and I feel comfortable with them. I do know that they are both good quality machines.  My advice to you would be; make sure you are comparing, as they say "apples with apples", make a list of the features both machines offer and compare, check their repair policies, compare accessory costs, costs of lessons to learn your machine (Husquvarna/Viking here in North Bay Ontario include them - no charge),something I think is very important is the ease to using accessories, the ease of using the embroidery features and computer to interface with the machine. If the process will discourage you then you won't use it. If your computer skills are compatible then it will be easy to adapt. Another aspect of the embroidery features is how easy are they to use for example programing stitches in sequence, sizing, and placing on fabric? The feature you mentioned about sewing without the foot, is that for all sewing or for embroidery. Husquvarnas do sew without the foot as well. It's nice to program the embroidery push start and walk away until it's time to change colour. I'm not sure that sewing without the foot pedal is such a good feature, if you are controlling your fabric with your hands your foot controls speed and power. My questions is what happens when you're sewing and need to slow down or stop, do you have to free up one of your hands? Just a thought. Once you get the detailed features if you have any questions I would be happy to help you compare. Good Luck Roone

        1. SewTruTerry | | #18

          Also with the D1 Viking when you are working with the pedal free sewing if you want to slow it down right away all you have to do is tap on the foot pedal.  I always keep mine plugged in so that I can do that if I need to.  Also you can adjust the max speed that you get before you hit the pedal or the button, so that you can floor the pedal and still go at a snails pace. This is great when you are teaching a newbie or young person to sew because everyone loves to floor the pedal. It is also good if your feet are not as sensitive to the pressure. 

          I think that you need to go back to the Viking dealer and ask about all of the features that you were shown on the Bernina and I think that you will be suprised to find them all on the D1. 

          Sorry can you tell that I love my D1?

          1. roone | | #19

            Hi SewTruTerry I just read your response. I think we got our messages mixed up. I was responding to a posting. I too have a Husquvarna DSE and I love it and you're right on when you talked about the speed and kids on the foot pedal! Your advice about getting all the features is exactly the advice I gave. You need to compare same features apples with apples I believe is how I put it. Enjoy sewing hope we talk again. Roone

      2. Elisabeth | | #17

        That light in the Viking is adjustable. You can slide from regular light bulb color to "daylight" so you can see more accurate colors in your fabric and thread under the foot.

      3. ChrisHaynes | | #20

        First let me state that I got sucked into machine embroidery because I saw a used machine for $200 at the sewing machine store (it was a Brother PE-100).  What cost me REAL money was the software!  ($600 for PE-Design 5.0, with reader and one card)

        So, remember... check out the software!  See if any comes with the machine.  Check to see if the software lets you edit the designs... or just lets you load them (note digitizing designs from pictures to embroidery instructions is time consuming and has a steep learning curve).  There are also NON-sewing machine company embroidery programs, http://www.embird.com (is one, I'm not affiliated)... and reader boxes (like http://www.vikant-emb.com/FAQBox.htm  ... not affiliated here either) .  Each machine takes a certain format, and sometimes the third party software/hardware may not support it.

        Oh... now after a couple of years of being constrained to a 4"x4" field in the little embroidery machine  AND having two sewing machines (big hefty mechanical plus little computerized machine)... I am in the process of replacing the PE-100 and little sewing machine with a combo machine.  I picked up on close-out a Brother PC-6500 for just under $1000 (Brother has replaced it with a new version, which is under $2000).  It has a 5" by 7" embroider field, and it is a nice computerized sewing machine with nice buttonholes.. the reason I got the little computerized sewing machine (I can design stitches on it).

        Just to let you know that some stores DO sell used embroidery machines... and that it is the software and reader that will drive you crazy.  Oh, and don't forget all the stabilizer you will have to buy!

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