New machine advice… Viking or Brother?
Greetings! newbie here, looking for advice… apologize in advance for the long post!
I have visited a LOT of discussion boards, each of which seems populated with fans of a particular brand. You all seem to be the most diverse group so I thought I could get a well-rounded opinion! J
First, about me: I’m somewhere between beginner and intermediate, which is to say I’m not afraid of my 30-yr old Kenmore model 1239, but couldn’t tell you the difference between tricot and twill! 😉 I took a basic class a couple of years ago and have gone by the seat of my pants since then. So far I’ve done costumes; a little home dec; 1 quilt top; and a fitted couch slipcover + zippered cushions. The last project I took on because I was too dumb to realize I probably wasn’t “ready” to do it (nobody tells bumblebees they can’t fly!)!
Based on this experience, I think I’d like to continue with costuming and get into making clothes, more home dec projects, more creative stuff. Embroidery looks like fun, but I’m afraid to buy a machine without even knowing if I’ll get into it. I want a good machine that I will not outgrow quickly, but I tend to get carried away by bells and whistles so I have to watch myself! I tend to sew in fits and spurts, so the machine will see a few weeks of constant use at a time, alternated with long periods of idleness. I’m willing to spend $500-$1000.
I was all set to buy a Viking Interlude 445 or Platinum 730, both priced under $1000 this week (sale ends Saturday 5/15). Then my girlfriend suggested Brother, the only brand I had not looked at because the dealer that carries it was pushing Singer the day I visited. I went back and a different salesperson showed me the Brother NX400. Well, actually she broke out the book, and I figured out 3 functions for her. She personally owns 2 Pfaffs and a Viking.
The most obvious differences between the machines I’m considering appear to be:
Viking Interlude 445/Platinum 730 – gives me an impression of “solid” and “clean”, user-friendly, widely available and well-supported locally. Has probably all the stitches and functions I would ever need, including stop/fix/mirror, auto buttonhole and a tapered satin stitch for free-hand embroidery.
Brother NX400 – gives me an impression of “loaded” and lots to explore, but a “fussier” interface. What attracts me is the price ($700), and the features you can only get on super high-end Vikings such as: speed control and being able to sew without the foot pedal, thread-cutter; and a stitch alphabet (alas, caps-only).
Both dealers offer full-value towards trade-up within a year, classes, etc. and I felt comfortable with both of them. The trade-up “path” seems pretty clear with Viking—(although I will never be able to afford the $4K machine); Brother seems to have a dizzying array of lines (PCL? CS? NX?) from which to choose, and the dealer wasn’t very knowledgeable on specifics (I suppose because they carry several brands).
Whew! What advice can you sage ones offer me? How would you compare the quality of these two machines, relative to the cost? Is there a great machine out there I’ve overlooked? If I decide on the Viking, I’d like to take advantage of the current sale, so a quick response is appreciated!
One last question: If I think I might be interested in embroidery, is it better to get a combo machine just so I have the opportunity to try it out? (Brother and Viking both have models for about $1000) Or better to invest in a good sewing machine and check out embroidery later?
Thanks so much for your help! 🙂 -air-