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Thread: Buying an embroidery machine

  1. #1
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    Lightbulb Buying an embroidery machine

    I am toying with buying an embroidery machine. Since I am over 80 I don't want to be frustrated, but this is really tempting. Please recommend an easy-to-use embroidery machine. How about thise that have several needles and can all be threaded at once?
    Bebe McGee

  2. #2
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    I have a Babylock Enterprise 10 needle. I went from a single needle to a 6 needle now the 10 needle. This was over 12 years. There is a huge learning curve and it can be very frustrating at times. It takes a ton of practice to get the hang of it. A lot of people think embroidery is easy, just hoop the project and go. Well, it's not that easy, you need different stabilizers for different fabrics, lots of threads and lots of patience. If you don't have the proper stabilizer for your project you will get lots of puckers and wrinkling on the project. No amount of ironing will get them out. Hooping the project is another issue and an acquired skill. Hoop a t-shirt too tight and when it's unhooped you get puckers, hoop something too loose and you get fold overs, and puckers. The type of stabilizer you need depends on how many stitches your design has. It also depends on the type of fabric you are embroidering on. Not all designs do well on all types of fabric. The hoops have screws so if you have arthritis it can make it harder to tighten and loosen them when hooping. Of course there are aftermarket hoops and all kinds of things you can buy. It helps immensely if you are computer savvy and can read a manual and follow it and if you are good at self teaching and have a great memory. The multi needle machines weigh 80 pounds and up, so you cannot take it to class and it's difficult to take it in for service. Even the bigger single needle machines weigh a ton. The cost of annual service on my 10 needle is about $300.00.

    You said you don't want to be frustrated here is an example: I did a test sew out on a shirt last week for a gift. I sewed it on scrap fabric similar to the shirt fabric. I did 5 sew outs with 5 different types and layers of stabilizer. After each sew out I rinsed it in hot water and dried it to see how it looked after being laundered. Only one was satisfactory so I proceeded to sew it on the shirt to be gifted. Turned out really good, so I washed it and it came out puckered. So basically what happened was the shirt to be gifted had a different fabric content than the fabric I test sewed on and it shrank up more than I expected it to. Talk about frustrating. This can also happen on thin flimsy fabric very easily. I normally do prewash all my projects before I embroider on them, that is if they are for me, my hubby or family members. A lot of people do not because they are gifts. It's important to me to know what the final project will look like after it's washed. Fabric types and quality of garments all shrink in different ways.

    I ended up going to Kohls, buying her another shirt, thankfully they had one in stock, went home washed it and iron it and and proceeded to embroider it last night. Talk about last minute.

    My suggestion to you would be to go to a dealer and test drive a Brother PE770 or any other inexpensive single needle embroidery machine. Sit down and play with the buttons, thread it completely, don't just tie a knot and pull the new thread thru, hoop some fabric and pick a design out from the built in designs on the machine. Have them show you how to back up stitches if the thread breaks and how to edit designs on the screen like changing the colors. Also have them show you how to get designs that you purchase from the internet into the machine. Do not let them push all the buttons, you need to be the one to drive the machine. They will try to hurry you along and of course sell you something big, fancy and costly. The PE770 is about $500. - $700. it will only embroider a 5x7 design but that's perfect for a beginner. Also, it's easy to resale a smaller inexpensive machine. Another to consider is embroider software, it allows you to edit designs that you purchase on the internet. You can change colors, change the size, rotate them, mirror them, do lettering and a bunch of other stuff. Some of these programs cost $1000. and up. There are some programs you can buy online for a few hundred dollars that work just as good. The multi needles are very expensive, my 10 needle with the stand and a few other things was $16,000. Some of the big fancy single needle run around $12,000. I hope this helps, Merry Christmas.

  3. #3
    Power Poster Onebyone's Avatar
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    I do a little free motion machine embroidery. It's fun and even the mistakes look good. I trace a design on the fabric, and then color it in with thread. I use the same bobbin color so all I have to do is change the top thread when I want a different color. I didn't have to invest in anything but pretty color thread and some stabilizer. I use an embroidery hoop I had. I do it on my old Singer 15. I've thought about buying a nice embroidery machine but I really like doing it myself better so give the free motion a try before investing a lot of money in it.
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  4. #4
    Power Poster lynnie's Avatar
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    everything rjwilder is telling is true. I used to be a professional embroider (askets) and there's al ot to learn, but it is fun. at work, I had a 15 needle Tajima. at home I have a brother pe770. a good machine for beginners. go with that and see if you like it.
    put off till tomorrow what you can do today, and if you procrastinate long enough, you may never have to do it.

  5. #5
    Super Member newbee3's Avatar
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    I have a Viking Topaz and it was pretty easy to use and not real expensive like some of them.

  6. #6
    Super Member deedum's Avatar
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    I have a janome 9500, and I love it most of the time. I would really ask a lot of questions, and do alot of looking before making yr purchase. Yes, there is learning curves but a lot of enjoyment too. If I were to buy one today, I would look at a brother machine.

  7. #7
    Power Poster ManiacQuilter2's Avatar
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    I really don't think that there is ANY easy steps. My friend just bought a used one, she found out that she can't use her new lap top and she is always having to change thread. I am not sure if she doesn't load her hoop properly since some of her design have wrinkles on the background fabric. I think there is a huge learning curve to get to run one efficiently. Just my opinion.
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  8. #8
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    I have the Husqvarna Topaz 20 - replaced by the Topaz 25 - it was very easy to learn but for embroidery you have to play with it and try a lot of different stabilizers to determine what goes with the various designs and fabrics. Centering can be a challenge too. And you need a computer program which the Husqvarna comes with the basic program and some very nice fonts, the designs in the machine were different. You do need a computer though. I don't know if they changed but when I bought my machine it did not talk to Apple machines, I had to buy a cheap laptop that I use almost exclusively for my embroidery because I owned a Mac and the program to make them talk to one another was going to be $2800.00.

    My friend has the PE 770 - she got it because it has the ability to do Disney designs, even though I found a lot on line. The problem she has, the DST program distorts the colors.

    Do to a few dealers and check them out. Let them know what you want to do with it and that will help you decide. Just know that if you get only the 4 x 4 you will be very limited in what you can do. It doesn't take long to realize you want to make something bigger. My friend has had her machine less than a year and already wants a larger than 5 x 7 hoop.

    My friend and I learned a lot on my machine before she bought hers - and we had a lot of tests some failures and we laughed at a few.

  9. #9
    Senior Member sept97's Avatar
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    make sure you get one that has large hoops. The biggest mine has is a 5 x 7 and I really wish I had larger one. I have the janome 350 e

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by rjwilder View Post
    I have a Babylock Enterprise 10 needle. I went from a single needle to a 6 needle now the 10 needle. This was over 12 years. There is a huge learning curve and it can be very frustrating at times. It takes a ton of practice to get the hang of it. A lot of people think embroidery is easy, just hoop the project and go. Well, it's not that easy, you need different stabilizers for different fabrics, lots of threads and lots of patience. If you don't have the proper stabilizer for your project you will get lots of puckers and wrinkling on the project. No amount of ironing will get them out. Hooping the project is another issue and an acquired skill. Hoop a t-shirt too tight and when it's unhooped you get puckers, hoop something too loose and you get fold overs, and puckers. The type of stabilizer you need depends on how many stitches your design has. It also depends on the type of fabric you are embroidering on. Not all designs do well on all types of fabric. The hoops have screws so if you have arthritis it can make it harder to tighten and loosen them when hooping. Of course there are aftermarket hoops and all kinds of things you can buy. It helps immensely if you are computer savvy and can read a manual and follow it and if you are good at self teaching and have a great memory. The multi needle machines weigh 80 pounds and up, so you cannot take it to class and it's difficult to take it in for service. Even the bigger single needle machines weigh a ton. The cost of annual service on my 10 needle is about $300.00.

    You said you don't want to be frustrated here is an example: I did a test sew out on a shirt last week for a gift. I sewed it on scrap fabric similar to the shirt fabric. I did 5 sew outs with 5 different types and layers of stabilizer. After each sew out I rinsed it in hot water and dried it to see how it looked after being laundered. Only one was satisfactory so I proceeded to sew it on the shirt to be gifted. Turned out really good, so I washed it and it came out puckered. So basically what happened was the shirt to be gifted had a different fabric content than the fabric I test sewed on and it shrank up more than I expected it to. Talk about frustrating. This can also happen on thin flimsy fabric very easily. I normally do prewash all my projects before I embroider on them, that is if they are for me, my hubby or family members. A lot of people do not because they are gifts. It's important to me to know what the final project will look like after it's washed. Fabric types and quality of garments all shrink in different ways.

    I ended up going to Kohls, buying her another shirt, thankfully they had one in stock, went home washed it and iron it and and proceeded to embroider it last night. Talk about last minute.

    My suggestion to you would be to go to a dealer and test drive a Brother PE770 or any other inexpensive single needle embroidery machine. Sit down and play with the buttons, thread it completely, don't just tie a knot and pull the new thread thru, hoop some fabric and pick a design out from the built in designs on the machine. Have them show you how to back up stitches if the thread breaks and how to edit designs on the screen like changing the colors. Also have them show you how to get designs that you purchase from the internet into the machine. Do not let them push all the buttons, you need to be the one to drive the machine. They will try to hurry you along and of course sell you something big, fancy and costly. The PE770 is about $500. - $700. it will only embroider a 5x7 design but that's perfect for a beginner. Also, it's easy to resale a smaller inexpensive machine. Another to consider is embroider software, it allows you to edit designs that you purchase on the internet. You can change colors, change the size, rotate them, mirror them, do lettering and a bunch of other stuff. Some of these programs cost $1000. and up. There are some programs you can buy online for a few hundred dollars that work just as good. The multi needles are very expensive, my 10 needle with the stand and a few other things was $16,000. Some of the big fancy single needle run around $12,000. I hope this helps, Merry Christmas.
    What great information - Thanks so much! I too have been thinking about one-but had no idea they came with that many needles - I knew they were expensive but not that much-way out of my pocket book range-will save my pennies for a LA-which will be more useful to me. Thanks again.

  11. #11
    Super Member gramquilter2's Avatar
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    I have a Bernina, it is a computerized machine and you don't have to hook it up to a computer to run it. It is an easy machine to learn to use. I really would never recommend a low end machine unless you have a lot of patients and time to mess with them. Have helped several friends that went that route and not fun.
    I don't know how to do that.....YET!
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  12. #12
    Member Grammy04's Avatar
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    I just bought the babylock Flourish and love it. Single needle, big hoops and easy to use. Plus right now baby lock is offering 36 months at no interest. I had a janome mc 9700 before and i finally wore it out. It was a very easy machine to use too.

  13. #13
    Super Member Dolphyngyrl's Avatar
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    embroidery is fun, and lovely but even with an easy machine it can be frustrating
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