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The Sew What’s New Archive

This archived content is from Mary Wilkins’ sewing and quilting message board “Sew What’s New,” which was retired in August 2007. It is being provided by “Sew What’s Up,” which serves as the new home for many members of “Sew What’s New.”
From: mamagoose
Date: 04-05-2006, 07:26 PM (1 of 10)
Hi all, I'm considering diving into the world of embroidery, too! Just for my own creations, not to sell. I don't even know the basics and am confused about the different types of machines. An electronic machine to me screams $ in maintenance, so I would like a bomb-proof one, lol! It seems to me the early models had their own specific "cards" and such and now you can download or create your own designs using a computer. I am most interested in creating my own designs from drawings, photos, etc. by using y computer. I would like to do appliques and lace and also try different threads, if that's possible, not just the shiny rayon type. What is the best machine that fits my needs for the best value? Any suggestions? Thanks!
User: mamagoose
Member since: 01-26-2002
Total posts: 168
From: Ria
Date: 04-05-2006, 08:53 PM (2 of 10)
Hi Mamagoose...there are so many machines out there that are good...I am sure you will get a lot of replies on here...I had an old singer and jumped right into embroidery last year...I was green and still am a bit but I am enjoying my machine so much...I did a lot of detective work and for 1000.00 dollars...I got the brother 6500 with a 5 by 7 inch embroidery also does decorative, quilt and straight stitches etc...many feet came with it..and I am happy with my is great...a real work horse ..I keep it clean regularly and have not had one bit of trouble..and after reading the manual I got used to it really fast. I am not sorry for my far as creating embroidery...all I have is embird which you can resize, or change formats etc..there are other software out there but they can be very expensive..I saw one I liked for 1200.00....for me the PED Basic which is a card reader writer at 125.00 including the card...the machine at 1000.00 and the embird anywhere from 100.00 up depending on how many plugins you buy...I suppose for 1500.00 that would enable you to get some thread...a starter kit at first and then you can build it up..and some stabilizer and will get you is not a cheap hobby by any means...but it is a great hobby and worth every penny...I am so sure you will get more replies on here...let us know what you decide.....good luck....:) Ria

"Alas for those who never sing, but die
with all their music in them" (Oliver Wendell Holmes)

Brother 6500.....Brother 8060......PED Basic...
User: Ria
Member since: 02-13-2005
Total posts: 121
From: paroper
Date: 04-05-2006, 09:08 PM (3 of 10)
The more you want, the more it costs.

By far the best way to go is to either be able to download directly from your computer and/or use a flash drive or card for the patterns. These are the methods used by most computers now. You need to watch for machines that use a serial port over a USB as most computers no longer have the serial ports. The machines that take boxes and cards are still sold but the technology is quickly advancing beyond that.

The cost of your machine will almost certainly be at the low end of your expenses. By the time you purchase threads, stabilizers, possibly a Magic box or similar (trust me, if you can, avoid this purchase.) Software, designs, you'll be amazed at how much you have spent. Most designs have many colors, even simple designs can have 18-20 colors. I've done designs with as many as 45 color changes. Many won't agree with me but I found out real quick that I did better with choosing which threads I would buy by choosing a few designs I wanted to stitch and I bought for those designs. That way I had enough to actually complete a project and my colors were compatable. I also think that it is a good idea to do your homework and choose a good thread and stitck with it. It makes it so much easier to keep from duplicating colors and it makes it easier to assign (even find) colors for your designs. Then, if you need to convert colors from one brand to another you just look at one chart (again, just my personal experience.) I started out buying a few select primary and secondary colors. I quickly learned how many colors were used for shading and that I had the wrong idea.

You also want to be able to get a machine with the largest hoop you can afford. I would suggest that 5x7 be the smallest hoop you consider. More and more the designs are getting larger and it is getiting hard to find exactly what you want in a small size 4X4.

Software is expensive. There is no way around it. Probably the most commonly use software (because of its price) is Embird. It is a good software for the money. You buy the basic plan and then add to it according to what you want to do. Some people even digitize professionally with the right embird options. It is best to plan to buy your machine and software, each with the other in mind. Each machine company has its own format. You won't find JPEG or similar formats in machine software. You will find XXX, Singer; PES, Brother, BabyLock; ART, Bernina; HUS, DST, and the list goes on and on. You need to be sure that the software you pick out will convert to the format of your machine and that the delivery of your designs through your software can be compatable with the machine. If you choose to draw something, scan and download it into the machine software you'll find it isn't that easy. Some software will auto digitize (most expensive $1500 up to several thousand, depending on options) or you can digitize from your design but you'll need software that will allow it.

If you choose a machine that both will sew and embroider you'll find the machines are much more expensive than a machine that will do either function. There isn't that much about embroidery that is shared with sewing and vice versa so you are basically almost buying two machines. Also, often you find that you can sew some while you are doing embroidery and you may want two machines. If you buy an embroidery only machine, I think it gives you more options when you go to trade up, at least that is my personal opinion.

The machine that I think is the best beginner machine for the options and money is the Janome 300E which is an embroidery only machine and can be purchased for around $1000. It uses a simple flash card (like your digital cameras) and adapter which can be purchased together for around $40, has a 5x7 stitch field, and a fairly common design format. I really like that you don't HAVE to have a transfer box unless you have old cards you want to convert and send to your machine.

Bernina 200e, Artista V5 Designer Plus, Explorations, Magic Box, Bernina 2000DE & 335 Bernette Serger, Bernina 1530 Sewing Machine, Bernina 1300 DC Overlock (with coverstitch)
User: paroper
Member since: 02-03-2004
Total posts: 3775
From: Chrysantha
Date: 04-05-2006, 09:09 PM (4 of 10)
Almost any embroidery machine thats a 'brand' name can use any thread to embroider with. I use cotton all the time...that and poly...I've never used rayon in 5 yrs.
If you want to digitize. Plan on spending at LEAST $1500-$2000 for Digitizing
software. (anything less and you aren't really digitizing...just adding to, or deleting from patterns you already have.)
Each machine has it's own format. You CANNOT use one machines format on all machines. So if you buy a Bernina, it use's .art...Janome .sew(for 9000 and below), .jef for 10000 and above. Viking uses .hus, etc. Most embroidery patterns these days are sold on mulit format cd's, USB sticks and in embroidery 'malls' online, you have your pick of formats. (they generally sell for ALL machines.)
What machine you choose depends on how much you want to spend and what you want to do...the size of hoops you want/need. The support you get from a dealer has a lot to do with a machine you buy also. You can buy a 'good' embroidery machine for $1000. You can buy a 'great' machine for $5000 can buy an industrial for $10,000 +.
Cheap machines will often only use a 4X4 hoop...the more you spend the more hoop size for your dollar. Some machines can be upgraded/updated. Some not. Some use USB, cards, flash cards and USB (straight from the computer), some not.
You'll get as many answers about what machines are good, as there are people in SWN.
You have to test drive...decide on what YOU want to spend, what YOU want in a machine and what you're going to want down the road. If you get bored quickly, you may want more machine, rather than less. You may want sew/embroidery, or just embroidery. The best way to know what you want is to visit machine sites for re-calls, bad machines, etc.
Go to all the dealers in your area. (don't buy off e-bay...there is NO support if you get a machine there...and generally dealers will NOT service a machine bought from there.)
Just do some home/leg work like you would if you were buying a car...
because machines these days are an investment. They aren't your Mothers or HS's 'beaters'.....
User: Chrysantha
Member since: 09-06-2002
Total posts: 2414
From: Chrysantha
Date: 04-05-2006, 09:42 PM (5 of 10)
Actually the Janome 300E has a 2x2, 4x4, 5X7 and the giga 8,1/2X10 hoops.
You WILL need Customizer to download to your machine and the flashcards (if your computer doesn't use, take flash cards, you will need a reader/writer ($20 or so). It takes .jef format, like the 10000, 10001 and the 11000.
The screen is monochonomatic, this bothers some people who like their patterns in color. But's it's GREAT for a stand alone embroidery machine.

(owner of a 10000, 300E, 11000, 6500, and the Compulock) (500 + spools of thread...needles by the pack and hoops all over the place...) :bg:
User: Chrysantha
Member since: 09-06-2002
Total posts: 2414
From: paroper
Date: 04-05-2006, 10:01 PM (6 of 10)
There is also a pretty solid rumor that Brother is about to release an embroidery only machine. The assumption is that it will be a Brother product, not a Janome (unlike the Bernina model). The thing is that the Brother and Babylock take the PES format which is very easy to find in almost anything.

Bernina 200e, Artista V5 Designer Plus, Explorations, Magic Box, Bernina 2000DE & 335 Bernette Serger, Bernina 1530 Sewing Machine, Bernina 1300 DC Overlock (with coverstitch)
User: paroper
Member since: 02-03-2004
Total posts: 3775
From: mamagoose
Date: 04-05-2006, 10:23 PM (7 of 10)
Thanks ladies! What good information and so speedy, you all must really love embroidery! I've printed it out so I can over them a couple of times before I hit the hay. "there are so many machines" I know! that's why I became so confuzzed! "other expenses" yeah, I was getting that idea!
User: mamagoose
Member since: 01-26-2002
Total posts: 168
From: MartySews
Date: 04-07-2006, 11:08 PM (8 of 10)
You might want to consider a machine like the Simplicity SE3. It has a basic 4x4 embroidery field, can use cards or download from the internet. It sells for $400 at Ken's Sewing Center and $449 at according to her latest catalog. It is very similar to the Brother embroidery machines. This way you have not invested a large sum to explore the world of machine embroidery. Then if you really like it you can upgrade at a later time. Hope this helps in your decision. I'm not affliated with either company but am a happy customer.
Happy Stitching!
Marty :smile:
It takes one moment to change a life.
User: MartySews
Member since: 02-23-2003
Total posts: 504
From: Shara1
Date: 04-08-2006, 03:20 PM (9 of 10)
I did not "pick out" my 1st emboidery machine, it was a gift for xmas. Consrquently did not go thru all of the comparisons. I recieved a Brother 200 (embroidery only) it had a 4x4 sewing field & I quickly realized that was not big enough sewing field & I did not want to get into splitting designs to make the bigger designs. Fortunately for me I have someone who wants me to do designs for him & he shelled out the big bucks for a new Brother ULT with the largest sewing field (at that time).

There is a lot more to machine embroidery than 1st meets the eye, you need a higher wt thread & tons of colors, stabilizers are so very important to the end result, the designs are not inexpensive to buy, & as people have said the software is not inexpensive & they keep improving it & to get the upgrade in itself is not inexpensive. Deciding on who you will do things for as when people learn you have a machine the line forms to the right. I love to make things & give them as gifts but some people seem to take advantage of the situation. I have had to learn to say no firmly with a smile on my face.

I just returned from Las Vegas from attending the Creative Emboidery conference. I have been going 6 years & have a great time, learn new tecniques, buy new products, connect with friends I have met there, we keep in touch by email but is great to make new friends from all over the country.

Enough of the possible negatives, I love this medium & it is facinating to see what the machine can do. And the $$ that can be saved by doing it youself will eventually pay for itself. At least I keep telling myself that.

Jump in & have fun.
TTFN, Shara
User: Shara1
Member since: 02-27-2004
Total posts: 3
From: Tom Land
Date: 04-10-2006, 01:57 PM (10 of 10)
The world of embroidery machines is changing so fast that this post will be outdated before I get it typed. There are alot of good machines on the market and there are some very good ones. As Pam said you get what you pay for...not just in features but also quality. The media for getting designs to the machine is no longer an issue since it can now be done wireless from your computer (up to 300 feet away) to your machine.
The single most important thing I can stress is that you will be better off with a lesser quality machine and good dealer support than the best machine with no suppoort. As far as brand quality goes I really don't like to talk about that here. Rule of thumb is that European Machines are the highest quality, Japanese the next, and then the others. Without exception none of the better machines are allowed to be sold or even priced over the internet. Those comapnies want to protect the consumer by making sure you have a local dealer to support you.
As far as threads go... most embroidery machines can handle most sewing machine threads. However, a machine with a vertical hook will handle metallics and other delicate threads much better. These machines also allow you to change your bobbin without removing the hoop.
Bottom line - go with the best machine in your budget that you can get local support on. (Most dealers have an upgrade policy that will allow you to start out small and move up with little or no loss on the intial purchase)
Have fun or don't do it, Tom
User: Tom Land
Member since: 09-21-2005
Total posts: 514
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