Dusie recently took the plunge and treated herself to a new sewing machine. Read all about her experience here, and discover the importance of trying everything out before you make an investment!
How many times have you looked at the posh sewing machines
and wondered what you get for soooooo much money?
Well, I had been looking at the machines for a couple of
years – not even touched one, just looked and had the odd dream or two. Last
year at FoQ I tried out the new Bernina 820, and was most impressed, but at
over £2,500 I wasn’t sure that the good things it provided were enough to make
me buy it – not that it was an option anyway, but my brain always runs away
I wasn’t trying it with a view to buying one, just wanted to
know what £2,400 more than my current machine cost would get me.
I really wanted to have a few more functions on my machine –
nothing that fancy, just things like needle always up or down, and a few more
stitches. But I also realised that the next machine I bought would be a very
long term investment.
I spent a couple of weeks looking around the internet and
different brands of machines, eventually compiling a list of the different
functions that I thought I might like to have.
It eventually came down to the Husqvarna Viking Sapphire
875Q. I read around and found quite a few unfavourable reviews of the 870, but
then discovered that Husqvarna realised that they had some improvements to make
and quickly revamped it and brought out the 875Q – a company that listened to
I went to my not-so local quilt shop in Hemel Hempstead, and they couldn’t have been more helpful. They had it
set up for me when I arrived, showed me what goes where, and left me to it. I
was concerned that it was a lot of money (£1,059), and I couldn’t quite get the
free-motion quilting to work. The shop services the machines and the man who
does it was there, and told me a few helpful tips when using it, but everyone in
the shop said the same thing – don’t buy it unless you are sure.
I loved the needle up/down facility, and some fabulous
stitches – little caravans, bicycles, sweets and oodles of other stitches –
most of them probably completely unnecessary, but oh so much fun!
Co-incidentally, the shop was running the first training day
for Husqvarna sewing machines a week later. I booked on and paid my £15 – an
excellent opportunity to try it out at my leisure to make sure. My son had
different ideas and instead, we spent the day in casualty for a sprained ankle
(but not broken, thank goodness).
I managed to get back to the shop a few days later. Spent a
bit more time practising, and decided to take the plunge and buy it. I bought
the walking foot too, which was a bit odd – why did it not come with a walking
foot? According to the instruction book you can do free-motion quilting without
the walking foot, but it wasn’t quite “free” enough for me.
I could have bought it online, for a few pounds less and
with a 15 year guarantee and free servicing, but I wasn’t comfortable with
buying something this expensive from somewhere I had never heard of, or
couldn’t physically take it back to. The servicing is around £40 for a full
service, every 2-3 years - if I do the proper home maintenance jobs regularly.
The next 10 days were so long! I rang the shop twice, but it
was coming from Germany,
so I just had to be a good girl and wait. I got the phone call one lunch time
at work, and my desk was cleared in 5 minutes, and I went straight to pick it
I got it home and got it out – if I am honest, I was a
little bit daunted by this beautiful piece of equipment. Next, I did something
I never normally do – I read the instruction book. I didn’t want to do the
wrong thing and break it.
I set it up and held my breath, would it fit into the whole
in my sewing table – yes, with literally half an inch to spare. Thank goodness.
I set to with some old bits of fabric (don’t worry, I didn’t
waste any quilting fabric, it was an old pillowcase), and a quilt sandwich. It
was fantastic, once I got over not having to manually lift the foot up and
The foot pedal is bizarrely large – but I am sure there is a
perfectly good reason, I just can’t quite fathom it. It weighs next to nothing
The functions that I love are:
- Cruise control – gives your foot a rest - just wish it had voice control, I’ve nearly mastered sewing and reaching the button at the same time, which means I don’t need to use my foot at all sometimes.
- Auto fixing stitches at the start and end of sewing
- Needle up / down
- Super large throat space
- Permanent reverse stitching – didn’t even know I would want this until I was cross-hatch quilting – it saved so much effort turning the quilt around all the way.
- Bobbin warning – it beeps and flashes you a message.
- Alphabet stitches that you can save
We have had a couple of squabbles, and there appears to be a
chip out of the stitch plate – how I did that I don’t know – it’s made of steel
for goodness sake, but it wasn’t there when I opened it. It is quite sensitive
to threads being stuck under the stitch plate, but it is a precision machine
and goodness knows what damage I was doing to my other machine by not pulling
The only two other niggles that I have found with it is a
lack of sewing bed in front of the stitch plate, and the needle threader is a
bit hit and miss.
But just in case you couldn’t tell, I am absolutely thrilled