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 with me.
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 their customers.
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 up. 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 down. 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 too.
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 them out.
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 with it.