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Forum > Sewing Machines > Help with Sewing Machine Decision Opal or Sapphire ( Moderated by Sharon1952, EleanorSews)

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Help with Sewing Machine Decision Opal or Sapphire
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rina
rina
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Texas USA
Member since 6/21/04
Posts: 13
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Date: 12/16/12 6:18 PM

Greeting All,

I was sold on the Opal 650 until today. I went to look at my xmas present, and the sales lady stated the Saphhire 835 is on sale now. For $100 more you get a better machine. So I am so new to sewing to i need advice.

Opal 650
1. Price
2. Light Weight - Compared to Sapphire 835
3. Automatic or Foot
4. Quiet

Saphhire

1. Need up and down - I really dont understand this
2. Bed is bigger
3. Appears to be a more sound machine.

I am still looking at the differences, and I just started researching the Saphhire, so I dont have much information.

Any knowledge would be greatful.

RipStitcher
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Date: 12/16/12 9:13 PM

If you were my daughter...... .....

I'd tell you to step back and start over.

There's lots of brands out there... and there's something for everyone.

Right now, (because of your comment of needle up/down), I think you would really benefit from taking some beginning sewing classes at different dealers around your area - and - in a relaxed, fun atmosphere (and if it's not fun - run!) - try out different machines carefully.

I had taken 10 years away from sewing - and probably 20 since looking at machines seriously - but I am far from being a beginner - I know how to sew.

BUT... it's an overwhelming thing to look at machines - even if you know what you're doing!

So I took *any* class I could get into (I even took a quilting 101 class) .. just so I could leisurely try out the machines that were on my radar. I honestly could not have cared less about what the projects or methods that were being taught were about. I just wanted to play with the machines. I did a couple of classes at 4 different dealers around my area. You wouldn't believe how much it helped me!

So what kind of price point are you trying to stay at?

What kind of sewing do you perceive yourself doing?

There's lots of help here... and I think you're in for a fun journey... but it might not be with that brand of machine by the time you really get a grip on what you like. Or what you want to do. :)

------
My pattern video is on www.BionicGearBag.com
The drama is on: www.RipStitcher.com

Wish list:
Sashiko
Ovation serger
Bernina 880 - Just cuz.
Bernina Tula Pink 350SE

Love my:
Babylock Ellisimo Gold
Bernina 550qe
ElnaPress

poplin
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poplin
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In reply to rina <<


Date: 12/16/12 9:31 PM

I test drove both models just a couple of weeks ago, so most features are still fresh in my mind. You should know that I sew mostly casual clothes, mostly knits. I am just starting out with free motion quilting and piecing.

Three things that really stood out to me about the Sapphire 835. One, it does not have a manual presser foot lever. I much prefer the presser foot lever to be manual. I also don't like the idea of having to go through a circuit board in order to lift the presser foot. I would much rather have that control than give it over to a circuit board.

Two, the Sapphire 835 is said to have "automatic" presser foot pressure. You select your fabric and your stitch on your Sewing Advisor, and the Sewing Advisor will set your presser foot pressure automatically. But I found that this automation failed miserably when I tried to sew a straight seam on a rayon/Lycra knit jersey. Too much pressure was applied, the fabric didn't feed evenly. There was no way for me to adjust the presser foot pressure.

Third, one of my favorite utility stitches, the lightning bolt stitch (a tiny, tiny zig zag stretch stitch), sews at far left rather than center. I tried to center the needle position but found that I could mirror it only to far right.

The Opal 650 was a little better than the Sapphire 835. It had a manual presser foot lever and the presser foot pressure could be adjusted manually. But the lightning bolt stitch was also the same: either sewn far left or mirrored far right. I don't recall now if it can be centered.

I couldn't bond with it, and I really wanted to bond with it. It was a fair price at $699. It was supposed to replace my Viking Platinum 770, and because of that perhaps, my expectations were already set too high. I expected the Opal 650 to feel and sew just like my Platinum 770. Instead, the 650 was a little stiff when lifting the presser foot lever. The general sewing was not as smooth. Most of the utility stitches I depend on did not produce the desired results. Lastly, though it wouldn't have been a deal breaker, opal is iridescent. At least, that's what quickly comes to mind.

If or when the Opal 650 goes on clearance prices, maybe way under $500. Maybe I will reconsider since I still have Viking bobbins and those Viking presser feet that I think are fabulous for garment construction.

The Sapphire 835 is still too expensive even at the clearance prices now offered, especially when it doesn't even have a manual presser foot lever or a manual, adjustable presser foot pressure.

As for the larger harp, the Opal has only 8" and the Sapphire 835 has about 10" of harp space. Apart from its accessories, the harp space is the only thing I liked about the 835.

------
Dec 2012: 2 yards

Her needlework both plain and ornamental was excellent, and she might have put a sewing machine to shame. ~James Edward Austen-Leigh, about Jane Austen

RipStitcher
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Date: 12/16/12 9:46 PM

So Poplin....

You know those machines.... so can you decenter the needle for other stitches?

If the needle can't be decentered to where I want it for straight sewing, that would be a deal breaker.

------
My pattern video is on www.BionicGearBag.com
The drama is on: www.RipStitcher.com

Wish list:
Sashiko
Ovation serger
Bernina 880 - Just cuz.
Bernina Tula Pink 350SE

Love my:
Babylock Ellisimo Gold
Bernina 550qe
ElnaPress

poplin
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poplin
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Washington USA
Member since 5/28/06
Posts: 1356
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In reply to RipStitcher <<


Date: 12/16/12 10:07 PM

I tried only the utility stitches I use and only four or five of the fancy stitches.

Of course the straight stitch can be repositioned. But I was surprised that the lightning bolt stitch, a stitch used for sewing seams on stretchy knits, cannot be centered. Whatever the advantage is to sewing a seam on a knit with the needle at far left is lost on me--and I'm not about to change my technique and acquiesce when the machine struck out on so many other features.

I didn't even bother repositioning the fancy stitches. To me, not being able to center the lightning bolt stitch is a deal breaker enough.

------
Dec 2012: 2 yards

Her needlework both plain and ornamental was excellent, and she might have put a sewing machine to shame. ~James Edward Austen-Leigh, about Jane Austen

andye
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In reply to poplin <<


Date: 12/16/12 10:31 PM

Quote:
Two, the Sapphire 835 is said to have "automatic" presser foot pressure. You select your fabric and your stitch on your Sewing Advisor, and the Sewing Advisor will set your presser foot pressure automatically. But I found that this automation failed miserably when I tried to sew a straight seam on a rayon/Lycra knit jersey. Too much pressure was applied, the fabric didn't feed evenly. There was no way for me to adjust the presser foot pressure.


It's hidden in the settings menu. Page 29


you'll have to step up to the 875 to adjust the needle position for non straight stitches.
-- Edited on 12/16/12 10:33 PM --

------
Bernina B330
Feet: 1,2,3,3A,4,5,7,8,10,13,16,18,20, 29,32,35,37,50,64,70,71,82,85,86, 92

Miss Fairchild
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Date: 12/17/12 8:16 AM

Wait!!! Do you know that there is a Sapphire being offered here in our very own classifieds? Yes that's true! And for a very, very reasonable price! NAYY

------
"Play the cards you are dealt, but choose who is sitting at the table"..AARP magazine

SEE MY ETSY SHOP HERE: http://www.etsy.com/shop/AuntMaymesAttic
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Seams2Sew
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Seams2Sew
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In reply to rina <<


Date: 12/17/12 10:02 AM

The Opal also has the needle up/down feature which means you can select whether the needle stops up or down when you stop sewing. With both, you can also tap on the foot control to put the needle down.

The Sapphire's harp is 2 inches bigger and that may or may not be important to you. The Opal has more stitches, but does not have the Sensor System. Some people do not like the sensor system, but I like it a lot. It is just as easy for me to push a button on the front of the machine to raise or lower the presser foot as it is to reach around the back or side to raise or lower a lever.

The 835 is on close-out special which is why the price for it is so close to the Opal's.

My suggestion is to try sewing on both machines with the fabrics you use most often and see which one YOU like best (that is the only thing that matters).

poplin
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poplin
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In reply to rina <<


Date: 12/17/12 10:54 AM

It's too bad that the manager at the Viking shop did not know the pressure foot pressure could be adjusted on the 835 through machine settings, and that she neglected to whip out the manual as did I forget to ask. I was probably thinking that such an adjustment should have been as easily accessible as the upper thread tension knob, and the sales manager too might have thought the same.

When you're at the dealer's testing out the 650 or the 835 to see which one you prefer, make sure that you ask the Viking rep to show you the manual.

------
Dec 2012: 2 yards

Her needlework both plain and ornamental was excellent, and she might have put a sewing machine to shame. ~James Edward Austen-Leigh, about Jane Austen

rina
rina
Beginner
Texas USA
Member since 6/21/04
Posts: 13
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In reply to Miss Fairchild <<


Date: 12/17/12 6:00 PM

Thank All, I am going to take a look now. I am leaning towards the Sapphire.

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