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Message Board > Sewing Machines > Viking? Buying a machine....Sapphire 850 ( Moderated by Sharon1952, EleanorSews)

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Viking? Buying a machine....Sapphire 850
What questions to ask
chrstylynn
chrstylynn
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Member since 7/6/06
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Date: 1/10/12 4:17 PM

I am looking at purchasing a new or used machine. I really liked the idea of a Pfaff and the IDF. I see strengths in all the major brands of machines.

I am currently looking at used machine, a Sapphire 850. Will get to try it out in a few days and want to know a good test. Anyone have any ideas on what fabrics or things to try to keep me from finding out any problems later on? Also, if anyone owns this particular model, any warnings I might not know about? The owner says it is 4 years oldl

I am really loving all the reviews on here...such a great resource!

Thank you in advance!

Christy

emg
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emg
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In reply to chrstylynn


Date: 1/10/12 8:16 PM

The best test is to test the type of sewing you are doing now or expect to do. I do garment sewing so when I went to try out the Pfaffs with IDT, I brought scraps from my past projects including plaids, heavy wools, stretchy fabrics all because these things had given me problems on my old machine when I was trying to keep the layers matched. Sewing on muslin or quilting cottons would not have helped me at all. I also brought some knits since they also gave me a lot of trouble on my old machine. I also tested buttonholes (since I use those a lot) and some of the edge-finishing stitches for when I work with ravelly fabric.

If you quilt, then I guess you would want to bring some pre-made "sandwiches" of fabric and batt to see how well they feed.

It really comes down to what you want to do with the machine. But I would definitely start with leftover fabric scraps from old projects.

JDpenelope
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JDpenelope  Friend of PR
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KS USA
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Date: 1/10/12 9:05 PM

A few that come to mind:

1) How expensive are the feet?

2) How much programming and complicated machine settings are there, and if I don't want to get into that, must I, anyway?

3) Was it made in Sweden?

4) Does it take extra stitches when you stop sewing backwards (and maybe frontwards, can't remember now)?

I had this machine; mine was well made and reliable. But I sold it, because my garment sewing was sporadic -- so for one thing -- I never memorized how to set important features and I was stumbling over them, when I just wanted to sit down and sew. Here are some of my answers.

1) The feet are expensive. The walking foot was $125, for example. It IS an excellent foot.....but gee.

2) For example, I didn't want to remember how to change the setting -- or look up in the manual -- if I DIDN'T or DID want the presser foot to rise up automatically when I stopped sewing. I liked it to rise up automatically for applique, but for other sewing, I wanted that presser foot to stay put when I stopped! When I haven't sewn for awhile, I don't remember these settings, and looking it up interrupts the project.

3) Look on the label on the bottom. It should tell you where it was manufactured. People more knowledgeable than I am say the Viking machines made in Sweden are better. In case you ever want to sell the machine, "Made in Sweden," adds to the value. The buyer of my machine only wanted it if it was made in Sweden.

4) I truly hated that I couldn't get the machine to stop right away. Again, if you sew on different machines for different projects, you don't want to remember how to operate each one, to get it to stop in the right place.

Mine was a good machine and didn't have problems that others have reported, but if you find yourself fighting it, then it's not worth your time and trouble.

------
aka Joanne. (Penelope was our cat. RIP.)
"What mother nature gives, father time takes away."
Yahoo group: Sewing-with-Industrial-Machines

JDpenelope
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JDpenelope  Friend of PR
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Date: 1/10/12 9:14 PM

A few more things: The IDT on the Pfaff's is very appealing to me (in theory, haven't ever sewn on one). But is it difficult to thread? The Viking was very easy for me to thread. Do you care if the machine doesn't have a bobbin case? The Viking Sapphire has a drop in bobbin. I don't have a home machine with a bobbin case, but have heard they are more versatile and also that the "best" machines house the bobbin in a bobbin case.

------
aka Joanne. (Penelope was our cat. RIP.)
"What mother nature gives, father time takes away."
Yahoo group: Sewing-with-Industrial-Machines

Ratkins

Ratkins
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NY
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In reply to chrstylynn


Date: 1/11/12 9:35 AM

If you machine quilt, bring a test sandwich with you, using fabric, batting and thread you use the most and really spend some time quilting. If you don't machine quilt, try to sew with fabrics you usually use, particularly if you regularly sew through several thicknesses.

I have a Sapphire 850, and have had trouble with free motion quilting - and yes, mine was made in Sweden. It may have been operator error, although I understand that others have had trouble, mostly because the top thread jumps out of the uptake lever. I believe there is a fix for this. I did enjoy piecing on the Sapphire, and quickly became used to the presser foot lifting automatically.

If you decide to get it, there is a Yahoo group devoted to Sapphires. They are a great resource when you have a problem.

Good luck!

Janet

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sew2006
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In reply to JDpenelope


Date: 1/11/12 11:31 AM

Every machine has a bobbincase the difference is that some machines have it built into the machine and the case dosn't have to be removed when taking the bobbin in/out of machine. For people who work with a variety of thicker threads a metal bobbincase that comes out of the machine is easier to switch out. I've sewn on both drop in and metal front loading and find little difference in performance of machine when comparing equal class machines. Love my IDT on the Pfaff and the 9mm stitches.

------
Janome10001, Babylock ESG3, Brother ULT 2001, White 634D serger, Pfaff 1472, Singer featherweight, Singer 14T957Dc, Bernina FunLock 009DCC coverlock, Brother PQ1500S, Janome CP900.

ilesliemy
ilesliemy  Friend of PR
Intermediate
TX USA
Member since 2/25/05
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Date: 1/11/12 12:03 PM

I had an early 850 and it had tension problems. I understand they fixed these with the 855. Ask when the machine you are looking at was manufactured and if it was an early one I would look at something else.
Leslie

------
Bernina Gal

chrstylynn
chrstylynn
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Member since 7/6/06
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Date: 1/11/12 4:38 PM

Thank you so much for your responses!

This machine is 4 years old....I wonder if that would make it an older one? I guess there is no way of knowing how long it's been sitting around. Will the tension problems be apparent immediately on sewing a straight stitch?

Thank you again!

ilesliemy
ilesliemy  Friend of PR
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Date: 1/11/12 6:39 PM

Mine showed up about 3 months into sewing. Other wise I think it would have been a lovely machine. Are you buying from a dealer? I think there may be a fix but if you are buying it on Ebay I would call a Viking dealer first and ask. I think mine would be around 4 perhaps. I bought it in May shortly after they came out so it might be 5 this May.

------
Bernina Gal

SG1

SG1
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TX USA
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Date: 1/11/12 7:35 PM

I have an 850, and I absolutely love it. I haven't had a single tension issue, or any other issues with it, and I've been sewing almost non-stop for the last 2 years.

I know a lot of people don't like the Sapphires, but to each his own. If my house burned down one of the first things I would replace would be my sewing machine, and I'd buy another Sapphire without even blinking an eye.

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