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Forum > Sergers, Coverstitch and Blindhemmers > Upgrade my serger or give machine embroidery a try? ( Moderated by CarolynGM, Deepika)

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Upgrade my serger or give machine embroidery a try?
Opinions/past experiences, please
michellep74
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michellep74  Friend of PR
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Date: 9/19/13 6:52 PM

I started a new job two months ago and received a sizable signing bonus along with it. While we're putting most of it into savings, DH is encouraging me to reward myself for the hard work that got us here by getting a new machine. I keep going back and forth on what I want, though. I'd like to spend around $1200-ish (give or take a bit).

Here's what I'm considering:

* Babylock Imagine serger: I've had the Brother 1034D for 6 years and have gotten a ton of use out of it sewing knits and finishing seams. It's a pain for me to re-thread, though, and I know that I've only reached the tip of the iceberg as far as what it can do because I hate re-threading the thing. I got to play around with an Imagine in a class a few years ago and loved it.

* Sewing/embroidery combo machine: With a toddler daughter, I've been really wanting to embroider stuff for her. I've never tried machine embroidery before, though--I just think it sounds fun. I'd also like a machine that can do regular sewing so that I can switch back and forth between that machine and my regular machine when I'm doing contrasting top-stitching, twin needle hems, etc. (One possible obstacle: I am a Mac user and I know that not all embroidery software works with a Mac.)

What are the things that I should think of? We're planning a research/fact-finding/pricing trip to a dealer this weekend, but I'd like to come in armed with some questions beyond "Can I play with your machines and what do they cost?"

I'm okay with getting a used machine, as long as it has a warranty and comes with lessons, if anyone one has suggestions in that department.

Thanks.

-- Edited on 9/19/13 6:53 PM --

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--Michelle

***
Blog: http://happilycaffeinated.blogspot.com/

2014 Fabric IN: 153.13 yards
2014 Fabric OUT: 88 yards
2014 Fabric Sewn: 38 yards
2014 Fabric Donated: 50 yards
pre-2014 Stash patterns used in 2014: 7

rebe
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rebe  Friend of PR
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Date: 9/19/13 8:16 PM

The cost of machine embroidery is much more than just the machine. You have to buy thread, stabilizer, possibly adhesive spray and special scissors and software which hardly any run on Mac.

So I would go for the imagine serger. I have had several sergers and stopped at the imagine. So easy to thread!!!!

------
Rebecca Pitts
Bernina 430
Singer xl-6000
Singer 9960
Babylock Imagine
Elna 740 Excellence
Ellisimo

RadarRadiance
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RadarRadiance
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In reply to michellep74 <<
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Date: 9/19/13 10:16 PM

Have you thought about an inexpensive sewing/embroidery machine like the brother? These are great little machines and it is less than $400. You get the sewing and a 4.4 inch embroidery. I have an earlier SE-350 and it is a great little machine and does fabulous emboidery. It is a smaller hoop but you can still do a lot of cool things with this size. My first embroidery machine was over $3000 and it only was a 4.4, later I did update after really enjoying it a lot. This would still leave you money for a serger, I think the Imagine is up there but maybe a floor model with the brother would work out in your budget.
I want to add you can pick up a starter kit of thread with all the colors to get you going. I run just about any thread through my brother's and they are great machines and take anything I give them. This link is 40 wt. and poly which is good wearing for childrens clothes. My SE-350 is also a very good sewing machine, easy to use and navigate around with. Stabilizer can be picked up with 40% coupons at Joanns, etc. It takes .pes files which are a very basic format. stitch delight and Embilibrary have some good prices on designs.
You will also need special bobbin thread for embroidered designs and the brother comes with a spool of it to get you started
-- Edited on 9/19/13 11:10 PM --

Miss Fairchild
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Miss Fairchild
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Date: 9/19/13 10:42 PM

I'm like RadarRadiance. I too have a Brother embroidery machine, but it's much older--a Brother PE150. Yes, it has a 4x4 hoop, but it works quite well. Sometimes I think I'd like to upgrade to a 350.

As to the serger, is it really important that you have a Babylock? Can you find a middle of the road model, and maybe use what you save on that for a serger and an embroidery machine? As to threading the serger and it being a pain, I feel your pain! I recently "upgraded" to a Janome, just so I could learn the proper way to thread a serger, with all its PITAs. My Singer serger is so very easy to thread, and I've become spoiled. But I had to buy the Janome to learn and adjust myself for the "real world".

If it were me, I'd look into seeing if I could get both the serger and embroidery machine.

------
"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
My blog: http://auntmaymesattic.wordpress.com/

AdaH
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AdaH  Friend of PR
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Date: 9/19/13 10:48 PM

There is a learning curve to machine embroidery and it is expensive. As the previous post stated you have a lot of auxiliary items to buy. The thread is a huge cost as most designs, even the simple ones, will use 5 or more colors. As much as you sew and a lot of that knits, I would go for the serger. You will use that all the time and the machine embroidery only once in a while. There are only so many things that you can plunk down an embroidery design on.

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Ada

PattiAnnJ
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PattiAnnJ
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Date: 9/19/13 11:41 PM

Babylock.

Sometimes they have special sales that include basic software. Check the babylock website.

Some of the software companies now have a choice of Mac or pc based products.

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I dont give them Hell, I just tell the truth about them and they think its Hell. Harry Truman

"Improvise, adapt and overcome." - Clint Eastwood/Heartbreak Ridge

michellep74
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michellep74  Friend of PR
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Date: 9/19/13 11:45 PM

I'd totally be open to an entry level Brother to try out embroidery, but I thought that those lower end models don't support the software needed to run on a Mac?

I've got my heart set on a Babylock serger whether I get one now or down the line because of the jet air threading. I've also been really impressed with the demos I've seen.

------
--Michelle

***
Blog: http://happilycaffeinated.blogspot.com/

2014 Fabric IN: 153.13 yards
2014 Fabric OUT: 88 yards
2014 Fabric Sewn: 38 yards
2014 Fabric Donated: 50 yards
pre-2014 Stash patterns used in 2014: 7

PattiAnnJ
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In reply to michellep74 <<
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Date: 9/19/13 11:56 PM

No matter the brand and model of the EM, the software will be compatible.

Once you have a software product that is compatible with your computer's operating system, you just select the design format the EM requires.

------
I dont give them Hell, I just tell the truth about them and they think its Hell. Harry Truman

"Improvise, adapt and overcome." - Clint Eastwood/Heartbreak Ridge

SandiMacD
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SandiMacD  Friend of PR
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Date: 9/20/13 5:57 AM

Go for the Imagine. You will enjoy it every single time you sit down and it costs nothing but a few spools and room to put them. It makes serging so much fun! And you might find some good deals on the Evolution which some are trading in now on the Ovation.

Embroidery is quite attractive. If your daughter is young the 4x4 field will fit much of her clothes. Or if you can afford a 5x7. Get any starter brand that is inexpensive as your next purchase . Believe me, you will spend hundreds and hundred of dollars over the next 18 mo building up all of the embroidery supplies you need. You will need to find storage space for all the paraphernalia - and it is A LOT!!! Download all your file purchases in multiformat so you can use them on a future machine when you upgrade.

Stitch Buddy for Mac is $49 and a terrific program for beginners- I still often prefer it over Embrilliance (for Mac). Support is better and the trial is full featured. It includes everything so you don't need to purcase additional modules or software to see or organize you files.

After you have spent 2 years in the embroidery world you will want to get a combo machine and you will better know what features are important to you. I kept my starter embroidery machine for a while before we downsized. It was really convenient to have that stitch out buttonholes or small things while I was on my new combo doing construction or decorative stitching.

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sewing brings joy and meaning to my life...

SandiMacD
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SandiMacD  Friend of PR
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Date: 9/20/13 6:42 AM

Stitch Buddy for Mac will import and export BL PES files. And it converts most common file types. And has most of the thread brands. SB is what I use for my BL Ellisimo PES files. I bought it for my Janome 350. It handles nearly every file type but Bernina's. it converted all my Janome files to BL files.

All you need is a USB to transfer your designs. It still runs on my 2008 Mac Book Air which I like because I can tote it around the house and to classes. Through SB, I can use my MBA to access the thousands of emb files over Wifi from my MM- which stores all my downloads. I only need one license and I have it installed on my iMac, MM and my 2013 MBA. Works perfectly on is 10.5 to 10.8.

SB is only $49 and a free trial (times of use not number of days so you can stretch it out over months before buying). My favorite was the quick and personal support I got from the developer and not relying just on a user forum. The help menu is fantastic and its a user friendly program you can learn in just a few hours. It is a Mac interface and integrates into Finder. Its zippy and never crashes. Plus integrates with iPad and iTouch/iPhone Stitch Buddy App. A real bargain. The owner created it just for his wife, who embroiders and back in the 90's there was no Mac software. So he keeps it updated with every Mac update!

Embriliance is pricer, harder to learn, feels more like a windows shell program running on a Mac, requires add ons to see and organize your files (and that looks clunky and like a Window File Manager tree) has less features than the Essentials Windows version. The support is poor- often slow or goes unanswered or directs you to the user forum. It requires more memory & a faster processor (or freezes) and I would not consider it user/beginner friendly. It took me months to learn- because I was a novice embroiderer.
It has advanced features though and I use it for complex design and font merges and keyboard fonts (which was another pricey module). I got it when I was a beta tester for them (on a mac) back in 2008 and I wanted to see how it compared to SB. I think it is overkill and too complex for what you are describing that you want to do right now but it may soon offer a digitizing module- which has not been done yet for Mac.
Best of luck in your decisions.

------
sewing brings joy and meaning to my life...

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