The Sewing Place

Perhaps I need an embroidery machine after all! :o

Marniesews

Perhaps I need an embroidery machine after all! :o
« on: March 18, 2017, 20:25:52 PM »
Well, I never expected to be saying this but I need to consider the prospect of an embroidery machine after all. I've always thought they looked fun but the amount of applications that I'd have for them was so limited that I couldn't justify checking it out. That's just changed however as I've discovered FSL (Free Standing Lace) which looks to me like I could use to make motifs that I could sew onto dance dresses.

I've spent hours searching for them but they're usually the wrong size, the wrong colour, the wrong style, far too expensive, in China etc etc. Thanks to an innocent SG member's reference to FSL I'm now getting very hot and bothered about the possibilities!

I've no planned budget for this and the OH is still blissfully unaware so I probably need to look at trade-ins and auctions which means I need to have a good idea of what I'm looking for and I haven't...at all. I'm thinking that I'll need to know
  • the basic requirements for this technique
  • any obsolete formats/systems to avoid and just as importantly any obsolete ones that will still be fine for my purposes
  • any brand recommendations or rather ones to think twice about?
It's a lot to ask, I know but I'd be very grateful for any shared knowledge and pointers towards good sources of information/advice.   :) :D 0_0
Aka Jacky F in a former life...

Bodgeitandscarper

Re: Perhaps I need an embroidery machine after all! :o
« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2017, 21:10:28 PM »
I got an embroidery machine a few weeks ago, and it's main use is for adding interest to plain fabrics/garments - I'm doing a great line in stylish fleece jackets currently.
I'm really wanting to try FSL, mainly for things like Christmas decorations, I've downloaded lots of designs, but I'm too busy to actually try any.
I got a Janome 350e, as it was a balance between price and hoop size.  You may think you only want to do small FSL, but you may easily get sidetracked when you start looking at embroidery design websites...
My avatar is a machine embroidered design on a hi-vis flag I made for a friend's recumbent trike - see, the possibilities are endless :-)
« Last Edit: March 18, 2017, 21:12:29 PM by Bodgeitandscarper »

sewmuchmore

Re: Perhaps I need an embroidery machine after all! :o
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2017, 18:20:14 PM »
I made loads of FSL box's, t cups and gift envelopes for Christmas and have just done a pirate ship. The dolls faces were done on my machine. I was undecided whether i would get use from an embroidery machine but i am really glad i bit the bullet. I even do buttonholes on it.
My favorite site is Urban Threads, this is a link to there free standing lace http://www.urbanthreads.com/categories.aspx?category=Freestanding%20Lace
I also won the Madeira Machine Embroidery competition a couple of years ago, with a montage of cheeky postcards.
It's not easy being this perfekt

Janet

Marniesews

Re: Perhaps I need an embroidery machine after all! :o
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2017, 20:08:52 PM »
I also won the Madeira Machine Embroidery competition a couple of years ago, with a montage of cheeky postcards.

Ooh you little minx!  :devil:

Just spotted on a previous thread that you got an Innovis V3. What about you Bodgeitandscarper I don't need a top of the line machine but my instinct is not to consider machines retailing new under £500, just judging from what I see in ordinary sewing machines. Or am I not looking for much sophistication just for FSL? Most of the motifs I'd be making would fit within a 5x7" hoop.

I'm not averse to buying used but with anything computerised I suspect I'm better going for a mid to high end model for quality reasons too. However, I'm assuming with older models I'll need to bear in mind software issues, especially software upgrade options (if any) and compatibility too. Any suggestions?
« Last Edit: March 19, 2017, 20:11:28 PM by Marniesews »
Aka Jacky F in a former life...

Bodgeitandscarper

Re: Perhaps I need an embroidery machine after all! :o
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2017, 20:15:21 PM »
I've only had my Janome 350e a couple of months, but it seems fine so far.  It comes with two hoops, the biggest is 140 x 200mm.  I'd rather like the 500e, with a bigger hoop size, but that's a lot more money.
I know you're looking at FSL, but you may well be easily tempted to do other stuff.   :D

Marniesews

Re: Perhaps I need an embroidery machine after all! :o
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2017, 20:48:15 PM »
There were 2 Janome 350E's on Gumtree last night for £550 and £350, the latter being in my county and the former including lots of threads etc but I wasn't going to jump until I'd done some research. Both are gone today!

Having read up about it more it looks like they may well have been fine for me but I've learned it's essential to be patient (and wary) when looking for used machines.
Aka Jacky F in a former life...

SewRose

Re: Perhaps I need an embroidery machine after all! :o
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2017, 06:56:08 AM »
I had a 350e for 6 years and used it nearly every day. It is a great machine. I now have a 500e which has bigger hoops. Be careful if going second hand as if the machine has been heavily used it may have issues. :( If you are planning to sew mostly FSL you will need lots of soluble stabiliser, which is not cheap. Janome or Brother are probably the best makes to go for.

sewmuchmore

Re: Perhaps I need an embroidery machine after all! :o
« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2017, 17:33:01 PM »
I started with a Brother 750E (no longer made) which came with free digitizing soft ware, but quickly found i wanted to do bigger embroidery designs hence the upgrade.
The machines are an investment and as you say you need to research what is available. From my own experience consider the size of the designs the machine will sew before making your choice. Plus you may well find that the middle price range onwards will often come with free soft ware, which is often worth £400+
It's not easy being this perfekt

Janet

Marniesews

Re: Perhaps I need an embroidery machine after all! :o
« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2017, 17:43:12 PM »
I've joined an FB group trying to get more embroidery input. There's been a suggestion that Brother may be more user friendly than Janome although that may be because the user had a sewing/embroidery machine whereas their Brother replacement was embroidery only. It may also make a difference if you've used Janome sewing machines before - which I haven't.

Any thoughts on that?

Two companies have also been suggested for refurbished trade-ins. One is David Drummond of whom I've heard several previous mentions regarding machines in general on TSF and the other is Lords Sewing Machines - they're new to me although I may be able to pop into Oswaldtwistle in a few months when we visit family & friends  in Lancashire although a second visit would be many months later, possibly not until next year.

Neither are particularly convenient but I'm going to ask BSK in Bedford if they resell trade-ins. They only stock Brothers but it's a convenient place to start looking at machines.

Any ideas for other dealers in used embroidery machines only an hour or two away from Bedfordshire or Northamptonshire as we're there each week?
Aka Jacky F in a former life...

Bodgeitandscarper

Re: Perhaps I need an embroidery machine after all! :o
« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2017, 18:11:59 PM »
I'd not used an embroidery machine before, and found my Janome very easy.  I've not tried any others so can't help with comparisons.
And no idea on dealers, sorry  -<

Maximum

Re: Perhaps I need an embroidery machine after all! :o
« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2017, 18:16:59 PM »
I know nothing about embroidery machines but I did phone David Drummond when I was researching Coverstitch machines. After several conversations I negotiated to buy his Bernina L220 demo model. What impressed me even more was that his staff solved a problem I was having with my Bernina sewing machine that I had bought elsewhere and the Bernina/Bogod head office in London had failed to solve when I went for my training day. Excellent old fashioned service and I wouldn't hesitate to buy from them again. Can't say the same about the company in Bedford, but might be convenient to try machines there. Sew Northampton were also helpful for CS machines but at the time they had nothing in the shop to try.
Have fun researching and playing :D

Iminei

Re: Perhaps I need an embroidery machine after all! :o
« Reply #11 on: March 22, 2017, 06:57:53 AM »
My avatar is a machine embroidered design on a hi-vis flag I made for a friend's recumbent trike - see, the possibilities are endless :-)


OOOOhhhh Bodgeit..... I don't suppose you could make me a colourful Day of the Dead type, Jolly Roger for Captain Birdeyes 'Im indoors's boat as a birthday pressie???
The Imperfect Perfectionist sews again


supergran

Re: Perhaps I need an embroidery machine after all! :o
« Reply #12 on: March 26, 2017, 19:30:57 PM »
I also found out recently that you can quilt motifs on the Brother embroidery machine. Don't know about any of the other makes though.

Ohsewsimple

Re: Perhaps I need an embroidery machine after all! :o
« Reply #13 on: April 02, 2017, 13:04:18 PM »
I've only just spotted this thread so coming in late.  :P
Brother embroidery machines are definitely the most user friendly and their offers are better than other makes.  Offers change each month. 
I would be wary of buying one of these from someone I didn't know.  I have seen several people ripped off buying machines at inflated prices  that are basically junk and needed so much work doing they were regarded as beyond economical repair.  Second hand from a reputable dealer is fine.  And buying from a local dealer will mean you can get some help if you find it difficult to use. 

Marniesews

Re: Perhaps I need an embroidery machine after all! :o
« Reply #14 on: April 02, 2017, 19:09:44 PM »
There are a couple of places nearby that I can try Brothers - I'm not wild about them as sewing machines but it's becoming very clear they have a great reputation with embroiderers.

I've seen a few apparently good buys on ebay for Janome 350e but I'm loathe to risk it with my lack of knowledge. I've had some good buys on sewing machines previously but they were all mechanical which makes a huge difference. I'm not too far from Theobald's of Luton and he has a huge stock of used machines so I may ask him to look out for a good one for me while I bide my time.

I want to keep it fairly simple, I'm not interested in children's motifs at all but I do fancy the lace effects, including the simpler embroidery on organza that would be just as good as FSL to embellish with rhinestones for ballroom & latin dresses. The alphabets would have applications for me too as the ones on sewing machines just aren't up to it (including my Pfaff Performance 5).

I need a hoop around 7" x 5" but nothing huge. I will get to a dealer shortly but in the meantime could you possibly suggest a model number as a starting place to look? I always like to have read up a bit before I go to a dealer.
Aka Jacky F in a former life...