Monday, February 2, 2009

Sewing Machine Shopping: Part 2

I got a bit side tracked from shopping for my next sewing machine, but on Friday, I finally got back to it. I visited Sew Right, in Bayside Queens to test drive some Viking Sewing machines. I was also hoping to test drive some Janomes, but they only carried the intro-level models.

I was utterly wowed by the Viking Sapphire 850.

Here's the Sapphire line - 830, 850 and 870.

This is another BMW-esque sewing machine that makes my current machine look like a Ford Pinto. And after seeing the Bernina Activa 230, I was surprized at just how many features the Viking Sapphire 850 has - I was unprepared for the wow-factor.

For example, you control the presser foot with a tap of the foot pedal rather than with a manual switch/arm that you have to lower and raise by hand. This means you can use 2 hands to position your fabric while lowering the foot. Also, the sewing advisor is really cool - you tell it what you are sewing (kind of fabric) and task (sewing, hemming, button hole, etc). Then, it selects the best stitch, stitch length and width, and tells you what thread tension, needle and presser foot you should use.

The Sapphire 850 has
fewer overall stitches (137 vs 205) than the Bernina, but I think it has more where it counts - like 7 different kinds of button holes (3 more than the Bernina). Also, it comes with 9 different feet (2 more than Bernina), for sewing button holes, zippers, regular sewing, etc.

Aside from the bells and whistles, what I really liked about this machine was that it has an extra long "harp" or sewing area. The larger area allows you to work a little more comfortably when you are dealing with a lot of fabric. Anyway, since most of my readers are non-sewists, I won't bore you with the technical details. I'll just leave it as: Wow! I am impressed.

Next week I hope to test drive the similar Janome models and will then have a better idea where I am going.


2BSewing: said...

Nice post about the Sapphire 850. Don't forget it also has 29 needle positions. Dual lights, extended dual stitch plate guidelines, no oiling, and the hardcover. BTW, if you decide on this model, see if the dealer will throw in the extended dual stitch plate (inch-version) for free. Ahhh...does it look like I'm Viking-biased? :)

Clio said...

LOL - It is a really great machine. It is more than I need at this point, but I definitly want the best that I can afford so that I can grow into it.