Embroidery Machine Buyers Guide | Luci Ayyat | Skillshare

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

10 Lessons (47m)
    • 1. Intro

    • 2. Project Worksheets

    • 3. Vocabulary & Parts

    • 4. How Designs Work

    • 5. Machine Features

    • 6. Uses and Hoop Sizes

    • 7. Budget and Pricing

    • 8. Brands

    • 9. Where to Shop

    • 10. Bonus and Wrap-Up

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About This Class

If you're curious about Embroidery Machines but don't know much about them, this class will help you figure it all out.  This is like the best friend's guide to buying an Embroidery Machine.  These machines can cost anywhere from $350 to $16,000 - and you'll see why there's a huge price range and how to find one that's right for you.

Learn how to be a savvy shopper and get the best deal on a machine that you can put to work as your own sewing robot.  These machines are not just for cartoons on kid's clothes anymore!  They do quilting, lace making, bags, dolls & plushies, plus all the apparel and home decor you've seen for years.

I've shopped for several machines over the years and have done extensive research that I'll share with you.  I have no brand loyalty, nor am I a commissioned salesperson (or any kind of salesperson).  But I'll help you navigate through the high-pressure sales tactics that you may run across.  We'll also cover Embroidery Machine vocabulary, How to get a good price, what all the machine sizes are good for, and which features you may or may not care about.  


Meet Your Teacher

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Luci Ayyat

I love the whir of an embroidery machine


Nice to meet you!  I'm the crazy doll lady at Ballyhoo Creations who turns embroidery machines into automated sewing beasts.  I've been doing machine embroidery for many years and I've learned a lot of tips and tricks to make these machines run smoothly.  Whether you're stitching on a small machine you bought from Walmart, or a 5-figure multi-needle machine, I'd like to help you master that embroidery machine and make lovely things with it!


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1. Intro: [MUSIC] Hey, folks. My name is Lucy and I'm going to talk about how to shop for an embroidery machine or a sewing robot as I like to call them. I run a little shop called BALLYHOO Creations where I design things that are stitched by embroidery machines. I actually use it as a sewing robot to stitch little dolls, stuffies, puppets. I've been doing machine embroidery for many years. I've shopped for quite a few machines. I've learned a lot of ins and outs of how to save money, how to deal with different dealers, if you're buying a used machine, what to look out for, we're going to cover all of that in this class. If you want to be a savvy shopper and go in knowing what you're looking for, this is the class for you. I'll tell you all kinds of things that you probably never knew about sewing robots. Embroidery machines can do so much more today than we ever thought possible. It's not just putting little cartoon characters on children's shirts anymore. You can make lace. You can make stuffies. You can make zipper bags. So if you're curious about what an embroidery machine does and how much they cost and how to buy the right one for you, I'm going to walk you through all of that. We'll talk about features to look for and which ones are a waste of money. We'll talk about where designs come from and what's involved if you want to stitch your own custom designs. We'll spend some time figuring out what you want to use an embroidery machine for so that you don't end up paying for things you don't need. Of course, we'll talk about budget and different ways you can pay for your embroidery machine. We'll also talk about where to buy it from and how to shop. If you've been considering machine embroidery or if you're just curious what it's all about, come on and take the class. I'll tell you everything I know, honest to a fault and I don't hold back. 2. Project Worksheets: [MUSIC] Our class project is going to be a little different for this particular class. What you're going to have is some PDF worksheets that you can download and you can fill out. It's going to have questions to help you understand what you might want your machine for? What different features and prices to consider? How much you're willing to pay? Just to get an overview of what you are looking for, so that when you go and you're faced with these salespeople, you can stick to your guns and get what you need and not what they want to sell you. This project is helping you figure out the skills to be a savvy shopper yourself. You can also ask questions in the class. I would be happy to help you with your journey and deciding which machine is right for you, or where to buy it, or anything that we're going to cover in this class, you can ask questions and I'm here to hold your hand and help you if you need that. [MUSIC] 3. Vocabulary & Parts: The embroidery machine is very much like a sewing machine. You've got an LCD screen on one side where you can select your design and do some editing over there, the thread runs through the machine exactly like a sewing machine from the spool down through tension discs, through a needle, and a presser foot down here. The presser foot does look different for machine embroidery. Then you got the bobbin case underneath. This is all just like a sewing machine. The difference is you've got an embroidery arm here, which moves a hoop that's attached in the hoop does come off so that you can put your fabric in there. As this needle is going up and down, the hoop is what's moving around and moving your fabric to stitch the design. Most machines for home embroidery are called single-needle because there's only one needle in them, or also a flatbed. This particular machine is a combo machine. If I take off my hoop here, you can see that the embroidery unit right here, it comes off and now I've got just a regular sewing machine and there's another piece that slides into you can have a total flatbed and then you just put the embroidery unit back on, clicks into place and then you would want to change out the presser foot. Some machines require you to change out the bobbin case, but it's a pretty simple process to go from the sewing machine back to the embroidering machine. That combination machine that I just showed you goes between embroidery machine and sewing machine. It converts back and forth. It's called a combo or combination machine. There are also machines that are embroidery only. They don't switch over to a sewing machine. If you want to have one machine in your room that does both functions, you'll want a combo machine, but if you already have a sewing machine that you like and you just want to add an additional machine for machine embroidery. You can get an embroidery-only machine for that, they do cost a little bit less. There are also embroidery-only machines called multi needles like this one here. They're bigger. They're more powerful. They have multiple needles and each needle corresponds to a color or cone of thread back here. You can get anywhere from 4-16 needles on these machines. They are like a commercial machine, however, some of them like this are made for home use. They still are very loud. They vibrate a lot. If you lived in apartment, this is not the best machine to have for that because they're noisy. However, they do a great job with machine embroidery and that's all they do. Another advantage of one of the multi needles, or it's also called a rotary hook. As matter of fact, there are single needle machines that look like this with this rotary hook because you can put small items like baby clothes. You can also get a hat hoop like this, this big metal cylinder that goes on the embroidery arm there and if you want a good professional result on a baseball cap, you would want to have one of these types of rotary hook machines for that. They can be done on flatbed machines like the one you saw a minute ago, but it's much more fidgety and harder to get a good result. These do cost more, but they're still in line with some of the higher flatbed single needle machines, so it just depends on what you want. Again, the worksheets will help you figure out what features you're looking for. 4. How Designs Work: [MUSIC] You may be wondering, how does the machine know how to move around like that? Well, that's the design that you tell it to stitch. A design is like a program that tells the machine how to move. Designs come on your machine. It will come with some pre-loaded designs. A lot of us don't really use those designs much. Even though the stores and dealers think that giving you 1,000 designs loaded on the machine as a selling point, if you're never going to use those 1,000 designs, then it's not worth paying extra money for. Most people don't stitch the designs that come on the machines, we end up buying them from other sources that are more our style. Be careful when you're buying a machine with a lot of pre-loaded designs because they might not be to your taste and you're not going to end up using them. Besides the designs that come on the machine, you can buy them from all over online on the Internet. Digital files get downloaded to your computer and then you'd take a USB stick and put that over to the machine. There are machines that also use WiFi now instead of a USB stick, but the USB stick is still the standard right now. Then once you put that file on your machine, it knows how to move around and do everything it needs to do. You can buy these designs on the Internet, but what if you want your own custom design? This is where it gets tricky and people make a mistake because people buy an embroidery machine thinking that they can stitch all their own custom designs, only to find out that is not how it works. If you're wanting to stitch your own custom designs, you do have some options. You can either buy the software and learn how to digitize, or you can pay a digitizer to do it for you, and sometimes that can be more cost-effective than spending thousands of dollars on software. There are cheaper titles available, there's even a free version available. The reviews are a little bit mixed on how well it creates a design to stitch out. You do want to be careful what you stitch on your machine because some designs are so dense or they move around too much and it can end up breaking your needles and even causing damage down under your bobbin case. You want to be careful and only use quality designs. Another thing people often want to know about designs for an embroidery machine is which designs work on which machines. Here's how this works. All the different brands use different formats and there are some formats they have in common. You don't need to know all of that right now. What you do need to know is when you buy a design online from a digitizer, they are probably going to offer a whole bunch of different formats so that all the different brands and machines are covered. All the newer machines are easily covered. A lot of us, like myself, we even make sure that some of the older machines are covered as well. It is unlikely that you won't be able to find your format, whatever machine you end up buying. A big exception to this. If you want to stitch Legally, Disney, Marvel, Star Wars, Disney holds the licensing on all of those, and they only allow Brother machines. They've got a contract with the Brother brand and only certain Brother machines are allowed to buy and stitch those designs. Yeah, I'm not going to get into the [NOISE] stuff there. But if you do want to stitch Legally, Disney, Marvel, Star Wars, then you should go and look at Brother machines that really narrows your choices down a lot. There's a lot of people who want to do those designs, then there's other people like me who have no use for that at all and I just want to do other stuff. I feel like that's worth mentioning because if you are doing this for children and you want those designs, you only have one brand to look at. 5. Machine Features: [MUSIC] Now let's talk about the features that you'll look for when you're shopping for an embroidery machine. There are a lot of different features that dealers will tell you about. But what surprises me the most is the features that they like to talk about, are not the main things that we really want to know. The biggest thing that you need to know is how big of an embroidery area does this machine handle? How big of a hoop can it stitch in? That's really what we want to know and some webpages you have to dig to find that information. It makes no sense, but that's how they think that they should be selling whereas customers like us, we want completely different information. I don't care how many designs come with the machine, I want to know how big is the hoop. That's the main thing that you want to know. The manufacturers know this because as the hoop size gets bigger, the price goes up. So, they know what they're doing, but they don't make it obvious for us. Hoop size is going to be your biggest consideration as far as what features you need on the machine. What do you want to make? What size hoop do you need for it? Make sure that you filled out your project worksheet that you can download because that will walk you through what you want to use the machine for and what size hoop you should be looking for. Another feature that is really worth having, is cutting jumps stitches. When you're doing machine embroidery, the machine moves to different areas and it might cut the threads underneath, or it might just drag the thread along the top. It's your job to go with tiny little scissors and cut all those little threads afterwards. It's a big, tedious pain and so the machine cutting the threads for you is a nice feature to have sometimes. This is confusing on machines because some machines will cut the threads when you change the thread color, but they don't cut the threads while it's stitching the same color. That's very confusing because the website or the brochure for the machine will say that it has a thread cutter, but it doesn't actually cut what are called jump stitches. You want to be very specific in asking, does this machine cut the jumps stitches, and how short can it cut them? Because some machines like between letters on a monogram, it won't cut those little threads in-between and you have to go in with scissors in that tiny little area where you might even need a magnifying glass. It's better if the machine can cut those for you, but again, that feature cost extra money. All machines give you the option to re-size the design a little bit, maybe move it around, maybe rotate it, but the more you pay for the machine, the more options that you get. Some machines allow you to combine a bunch of different designs together. So, maybe you can have an applique shape and then add a name onto it. Some machines allow you to rotate by 90 degrees, some allow 45 degrees, some go 10 degrees and the more expensive machines will let you rotate by one degree at a time so you can get a really precise position and get your design exactly where you want it. As I stated earlier, most machines use a USB stick like this one to transfer designs from your computer that you've downloaded your designs to onto the machine. That's pretty standard. Some machines are now using Wi-Fi to transfer designs. Some of the older machines, if you're buying a used machine, it may not even have a USB stick, it may have a card reader, or it might need a direct connection to your computer, which means you have to have a cable running from the computer to the machine. Another thing that the manufacturers like to talk about is stitches per minute. You'll see that as the speed of the machine. Some of them are 450 stitches per minute, some of them are 1000 or 1200 stitches per minute. But here's the thing that they don't tell you about that. I'm going to give you the lowdown. The stitches per minute is the best case scenario. Usually the machine does not stitch at the best-case scenario because the stitches are longer or it's a different type of stitch and it's much slower. So, some brands can't stitch a lot faster than others. Again, the more you pay, the faster it can stitch. But the speed of stitching is really not as big a deal to most home embroiderers as you would think it is. If you're a commercial embroider, then definitely you need it to go fast because you want to do as many designs in a day as you can. But at home, I have a machine that does a 1000 stitches per minute. But actually I like to slow it down because I get a better stitch out of it and nicer cleaner result. It doesn't vibrate and it's not as loud. So, stitches per minute is really not the biggest selling point that you should be looking at unless you're in a production environment. The people selling the machines also like to tell you how many different designs and fonts come on the machine and the more you pay for the machine, the more designs and fonts you get. But like I said earlier, lot of people don't ever use those designs, might use those fonts. You can always buy more designs and fonts from wherever. Every font available you can buy somewhere on the internet. It's probably not worth paying more to get all those extra things that you will never use. Then there are special features that some machines have. There are some out there that can do things like add sequence onto your embroidery. There are ones that can couch yarn or embroidery or different fibers on with the embroidery threads. That's really cool. There are ones that have hoops, like I mentioned earlier, that you can have a border and just keep running the fabric through. That's a nice feature if you're doing borders. There are a lot of different features that some machines have and others don't. Typically the more you pay, the better features you get. Some of the really expensive machines have some really cool positioning features. If your logo has to be exactly in the right place, they have little stickers and the machine, actually has a camera and scans it and will know exactly where to put things. There's a lot of different bells and whistles that come on these machines these days, but they do cost a lot of extra money. You have to ask yourself, are you really going to use it that often? Maybe you will and it's worth the money for you, that is certainly a viable thing to consider. But for other people you might think, yeah, that's really cool, but am I ever going to use that? Probably not. So, don't spend your money on it. [MUSIC] 6. Uses and Hoop Sizes: [MUSIC] Before you actually go out and start shopping for an embroidery machine, you really do need to think about what do you want to use it for? Because what happens a lot of times is people go out and they buy one of the cheaper machines only to realize that the stuff they want to do cannot be done with that small machine. It just doesn't have a big enough hoop. We're going to go through a little lesson here where you consider what do you really think you're going to use your machine for and that will help you choose a machine that's actually going to work for you. If you're just wanting to do children's clothes and put small items, like little cartoon character type things on children's clothes or maybe do some appliques, monograms, things like that. Those are small items to embroider and so a machine that is on the lower end that has the smaller hoop may work just fine for you. This is the standard 100 by 100 millimeter hoop, that's about four inches by four inches square. This size hoop, it's not very big to do a big design on adult clothing, but for children's clothing, it is a good size. Again, patches work in these small hoops. Children's clothes, logos, if you're just wanting to do logos or monograms on towels, this small four by four hoop is fine for all of that. This is basically the smallest hoop that an embroidery machine has. There are smaller hoops, but the embroidery field is going to be the 100 by 100 millimeters. That's pretty standard for the starter level machines. If you want to do bigger items like maybe something on adult clothing, larger areas on towels or dish towels, things like that, then a five by seven hoop is a good way to go. There are very popular machines out there that have this about five by seven inches. They're a little bit different as far as different brands interpret five by seven differently, so they're not all exactly the same, that is something to know and I'll get to that in a little bit. But the five by seven is a good all-around size for a lot of different things. You can do adult clothing, you can do children's clothing, you can start getting up into like pillows, blankets, things like that where the scale of the design is larger for a larger item. You're still going to have a hard time doing like a baseball cap or something in any flat hoop like this. It can be done, but it's very tedious and the results are sketchy. The next size up would be a six by 10, which now you're getting really into larger areas if you wanted to do, for example, here's an embroidery jacket that you could do a lot with a six by 10 hoop with very little repositioning. You can reposition, you can stitch out a whole hoops worth of embroidery, and then you can reposition the hoop and pick up and go again. However, that is very tedious. It's hard to get it all lined up. More expensive machines do make it easier for you, but even then it's better to just get it all in one hoop and not have to mess with repositioning. The six by 10 is really good for, like I said, larger things like if you want to do a jacket back or something all across, a shirt. If you want to do something coming up your pant leg, the six by 10 is good. This is really the size that I would recommend if you want to do that robotic sewing where you're doing seams like zipper bags or stuffies and plushes, if you're doing that on the embroidery machine. The six by 10 is a good size to have for that because you can make decent sized dolls and bags and things like that in this larger hoop. Also, when you get into machines that have this size hoop, they start throwing in more features like where it cuts all the little stitches for you. Different resizing options and things like that. This is a good machine to have if it's in your budget. If you're into quilting, you might want to look at machines that have an eight by eight inch hoop. This is a nice size for quilt blocks because it's the eight by eight area and you can not only stitch something, embroidery something on your quilt block, but you can actually use the embroidery area here to quilt the layers of fabric together too, and there are a lot of designs out there that will do all different quilting patterns, all beautiful stuff. It's not something that I'm into, but it's really fascinating to see people using these bigger hoops to do all their quilting. These are becoming more popular. This is about an eight inch by 12 inch hoop, and some of them are more like seven inches wide by 12 inches long. Some are seven by 14. There's all different sizes depending on the brands. But once you get up into these bigger things, you can do just about anything you want to do. You could do a large jacket area like that. If you're making stuffies or bags or things like that, eight by 12 gives you a really big area to work with. Even if you're doing patches, you could do a whole bunch of patches filled in this area and do them all in one hooping. There's a lot of different options here. It's good for doing a color design. It's good for border designs, all those things. You can even get bigger hoops than this. But now you're getting into the really like the Cadillac of machines out there. If you're into that, go ahead and get one. However, I'm seeing that a lot of digitizers do not create designs for hoops that big. It doesn't really make a lot of sense to spend extra money for the largest hoop when you're very limited in the designs that you can even stitch in it. Here's something really important to know about hoop sizes because when you're comparing different machines, you may see one that has a little bit bigger hoop. Maybe it's a five by five instead of a four by four and you would think, well, I can do bigger stuff in that and you can. The problem is most digitizers who create inverter designs, they go by what, "are the standard hoop sizes." There is no such thing as a standard. But because Babylock and Brother have the biggest market share in the machine embroidery industry, digitizers use those sizes. The four inch by four inch, this six by 10, the five by seven, those are what we consider standard, even though there is no standard. If the digitizer only creates a design to fit a four by four hoop, then your five by five is just wasted because nobody's making designs for five by five, those are hard to come by. Keep that in mind when you're looking for different machines, you might find brands that have a little bit bigger hoop. But it's not worth paying extra money because you're not actually going to be able to find designs to take advantage of that extra room in there. When I say there's no such thing as a standard hoop size, because these hoops are actually measured in millimeters and then converted to inches, a six by 10 hoop between different brands is not the same size. For example, the six by 10 hoop by Brother is bigger than the Viking Husqvarna six by 10 hoop, which is still a little bigger than the Singer, six by 10 hoop. So is something to be aware of when you're shopping. If you want to do hats, hats are difficult to do on a flat bed embroidery machine. There are ways to do it. There are different ways to attach a hat into a different flat hoop. It can be done, but it's tedious and the results are not that great. A laundry hook machine like this is actually built to handle caps and hats. They even can have an optional hoop like this, which is circular and it attaches the cap in the bill goes in here and I don't even use it, but this is an option and you can get a really professional look if you're using a multi-needle or rotary hook machine. It doesn't even have to be a multi-needle, there are some rotary hook machines on the market that have a single needle and they also do good with caps. [MUSIC] 7. Budget and Pricing: [MUSIC] Budget. How much money do you want to spend? There is a large spectrum of prices, which we mentioned earlier. When you're talking about a brand new machine, you can spend $350 all the way up to $30,000 or more for a commercial machine. But as far as the home embroidery machines, they start around 350 to 550 for the smaller four-by-four hoop machines. If you're getting a combo machine that also doubles as a sewing machine, expect to pay a little bit more for that feature. Then the five by seven machines, they start 750 in that price range. Six by 10 machines used to be 1500, but they've gone up recently, more like in the 2,000 to maybe $5,000 range. Then once you get into a multi needle or something and I bought mine used, I'll talk about buying used machines in a little bit. But a new one of these multi needles would start at 10,000 to 13. Some of them even go up into $15,000 whether you're looking at six needle, a 10 needle, a 16 needle there in that price range. Again, that's usually if you're using it for a business, you would want to spend that money. There is also the single needle that looks like this and those are $5,000, have a lot of features on those too. We're looking at anywhere from $350 to 15,000. Where do you land? Well a lot of it has to do with what money do you have. If you only have $350, that might make up the decision for you. But keep in mind that if you're buying that smallest machine and it doesn't do any of the things you want to make, then that's a waste of $350. A lot of people start out with those small machines and very quickly upgrade to something else. You might be able to trade it in or you may just lose the money that you paid on that machine. I would suggest rather than rushing out and buying the cheapest machine available, be a little bit more patient and save some money to get a machine that you're actually going to use. That might be the five-by-seven machine or it might be the four-by-four machine and you just have to spend more time positioning things. There's a lot of different options there. But as far as how much money you spend, do watch your budget carefully and don't buy more machine than you need. Because a lot of times people get all caught up in the bells and whistles and this one can do this and this and this. But you don't need any of those things. All of the things that you put on your worksheet of what you want to make needs none of those features. Don't let anybody talk you into spending more money on a machine just to do things that you'd never even care about. Also be careful that you are, or maybe dealing with commission salespeople who might be using some high pressure tactics, some psychological tactics, fear of missing out is a tactic, they like to use you have to buy it by tomorrow or the sales price goes away. hear that one all the time. Be careful with that. Be careful with the financing. If you really can't afford the payments, don't get into a financing situation. If they tell you, hey, it's only a $100 a month and you can sell three shirts and make that much money so it just pays for itself. I see a lot of used machines for sale of people who bought that line and never used the machine. Be very careful. Don't buy the first time you go into the shop, go home and think about it. That's really the best way to save money. Just go home and think about it. I mean, you really don't need the machine today. Even if you brought the machine home today, you're going to spend all your time looking through manuals and figuring out how it works so you're still not going to be able to use it today. Take your time. Don't spend more money than you need to. Use the worksheets to figure out what you want the machine for and how much money you really wanting to spend. Then do your research and compare different brands, different prices, different features and there's some worksheets in your project that can help you with that as well. Definitely shop around and go to different dealers, even if you've decided on a particular brand, see if you can compare prices between different dealers. They're probably going to be the same because usually the manufacturer sets the price. However, you may be able to get more extras or freebies thrown in from one person versus another, and that saves you money so do consider that. That was my little spiel about your budget and how much money to spend and how to maybe save a little bit of money and negotiate the prices down or get some extra free stuff. Definitely don't spend more money than you need to. Be very careful of sales tactics. Don't rush into any decisions. Take your time, think about it. Do your project worksheets and stick to your guns. [MUSIC] 8. Brands: [MUSIC] In this lesson, we're going to talk about brands of embroidery machines, and this is where we're really going to sit down and talk about the nitty-gritty, friend of friend because these are the things that the dealers are not going to tell you. I have no brand loyalty at all, so I'm going to tell you everything that I know about the different brands. Most of the brands that make home sewing machines also make embroidery machines. You've got your Brother, Baby Lock, Bernina, Viking Husqvarna, Singer, Pfaff, Janome. They all have embroidery machines that you can go out and buy. There are also commercial machines that you can put in a home environment like Ricoma, Tajima, Barudan, ZSK, SWF, Butterfly, Happy, there's so many brands out there. I would recommend, if you're buying a commercial machine, talk to different reps and talk to at least three different salespeople before you make any kind of decision. That's for commercial. I'm going to keep this more to the home sewing environment with embroidery machines that you would use at home. Now, again, you can run a Tajima commercial machine in your home bedroom. That's fine, it works. But it's a little bit different shopping experience for those, you have to deal with sales reps and things like that, and I'm talking more about when you walk into a dealer showroom for home sewing and home embroidery. They are sold like cars. They use sales tactics very similar to car salesman. They will offer you financing, five years, no interest, just like buying a car. They will like you to upgrade and buy extra things from them that cost more than if you were to buy them elsewhere, and it's not that I'm against the dealers. I think it's actually a great place to buy your machine from, but only if you're a savvy, educated shopper, which you will be after watching this class. You do want to do some comparison shopping, go to different dealers if you have that possibility in your area, also look at different brands. Even if you know that you want a particular brand, go and look at another brand or two just to be able to leverage that when you're buying the machine that you want. You may be able to negotiate the price with the dealer, just like if you were buying a car, even if they can't come down on the price of the machine because they do have contracts with manufacturers where they have a minimum price that they can't go under. They also have issues with advertising prices, they're not allowed to show you. So if you go online, you can't find the price, which is very annoying. But you'd have to call or go into the showroom to get the price on a lot of these more expensive machines. Knowing what to expect, knowing I can get those same features in another brand for $1,000 less, how much money can you knock off, that works to your favor. Do shop around. Even if you know what you want to buy, being an educated consumer can save you money. If they won't come down on the price, they might be able to throw in extra things like extra hoops for you, a thread set, here's some stabilizers for you. You're going to need all these things for machine embroidery anyway, so it's good if they can throw things in for free. Usually, they'll give you a starter package anyway. But that is something that a lot of people get added in because they can't come down on the price, so they just get a lot of free stuff added on when they're making their purchase. As far as which brands are good and which ones are bad, I think they're all pretty good. The manufacturing has moved to different places, so what used to be made in Sweden is now made somewhere else. A brand that you may have loved 20 years ago may not be as good as it is now. As far as embroidery machines, Brother is actually the top brand for home embroidery machines, and Brother and Baby Lock are made by the same factory, so they're the same machines. They just look a little different and they're sold at different dealers. If you're looking at Brother, don't hesitate to also look at Baby Lock because like I said, they're the exact same machines. They even have the same menus, same features, everything. They just change the covers on them. Also, Viking, Singer, and Pfaff are all owned by the same company. When you go into a dealer, you're likely to see all three of those brands, all in the same showroom because they're all owned by the same company, VSP group. Those are a lot of the big players. You also have Janome, as far as the home machines go. They've been doing embroidery machines for a really long time. They are a little less user-friendly than the Brother and Baby Lock machines, but if you are good at figuring things out, then it's totally easy to use. There's nothing difficult about them, they're just not as user-friendly. For example, the brother and Baby Lock have guides to show you how to thread the machine much easier, whereas the other brands don't. So it's just little things like that that can make a difference when you're learning. Bernina makes a good embroidery machine. If you already have a relationship with Bernina, say, you're a quilter and you love your Bernina machine, then definitely look at your Bernina embroidery machines. The only reason I don't recommend Bernina for people who aren't already in love with them is because the quality and price don't really work out. They charge more for their machines, and the quality of them doesn't seem like they don't last longer than a Brother, for example, the feature set is not that much more than all the other brands. You're paying more for the name, and if you're the kind of person who wants to pay more for the name because you love the name, if that's you, then go ahead and get that brand that you want. There is nothing wrong with that, don't let anybody tell you otherwise. But if you don't know what brands you want, if you're not already brand loyal, then consider all of these different brands that I'm talking about here. Brother is not really considered highly in the sewing and quilting world because you can run down to Walmart and buy a Brother sewing machine. You can even buy an embroidery machine at Walmart. The Brothers are there, the few of them, but they sell so many machines that they have the largest user groups, they have the biggest support groups online. There are tons and tons and tons of people who are very thrilled with their Brother machines, which is why I recommend them because it's very easy to find somebody who has that same machine and can show you and help you how to use it. If you're looking at online classes and videos, you'll see a lot of people are using Brother because it was affordable and that's what they got. Now, another thing to consider, there are some social media influencers who have particular machines and you might think, "Oh, well, everybody has that machine, it must be good." That machine may have been given to them or on loan to them by a company who uses influencers as their marketing, and that is something that happens a lot with a particular brand and I stay away from it because they're not known for their quality, they're known for giving machines to influencers. Don't just look at what your favorite channel out there, your favorite Instagram person, don't look at their machine, look at what's going to work best for you. Fill out the worksheets that are included with this class project and see what is best for you. As far as price between the brands, they're really not that different. Like I said, Bernina is a little bit on the high end compared to some of the others. But they're all in line with each other as far as the features that they have, the hoop sizes that they give you, and the price. People ask me all the time, what about this Janome or what about this one and this one, they're all pretty good brands. I'm not familiar with any of the embroidery machines out there that people just hate anymore. I mean, there are a few that have not great reputations, but those are older machines. Newer machines, they figured out this technology has been around for a while and quite honestly they're not making big advancements in it. So they are just creating the same machines they've always had, they've gotten good at it. It's not hard to do, so all of the brands, they're decent. Another thing to look at when you're shopping for brands is what's going to be easier to service. Because some brands are harder to get parts for as they get older and some brands, there just may not be a service shop in your area. So if there's only one dealer in your town, that might be the brand that you're going to want to go with because you don't want to have to drive 300 miles to have your machine put in the shop. All machines need service periodically, that's just whether it's a sewing machine or an embroidery machine. You really want to take it in and get it checked out and cleaned up real good, at least every few years if you're using it moderately. If you're using it a lot, every year is what's recommended. That's all the stuff that I had to share with you about machine brands. Go with one that you are familiar with, if you get a good vibe from one and not another, go with a dealer that you like. One more thing to say about which brand you should choose, when you're shopping around, if you're going into these dealerships, definitely consider the customer service at the shop because these are people that you're going to form relationships with. You're going to be there buying accessories, you're going to be there taking your machine into the shop sometimes. So a place that has really good customer service can definitely be worth the extra money that you may be spending on a machine. Definitely consider that. Also look at what free classes may be available when you buy a machine from one place over another. So consider all of those things when you're buying. [MUSIC] 9. Where to Shop: [MUSIC] Now let's talk about where to buy an embroidery machine because you'd have several different options to consider. You could buy a new machine from a dealer, you could also buy a new machine online, you could buy a used machine from a dealer, or you could buy a used machine from a third-party seller someone who's getting rid of their machines. If you're buying from a dealer, one of the advantages that you're going to get is you can go in, you can look at the machine, they will show you how to use it, they may give you free classes with that machine, there's probably a warranty, they might throw in some extras for you. You might get a lot of hand-holding and pampering when you're buying from a dealership, and that's part of the price. They do charge more, but you get a lot of extra stuff when you're buying from that dealer showroom. Keep in mind, you might be able to negotiate that price a little bit with the dealership, and also keep in mind that they do finance. If you want to make payments, you're going to need to go to a dealership for that, most third-party sellers aren't going to do that for you. As far as buying online, you won't necessarily get a better price when you buy online. Normally, you can on other products, but with these embroidery machines, the manufacturers have set prices or minimum prices, and so an online dealer is not allowed to charge less than a showroom dealer. You may not be saving money. Now they might be able to throw in more extras for you, so you might be able to get a better deal, but that's questionable. It's really depends on the customer service that you're getting. If you like the customer service from an online dealer because you've been talking on the phone or maybe chatting with them and you like that better than the showroom that you went into, then by all means, buy from that online seller that gives you the better customer service because customer service is actually one of the things you're buying when you're spending that kind of money on a machine. You could also buy from a big box store, the sewing stores, some of the big box stores like Walmart may have inverter machines too. They tend to be the smaller entry-level machines, but that's another option. Some brands are sold on online places like Amazon, for example, but the prices there may not be cheaper than an online dealer or a local dealer. Right now, this is the year 2022, there has been a supply chain issue with embroidery machines and the prices that we're seeing by third-party sellers on new places like Amazon are actually higher than what the dealer would sell you that machine for. A good example is the Brother PE800. It's a great little machine, 5 by 7 hoop. Worth looking into if you can get your hands on it. However, they've been sold out for the last two years now, and when the dealers get them in, they sell them for $750, but if you go on Amazon, they're 1,250. You may not get a better deal shopping online, especially when there's supply and demand issues going on like right now. That's another reason why people are upgrading and getting more expensive machines because the more expensive machines are available and the entry-level machines are sold out and really hard to get their hands on. Hopefully, that is going to clear up pretty soon and this will be, forget that I even mentioned it, but right now in March of 2022, that is still an issue to consider. If you want to save money and buy a used machine, there are good deals to be found. You can buy from a dealer that takes in trade-in machines and they refurbish and clean them up and then they'll sell them to you, and because they've already been serviced and cleaned up, they are working. They can show you how to use it a lot of times, but you're buying at the used price instead of the new price. Those can be really good deals. Oftentimes, a dealership will throw in classes, a warranty, the stabilizer, the threads, things like that. So these can be really good deals. Definitely, if you're considering a used machine, go to the dealership and see what they have available. The other option is to buy from a third-party seller who is selling their used machine. Now, this can be a really good deal or it could be a really risky deal. It depends on where you're buying it from and who you're buying it from. This really depends on you and if you're a mechanical person, if you're good self learner, then buying a machine from one of these third-party sellers, for example, like a Facebook Marketplace, or Craigslist, or something like that, you can get good deals. I have found good deals buying that way, but I also knew what I was doing and I knew that if there were some minor problems with the machine, I would be able to fix it myself. If I didn't have that skillset, I don't think I would be comfortable buying that way. I would rather buy from a dealer or an online seller who is selling new equipment. That's just you and your comfort level and there's little part in your project worksheet where it asks, are you comfortable repairing your own machine? Do you know what you're doing? Are you comfortable wheeling and dealing with a stranger? Those kind of things should be considered when you're looking at where you're going to buy your machine. We've talked about the different places that you can buy embroidery machines from. Definitely consider your needs and your lifestyle and what works best for you. Again, refer to your project worksheets and there are some questions in there that will help you determine where you might want to do your shopping. 10. Bonus and Wrap-Up: [MUSIC] Here's a final bonus I wanted to share a little bit with you about, you don't just buy the machine, there's some extra things that you're going to need with the machine and you might want to consider that in your budget too. This is called stabilizer and it comes in either rolls like this or it comes in sheets of different sizes. Stabilizer must be used with machine embroidery. When you're using an inverter machine, stabilizer is not optional. It has to go under your fabric, otherwise you're not going to get a good result. So, don't cut corners, make sure you buy stabilizer when you get your machine to practice with. A lot of times the machines will come with some stabilizer and maybe some thread, but you're probably going to want to add to your stash. This is something that you don't need to buy the expensive stuff at the dealer. You can buy this stuff online and get really good quality. This is a place where you can save some money. You're also going to need embroidery threads. This is not the same as regular sewing thread. Embroidery thread is made so that it's stronger. It has less shredding and breakage than regular threads. It's nice and shiny usually, but you can also get threads that are matt colored or not so shiny. There's a lot of options there, any color of the rainbow, but make sure that you get some thread of a good quality to start with your machine. You're also going to need to get an extra package of needles. I know your machine is going to come with a needle in it, but make sure that you get embroidery needles. These are a little different than a regular sewing needle and a size 7511 is what's typically used. That wraps it up for how to buy an embroidery machine, everything that nobody ever wanted to tell you but I'm telling you just like it is. If you really want to be a savvy shopper, download the project worksheets, fill all of that out, you'll know exactly what you're looking for, how to go shop for it, how to save money while you're doing it. Go ahead and upload your project to the class workshop area. If you have any questions, I'm here to answer. If you have any questions about one brand versus another, or is this a better deal or that one, I'd be happy to help you answer those questions as you work through your shopping experience. See you later and have fun stitching.