Embroidery And Sewing At A Reasonable Price
|July 5, 2004||in Product Reviews|
A review of
from Husqvarna Viking
The Viking Iris sewing and embroidery machine is priced in the same range as many embroidery-only machines, but it includes an entry-level sewing machine with a few big machine features.
The Iris sewing machine has only twenty stitches, including straight stitch, zigzag/satin, zigzag blind hem, feather stitch, and blanket stitch. But it also includes a few big-machine features.
Mirror Image Button
One of my favorites of the big-machine features is the Mirror Image button. This allows you to flip stitches like the blind hem or the blanket stitch so the stitches are pointing in the opposite direction, which is great for decorative effects.
The Mirror Image button also gives the Iris 24 needle positions for precise placement of the needle. To test the accuracy of a 1/4″ seam with the standard foot, I moved the needle left to the +3.0 needle setting. Then I used the Mirror Image button to position the needle for a 1/4″ seam. By running the edge of the fabric along the side of the foot, I got a perfect 1/4″ seam allowance.
The $15 piecing foot with widely spaced, narrow toes gives you 1/4″ seams without moving the needle at all. But I like using the standard foot better, because it is easier for me to line up the edge of the fabric with the edge of the foot. Be sure to try both feet to see which one you like better for piecing.
The Iris doesn’t have a needle-down feature, but it raises or lowers the needle when you tap the foot pedal. Once you start sewing on the Iris, this foot tap becomes automatic.
Bobbin Winding Through The Needle
The Iris uses a drop-in bobbin that is easy to insert and makes it easy to see when you are running low on bobbin thread. It is Viking’s proprietary bobbin, which is a little more expensive than generic bobbins. But it lets you wind the bobbin through the needle without unthreading and rethreading.
The Iris uses an automatic bobbin thread take-up. This is a nice feature. I don’t have to pull the bobbin thread up to the top every time I change bobbins. I just drop the bobbin in place and start sewing.
The Iris has no needle threader to help my eyesight when threading the needle. But it has plenty of hand room to make needle threading pretty easy.
The Stop button stops stitching and ties off with a few stitches sewn in place. It doesn’t make a big knot, so the tie-off is virtually invisible. This is a nice feature when you are machine quilting and you want to change color or type of thread.
No Walking Foot Required
The Iris has an adjustable presser foot pressure, so you can set it for any kind of sewing and quilting. I found I didn’t need a walking foot to get smooth, even feeding. Even layers of denim and home decorating fabrics move along beautifully.
The only stitching problem I encountered was trying to sew a row of satin stitching over another row of satin stitching.
I’ve always been a fan of automatic, self-adjusting thread tension. On the Iris, it’s actually fun — you can watch as it automatically spins the tension dial to the proper number. When I changed to embroidery mode, the dial adjusted itself automatically for perfect embroidery stitches, too.
The Iris comes with an easy-to-use embroidery system, with a large library of software available on optional cards. An optional disk drive that hooks up to a computer lets you download many designs from the Web.
The Iris comes with one embroidery hoop approximately 4″ by 4″, one embroidery disk with 24 designs, a 15-page booklet with information about each design, and a getting-started kit.
The getting-started kit includes two spools of rayon thread, one spool of bobbin thread, small pieces of several types of stabilizer, a really nice pair of embroidery scissors, and a step-by-step “how to do your first embroidery” section.
Within minutes I was creating embroidery designs with no trouble. The step-by-step instructions make it easy enough for someone who has no experience with machine embroidery.
The Iris can change the size of an embroidery design by 20%, larger or smaller. That, coupled with the Iris’ mirror image feature and its ability to rotate designs and combine designs, gives you just the right design for your projects.
Switching from sewing to embroidery is very easy – just snap on the removable embroidery unit and drop the feed dogs. The tension dial automatically sets itself to the right number for perfect embroidery stitches.
Now all you have to do is look in the booklet that comes with the embroidery disk to find a design, and enter the number on the keypad on the front of the machine.
Viking reduced the manufacturer’s suggested retail price of the Iris from $1799 to $1199, making it quite competitive with many embroidery-only machines. But because of this low price, you’ll find many items that might be included in the base price of a more expensive machine are options on the Iris, including:
- a 4″ by 8″ embroidery hoop
- a scant 1/4″ piecing foot
- a walking foot
- a sensor buttonhole foot
- an alphabet embroidery card
- embroidery software
- a disk drive for embroidery designs
- an accessory tray
- a carrying case
Choosing the Iris will save you money if you forego most of the options. But since embroidery designs are expensive, it may be cheaper in the long run to purchase the disk drive and some software to create your own disks of your favorite patterns.
Once again I’d like to extend a big Quilter’s Review “Thank you!” to Nashua Sew & Vac in Nashua, New Hampshire for letting me spend two days in their shop testing sewing machines. Eddie and Ruthie (the owners) and everyone who works there make Nashua Sew & Vac a great place to shop.
Special thanks to Mickey for her knowledge and all the help she gave me while I tested the Viking Iris.
In addition to selling Husqvarna Viking sewing machines, Nashua Sew & Vac sells Pfaff, White, and Elna sewing machines and accessories, and Oreck, Miele, and Sebo vacuums.
They also offer many sewing and quilting classes. Visit their Web site or call them at (603) 888-2757 for a schedule of classes or to be added to the mailing list for their newsletter.
You can find this great shop with great prices at:
Nashua Sew & Vac
228 Daniel Webster Highway
Nashua, NH 03060