Designer 1/One (newer shell, but with 3.5 floppy instead of USB)Year:
$2700How long have you had the machine?
Purchased new in 2006. I used it from new to July of 2008, when I lent it to a friend, and moved to Japan for 3 years. Got it back in August of 2011, and have been using it since.Is it a basic sewing machine, serger, or embroidery machine?
The Designer 1 is a full sewing and embroidery machine.What are your favorite features?
The embroidery, the sensor system, the durability, the fact it could probably sew through concrete with a tough enough needle. Has a wide variety of decorative stitches, and is easy to self-service.What are some of the unique features it has?
The sensor system has been a HV thing for years, but the machine is just fantastic all around.How well does it run?
Very well. I have 4? other sewing machines, and I've basically punted them all out to the shed besides this one. Although I really should bring one back in so I can sew and embroider at the same time. ::facepalm::Has it ever broken or needed maintenance you couldn't do yourself?
Besides the embroidery arm having been out of alignment out of the box (which was a quick fix,) it's had one service since (which my friend ordered, as I left the machine with her for 3 years.) In other words, not really.What are your least favorite features?
The floppy drive is slow. But if you want to buy one used on Ebay, you WANT the floppy drive. The models with the USB upgrade access the embroideries at half the speed of the floppy discs. It's what happens when they force much newer technology on a mainboard that really wasn't made for it. Also, the LCD screen is 16?32? colors and incredibly simple. It's fine for regular sewing, but if you want to see what your embroideries really look like, print out a sample. Would you recommend this machine to a friend?
In a heartbeat, and I'm not saying that as a former HV sales gal.
You can find nice used models on Ebay from $800-1200 on average, and it's a fabulous deal. Don't buy one missing the embroidery arm, they show up online on occasion, and it's just pointless. The only time people made deals in-store to buy one without the arm was if they wanted a second one for sewing, and those are usually the ones that show up on ebay, and you'll pay near as much for it even with the missing arm there.
If you want a more or less true-color screen and decent USB, buy a Designer SE used instead. They tend to end in the $1900-2400 range, however, so it's a price step up.
If you want a solid embroidery machine that sews like a charm as well for less than $1200 (and you either have a floppy drive or are willing to drop $15-20 on one,) you can't go wrong with the D1. I bought it at the end of its model life as an employee, and I haven't regretted it one bit. Sure, I'd love to get the new Diamond Deluxe and get that giant hoop, but I haven't won the lottery yet.
Videos of my machine working:
You can see a short video of my sewing area w/machine here: http://rocproductions.tumblr.com/post/17233003554/my-messy-sewing-area-needs-help-also-i-really
And a slightly older video of my machine doing embroidery: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hd3e9jvTq4U&list=UUlnKVLQVthbXOtySWfMvQiA&index=3&feature=plcp