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1  SEWING IN GENERAL / Machine Embroidery: Discussion and Questions / Re: Help me find a New machine on: November 03, 2011 09:24:13 AM
Quoting myself from the giant thread stickied at the top of the forum:

It is very much worth going into a local sewing machine dealer and talking with them. Many of them have special deals and such. If you're trying to keep the costs low, you do have several options:

1 ) Buy a used machine. Many sewing machine dealers get used machines in, have their service department refurbish them and then re-sell them for a much lower price than new. Quite often they come with a 30-90 day guarantee, in case anything goes wrong.

2 ) Buy a new, but low end starting machine. Many sewing machine dealers will offer you 100% of the price you paid on a machine ( not the extra things that you buy, just the machine ) on a trade in within one year. As an example, a Babylock Sofia 2 costs around 800$. Just shy of a year later, you could trade it in on an Ellure Plus ( usually around 1500$ ) and only have to pay 700$. Then, a year later ( assuming you're still loving machine embroidery ) you could step up another step, and before you know it you're at the top of the line machine. ( The Ellisimo, which is a fantasic ( and fantastically expensive ) machine. )

You really shouldn't consider buying online, even if it will save you a few bucks. ( Unless you know EXACTLY what you're doing, and aren't going to need help figuring out your machine. ) With a local shop, you can always get help. ( My local sewing machine dealer offers free one-on-one training with your machine for as long as you own it. I'd like to see ebay offer that... )

Going to a local sewing shop will also allow you to try out several machines and really see the differences between them.
2  SEWING IN GENERAL / Machine Embroidery: Discussion and Questions / Re: Sewphisticated Machine Embroidery Thread on: October 20, 2011 06:35:06 AM
Looking to see if anyone has tried Sewphisticated Machine Embroidery Thread? If you have, how do you like it?  

I've never tried it. ( Or even seen it, actually. ) But I've heard over and over again that the quality of thread makes a huge difference when sewing. Thus, I'd be reluctant to use it without good reviews.
3  SEWING IN GENERAL / Machine Embroidery: Discussion and Questions / Re: Embroidery machine to computer link on: October 18, 2011 01:47:44 PM
Hey, I'm new to the forum, and considering getting into machine embroidery. I've been sewing for several years now, and always kind of felt like there was something missing from my finished pieces. I recently looked at some digitized embroidery designs available for sale online and fell in love.

Anyway, here's my situation. I do not have a PC computer. I have run on Apple products for the last 6 years. Sure I still own a dinosaur of a PC desktop, but I am neither willing to haul it out of my parents' basement, nor do I think it can handle graphics programs anymore. I've read that some embroidery machines can work with USB flashdrives or SD memory cards.

Here are my questions, does anyone know of Apple OSX compatible digitizing software? And, which machines or brand of machines use flashdrives or SD cards? It seems like everything is Windows only. It can be paid software or open source. I'm unwilling to attempt installing bootcamp and paying for Windows, as it makes Macs tetchy and unstable.

Also, when downloading designs, how do you transfer that to the machine? If you have a machine with USB cable, do you need additional software? If you use one with flashdrive/SD compatibility, do you just plug the drive in, open up the file and go? If so, it seemed strange to me that so many people seem to prefer the USB-cable-to-computer route when they don't actually digitize their own work. But maybe not everyone walks around with a USB drive in their purse and/or around their neck like I do.

 I can't address the Apple issue, but as far as transferring designs to the embroidery machine, it all depends upon the machine. Some older ones use a weird type of proprietary card to transfer designs, some use SD cards, but most modern ones use USB sticks. Some less expensive ones use a USB cable to transfer.  ( Don't most Macs come with Windows emulators these days? )

If your transferring files using a flash drive, you insert the flash drive, push whatever passes for a memory button on the sewing machine and it usually will open up the drive. Most machines will completely ignore any files except ones that they are designed to stitch. ( At lease Babylock's will. ) Furthermore, if you put a design of too large a stitch area or too many stitches it won't show up either.
4  SEWING IN GENERAL / Machine Embroidery: Discussion and Questions / Re: Brother memory cards on: October 14, 2011 07:49:46 AM
Please help. Me Too! I just purchased a Brother PE-150 and the shop tells me I have to pay $50.00 for a Blank card and then $8.00 per piece of artwork?! Holy Morley. What are these Disk made of ? Gold~! Of course I know nothing I have just wanted one for years and years. Please help, is there an alternative? Thanks! Huh Shocked Cry

You can buy a card reader/writer and put designs on it that you download from the internet.
5  SEWING IN GENERAL / Machine Embroidery: Discussion and Questions / Re: Brother SE-350 Help on: October 14, 2011 07:48:13 AM
there are several other programs out there starting at around $150 an go up

Bernina's software starts around $1k,
Babylock's Masterworks is $2.5k,
Floriani is $2k.

Embroidery software can be expensive.
6  SEWING IN GENERAL / Machine Embroidery: Discussion and Questions / Re: Im new to embroidery and need help!! on: October 14, 2011 07:35:25 AM
Yes, indeed. If the Deco doesn't have a USB interface, you will have to purchase an "Ultimate Box" or something like it to get designs onto your machine.
7  SEWING IN GENERAL / Machine Embroidery: Discussion and Questions / Re: The Ultimate Box on: October 14, 2011 07:32:58 AM
From another thread here:

Stitch Era Universal is free to download, I'm trying that at the moment.
Embird has a free 30 day trial, I only got to use it once before the trial was up so I don't know how good it is.

I haven't yet tried my hand at digitizing, but I will be investigating free digitizing options in a few months. I will report back here when I do that.
8  SEWING IN GENERAL / Machine Embroidery: Discussion and Questions / Re: Opinions on the Bernina 830le on: October 14, 2011 07:30:13 AM
If you are a big Bernina fan, look into the new 580. I keep hearing excellent reviews of it. ( Even though it did just come out. )

I work at a Sewing Store, and we get way too many 830s in for servicing. I am certain that a majority of the problems with them are user problems, ( Status conscious sewers buying the top of the line without being skilled enough to use actually properly use the machine. )  but there are enough problems that I would stay away from the 830.

You also might be able to get a good deal on the 730, as I think they are about to be discontinued.
9  SEWING IN GENERAL / Machine Embroidery: Discussion and Questions / Re: The Ultimate Box on: October 14, 2011 07:25:56 AM
If you have experience with high end graphic design programs, you are probably going to be able to use digitizing software easily. SophieSew is a freeware digitizing program that you might want to give a try. There are others, too. ( Search for freeware embroidery digitizing software )
10  SEWING IN GENERAL / Machine Embroidery: Discussion and Questions / Re: Service/Workshop manual? on: October 14, 2011 07:23:06 AM
Is that Brother model similar to any Babylock models? If so, Babylock has a good selection of service manuals available.
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