Every year, it seems as though the powers that be in the sewing machine industry come up with machines that are capable of doing more and more.
The Husqvarna/Viking Designer Epic is the latest in the growing supply of combination sewing, quilting and embroidery machines that surpass practically every other combination machine that came before it.
I had an opportunity to review this oversized, fully loaded sewing, quilting and embroidery machine while visiting Ace Sewing and Vacuum in Pompano Beach, Florida.
At A Glance
It’s almost difficult to know where to begin when describing the Husqvarna/Viking Designer Epic. For starters, there’s the large full color touchscreen which measures 10.1” diagonally and functions much like a tablet.
Then there’s the large workspace, the extra bright lighting and the mere size. This machine has a footprint nearly twice the size of a standard sewing machine. On the right side of the machine, you will find two USB ports as well as the bobbin winder and bobbin thread cutter.
The large full color screen is on the front of the column and all of the function buttons are in close proximity to the needle. From left to right, bottom to top, they are in columns of three.
The first column are buttons to control needle up/down; speed decrease; and auto needle threader. Next to those buttons are the thread tie off and cut; speed increase and stitch restart.
To the right of the needle you will find the start/stop; fix and design stop buttons; and beneath the column… reverse/lock stitch; presser foot up and presser foot down.
There is also a series of bright LED lights – possibly the brightest I have seen on a sewing machine of any type; a see through bobbin and a needle plate with seam guides etched on both sides as well as on the bobbin cover.
The telescoping dual thread stand makes working with large cones of thread easier and the oversized accessory tray gives you a lot more work space when the embroidery unit is not being used.
The Husqvarna/Viking Designer Epic also comes with a speaker, which is situated just above the light on the right side of the machine head. More on that later.
- More than 1200 utility and decorative stitches
- 6 Alphanumeric fonts
- 16 Buttonholes
- Yarn embellishment and motif stitches
- 650 on board embroidery patterns and designs
- Embroidery stitch out
- Stitch positioning
- Joy OS Advisor – provides on screen assistance and help including:
- Interactive tutorials
- Stitch and embroidery techniques
- Sewing instructions
- Step-by-step workbook
- Stabilizer guide
- Quick help
- Complete user’s guide
- mySewnet Wi-Fi Cloud connectivity – enables
- Wireless transfer of designs from any location to your machine
- Automatic updates
- Free mySewnet™ account with ability to share content between devices
- mySewMonitor App available for both Android and iOS
- 10.1 Full color screen operates like a tablet
- Two free motion settings
- Spring action
- Interchangeable dual feed
- Electronic needle piercing
- 29 Needle positions
Working on the Husqvarna/Viking Designer Epic
From the moment you turn on the Husqvarna/Viking Designer Epic, you know you are in for a different sewing experience. The first thing you notice is the chiming that comes from the speaker in front of you.
Next, the screen lights up and settles on a menu that is uncomplicated and rather easy to understand… that is if you are already accustomed to the icons that have been used on Husqvarna/Viking sewing and embroidery machines the last few years and if you know how to operate a tablet mobile device.
The embroidery unit glides on and off easily and attaching hoops is as simple as sliding it into place and fastening the latch.
With 19 different screens from which to choose a stitch pattern, the choices can get a bit overwhelming. The stitches I sampled for this review were all executed perfectly.
Each one was well formed, sturdy and secure. When operating in the embroidery mode, the Husqvarna/Viking is not only fast, but also relatively quiet. I didn’t notice any vibration while working in either the sewing or embroidery mode.
The embellishment feature stitches can even be used for tasks formally done exclusively by hand, like attaching individual sequins.
- Natural fibers/cotton-linen-wool
- Fine fabrics/silk-satin-taffeta/velvet
- Synthetic fabrics/blends-rayon-polyester
- Reptile skin
- Extra thick fabrics or multiple layers
- 12 Snap on Presser Feet
- Utility foot
- Buttonhole foot
- Sensor buttonhole foot
- Blind hem foot
- Zipper foot
- Non-stick glide foot
- Edging foot
- Sensor Q foot
- Quilter’s ¼ “ piercing foot
- Embroidery/darning foot
- Side motion foot
- 2 Interchangeable dual feed feet
- Straight stitch
- Zigzag stitch
- 2 Self-adhesive glide plates
- 4 Thread nets
- Universal tool
- Seam ripper
- Lint brush
- Edge/Quilting guides
- 2 Thread cone holders
- 16 Hoop clips
- 6 Spool caps (2 small, 2 medium, 2 large)
- 2 Large spool holders
- Multipurpose tool/Button reed
- Straight Stitch needle Plate
- Complimentary PC software available for download
- Soft cover for machine
- Luggage style carrying bag
- Packing insert for embroidery unit
- Extra needles
- DESIGNER EPIC™ sampler book
- Embroidery Hoops
- Imperial Hoop (360×260)
- Crown Hoop (260×200)
- Splendid Square Hoop (120×120)
|After each use||Monthly*||Once Each Year**||As Needed|
|Clean race hook and feed dogs|
|Wipe head with soft dry cloth|
|Wipe head with soft damp cloth|
|Service by sewing machine repair professional|
Tying Off The Loose Ends
If you are already accustomed to working with a tablet, you are already half way to being able to operate the Husqvarna/Viking Designer Epic. The technologically challenged might find the adjustment a bit difficult, however.
Those who are unfamiliar with working with a tablet will have to first learn the basics of using that mobile device in order to be able to navigate the many screens on this sewing machine.
The Husqvarna/Viking Designer Epic is not the first combination sewing, quilting and embroidery machine designed for home use that has a larger than normal footprint.
However, it is a clear indication of a growing trend toward bigger, more powerful sewing machines that require much more space in the sewing room. It won’t be long before you can say good-bye to the days when you can put a sewing machine on a small desk in a corner.
These new, larger sewing and embroidery machines need lots of space. If you were to use the largest hoop that comes with the Husqvarna/Viking Designer Epic, you will find that if your machine is near a wall, you will have to move the desk or table away from the wall to accommodate the larger size hoop.
The stylus is beautiful. It looks very much like a very pretty ball point pen. My challenge is that after getting accustomed to having a storage port on the machine to store a stylus, I couldn’t find any place on the Husqvarna/Viking Designer Epic to hold this one.
This means one of two things… either repeatedly open and close the accessories compartment when you want to use the stylus or run the risk of its getting misplaced by keeping it out all the time.
Navigating through each of the screens, accessing all of the stitch options and tons of information is easy, albeit time consuming. Investing the time required to get to know this machine is well worth it, however.
The many on board tutorials actually talk you through the steps required to accomplish each task while simultaneously showing visual images.
Even with all of this high tech on board assistance, the Husqvarna/Viking Designer Epic is definitely NOT a machine for beginners.
I am even a little hesitant to recommend it for those home sewers who are at the intermediate level when it comes to sewing skill, but unaccustomed to working with the newer computerized sewing machines.
There is so much to learn with this machine that I cannot help but be concerned that a person with somewhat limited sewing skills might be intimidated by having so much to take in all at once.
Having said all of that… I do believe that a computer savvy home sewer would probably enjoy being able to combine their creativity with the technological advances of this machine.
Once you get the hang of it, navigating through all of the stitch choices and exploring all of the possibilities could actually be a lot of fun.
- Needs lots of help – able to sew a straight seam but unfamiliar with most sewing techniques; needs assistance and instruction on basic sewing techniques.
- Competent – can make different clothing items without assistance or guidance, but not good enough to sew intricate projects or to sew without a pattern.
- Expert – can sew anything without instruction or assistance; possesses an expansive knowledge of sewing techniques and terminology.
- New sewing, quilting and embroidery technology
- Substantial learning curve