Most of us start learning machine embroidery on our home sewing machines.  The home sewing machine is fine for learning embroidery or for small scale creativity.  However, doing a lot embroidery causes some serious wear on the machine.  I know.  I lost my machine to “over stitching” in just 3 years time.  Ah yes, Christmas ornaments for everybody!  My Christmas tree is now almost entirely decorated in my efforts in lace.

So I’ve had to seriously consider what I was going to do.  I needed to start looking for another machine.  My machine was “down for the count”.  These last three months of down time have frustrated the creativity in me and set me back with my Christmas plans.  I missed my Halloween and Thanksgiving sewing altogether.

The designs from one of my favorite designers can have as many as 50,000 stitches.  My machine will take about one hour to do this.  With general sewing or quilting, there is no way one can accomplish that many stitches in a short period of time.  Me, I can do about 8 free standing lace ornaments in a given day, usually a Saturday, making that stitch count 400,000 stitches in a single day!!!  That’s quite the eye opener.

My machine was a Brother Pacesetter ULT 2002D model.  At the time, it was top of the line, state of the art sewing and embroidery combination.  Today, parts are no longer being manufactured or available.  My local tech has been pulling thread, miles of it, out of places he didn’t know existed on the machine.  The polyester thread gouged groves into the metal parts, probably caused by too much friction.  He’s done what he can, but it’s gone.  When I researched this machine online a few months ago, I saw the term “work horse” associated with this machine.  People love it and I love mine.  But I’m here to tell you they do wear out, especially when doing embroidery.  Embroidery is tough on a machine.

The local retailer I deal with has been trying to talk me into a professional machine.  These machines do have advantages over the home use sewing machine to enable you to get your work done that much faster.

  • They come with multiple needles
  • They have longer periods between regular maintenance
  • They are designed to do 50,000 stitches in an hour for hours on end.

However, here’s the other side:

  • They retail beginning at $6,000 for a single needle machine. The 10 needle version of this particular manufacturer my local dealer sells retails for $12,000. Yes, you can find deals, but still…
  • These types of machines weigh in at least 80 pounds of bulkiness! Yikes! They need 2 people to carry them.

So for me, it’s not that I’m not listening to the experts at my local sew and vac, but these commercial machines are just out of the question.  While I may be able to save up the money for one someday, my bigger issue is the weight.  I have only myself to carry it up and down a flight of stairs.

So in the short run, I’ve made arrangements with someone who also has my machine to buy it from them.  Hopefully, I’ll get another 3 years from it.  Until then, I have time to look around for another embroidery machine to use up.  By then, I will have bought the other combination machine on my wish list.  I’ll have to make sure I don’t do too much embroidery on that one.

So my friends, if you like embroidery as much as I do, beware of your machine choices and realize how much you use it.  You don’t want your machine to give out before you’re ready for another one.  The down time can be frustrating.  And if you’re running a business with a home sewing machine, the loss of business may hurt.

So, please be savvy about what you are doing.  The stitches in in free standing lace can add up awfully fast.  Periodically browse at replacement machines.  That way, when your existing machine finally gives up, you’ll be ready.