15 features + 7 accessories that make the Designer Sapphire 85 super!

Okay, I’ve calmed down from yesterday’s excitement of stitching out a monogram using the Husqvarna Viking Designer Sapphire™ 85. What do you think so far? I love that the Sapphire™ 85 is Wi-Fi enabled, which makes accessing embroidery designs or programmed stitches so easy.

Today, we’ll take a look at some of the physical attributes of this fantastic sewing/embroidery machine.

The Husqvarna Viking Designer Sapphire™ 85 sewing and embroidery machine

Let’s start by looking at the color multi-touch screen. The capacitive touch capabilities make it a breeze to use. We’ve all become so familiar with swiping, pinching, and stretching on our mobile phones and tables, that you’ll be moving around this screen in no time. The screen is quite large (8″), and the contents are well organized, making everything easy to locate.

The large multi-touch screen

If you need to use a USB stick to import or save your embroidery designs or programmed files, there’s a USB port on the side of the machine.

The USB port on the side

Here’s something I love: the Designer Sapphire™ 85 has 20 stitch menus. But which is which? It’s easy to swipe through the menus on the multi-touch screen. As a bonus, nine stitches from each menu appear on the lid to give you an idea of the style of stitches in each menu. The number of stitches in each menu is also listed.

Can you guess how many stitches there are in total? There are 680 stitches, including some exclusive stitch techniques, and five sewing font styles. That’s amazing! Don’t forget you can create programmed stitch sequences you can save. And it’s easy to change each stitch’s length and width, so really, the number of stitches is endless. And when you modify a stitch, the modified stitch appears on the screen, allowing you to see the stitch before it gets stitched.

Nine stitches from each menu appear inside the lid

If you’re a quilter and you want to get sewing right away, guess what? Included in the accessories is an essential foot for piecing. It’s my favorite foot for piecing, and it’s called the Quilter’s ¼” Piecing foot.

Do you ever wonder about those red markings on the presser foot? Well, they’re not there to make the foot pretty. No – they are very functional. There’s a mark on each side of the foot that matches up with the needle position. Then you have ” and ¼” markings in front of and behind the needle. Imagine you’re trying to line up seams or pivot around corners. The Quilter’s ¼” Piecing Foot is a valuable foot for a quilter, or should I say someone who pieces a lot. Check out the link above to see some detailed diagrams of the markings on this foot.

The Quilter’s ¼” Piecing Foot

Not only are you ready for piecing, but the Interchangeable Dual Feed foot is part of the accessory package, along with two different presser feet that you interchange depending on your quilting project. One presser foot works for quilting with decorative stitches, while the other has a single hole for straight stitches. Notice these interchangeable presser feet also have red markings on them to help with your quilting. It’s so nice to have those feet included.

As well, there are two Quilting Guides – one for the right and one for the left.

The Interchangeable Dual Feed foot with two presser feet

I decided to try out the Interchangeable Dual Feed foot. I need to quilt the main section of the sewing caddy for my chair, so I attached the Interchangeable Dual Feed foot. I decided on a straightforward grid pattern and started by drawing one diagonal line with chalk.

I stitched the first line following the chalk and stitched each subsequent line by positioning the Guiding Guide on one of the stitching lines. I set the guide to the distance apart for the grid quilting, and I was good for the rest of the diagonal lines. Then I drew another diagonal line in the opposite direction and repeated the process. It was so simple, and it took no time at all. I used regular batting and trimmed the piece to 5½” x 16″ after measuring my chair.

Grid quilting using the Interchangeable Dual Feed foot

Here’s something else I love. When I started each row of the grid quilting, the batting would catch on the feed teeth. I used the Presser Foot Up and Extra Lift function on the function panel to eliminate the problem. The presser foot raised to its highest level and the feed teeth dropped inside the machine. When I started to quilt, they popped back up. Now, how cool is that?

The Presser Foot Up and Extra Lift function lowers the feed teeth inside the sewing machine

I also love that both stitch plates are standard accessories. The decorative stitch plate is used when you move the needle to the left or right of center position or when you’re using a decorative stitch. The other one is the straight stitch plate that I use for almost everything – like quilting, embroidery, and piecing. It means that I leave the needle in the center position, and I use the various presser feet to help me achieve that perfect ¼” seam allowance.

There’s also a sensor that will alert you if you’re trying to select a decorative stitch or move the needle and the Straight Stitch Plate is on the Designer Sapphire™ 85. You’ve got to love that – no more broken needles!

The Straight Stitch Plate and the Decorative Stitch Plate

In addition to these great physical features, this conveniently located Function Panel, just above the needle, gives you complete control over your sewing and embroidery.

The Function Panel

Do you know there are five different speeds on the Designer Sapphire™ 85? The speed control helps when you’re doing free motion quilting or decorative stitching. Setting the maximum speed so you’re still in control removes a considerable variable from your free-motion quilting. It’s a huge benefit for any free motion quilter, whether you’ve been quilting forever or are new to free motion quilting. Since the machine will sew up to 1,050 stitches per minute, I think it’s important to play around with speed! You may not feel comfortable with the highest speed for quilting, but at 1,000 stitches per minute in embroidery mode? You’ll want that when you have a large file to stitch out.

The Scissors function will cut your thread on the top and bottom, so no need to keep your snips handy. There’s no presser foot lever as the Exclusive Sensor System™ raises and lowers the presser foot automatically. More on that another day this week. There’s a Needle Stop Up/Down function which – well, don’t ask me to sew without it. It’s invaluable when you’re quilting or sewing or doing applique. The needle down keeps things from shifting around. Use it!

The STOP function is great if you’re stitching out decorative stitches. It allows the machine to stitch to the end of the stitch sequence and then stop. This feature eliminates guesswork.

The START/STOP will run the machine without using the foot control. Some people sew with this function, but I prefer to use it for embroidery and stitching long rows of decorative stitches.

There’s a FIX function, which will tie a knot whenever you touch it, so your quilting stitches get anchored. And, of course, there’s the REVERSE function.

Don’t you love all these features? They take all the guesswork out of sewing, allowing you to be as creative as you want.

There’s also a hard case to protect the machine when you take it outside your studio. You especially want to protect the multi-touch screen.

The hard cover for the Husqvarna Viking Designer Sapphire™ 85

A sensor for the top thread will alert you if there’s a problem. This feature is critical if you’re not sitting by the sewing machine when you’re stitching out an embroidery. A bobbin sensor alerts you when the bobbin is running low.

Speaking of bobbins, it’s easy to wind the bobbin.

When you need to wind a bobbin, you have choices. You can wind the bobbin from the needle, but you must remember to use a metal presser foot. Otherwise, you could put a groove in the bottom of a plastic foot. So, don’t forget – metal foot!

But there’s a separate bobbin winder motor, so you could technically continue to sew as you wind bobbins. That’s for days when you’re in a hurry. I usually take the time to clean the bobbin area and insert a new needle while I’m winding bobbins.

My rule of thumb for this task is that I wind five bobbins. When the five bobbins are empty, it’s time to insert a new needle and clean out the bobbin area. And, of course, wind five more bobbins for the next sewing marathon.

Winding a bobbin

You can’t appreciate the lighting on the Designer Sapphire™ 85 unless you’re sitting right in front of it – or even if you’re in the same room. The LED lighting is brilliant! I swear I could sew by the light of the machine alone!

Even in the dark, the bright LED lights provide excellent lighting

Here’s a couple of optional accessories that might interest you. The first is the Mega Spool Stand. I love to use this for embroidery, or anytime I’m using a large spool or any thread type where I prefer the spool to stand upright. Do you know that if you position the spool upright with the thread coming off the side, so the spool turns, it can significantly affect your sewing machine’s tension?

The Mega Spool Stand

And let’s not forget my most favorite optional accessory ever—the extension table. I love that curved edge on the front. Borders, quilt pieces, garments, quilts, and anything else you put under the needle will glide up and over that edge. It’s also easier on your arms without a sharp edge. There’s a ruler in centimeters and inches along the front edge, and I use that frequently when I’m working with small pieces. I sew or quilt with the extension table – always.

The work area to the right of the needle is large at almost 10″, so you know you’ll be able to quilt a large quilt and have room to maneuver. That’s very important whether you’re working on a garment, a quilt, or a bag where you need to twist and turn things around.

You also have a free arm on the Designer Sapphire™ 85, so if you’re working in a tight space, it’s easy to convert by removing the accessory box or the extension table.

The extension table with the curved front edge

Well, that wraps up another day, but there’s still so much to share with you. The Husqvarna Viking Designer Sapphire™ 85 is such a fabulous sewing and embroidery machine. If I had to pick just one favorite feature? I can’t – I love them all!

See you tomorrow, where I’ll continue work on my chair caddy, and I’ve got more great features and tips to share with you.

Have a great day!


This is part 2 of 5 in this series

Go back to part 1: Unboxing the Husqvarna Viking Designer Sapphire™ 85

Go to part 3: 4 features on the Designer Sapphire 85 make your sewing experience easy!

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laurie bradshaw January 12, 2023 - 1:26 am
can you use a stylist pen on this machine
Carla A. Canonico January 12, 2023 - 3:03 pm
Hi Laurie, if the Stylist pen in question works on the capacitive touch screen of a tablet or smartphone it would likely also work here as well. Great question! Thank you for asking.
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