Hello everyone and welcome back to another exciting week at QUILTsocial. This week, I’m taking the Husqvarna Viking Designer Topaz 50 sewing machine for a test run. I’ll be looking at some of the features of the sewing machine. I’ll also be passing along some cool sewing tips and there’s a neat project as well.
Make sure to check back each day this week as we learn about the Designer Topaz 50. Even if you don’t have this sewing machine or currently not in the market for a sewing machine, there’ll be loads of tips and crazy moments to keep you entertained.
Let’s get started.
It’s always exciting to open the box and see what the sewing machine looks like. There’s the usual accessory box attached to the body of the sewing machine. My first step is to remove the accessory box and slide on that amazing extension table.
I was sewing borders on a quilt the other morning and today I was sewing some strip sets. Everything just glides over the smooth surface of the extension table. No hard edge as on other versions of the extension table for things to get caught. Imagine how easy it would be to quilt projects with this table? Yes, I’ve quilted up some projects with the Designer Topaz 50 and it was a dream to maneuver it on the sewing machine.
Not only because of the extension table, but also because of the size of the workspace. Did you know that there’s almost a full 10″ from the needle to the right-hand side of the workspace? That’s huge whether you’re quilting or just sewing. I often set the smaller pieces of my project in that workspace so they are handy.
There’s another reason why there’s so much space on the Designer Topaz 50. Yes, it’s an embroidery machine as well. I’m not going to have time to delve into the embroidery, although I want to, but I’m saving that for the next week of posts. There are built-in designs, on-screen editing and a whole lot more features that I can’t wait to check out.
There’s a large interactive touch screen that provides easy access to all that the Designer Topaz 50 has to offer. It’s bright, it’s clear, it’s very handy and should you need to touch some tight corners on the screen, a stylus is very handily located on the side of the sewing machine (not shown in the picture).
The items to the right and the bottom of the logo screen below remain constant, you’ll always have access to those items and I’ll be explaining a few of them this week. There’s a lot more interchangeable information behind that start-up screen and we’ll have a look at a few of those as well.
One of the first things you should do, well at least on the first day, is to download the User’s Guide. Yes, there’s a User’s Guide in the box, but I can safely say that I’m past reading the User’s Guide on paper. I’m not sure how that happened because I can’t read a novel on the tablet, but a User’s Guide, that’s a different thing.
I like having the electronic format of the User’s Guide. I can easily look up the information that I want, I don’t have to have the book in my hands in the event that I’m somewhere else – it’s fast and easy. If you don’t have a tablet, then you can use the paper version. However here’s the thing – I would highly recommend that you read the User’s Guide.
I’ve heard people say they don’t need a fancy sewing machine with all kinds of features and I get that. But if you have a sewing machine and you don’t know what features it has or how to use them, it’s certain you won’t feel encouraged to use them.
I’m very surprised at what I’ve learned by reading the sewing machine manuals over the last couple of years. Lots of little tips and tricks and a couple of new ways of doing things, as well as really understanding the features and functions of the sewing machine.
The nice thing is that it doesn’t take long to read through the User’s Guide and better to do it in front of the sewing machine, at least for parts. That way, you can follow along, push buttons, touch the screen or whatever else needs to be done to understand.
I’ve been sewing for many years (no need to say how many) and I’ve sewn on the Husqvarna brand of sewing machines for a long, long time. Despite that background, I have to say that I’ve learned a lot by reading the User”s Guides.
But let’s say that you don’t have the User’s Guide or even that you do, there’s a button on the screen that you’ve no idea what it does. You can’t even look it up because you don’t know what it’s called. Here’s where Quick Help comes into play. See that “?” on the top right-hand corner of the Interactive Touch Screen? Touch the “?” and then touch the button that you’re puzzled about. Voila! You’ll get a short clarification of the function. If you need to pursue more information, you now know what to look for in the User’s Guide.
This feature is brilliant. There are times when I can’t remember what a function does or I stumble across something new. I use the “?” (Quick Help) to figure out what the functions are.
This is the Function Panel which is located right over the needle. All the main sewing operations are controlled from this Function Panel. Raising and lower the Presser Foot (there’s NO manual lever on the Designer Topaz 50, which I LOVE), controlling the speed, activating the sewing in reverse function, cutting the threads, needle up and down and a few more.
What I love about this Function Panel is how conveniently located it is. There are many times when I’m holding a very intricate section of work. I don’t have an extra hand to lower the presser foot or to put the needle down. I can simply lift up a finger and touch the correct function. It’s so handy, I would be totally lost without having such easy access to the Function Panel.
The lights will let me know which Functions are activated. In the photo below, the FIX (anchors the start and end of a row of stitching) and the Needle Up/Down Pivot is NOT engaged (notice there are two lights for that one – either up or down).
There’s one other feature that I love about the Designer Topaz 50. There’s an Exclusive Sewing Advisor at the bottom of the Interactive Touch Screen. This allows me to choose the type and weight of materials that I’m sewing and it also allows me to choose the technique that I’m going to sew.
Now I know that you’re thinking – I’m a quilter. I sew with cotton and always sew a seam. Well, I’m a quilter as well, but I seem to be working with more weird fibers and fabric weights these days so having these features is great. The benefit is that I can select the appropriate settings and let the Designer Topaz 50 suggest the tension, stitch and stitch length for me.
All of the selections can be overridden in the event that the automatic settings aren’t working. But I’ve only had to override the settings in a few rare instances. I love that feature and it does take a lot of guesswork out of the sewing equation. It also saves time!
And as a quilter or a bag maker, you want to be switching into the settings for heavy versus woven.
Aren’t those features exciting? There’s nothing like sitting down to sew and know that your sewing machine is going to perform exactly how you want it to. With all the deadlines in my schedule, there’s zero time to mess around with tension issues or trying to figure out how to do something. Between the Quick Help, the User’s Guide, and spending some time playing with the Designer Topaz 50, I know exactly what it can do and I’m not afraid to make it do that!
Come back tomorrow where I’ll be showing you a few of the features inside the menus of the Husqvarna Viking Designer Topaz 50.
Have a great day!
This is part 1 of 5 in this series.