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Husqvarna Viking Designer EPIC review

 

Welcome back to another great week of sewing machine review. I was a tad excited to say the least when I heard which machine I would be reviewing – the Husqvarna Viking Designer EPIC which is a sewing and embroidery machine. This machine is going to blow your socks off! I’m still looking for mine.

I set the Designer EPIC on my table, turned it on, and watched the screen display appear. WOW – this truly is an EPIC sewing machine. I looked at that screen in awe for a few minutes and then turned the machine off. That was all my brain could cope with that first time. This isn’t your grandmother’s sewing machine.

However, I soon came to my senses, turned the Designer EPIC back on and explored its many features.

 

Husqvarna Viking Designer EPIC
Husqvarna Viking Designer EPIC

 

Today, I’m going to walk you through some of the physical features of the Designer EPIC. What impressed me the most was the attention to detail on everything.

Let’s get started and see what it’s all about.

 

Multi-touch screen

One of the first things you notice about the Designer EPIC is the large multi-touch screen. It functions just like any smart device such as a tablet or smart phone. That means you use gestures like swipe, touch and hold, pinch/stretch, etc. – it’s amazingly simple and fast. No stylus to lose or pick up.

We’re all so used to swiping and scrolling screens that it was easy to get the hang of using the screen. I’ll get into the menus later this week, but they’re very well laid out and the various menus were easy to find.

I have to mention though that after years of using a static screen on a sewing machine, it did take a couple of reminders to myself that I have to scroll up or down or swipe sideways. But I caught on quickly.

 

Opening screen for the Designer EPIC
Opening screen for the Designer EPIC

 

Built-in thread stand

The Designer EPIC comes with a small flip-up lid at the end of the machine opposite the needle. Open up the lid to find the cleverly designed telescopic thread stand.

This is a huge design feature and one that I got very excited about. Having a well designed thread stand is so important to the quality of the finished work. But to have a built-in thread stand like this – well the design is brilliant and the thread stand is absolutely top notch. I love this thread stand.

 

The telescopic thread stand
The telescopic thread stand

 

Pull the telescopic thread stand to its fullest height and then flip each of the two spool pins into the vertical position. There are two large spool holders (flat on one side and a circular ridge on the other), three different sizes of spool caps and a thread cone holder that come with the Designer EPIC to deal with any size of spool or cone of thread.

That means that you can use two different threads and they can be from any sized spool. I’ll get into the manual later, but there’s a lot of very well laid out information in the manual on how to thread the Designer EPIC, when to use the various sized spool caps, how to prevent thread from breaking, tangling and a whole lot more information.

I’ve only seen two features of the Designer EPIC and already I can tell that this is no ordinary sewing/embroidery machine. This thread stand is just brilliant. Can you tell that I like the thread stand?

 

Telescopic thread stand ready for sewing
Telescopic thread stand ready for sewing

 

The two spool bases that hold cones of thread
The two spool bases that hold cones of thread

 

Bright, large work space

It’s great to have a lot of room to work in, especially for making bags or quilts or even clothing. The amount of space between the needle and the base of the Designer EPIC is a whopping 12¼ʺ. This is amazing and even if you don’t need all that space for the project, it’s absolutely delightful to have that much room. No danger of getting crowded with this machine. Can you imagine quilting a large quilt?

 

Large work space
Large work space

 

If you want to talk about light, the HUGE strip of LED lights that light up the entire work space of the Designer EPIC are bright. That’s all I can say, a picture will not be able to communicate the brightness of this area. It’s amazing and no danger of sewing in shadows, thus reducing eye fatigue. That means we can sew for many hours. Yet again, another brilliant design feature.

One of the things I noted about the marketing materials for the Designer EPIC is that the Designer EPIC had been “Made for Sewers, by Sewers”. They must have had a pretty demanding team of sewers, because so far, every design feature I’ve seen is definitely designed with the sewer in mind.

 

Bobbins are 30% larger

The bobbins on the Designer EPIC are 30% larger than on other Husqvarna Viking sewing machines. Yes – this means less bobbin changes. Imagine – less bobbin changes! That’s EPIC!

 

Blue bobbin (Designer EPIC) is 30% larger than the green bobbins
Blue bobbin (Designer EPIC) is 30% larger than the green bobbins

 

Bobbin Cover

I’m sure it’s happened to all of us at some point, but those bobbin covers normally just snap into place and sometimes, they’ve been known to pop out. I’ve never damaged anything by the cover popping out, but the bobbin cover on the Designer EPIC has a release button that keeps it closed, until you hit the release button. I love this.

 

 

No presser foot lever

Like some of the other Husqvarna Viking sewing machines that I reviewed, the Designer EPIC doesn’t have a presser foot lever. There are controls on the front of the sewing machine (where they’re handy) to raise and lower the presser foot. I’ll go into that in more detail later this week.

I did find an outlet on the back of the sewing machine that’s an accessory port. Hmmm – an accessory port for what? AH – for one of the buttonhole feet – this is in a much easier-to-reach location than on previous sewing machines. Again, small details that add up to one great sewing machine.

 

No presser foot lever
No presser foot lever

 

USB ports

There’s not one, but TWO USB ports on the Designer EPIC. This allows you to easily get your embroidery designs into the sewing machine or update the Firmware. More on that later.

 

Two USB ports
Two USB ports

 

The bobbin winder

When I showed you the telescopic thread stand, I bet you didn’t notice that there was NO bobbin winder in that area. Hmm – where’s the bobbin winder? Oh – there it is on the side of the sewing machine.

I love this idea as there’s a longer path for the thread to travel from the spool to the bobbin, more thread guides to go through which should all result in a tighter, better wound bobbin. A tighter bobbin means more thread on the bobbin. More thread means that I can sew longer. Given this fact and the bobbins being 30% larger – I won’t have to stop as often to change the bobbin. AWESOME!

 

Bobbin winder is on the side of the Designer EPIC
Bobbin winder is on the side of the Designer EPIC

 

There are two thread guides near the spool area to guide the thread down to the bobbin winder. There’s also an LED light in this area to help keep an eye on your thread!

 

Thread guides to lead the thread to the bobbin winder
Thread guides to lead the thread to the bobbin winder

 

Speaker

I know – a speaker on a sewing machine?! You do need something to handle all the beeps and other noises generated at various times during the sewing/embroidery processes. This speaker is positioned on the front of the Designer EPIC.

 

The speaker for the Designer EPIC
The speaker for the Designer EPIC

 

As I mentioned, the Husqvarna Viking Designer EPIC sewing machine is being introduced as a sewing machine made for sewers, by sewers. I’m sometimes a bit leery of marketing promises, but after reviewing a few of the physical features, I think you’ll agree with me that so far, there are many, many pluses and the attention to detail on little things that mean so much to sewers and quilters – well all the details are well thought out, well designed and we’ve only scratched the surface.

I can’t tell you the full extent of how impressed I am with the Designer EPIC. I’ve heard many good things about it, but until I was actually able to see for myself, well – I’m a believer.

Tomorrow, I’ve got a few more very impressive physical details to show you – I know you’ll be impressed. I haven’t even started to sew on it and already, I’m hooked!

Have a great day!  Ciao!!

 

 

This is part 1 of 5 in this series.

Go to part 2:  Outstanding design features of the HV Designer EPIC

Elaine Theriault is a teacher, writer and pattern designer who is completely obsessed with quilting. Elaine’s Tech Tips column (originally published in A Needle Pulling Thread magazine) is now available online in e-book format at QUILTsocial.com. When not quilting, she enjoys spending time with her two dogs, Lexi and Murphy, or can be found cycling across the country. Her blog is crazyquilteronabike.blogspot.com.

6 Comments

  1. Carole Schroeder

    I need help using the USB Device. I transfer designs purchased on emblibrary.com to the USB device. Then plug the USB device into my EPIC. Today the message was that it could not load the designs. I’m using a SansDick 32GB USB drive, which I just found out is too large.

    Can you tell me what size USB device/flash drive I should be using? I can’t find this info anywhere and it’s driving me batty! thank you.

  2. Deborah hofeldt

    I just got my epic on Wednesday evening and opened the boxes on Thursday. I am so excited to begin an even better trip on my sewing/quilting path. This machine seems to be almost idiot proof. With all the directions on any kind of sewing/embroidery/quilting question or problems you might have its going to be pleasant to sit and sew and sew and sew.

    • Deborah – you’re in for a fabulous experience. The EPIC is a wonderful sewing/embroidery machine. Make sure you take some time to PLAY. The possibilities are endless and once you get familiar with all the bells and whistles, well – you’ll love it more and more each day! Elaine

  3. Connie

    I’ve had the Epic about 8 months, still don’t understand the loading of the USB and the Cloud. In the past I had a Designer Diamond, Used a CD reader and It worked very easy, I was very happy with that method. Is there a reader that works on the Epic? I haven’t been able to embroider like on the Diamond. There are many features that are greatly improved on my new machine but can’t use it for the desired items I want to create.
    Please HELP with this disturbing problem. Connie Aspinwall

    • Connie
      The USB works exactly like the CD. You can download or purchase designs on the USB stick. Then you insert the USB stick into the reader on the side of the EPIC. On the EPIC touch screen, go to the appropriate drive. The advantage of the Cloud is the same way as in the computer world. You can upload the designs from your computer to the Cloud, then you can access them from the Cloud (provided you have connected the EPIC to your Wi-Fi). There is no need for CD or USB. It’s very fast. Hopefully, you can find your designs and get to the fun of machine embroidery! Elaine

  4. VickiT

    That sure is an awesome machine, but I couldn’t afford the awesome price sadly. I just bought the Ruby Royale and the day I went to pick my new machine up was the day the Epic had arrived. I was really impressed just with the quick look I took at the machine. I didn’t dare check out too much or I’d go home pouting. LOL I loved the telescoping thread stand though! What a neat option. My Viking store manager told me that a lot of quilters had filled out something to list all the features they would want on their dream machine and Viking took those all into account when designing the Epic. They tried to put as many of those from the lists as they could. I think they did a great job for sure.

    I love that you guys do such an amazing job reviewing the machines like this. I followed along when you were reviewing the Ruby Royale because that was done at the time I bought mine so all that info was really helpful for me. By the time I brought my machine home, you had given me a fabulous bit of information about my new machine.

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