What do you think so far? The physical features of the Husqvarna Viking Designer EPIC are outstanding, but there’s a whole lot more. Let’s turn on the sewing machine and see what’s inside. Trust me, it’s going to be exciting!
When the Designer EPIC is first turned on, the first screen you see is the JoyOS advisor. The JoyOS advisor is your center for information, like having an instructor sitting beside you. Included in the JoyOS advisor are the following components, some of which I’ll delve into a bit deeper so you can appreciate what’s inside.
Sewing Advisor: choose the type of fabric you’re working with and the sewing technique and the Designer EPIC will select the best stitch, the best presser foot, tension and many more variables.
Embroidery Advisor: choose the machine embroidery technique you’ll be doing and you’ll get advice on each of the techniques.
Knowledge Center: a number of guides covering stabilizers, a quick start guide, and several others.
User’s Guide: a built-in version of the User’s Guide. My favorite!
In the Sewing Advisor, you choose the type of fabric that you’re going to work with. The 7 options are shown below with the default being Woven Medium. If at any time, you don’t understand a term, button, or other items on the screen, you can use the Quick Help (the question mark in the top right). Simply touch the question mark, it will start to flash, then touch any item that you want more information on and a pop-up message will appear with the information.
Once you’ve selected the fabric, it’s time to select the sewing technique. In the photo below, you can see five sewing techniques (there are more if you swipe sideways). Each technique is further broken down as you may be doing a hem or overcasting a seam or just piecing. Clicking on any of the techniques will bring up detailed instructions on how to do that particular technique. Depending on the type of fabric chosen, the techniques on how to insert a zipper will be different for woven medium than those for stretch medium.
The best part is that you tell the Designer EPIC what you want to do and the Designer EPIC will show you how to do it. It doesn’t get any easier than that.
If you’re going to do embroidery, you would choose the Embroidery section of the JoyOS advisor and select the embroidery technique that you’re going to do.
There are four guides in the Knowledge Center:
Stabilizers: a description of different types of stabilizers including when to use them.
Quick Start Guide: various techniques to get you up and running quickly including some animation to make it even easier to follow the steps.
Step by Step Workbook: Step by step projects that will guide you through various special embroidery techniques.
Sewing Instructions: Techniques for sewing projects.
You know which of the guides is selected because it’s graphic is slightly larger than the others. There are three topics in the Quick Start Guide – Bobbin, Threading the Needle, and Embroidery Preparation.
Let’s take a quick peek at Threading the Needle.
There are three different topics under Threading the Needle:
- Threading the Upper Needle
- Automatic Needle Threader
- Threading forTwin Needle
Since I’m brand new to this machine, let’s select Threading the Upper Needle because I want to learn how to thread the needle. Now I’m usually telling you to read the manual, but these tutorials are built into the Designer EPIC and while there’s a User Guide, these tutorials are awesome because they’re right beside you and you can follow along with the diagrams. It’s like having an instructor sit beside you as you walk through the various steps.
The instructions and diagrams to ensure that the upper thread is properly threaded through the guides are now available on the screen. Once I have the thread correctly seated in all the thread guides, I can go to the instructions for using the Automatic Needle Threader and learn that process as well.
There’s a lot of flexibility in how these tutorials appear on the tablet-like screen. I can place them in half of the screen, I can enlarge the tutorial to the entire screen (that’s controlled by the little box in the upper left). I can change the size of the font (A- and A+ boxes in the upper right) and the X closes this window.
I also have a down arrow to scroll through the entire tutorial if the information doesn’t appear on one screen.
The Stabilizer Guide offers information on eight different types of stabilizers. This is very useful information for machine embroidery or using decorative stitches. There are many types of stabilizers and often we use the incorrect product which results in a finished project that isn’t quite as nice or professional looking as it could be. Having all this information so readily accessible is awesome!
This is a very brief overview of all the information that is in the Knowledge Center. There is so much exciting stuff in the guide and it’s so easily accessible. An extremely useful tool.
The User’s Guide
If you’ve followed along with my other reviews, you know I’m always suggesting (strongly suggesting) that you read the User’s Guide. The Designer EPIC doesn’t come with a User’s Guide. WAIT – I mean, it doesn’t come with a full version, paper User’s Guide.
There’s a slim User’s Guide to get you started and I’m happy to report that the User’s Guide for the Designer EPIC is still in its’ original plastic bag.
So why is the User’s Guide still in the plastic? Because the entire User’s Guide is built into the Designer EPIC.
You can see on the top of the screen – the JoyOS advisor on the left and on the right-hand side is the User’s Guide. This is a very comprehensive User’s Guide. And I’m going to show you why this version of the User’s Guide is much easier to use than a traditional paper copy.
I know, I still like to have that paper in my hands, however after using the built-in User’s Guide, well, I think I’m converted.
There are two ways to use the built-in User’s Guide. One way is to use the Index (A-Z in the upper right) where topics are listed alphabetically. I choose the letter of the alphabet for the function/action that I’m looking for and a list of topics that start with that letter pop up on the right-hand side. In the picture below, I’ve chosen the letter C because I want to know how to ‘Change the Stitch Plate’.
There are two stitch plates and I wanted to use the Straight Stitch Plate. In the photo below, you can see that the topic “Changing to Straight Stitch Plate” came up. Not only did I get instructions on how to do this, but I also get an explanation of WHY and WHEN I should use the Straight Stitch Plate. This is so exciting as often we are just provided with the HOW, not the WHY and WHEN. It truly is like having an instructor sitting beside you.
If I close the Index listing by tapping on the Index tab (A-Z in the upper right), I can now see the entire instructions for Changing to Straight Stitch Plate including the diagrams. This is exactly how the information appears in the hard copy of the User’s Guide.
Pop-up messages are also listed in the Index. So if you get a pop-up message and you’re not sure what it means, you can always search the index in the built-in User’s Guide.
The Index also includes a description of the various stitches. So if you’re not sure what a particular stitch looks like or how to do it, you can use the Index in the User’s Guide. Let’s say that you’ve heard of the Candlewicking stitch, but have no idea what that is. Use the Index in the built-in User’s Guide and you’ll find an explanation.
I can’t believe how much detail is in the User’s Guide, but more importantly, how EASY it is to find the information.
The information including clear diagrams is well laid out, concise and easy to understand. I’m very impressed with this feature and it’s for this reason, that I’m quite happy to NOT have access to the paper version.
However, if you would like to browse the User’s Guide by chapter as you would the hard copy, then that option is available as well. Simply use the Table of Contents button in the top right and the Table of Contents will appear. Choose the chapter you would like to read and you can read through the User’s Guide page by page as if you were reading the hard copy.
I know that some of you are saying “But I want to browse through the User’s Guide but I don’t want to sit at the sewing machine to do that.” My computer and the Designer EPIC are not in the same location and I wanted to have access to the User’s Guide to help me write this blog post. I simply went to the Husqvarna Viking website where I was able to download the entire User’s Guide in a .pdf version onto my iPad.
Now I’m able to sit at the computer and browse the User’s Guide as I go through various parts of the Designer EPIC.
However, here’s the problem with the hard copy on the iPad. The .pdf version is static. So if I’m looking for a specific topic, I have to look through the Index at the back of the User’s Guide, then I have to flip to that page. If I’m using the on-screen version on the sewing machine, I can pull up the Index and the topic is immediately in front of me.
There are times when one version will be better than the other. The exciting thing is that there are options and I’m all for options. We all have our own style of working and having the option to take the User’s Guide and browse through it while away from the sewing machine or browsing through it as you attempt a task at the sewing machine – it’s nice to know we have options.
There’s so much more to explore with the Husqvarna Viking Designer EPIC, but I think I’ve covered enough ground for today. Besides, I really want to read the User’s Guide from cover to cover and parts of it I’ll read on my iPad, and other parts, I’ll read as I’m sitting at the sewing machine and other parts, I’ll probably read in both places. The information contained in it is amazing and let’s not forget all the information that’s contained in the JoyOS advisor.
Make sure to come back tomorrow when I’ll be reviewing some more of the built-in features and then on Friday, I’ll get into some sewing techniques.
Have a great day! Ciao!