Last autumn I checked out this machine at a local dealer, but did not buy it right away. To my total surprise, my lovely husband had gone and bought the machine as a Christmas present, and I was very excited to try it out in the new year when the tree and decorations had been packed away and I finally got my sewing space back.
All you quilters know how we like to stroke and pet our sewing machines, – as well as our fabrics, – but when doing so with this one, something was not quite right. I have been sewing on several Husqvarna machines since 1982, and have been getting used to the smooth surface and rounded edges. This one felt different, though, – at the back of the free arm there was a nasty sharp edge, next to the toolbox. But worse, – the plastic casing at the end of the free arm was not quite flush with the casing around the needle plate, but was rising towards the back, the edge ending in a very sharp corner at 1-1,5 millimetres above the needle plate. See photos below.
The sharp edges and corner interfere with the flow of movement when quilting, especially when free motion quilting. The corner sometimes snags on the fabric, especially when moving the sandwich diagonally towards me and to the left. Of course, I assumed this must be some manufacturing error, and when contacting the dealer, she first suggested buying the acrylic extension table to see if this made things better. I was not able to go myself at the time, so my husband picked it up when in town, so that I could try it. I found that to avoid the raised corner, the table must be set higher than the free arm, so I still do not get a flat, smooth surface.
I finally got the chance to visit the shop and have a look at the other machines there. I was curious if this problem was unique to my machine. There was no other 870 machine in the shop at the time, but I looked at an 850 which seemed perfectly all right. Then I spotted the same irregularities on a Topaz nearby, and later the dealer found the same thing on her Designer Diamond at home, – she does not quilt, so had not noticed before. I wrote a letter of complaint to the importer, which she forwarded, – describing the problem and including the photos above. We got an immediate response that they were going to look into it.
Last week, two months later, I got a phone call from a Husqvarna Viking representative, questioning me about how this was a problem, and stating their point of view on the case.
The main points being made were that the casings for the Sapphire, Topaz, and Diamond are all cast in the same mould, so they are all identical, and changing the production would take a long time, six months at the very least, so nothing could be done about my machine now, except taking it in to look at it.
Next, more than two thousand such machines have been sold, and only two persons have complained about this, namely my dealer and I. According to the representative, all the other 2000 quilters are happily sewing along on machines identical to mine (identical casings, that is), without any problems at all.
This may be correct, by all means, but I found it odd that so many people would really be content with such unevenness on the machine surface, so expressed some doubts about this last statement. Of course, we, the public, have no means of knowing the number of complaints they get from around the world, as such things are never published, – naturally, – so we either take the information at face value, or make our own enquiries. I therefore informed the representative that I would like to find out about this from the quilters themselves by asking around in the sewing forums on the internet.
Frankly, I am a bit puzzled by the whole thing. I mean, why would a manufacturer make expensive sewing machines with bells and whistles enough for a whole orchestra, and then skimp on the polishing and fitting of the casings? From what I have seen when testing the machine so far, it sews beautifully (no problem when the fabric moves only towards the back), and it has many desirable features, – not least the big harp for quilting, which tempted me in the first place. I would love for this machine to function properly, but as it is, I dare not use it for any serious quilting. It is a shame, and I am writing this post in a hope to find that there really are Sapphire 870 machines out there with better fitted casings than mine.
Since many forums do not allow photos attached to the posts, I am putting the pictures up here for easy reference.
What I would like to know from owners of Husqvarna Viking Sapphire, Topaz, and Diamond sewing machines is:
1 Does the casing on your machine look like it does in the photos above?
2 If not, where (country) and when (approximate) was it purchased?
3 If it does look like mine, do you feel it interferes with the quality of your sewing/quilting?
4 If yes to number 3, have you complained about it (to your dealer or other Husqvarna Viking representatives)?
I would be thankful if you would either leave comments to this post, or email me privately at aefoerde at online.no (replace the at with @ and remove all spaces). Of course, you can also reply in the forums where I have posted about this issue.
Thank you for reading this far.