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Sapphire 870 Quilt

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.

sapphire870qfront

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.

sapphire870qbacktext

sharpedgetextb

raised-sharp-edge-text


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.

Eldrid

Added:

Sewing at Night – Review of Sapphire 830

Update on my Sapphire 870Q

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10 Responses

  1. Så kjedelig med de skarpe kantene på den nye symaskinen din. At ikke flere har klaget kan vel også være at det sitter langt inne for noen av oss å klage, så det er kjempebra at noen gjør det. Selv er jeg også av den typen som klager når jeg ikke synes ting er bra nok, selv på småting. Håper det blir en ordning med maskinen din.
    Påskehilsen fra Eva på Kongsberg

    • Takk for det, Eva. Av kommentarar eg har fått frå andre, ser det ut som problemet varierer frå maskin til maskin, så det er mulig at mi er verre enn andre. I så fall fins det betre eksemplar å få dersom eg får byte den.

  2. Hello,
    My Sapphire 870 looks just like yours! I purchased mine a year ago in Alberta, Canada. To be honest, because of other problems with it I didn’t notice this until I came across your blog.
    The main problem I am having is with free motion quilting. The tension is not good and the thread breaks all the time. It is beyond frustrating.
    I would love to know if you use your to free motion quilt and if you have any problems.
    I am glad I found your blog. Your quilts and photos are beautiful.
    Patrice

    • Patrice,

      I also had a problem with “Free Motion” sewing on my 870Q . . . I found that if I set the tension to 5.2 or 5.0 it worked much better. Try adjusting your tension a bit and see if that helps. I love free motion sewing and I am happy that it was just the tension.

      Let me know if this worked for you,

      Catherine

  3. I have the 830 and mine looks exactly like yours in every way. I’ve had it about 2 years. I’d call that very shabby and careless engineering on the casing. Unbelievable really. This is my first Husqvarna, so I wasn’t able to compare it to other Husqvarnas. For 40 years I’ve used only 2 other Singers, and have only done machine quilting twice on one of the Singers, and that was for 2 small quilts. I haven’t done machine quilting on the 830 yet, only used it for garments. For an entire year I didn’t use it at all as I was distracted by other things.

    It wouldn’t surprise me one bit that other customers haven’t complained because maybe they haven’t tried to use it for free-motion machine quilting? I had been planning on doing free-motion embroidery in a hoop but hadn’t gotten around to that yet either. I can definitely see how these sharp edges might cause a problem, either by catching on the fabric, or catching on the threads on the underside of a free-motion project.

    And I think those at Husqvarna were absolutely wrong to dismiss you by saying the rest of us are happy because they haven’t gotten complaints from us. They have a lot of nerve telling you how we feel when they haven’t actually talked to us. I also can’t understand how they could examine their own machines and not think those uneven edges are problematic. While sewing garments I’ve occasionally had fabric get hung on something and couldn’t figure out how that was happening, but these uneven edges to the left of the stitch plate could be the reason for it. It’s especially annoying while topstitching, or when using decorative stitches that have to be just right.

    I’ve also had a couple of other small complaints that bother me about the 830. I haven’t told my dealer about them yet either. It’s also nothing I would write to the company about. But it IS enough to make me regret choosing this brand. And it’s enough to make me not recommend it to a friend. And it’s enough to make me look at other companies for my next machine. And it’s enough to make me wonder how a company with such a high reputation for fine workmanship would produce an inferior product. I’m just glad I got the 830, and at a discount price, instead of the higher priced Sapphires.

    Or course you are free to use any part of this in your further communication with the company, just so they know you’re not alone.

    • Maple
      Thank you very much for your feedback. I am sorry that you have this problem with your machine too. Judging from all the feedback I have got, we are a minority, – most machines do not have this flaw, or just very little of it. I hope you also read my update on this problem where I posted a summary of the feedback I got, and also that Husqvarna now acknowledges this problem, – at least that is what I was told.

      I would talk to the dealer about problems with the machine, – maybe something can be done about them. Also, the VikingSapphire group at yahoogroups.com is a great resource for troubleshooting these machines.

      Thanks again, and best of luck.

  4. Thanks kameleonquilt. I read your update, and also joined the yahoo sapphire group. It’s nice to have a place to read/discuss all these common issues, and I obviously have a lot of reading to catch up on. I do already see some of my other problems are mentioned there in a few places. Good to know I’m not the only one. But also NOT good to know there is a pattern of the same problems. A little disappointing because I expected better from this company. I will stop by to talk with the dealer again. I’ve been admittedly dragging my feet on that one.

    I also wanted to tell you that your comment about stroking and petting your new Sapphire cracked me up, haha. I did the exact same thing for the first few weeks after I got it. And when it works like it should, I do still feel some of that type of affection towards it.

    Thanks so much for all your help, and also for keeping HusqvarnaViking on their toes! 🙂

    • I knew I would not be the only one who would stroke my machine, – hehe 🙂

      The archives at the VikingSapphire group is indeed a great resource, so I hope you get some tips there, – or by asking the very helpful members there.

      I also hope you can work out something with your dealer.
      Best of luck!

  5. My problem at this moment is not with Husqvarna other than I have tried to reach them for the last 2 weeks and yet no response from them. I understand that they are in the midst of moving to Tennesse. My Sapphire 870 is less than 2 years old and began having problems with the feed dogs about 1 year ago. The feed dogs after free motion do not feed the fabric though, they raise like they should but the mechanisim that gets them to move the fabric through was not working. I took it to my dealer and he said not sure what the problem was only just an accumaltion of lint. I faithfully clean my machine, if I don’t it lets me know as to the quality stitches is not good. As soon as I got it home it was doing the same thing, I then take it back to the dealer, who by the way is 1 1/2 ferry ride away, (as there is no one closer and that is where I bought it from and who also stated that I can only deal with them re:warranty.) He said that a part was plugged with lint and the part broke and fell off, said he tried to get in touch with the company but no response, and aslo said that the part has to come from Tennesse now and if not China. WOW!!!! a brand new machine that I was so proud of getting and now this. The part was replaced by one that the dealer built and he said only temporarily until he gets the new part from the manufacturer. He said forget about a new machine replacement as that will not happen even if it is only less than 2 years old, but he will warranty me as long as he is in business. He said that the part he built is better than the original and don’t worry, this led me to believe that now this part that he built is now it. How does it affect my warranty? as he did not give me the original deffected part back nor did he give me any work order as to the service he provided. Originally he was going to keep the defected part for me and the work order, but when he realized I was in touch with anouther dealer he refused to send me the part or save it for me when I got back to the Island, he said the part belongs to the Company, he was very defensive when I had approaced him about it, and then accusing me of careless use of the machine, as it was all my fault for causing lint build up. By the way when I got my machine back it was missing the electric cord and also the hard cover encasing the insides of the machine was not put back on correctltly, there was a 1/4 inch gap along the seam line that brings the casings together, I mentioned that to him and all he said that he had no problem sewing the machine the way it was. Not sure what he meant about that. It was very poor workmanship and very poor service, will I go back? No! I will now have to find a dealer that is more responsible and reputable and probably lose all waranty that I now have. I did love my machine,as we all do,and as quilters love to stroke it. Where do I go from here? not sure and will I get some help or satisfaction? not sure either. All I can say is that I did trust the name Husqvarna, I researched lots and felt this was the way to go. Is it the Husqvarna Company? or was I one of the unlucky few to have a lemon of a machine or bad luck in the dealer?

    • delfina
      I am sorry you are having such a hard time with your machine just now. It is not at all easy with long travel distances too, as everything that needs fixing takes a lot of time and energy.
      I am afraid I cannot answer you question about warranty as I am located in Norway, and our laws that regulate warranties do not apply elsewhere.
      However, I have found a lot of good advice on the Sapphire machine in this forum:
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/VikingSapphire/
      There are members from all over the world in this forum, and they are all very helpful.

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