Sewing brainstorming - results from last night (8/28/2018)


NWow, seriously we had a wonderful turnout last night for the brainstorming session. Together we baked in the purple classroom to plan and at least begin the long discussion of what sewing will become (with some hard work)

In attendance: @Print_Witch @Lordrook @kyrithia @Hardsuit @Cairenn_Day @Robodude919 @MizGeek @dryad2b @BarkingChicken @matthshooter @CaryF300 @mreynolds and three others that Im unaware of a talk name (please fill in) Seriously it was a bunch of people in that small room haha

All members had a vested interest in seeing the sewing room outfitted to the best of our abilities. It was a healthy talk filled with optimism and some common goals and some realistic expectations - I honestly don’t think you can ask for anything more. Oh, and pie.

I’m going to do my best to translate my notes for everyone to understand. Feel free to add in things I missed. I do feel I lead the discussion a bit to much - so in the future I will back off a bit to allow ideas to be more free flowing I went a bit teacher on us

Room basics:
Sewing will be in the 19’ room
Importance of it being modular and flexible
Folding cutting table with ironing pad for maximum use of space
leaf extensions on tables to pop up and down as needed
Tv would be wanted
The sewing machine storage won’t be in the room this will simply be a working room for sewing
save space where we can
Not for storage of materials or scrap
No liquids of any sort in the room. Sorry about ya.
Comfort of chairs (we didn’t get to this)

Important developments:
@matthshooter talked to @Kriskat30 and he’s going to lead the sewing SIG from now on out

Sewing as a whole thoughts:
Revamping and curriculum needs of Sewing basics 101
Need for teachers
We all agreed that sewing will grow quite a bit with attention and care
Ideas of our next “larger” machine - Paul brought in his and it seems like a good mid-sized step up
Look at a heftier serger to consider leather and tougher materials
@matthshooter has an industrial he would like to donate to the space (with specifics) for use (to be locked)
Talked about doing an RFID lock on the industrial

Wanted “Out” Available equipment:
Hopes to have two regular machines out, 2 sergers, 1 industrial (to be donated)
One empty desk
We were made quickly aware of how small the room got once we started packing materials in it.
Large Cutting table (most important thing wanted)

The weeds (small things):
Fabric only scissors, rotary blades, discussion of a “sewing kit” for purchase during the 101 sewing basics class, importance of rules and understandings of the room, outlets mounted on table or up high for accessibility, an op light and lights on clips,

Changes (to be):
Ripping out the flooring @matthshooter volunteered for that
For the heck of it I’m going to ask @John_Marlow if we can rip down the wall between digital and conference - just for the idea of it.

Machine discussion:
Everyone got frothy but I smacked people around and told them we can’t quite afford something like this yet.
Pauls machine $1700-2000 software $2500-3000 (Husqvarna Topaz 50 - edited by Marlow)
Matts industrial embroidery $4000-12000 software $500 (fill in the machine model here) The issue of having a production machine here at the space was discussed
Serger for leather Juki (Astrud fill in model here) $1100
leather sewing (Matt fill in model here) $1700

super rough sketches and ideas:
We all agreed the space gets small quick when you start loading machines and tables in
Current IKEA tables 60"X25.5" with an extendable leaf that pops out to 27.5" at it’s max I don’t remember what its called at IKEA but I will look it up.


@uglyknees Thank you so much for facilitating, not just this meeting, but all of the SIG meetings in Creative Arts for the expansion brainstorming. Its a big undertaking with a lot of work, and I’m sure I can safely say it is very appreciated by all CA enthusiasts.


Thats so sweet to say. I really appreciate it and I don’t think I’ve done much except for put together a powerpoint and put some meetings on a calendar.
I honestly know that we have lots of people who are equally passionate about this place as I am so I think this expansion is going to ignite us. My only job is to make sure the rocket that we are is aimed at something close to a goal.
This is a very exciting time for us!


I’m so impressed that you were able to remember everything to account for what we talked about. I tried to take notes and it quickly became apparent that I wasn’t going to be able to both write notes and participate in the discussion too so my notes are… basically nothing.


Let me add seeds to the weeds. I think that if CA bought a pair of $3 scissors every single month on a recurring basis and put those onto the general purpose scissors rack, it would help with the good fabric scissors being used for the wrong purposes.

Wouldn’t that defeat the objective of having the noisy printers and vinyl cutter in a separate location?

I have the same machine. I like it a lot. Let me add some thoughts:
(1) The software is independent of the machine. We could buy just the software, to enable programming more elaborate things that the Babylock can sew. Or, we could buy just the machine, program the machine with SewArt64, and then buy the software later.
(2) Machine price is about $3500.
(3) We will also need to spend $300 - $400 for hoops and the Q foot.
(4) If we want to use it for anything other than embroidery, we will also want to spend a few hundred dollars for specialty foots, etc. It has a fairly deep throat that is a big improvement for free motion quilting. It does button holes, and all kinds of fancy stitches.
(5) I would recommend training required and implementing RFID. It’s not as user-proof as the Janome, and when it breaks, we might like to know who was using it.

@Hardsuit - Do you have a model 40 or a model 50?


Topaz 50. Right now it is on sale for $1999, and Husquvarna will add a 15% additional discount since we are educational/501c3 so it would be $1700.


Wow! That’s truly a great price!


Orrrrrr what about one BIG sewing room…think about it!!!
:slight_smile: :slight_smile: :slight_smile: :slight_smile: :slight_smile: :slight_smile: :slight_smile: :slight_smile: :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

I do believe an investment in a machine as demonstrated last night with Paul (Husqvarna) would be a very positive purchase for the room and for the members (of course we would need to do more research and some comparison shopping)
But we just can’t commit to buying anything that pricey until after the buildout. I think it would be a nice offering for the members. I think it would be great - we need to balance which is more important of the leather machine, serger, embroidery…all these things can be decided on after we stretch out a bit .


Are you all wanting the Topaz for the embroidery function?

If you are, there really is only one good reason to go with that machine, you won’t crash the machine into the hoop. But, you are giving up all the advantages of a dedicated embroidery machine for the ability to use that machine as a sewing machine.

  1. It only has one needle, meaning you have to manually re-thread for every single color change. This is a total pain.
  2. It can only do flat items, meaning no hats! Hats are an item I would think CA could teach classes on all the time. They are great one off projects.
  3. It can’t use the “Mighty Hoop” which is the best hooping system on the market right now. Makes hooping a breeze.
  4. These machines tend to be very slow at embroidery, ranging in the 50 to 200 stitches per minute, where a dedicated embroidery machine tend to be in the 500 to 1000 stitches per minute. for context, a left chest embroidery for a polo tend to be in the 10,000 to 20,000 stitch range.

Also, as @John_Marlow said, you don’t have to buy the husqvana sewing software. To my knowledge the best software out right now is still Wilcom Embroidery Suite 4 Designer. It is in the same price range and comes with a corel draw license as well. plus it can import Illustrator files directly without losing your vectors making it much easier to learn as you can transition from software we already have in house directly.

As I already have 2 industrial embroidery machines and 1 MB-4 home embroidery machine, I will probably never use the DMS embroidery machines. But, I’m totally willing to help Chris Marlow and others develop curriculum on a dedicated embroidery machine and the wilcom package for digitizing. I never wanted to take the dive into sew art as it is a much different package from what I know. That is my offer to hopefully push a dedicated multi-needle embroidery machine and a awesome digitizing package like wilcom. Even if we don’t get the embroidery machine I still will help with the digitizing side if we are using wilcom.


If you are taking out a wall you probably have to pay for it with CA funds. Not sure how helpful a longer room would be but wider would be better.


Also, if after the build out we need additional funds, we can all pitch in to teach classes as the additional honorarium matching dollars go into CA.


We have strong people with large shoulders. Ya wider would be ideal. We were just playing with ideas last night. The room is great, don’t get me wrong.


There were other reasons we liked the Topaz including the deeper throat, ease of free motion quilting

BTW we need some pressing pads now, I went back to CA to work on my top and a gentleman
was sewing on the other machine He had the iron over ther and was pressing on the sewing table
surface A small pressing pad for each machine would be nice and they are easy to make
Er may need another iron


I don t know how much CA has now, but with that sale on it would be a shame to miss it

Get it ahead, have some train the trainers for it and have it ready for holiday classes
Dewing doesnt have close down for the move I could see classes that combine it with the Hanhome machines


There will be other sales on it. It does not make fiscal sense to go out buying a $1700 machine right before the expansion and before we’ve decided on a set up and what our buildout costs will be for the sewing room.

The one immutable truth about sewing retailers is that they will put things on sale on or after major holidays. If we identify that we want to buy the Topaz 50, we can look on black friday or after christmas.


Interesting review and comments


While it could do quilting, is it going to be used for that? Multi-Use machines at DMS can be a real pain for both the users and the support group. The Topaz does look to be a great sewing machine, with a high premium of probably $1000 to add not great embroidery feature. If Quilting is going to be the point, lets get a machine better aimed at quilting. That way we can mount it in a table or turret to make a great option for quilting. Rather than having a lack luster experience for quilting and embroidery.

This machine is not a large upgrade from the current babylock in terms of embroidery. It really only adds a mild speed increase, a larger hoop, and a color display. All of which are marginal improvements at best. While it seems to be among the Cadillacs of Multi-Use Machines. It doesn’t even compare to the turret long arm quilting machines, nor the dedicated embroidery machines. The only machine it out shines are the simple general purpose sewing machines, as it has many programmable stitches that nearly all members will rarely if ever use. Plus, we already have like 6 of the Magnolia General purpose sewing machines. So what are we really gaining?

I’m not trying to be negative nelly here. I’m super excited to see DMS doing more sewing as it is a hobby I’m interested in teaching on the embroidery side. I just want to teach on tools worth learning. I also don’t want to see DMS lock down embroidery to another single needle machine for the next 2 or 3 years, We’ve peaked at what machines like that can do at DMS and the amount of excitement and inspiration they can bring. Just look at all the amazing projects completed and classes taught by @John_Marlow. Yet, the babylock just doesn’t get use by many other members. I would say this is a function of the difficulty and limitations of the machine and our software, more than the interest in the group.


I have used free motion quilting on clothing I did it on my Husquaeva machine not a
super fancy one

I also like the deeper throat on the Topaz

I can see advantages both ways


Thanks @Nick for the kind words!

Nick is the guy to listen to about the embroidery machines - he is the pro. Having never owned a multiple-needle embroidery machine, I can’t weigh in on how much of a benefit that is … but since I do own a Topaz 50 (and I love it) I have a couple thoughts about that.

The biggest embroidery benefits a Topaz 50 would bring are:
(a) compatibility with magnetic hoops. This is a huge benefit. It opens up the possibilities of (flat) things that can be embroidered. I’m certain there must be other ways to get magnetic hoop capability.
(b) 3X larger embroidery area - 14" x 8" (but BTW, they don’t have a magnetic hoop that large).

It is a wonderful multiple-purpose machine but I’m not sure that’s what we need. Before we got the Janome’s it was difficult to get access to the Babylock for embroidery because it was in use as a general purpose sewing machine (it was a lot nicer than the other sewing machine(s) that we had). I can foresee the same thing happening with the Topaz.

Also, IMO a Topaz 50 is not a good multi-user machine. Unlike the Babylock, which is simple to use and robust, the Topaz has a meaningful learning curve. I still have to look in my manual, and I use the machine fairly routinely. I fear that just a few people will become comfortable using it and it will become like a private machine for those few people.

But if that’s the way we decide to go, I’m glad to help out and teach.


The main problem that I have with the topaz is that it’s a compromise and a half step. We do get some cool new features for embroidery and the ability to do “long” arm sewing with it… but at the end of the day it’s a home machine with home machine durability problems. Once you start using home machines multiple hours day in and day out, they die very quickly. And we’re dealing with numerous users as well. If it’s going to get used with any serious regularity, we should get an industrial for the durability, and if it wont get used that much, why are we dropping nearly $5000 on a machine that isn’t going to get used that much? Once you enter the 5+ hour a day use range, your maintenance costs go through the roof, and we’ll end up spending more money at the Husqvarna dealer getting it repaired than just getting an industrial. And I don’t even know if it will get that much use.

My point is, I don’t see the sense in dropping that kind of cash when we could get a Juki programmable quilting machine for the same money as the Topaz and I know we’ll have lots of people knocking down the doors to get access to that.

Even on the leather side of the house, a $2200-2300 Juki TSC441 copy/rebrand (the Thor GA441 or the Cowboy CB4500, basically the same machine) would draw in a very large crowd and they would see a return on investment immediately, because it can sew multiple layers of 8 to whatever fits under the pressure foot oz leather with pretty much any size thread. It creates a massive draw to CA, because you can’t get access to a cylinder arm leather sewing machine anywhere else, certainly not Tandy.

Our focus should be on getting equipment that people don’t have at home because of space and/or cost. My dad doesn’t come to the space because he does all his leatherworking at home, because he has all the tools at home that the space does, so why drive 40 minutes? Equipment gets people to sign up and come to the space, and it opens the door to more project classes.

Sewing should focus on project classes, right now, simple things like bags or dopp kits or something that doesn’t require measuring a person to make. The eventual goal after the expansion is to teach multiple project classes making bags and other pieces of equipment. The more of this we do, the more we can seriously talk about buying all these fancy machines.

To get as many people involved, I want to standardize the curriculum and create a specific train the trainer class that we can use to make sure everyone is on the same page. I’d like to get with all the sewing and serging 101 teachers and see what’s being taught and how we can standardize the class content, create a reference slide deck/refresher video, a narration/outline for teachers, and get more people interested and empowered to teach. The more we spread the load, the easier everything will function and the more engaged everyone will be in the sewing community at DMS.