What can an advanced multi-crafting machine do for you? You might be surprised. The Husqvarna Viking Designer Epic is a sewing machine, a midarm quilter, an embroidery machine, and more. It doesn’t come cheaply, but if you’re a dedicated crafter, or are interested in starting a small business, this could be the dream machine that you need.
About Husqvarna Viking and the Husqvarna Viking Designer Epic
Husqvarna has the honor of being one of the oldest companies still in existence, though quite a bit has happened over its long, long lifespan.
Many of the venerable sewing machine companies like Singer began in the late 19th or early 20th century. However, Husqvarna began in 1689. No, that is not a mistake. The original Husqvarna company was a state-owned firearms manufacturer located in the town of Huskvarna, Sweden. The company would continue to manufacture firearms for the next three hundred years.
Between 1689 and 1959, Husqvarna would diversify to produce a wide range of products, from household equipment to vehicles. Some of their offerings included:
- Sewing machines (1872)
- Cast iron kitchen equipment (1874)
- Stoves and irons (1874)
- Bicycles (1896)
- Motorcycles (1903)
- Lawnmowers (1919)
- Chainsaws (1959)
In 1978, another Swedish company, Electrolux, acquired Husqvarna. They spun off its sewing machine division in 1997. This became the VSM (Viking Sewing Machines) group, which was later acquired by the American sewing machine company SVP.
Today, SVP Worldwide produces sewing machines under the brand names of Singer, Husqvarna Viking, and Pfaff. In fact, SVP stands for ‘Singer, Viking and Pfaff.’
The original Husqvarna company continues to manufacture industrial equipment, vehicles, and other products.
Who is the Husqvarna Viking Designer Epic For?
Let’s start with who this machine is not for.
This isn’t a machine for the idly curious. It’s not for beginners. And it’s not for someone who won’t use it a lot.
But then, if you’ve looked at the price of the Designer Epic, you probably already figured that out.
The Husqvarna Viking Designer Epic is an advanced machine for an advanced user. It would suit someone very well who crafted competitively or professionally. And that user would have to be not just willing to spend a lot of time learning a new piece of equipment, but they would have to be excited about it.
Does this sound like you? If so, then the Husqvarna Viking Designer Epic could open an entirely new world of crafting for you.
How Does the Husqvarna Viking Designer Epic Stand Out?
The Husqvarna Viking Designer Epic stands out first of all, in its sheer number of functions and uses.
Do you want a mid-arm machine for quilting that has powerful structural features like a jumbo bobbin, sensor driven even feeding, and two free motion modes? The Husqvarna Viking Designer Epic has these.
How about powerful sewing features like four-direction and eight-direction sewing, 807 built-in stitch designs, and eight programmable sewing fonts? The Husqvarna Viking Designer Epic has these, too.
As for embroidery, check this out:
- 651 included embroidery designs
- Advanced on-machine editing via an enormous touchscreen
- Dual USB ports plus WiFi for design transfer
- Updateable machine software
- Access to Husqvarna’s streaming design service
- Automatic jump thread cutting
- Back up to last stitch
And this is only the beginning.
The Husqvarna Viking Designer Epic really does do it all, or almost all, and it does it at a very high level.
What’s in the box?
Accessories that come with the XXXXXX, include:
- Your Husqvarna Viking Designer Epic multi-craft machine
- Three machine embroidery hoops
- Utility Foot A
- Decorative Stitch Foot B
- Buttonhole Foot C
- Blindhem Foot D
- Zipper Foot E
- Non-Stick Glide Foot H
- Edging Foot J
- Quilter’s 1/4” Piecing foot P
- Sensor Q-foot
- Embroidery/Darning Foot R
- Side Motion Foot S
- Sensor One-Step Buttonhole Foot
- Self-Adhesive Glide Plates
- Interchangeable Dual Feed
- Complimentary Software (PC) to download
- Soft cover for machine
- Luggage style carrying bag with packing insert for embroidery unit
- Foot control
- Power cord
- DESIGNER EPIC™ Sampler Book
- Thread net (4)
- Universal tool
- Seam ripper
- Edge/Quilting guides
- Bobbins (9)
- Thread cone holder (2)
- Hoop clips (16)
- Spool cap, small (2)
- Spool cap, medium (2)
- Spool cap, large (2)
- Large spool holder (2)
- Multipurpose tool/Button reed
- Straight Stitch Plate
- 807 built-in stitch designs
- 16 buttonhole designs
- Three eyelets
- 8 programmable sewing fonts
- 651 built-in embroidery designs
- 45 built in applique designs
- Create your own applique designs on-machine
- Create your own embroidery fonts
- High speed 1,000 stitches per minute embroidery speed
- Over 12 inches to the right of the needle
- Sew with or without the embroidery unit attached
- Four-way and eight-way multidirectional sewing
- Interchangeable dual feed
- Downloadable software
- Access to Husqvarna Viking’s streaming embroidery design service
- Machine basting
- Dual USB ports plus WiFi
- Automatic jump stitch trim
- Return to exact stitch
- On-machine software is updateable
- Two free motion sewing modes
- Jumbo bobbin
- Independent bobbin winding motor
- Sensor driven fabric feed
- One-piece aluminum chassis
- Huge accessories package
- Big and heavy
- Price is out of range for many home sewists
- No knee lifter
How to Choose an Advanced Sewing and Embroidery Machine
So, is it better to have a single machine that does everything except the laundry, or to have a dedicated machine for each craft?
The answer depends on you and your needs.
Do you have the space for multiple machines? If so, then that might be a good option, as a problem with one function won’t mean a potential crafting standstill while your one machine is in the shop.
On the other hand, few of us have the space in our sewing rooms to house a sewing machine, a midarm quilter, and a semi-professional embroidery machine. Although an advanced multi-crafting machine like the Husqvarna Viking Designer Epic can be enormous and quite heavy, it still won’t take up as much space as three separate machines.
For many of us, a single do-it-all machine is an excellent option. But that type of machine has a dizzying array of features and functions, and they can differ from model to model. Before you lay down that kind of money, it’s important to make sure that the model you’re considering has everything you need.
Here are a few things which, in our opinion, are must-haves.
General Machine Features
First, it’s important to think in terms of meta-features, that is, general features of the machine itself, as opposed to applications for specific crafts like quilting or embroidery. Here are a few to consider.
Cutting Edge Technology
A great sewing machine can last forever. But you don’t want to splash out on a super expensive do-it-all model that is on the edge of obsolescence. Instead, you want the latest technological advances in quilting, sewing and machine embroidery. Here are a few examples:
- Large, full color touchscreen
- Multiple connectivity types, specifically a combination of WiFi and USB
- Sensor driven sewing
Updateable / Upgradable
With lower end machines, the software you get is often the only software you’ll be able to use. But at the top end of the range, your software should be upgradeable and updateable. That way, your investment will still be top of the line in years to come.
Machines made for quilting often have an extended workspace. This most often means an attached extension table or extra space to the right of the needle. At the top of the range, you should expect both, and then some.
The average speed of a home sewing machine is around 850 stitches per minute. However, semi-professional machines and dedicated machines for quilting can go quite a bit faster than that. Look for speeds starting at around 1,000 stitches per minute.
A multi-craft sewing machine is a sewing machine first. That means it needs to have top drawer sewing features. Here are a few to consider.
At the top of the range, almost all sewing machines are computerized. And this means they’re able to host extensive libraries of stitch designs. But while mid-range machines may have a few hundred stitches, top of the line models may have libraries nearing (or even exceeding) 1,000 stitch designs.
Moreover, these stitches may include not only sewing stitches, but alphanumeric stitches (often in several different alphabets), image stitches, specialty stitches, and more.
The average sewing machine can “edit” stitches by making them longer, shorter, wider, and narrower. Upper range machines, on the other hand, often have an assortment of advanced editing technique for sewing stitches, including combining stitches into custom sequences and saving them for later.
At the top of the range, many machines also come with software that allows you to create your own stitch designs and sewing fonts, as well.
Can your sewing machine sew sideways and at different angles? Most sewing machines can’t. Most sewing machines only feed fabric forward and reverse. But at the tippy top of the range, you’ll often find machines with lateral and diagonal fabric feed as well.
Quilting and machine embroidery use a lot of thread. For this reason, many serious crafters prefer to use cost-efficient cone thread. Higher end machines often come with features that make it easier to sew with cone thread, for example telescoping thread separators and cone thread stands.
You might also find thread sensors that will tell you when your thread is running out, or if your thread has become tangled or broken. Many advanced machines will also have a jumbo bobbin and / or independent bobbin winding motor so that you can always have a bobbin ready to go.
Quilting is one of the most popular crafts, and top of the line multi-crafting machines often come with lots of goodies for quilters. Here are a few you might look for.
Special Feed Features
Quilts are typically made from two layers of fabric with a middle layer of batting. Sewing with layers presents special challenges. For this reason, a lot of machines for quilters come with special feed features to make sewing with layers easier. Some of these features may include:
- Floating presser foot
- Adjustable feed dog drop
- Adjustable presser foot pressure
- Proprietary dual feed features, like Janome’s Accu-Feed
A knee lifter is a lever that slots into a port on the front of some sewing machines. You can move this lever with your knee to raise and lower the presser foot. This means you never have to take your hands off your work.
Features for Machine Embroidery
A multi-crafting machine should also have powerful features for machine embroidery. Here is a small selection of examples.
Most embroidery machines come with a selection of embroidery designs in machine memory. These may include motifs (images), frames, borders, embroidery fonts, and more. In the upper range, design libraries can be extensive.
Additionally, some models come with access to streaming design services with practically limitless designs. Access may be included with purchase, or it may be subscription based.
Design Transfer Technology
In addition to the designs that come with a machine, you may want to purchase additional designs from your machine’s manufacturer, or from a third party vendor. If you do, you’ll need to transfer them from your computer to your sewing machine.
The most common transfer technology is USB, but at the upper level, you’ll often find multiple USBs, WiFi transfer, and app-based transfer. Sometimes you’ll find all three.
Advanced On-Machine Editing
Lower level embroidery machines will allow you to perform some rudimentary design edits on your machine, such as:
Advanced machines often allow more advanced and subtle editing on your machine.
Image to Pattern
Some upper level machines allow you to scan an image or take a photo, convert it to an embroidery file, then send it to your machine as an embroidery pattern.
Reads Multiple File Formats
Speaking of embroidery files, different machines often use different file formats. Many upper level machines can read multiple file types, which increases the number of manufacturers from whom you can purchase designs.
Laser Guided Design Positioning
Many upper level machines have laser-guided design positioning so you can see exactly where your design will sit in the embroidery area.
Return to Last Stitch
If your thread breaks, many machines will allow you to return to the exact stitch where the break occurred. This can be a design saver.
Large Embroidery Area
Generally speaking, the more advanced a machine is, the larger its maximum embroidery area. A basic budget embroidery machine may have a maximum embroidery area of four by four inches, while an advanced machine may have an embroidery area as large as 12 by 16 inches.
Features and Benefits of the Husqvarna Viking Designer Epic
The Husqvarna Viking Designer Epic is an advanced multi-crafting machine with a wealth of features for quilters, sewists, and machine embroidery enthusiasts. Here is just a taste of what this machine has to offer.
Extensive Stitch Library
The on-machine stitch library of the Husqvarna Viking Designer Epic includes:
- 807 sewing stitches
- 16 buttonhole designs
- 8 sewing fonts
- Three eyelets
- Theme stitches
- Dimensional stitches
- Taper stitches
That’s more than enough to keep just about any sewist busy for a long time.
This model comes with 651 embroidery designs and 45 applique designs pre-loaded. In addition, you can create your own applique designs right on the machine.
The Husqvarna Viking Designer Epic comes with complementary embroidery software as well as software for designing your own embroidery fonts.
This software is updateable.
MySewNet Streaming Service
The Husqvarna Viking Designer Epic also comes with access to MySewNet, Husqvarna Viking’s streaming embroidery design service. You can use this software, along with the MySewNet app to access your designs from multiple devices.
High Speed Stitching
The Husqvarna Viking Designer Epic sews and embroiders at a maximum speed of 1,000 stitches per minute.
This model comes with an impressive twelve inches to the right of the needle.
Special Feed Features
The Husqvarna Viking Designer Epic has four-way and eight-way multidirectional sewing. It also has an interchangeable dual feed. IN addition, there are two free motion sewing modes.
This model comes with two USB ports plus Wifi.
The Husqvarna Viking Designer Epic has a gigantic 10.1 inch color touchscreen.
Automatic Jump Stitch Trim
The Designer Epic trims jump stitches automatically as you go.
Return to Exact Stitch
Return or jump to any given stitch in your design.
The Designer Epic has the following thread handling features:
- Independent bobbin winding motor
- Jumbo bobbin
- Telescoping thread guides
- Top and bottom thread sensor
- Cone thread accessories
Alternatives to the Husqvarna Viking Designer Epic
There aren’t a lot of top of the line advanced multi-crafting machines on the market, but there are enough to give the Husqvarna Viking Designer Epic a run for its money. Here are a few other models that you might consider.
Baby Lock Solaris
The Baby Lock Solaris, like the Husqvarna Designer Epic, has recently been superseded by the release of a newer model. This means that, like the Designer Epic, you may be able to find it at a discounted price. If you do find it at a discount, it may be well worth your while.
The Solaris’s features include:
- 10.1 inch touchscreen
- Enormous 10-⅝ inch by 16 inch maximum embroidery space
- Advanced on-machine editing
- 13 inches to the right of the needle
- Dual spool stands
- Telescoping thread guides
- 861 built in sewing stitches
- Four sewing alphabets
- 740 built in embroidery designs
- 140 frame combinations
- 31 embroidery fonts
- Guide beam design placement
- Positioning camera
- Two types of image scanning
- Dual USB plus WiFi
- Sensors for upper and lower threads, as well as a hoop sensor
- 1,050 stitches per minute stitching speed
And much, much more.
If the Baby Lock Solaris’s features are more in tune with your crafting needs, this could be a great time to buy one.
Brother Luminaire Innov-Is XP2
The Brother Luminarie Innov-Is XP2 is a top of the line multi-crafting machine with some breathtaking features for sewing, quilting, and machine embroidery, including:
- WiFi and app-based transfer
- 13.1 inches to the right of the needle
- 10.1-inch color touchscreen
- 1,322 built-in embroidery designs
- 650 sewing stitches
- Disney licensed images and sewing stitches
- 24 built-in fonts, including 2 Cyrillic fonts
- Telescoping thread stand
- Scan-to-embroidery file
- Photo-to-embroidery file
- 1,050 stitches per minute max stitching speed
- 10-⅝ inch by 16 inch max embroidery area
- Upper and lower thread sensors
- MyCustomStitch software to create your own sewing stitches
And much more.
The Brother Luminaire Innov-Is XP 2 will run you a bit more than the Husqvarna Vikiing Designer Epic, but for the right crafter, the price could be well worth it.
Bernina 790 Plus
Bernina makes high end machinery for advanced sewists. The Bernina 790 Plus certainly fits this description.
The Bernina 790 Plus is faster than the Designer Epic, sewing 1,200 stitches per minute, but it has a bit less room to the right of the needle, and a smaller display screen. It comes with cone thread accessories and uses a supersized bobbin. It also has a knee lifter, unlike the Designer Epic.
Some of the 790’s features include:
- Included stitch regulator
- Adaptive thread tension
- On-screen support
- Create your own stitches
- Sideways feed mechanism
- Reads nine different embroidery file formats
- 332 built-in embroidery designs
- 18 embroidery alphabets
- Eight sewing alphabets
- 1,352 built-in stitch designs
- Stitch editing, combination, and memory
Depending on your retailer, you might pay a bit more or about the same for the 790 as you would for the Designer Epic.
Should You Buy the Husqvarna Viking Designer Epic?
At this level, the question of whether to buy a certain machine rests on how well that machine’s features fulfill your crafting needs. Features can vary widely at this level, so the question is straightforward.
At the same time, the release of the Husqvarna Viking Designer Epic 2 means that you can often find the Designer Epic at a significant discount. When you compare it to similar models at the full top of the line price, then the Designer Epic could be outstanding value for money, in addition to being a feature packed super-machine.
If the Husqvarna Viking Designer Epic fits all of your needs, then we would recommend buying it. If it meets most of your needs plus you can find it at a discounted price, then we would recommend snatching it up.
Have you used the Husqvarna Viking Designer Epic? What did you think? Tell us about it in the comments!