A few months ago, Viking sent me a Designer EPIC to stitch on, and after running it through its paces, I’m ready to tell you all about my experience. Spoiler alert: I love this machine.
I announced back in March that I’m a new Viking Ambassador. Part of being an Ambassador means representing the brand out in the world and teaching everyone what I do and what I’m stitching on. It also means that to make this possible, Viking sends me free product (like my EPIC) to use, and in exchange I will share things with you here on my blog and on social media. Although this post is sponsored content, all opinions expressed are fully my own.
There is rarely a day that goes by that I am not sewing something. This is my life now; I’m either working on samples, or testing patterns I plan to release, working on video tutorials, or experimenting with techniques. My sewing machine is on all day, every day, so it’s important that I have a machine that can keep up with me.
I’ve sewn for over a decade on one machine – my Viking Sapphire – and had a hard time giving it up even when I represented another brand for a year. The Sapphire was the machine I bought when I decided to go “pro” and open a business, and I eventually added a 9″ MegaQuilter and 936 serger to my arsenal of machines. (The MegaQuilter was replaced with a series of long arms, but I really loved that machine…)
Last year it hit me: if I love Viking so much, why don’t they know it? So I told them, and that’s how we got here. So let me tell you about the EPIC.
I saw this machine at a show, maybe 18 months ago, and just fell in love with it right away. Yes, it’s a gorgeous machine, but focusing on how it looks does a disservice to how powerful it is and how well it stitches. I can’t help comparing it sometimes to my Sapphire (which I still have but has been neglected for sure!) but it has great features in it’s own right. Here are 7 reasons I love my EPIC – in no particular order.
#1: Automatic Needle Threader
I am stubborn for sure! I can thread my own needles, thank you very much. I refuse to use needle threaders. I’ll never forget the day that I went to my optometrist though and she informed me that I needed bifocals. I still refused to avail myself of needle-threading options, because I don’t like admitting that I need help with simple tasks.
The beauty of having an automatic threader though is that it’s not about needing assistance, it’s about the pure bliss of having a technical marvel at my fingertips. As an engineer, I love tools and technology, so this is right up my alley. I will sometimes unthread the needle on purpose just so I can use the needle threader. Whoops! Did that just come unthreaded? Guess I need to press this button here to thread the needle!
Seriously. Have you seen it in action? Here’s a little video for you.
Do you see how quick that was? You’d be unthreading your needle on purpose too.
#2: It’s All About the Bobbins
There are so many things to love about the bobbins, so I’m lumping these all together. First of all, the bobbins are bigger than the standard Viking bobbins. Bigger bobbins hold more thread, so you get to stitch longer without needing to change. (And they are this gorgeous blue!)
The bobbin winder is located on the side now, and winds from a vertical position. In my opinion this winds a better bobbin, and it reminds me of my vintage machines that I love so well. (And get a gander at the side of this machine, lit up in brilliant blue!)
The bobbin door has a side switch that opens it on my EPIC, not a front slide opening like my Sapphire, which means less awkward bobbin changes when I have my Sew Steady table in place. In general, I love drop-in bobbins because I don’t have to fuss with the bobbin case.
I did discover one disadvantage though of having a drop-in bobbin: when you put on certain feet (like the ruffler) you need to start with a FULL bobbin, because changing the bobbin means removing the foot too. (I don’t ruffle so much that this is a hardship. Just something to remember!)
#3: The Giant Touch Screen and JoyOS Advisor
One of the really exciting things about this machine is the integrated, step-by-step instruction you get through the JoyOS system. You basically tell the machine what you’re trying to stitch and it will guide you through materials, feet, needle, thread, and settings to finish the project. Just an example of this is hemming, making a skirt, attaching a zipper, and so much more! I recently used the system to walk me through how to set up for embroidery (this is the Embroidery Advisor.)
#4: It Embroiders!
Speaking of!!!! My EPIC embroiders! I had an embroidery machine for about a year and honestly I was so intimidated by it that I was scared to use it.
I even told Viking that I was scared to embroider, and their answer was to help me conquer my fears by sending the EPIC. After doing some embroidery, I am now wondering what on earth I was so scared of!
#5: mySewNet & mySewMonitor
You guys! This machine is connected to the internet! I have cloud storage! And there’s an app for that!
Seriously, one of the coolest things, which goes along with the embroidery, is that the machine can send me notifications to my phone while it’s stitching out. It will tell me if I need to change thread colors, switch to a different needle, or if my bobbin thread is running low. It will also ping me when it’s finished!
I have a computerized long arm, and I don’t like to leave the room when it’s running, but I feel more confident about leaving the EPIC while I go do something else, knowing that it will let me know if it needs my attention.
#6: Saving Favorite Stitches
My Sapphire was capable of saving favorites, but you couldn’t give them names and you had to remember what each stitch was. I had to write down on a cheat sheet, and it always took 4 or 5 button presses to load my most-used stitches. Not anymore!
To show you how great this is on the EPIC, I recorded this video to give you a tour through two methods of saving favorites. First, if you have a go-to stitch you use all the time, you can save it as a Smart Stitch and load it in one touch of the button. If you have other stitches you use a lot, you can save them to a favorites folder, and give them really descriptive names so you know what’s what.
#7: The Bright Light
Have you seen the lights on this puppy? It’s like pure daylight under the harp. And that means less eye strain, more precision, and a more enjoyable experience.
I took this photo at night so you can see just how bright it is under there. The entire harp is lit with no shadows. (The shadow you see cast from the top left of the machine is another task light to the left – doesn’t it just pale in comparison?
I also find that I can work longer with better lights. It’s amazing what good lighting can do!
What would you like to learn about this fabulous machine? Let me know and we’ll do some video sessions!