Name of Product:
Husqvarna Prelude 360 (link to picture)
sewing machine dealer
This is a sewing machine made by a company that specializes in lawnmowers and chainsaws, and went into domestic appliances because they got tired of making guns. Sewing on this thing is like driving a tank: it's built to survive vinyl, craft foam, denim, fake fur, convention travel, and general maltreatment. It features durable construction, versatile stitch functions, and lots of little design features that make it extremely user-friendly.
- Good for newbies. This was the machine I learned on, with no assistance beyond the instruction manual and the guidelines printed on the machine itself. There's directional arrows showing you how to thread it (bobbin included), it has recommendations for stitch length printed next to the stitch diagrams on the front of the machine, and because the parts are all metal you'll have a hard time breaking it if you do something wrong.
- Great bobbin design. The bobbin is top-loading and the machine picks up the thread automatically: you don't have to mess around with multiple parts or getting the threads looped together. The bobbin cover and the bobbin itself are clear, so you can see when you're going to run out of thread.
- It will sew through all kinds of weird crap: four layers of garment-weight vinyl, heavy fake fur, craft foam, caulked hair wefts, etc. Similarly, it wills sew sheers and light-weight fabrics without sucking them down into the bobbin casing.
- Free-standing arm: you can hem sleeves/pants legs on it, because there's a space between the base of the machine
and the surface you're working on.
- Comes with a hard protective case: you can bury it under a pile of crap when you're not using it, or stick it with the checked luggage under a bus. There's a handle on top of the machine that can be pulled up through the case, so it's easy to carry and travel with. Case also has a compartment for manuals/power cords.
- It's kind of pricey, between $400-$500. If you don't intend to do a lot of sewing, you probably don't need something this expensive.
- Viking/Husqvarna is sort of an uncommon brand, so you might have a hard time finding someone to repair it if it breaks.
Overall Rating: 9 out of 10. More user-friendly than Juki/Singer machines, arguably more durable, but a big initial investment if you're not sure about your sewing career.