Thursday, July 7, 2016

Ellure Plus Embroidery Machine Unboxing!

Because we all like those nifty unboxing Youtube vids, 

don't we?

I've decided to take a page out of the many review sites that I putter through while trying to decide which gadget to buy next or what machine works best, and I've found them somewhat informative. At least a little, anyway.

Well, maybe my first unboxing was technically the awesome Evenheat kiln that my mom gave me, so we'll call this my next unboxing!

It all started with a request from my husband for a simple letter embroidery project for some tokens that we'll be using for the TrueDungeon event at GenCon. The project consisted of four black drawstring pouches with a character class name on them, which we'll cover in another blog post later. I pulled out the handy dandy Bernina, and found myself sorely bummed out.

Now, don't get me wrong - my used Bernina sewing machine (mentioned in this post) is an old workhorse that is in pretty awesome shape for its age. Its previous owner took excellent care of it, and it has plugged its way through every project I've thrown at it so far...until now.

One of the nicer features on the machine is the embroidery feature, which wasn't found on many machines at the time this one was manufactured. It has two fonts - a single line and an outline of letters, and no ability to adjust the size of the letters. The lettering also was unfortunately a bit small - too small for what we had in mind.

After a discussion with my husband and some browsing through the many options with Amazon, it was off to the local sewing store, B Sew Inn!

I cannot tell you how much different it is when you're trying to purchase a machine like this on your own, browsing through review sites and online stores, versus having an actual sitdown with a reputable sewing machine dealer. The sales rep we spoke with was polite, knowledgeable and patient, but what really impressed me was that she actually remembered me from the previous time I had come in to the store a couple years before while looking for a sewing machine (which led to my acquisition of the Bernina).

She didn't know my name since I didn't really give it to her, but after two years, she remembered that I had come in at one point, and even what I had been looking for at the time.Needless to say, we left the store after purchasing a Babylock Ellure Plus.
Babylock Ellure Plus - picture located here:

Most of the people who know me know that I'm a bit of a tightwad when it comes to supplies, but this was something I easily see being a long term investment. It was the service options that came with the machine that I was after, which consists of a three year gold service warranty that covers anything wrong with the machine by their in-house tech, as well as the manufacturer's ten year parts/five year electronics warranty. Much better than the basic warranties provided by an online vendor, plus with online vendors, any service required on the machine means you're paying for shipping to get it to the manufacturer.

Guess who's paying the shipping in most cases... make a long story short, here's the unboxing of my new shiny! Please excuse the lighting...

This machine isn't a lightweight, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. It comes with a hard plastic cover, the machine itself, a flatbed embroidery table, and multiple accessories.

All in all, it probably ran around 20-25 pounds, though I'm not the best judge of weight. With the flatbed table attached, the weight does increase to probably closer to the 30 pound range.

On front of the machine there are numerous labels and numbers that act as a guide for some of the more used features, namely bobbin loading and threading the machine and needle. There is an example printed on front, so it's very easy to follow the instructions in order to set up the machine. This model can be used for either embroidery or sewing, so there are instructions in the manual and even on the digital display in the form of a tutorial to walk you through changing out the appropriate presser feet. Currently, the machine is set up with a standard sewing foot, so I'll have to change out the current one for the included embroidery foot, as seen to the left in the included "bits" box, as I call it.  The bits box includes multiple small tools, a trio of bobbins, and extra foot accessories. The box is removable from the machine, and can be removed in order to attach the embroidery table.

Yay for touchscreens!
The removable flatbed embroidery table
The "bits" box
The digital screen is well lit, and so far has been easy to navigate. It includes a touchscreen feature, which makes for faster machine setup. This machine does have multiple patterns already programmed into it, but more can be loaded via a USB cable or flash drive. The flatbed attaches without any screws or bolts to worry about - we'll cover its use during a later post.

The embroidery hoop
As for accessories, there are quite a few various bits to go through. I'm relatively new at this, so I can't specifically name them all, but I can point out that they have made sure to include a large embroidery hoop for mounting the fabric and stabilizer. 
Bits galore!

The sheer variety of freebies that were included was rather nice, in my opinion. Among the items included were a couple of sample spools of thread from Madeira - one of the preferred brands for embroidery thread, a spool of "bobbin fill" thread (yes, I had to look that one up...), a tool set that I assume is for maintaining the sewing machine, a presser foot lifter attachment that allows you to lift it by lifting your knee, a small pair of scissors, and a few other things.

Also included was a set of needles, as well as a "twin needle" which is used when making parallel seams.

I've discovered throughout this embroidery machine acquisition process so far that it is not a hobby purchase so much as an investment. Embroidered items can be sold or commissioned to help offset the cost of the machine, and there is a cost. This was a pricy machine in the first place, and acquiring the various colors for my first project wasn't cheap either.

One of the main things everyone, whether the sewing machine dealer or experienced embroiderers posting reviews on forums, seems to agree on is to be wary of where you get your thread from. If you purchase it online, it might be cheaper but you do have the risk of not knowing how well the thread was sold or how old it is. Old or poor/cheap thread can cause massive frustrations and even cause e machine itself in some cases, so the common recommendation is to make sure it's a reputable source.

I'm looking forward to putting this machine through its paces and seeing what exactly its capable of!

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