Friday, July 7, 2017

Singer Futura XL-580 Embroidery/Sewing Machine Review

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In my previous reviews for the Singer 9960 Quantum Stylist (click here for review) and Singer Futura XL-400, (click here for review) I was really excited about the automatic thread cutter that the 9960 has, and was wishing that the Futura had it, too.  Well, I got my wish.  Most everything that the Quantum Stylist has that I love, the new Futura XL-580 has.  So I was quick to purchase it and sell my other machines.  I needed to clear out things in my bedroom/craft room/sewing room anyway.  I figured since one sewing machine takes up less room than two and since the XL-580 has the previously mentioned features, that I might as well have one machine rather than two.  Oh how I was wrong!

If you’re looking for an embroidery machine, this one will do, but if you’re looking for a great overall sewing machine, the Quantum Stylist takes the cake.

Here’s my review on the Singer Futura XL-580. In this review, I am comparing it with the Futura XL-400 and the Quantum Stylist 9960, so I’m a little biased.  If I had nothing to compare it with, I’m sure my review would be a little different.

 

Pros:


  1. Automatic Thread Cutter--Has an automatic thread cutter (push the button and it cuts the thread), but it is different than the one that the Quantum Stylist has.  It is slower and moves the needle to the center position when it cuts (more details in the cons section below.)

  2. Programmable Needle Up/Down--Has a button to make the needle stop down as you sew (more details in the cons section below.) The XL-400 has one, too, but I didn’t realize it since I only used it for embroidery.

  3. Automatic Needle Threader.  The automatic needle threader seems to work well.

  4. BONUS Software Included--It comes with all the embroidery editing software (AutoPunch™, HyperFont™ and Advanced Editing software), so you don’t have to purchase it separate, as with the XL-400 and other previous Futuras.

  5.  USB KEY—It comes with a unique USB thumb drive (aka dongle or key), so you don’t have to hook up your machine to your computer each time you want to get into the software to create/edit some embroidery designs.  Simply plug the thumb drive into your computer and start up the software program.  This is another main reason I purchased this machine to replace the XL-400.  Some people have reported that they lost their thumb drive and had to pay a lot of money to replace it.  I simply made a backup of the software so that if I did ever lose it, I wouldn’t have to buy another one. However, you will not be able to use the backup thumb drive to use the software without hooking it up to the machine.  In other words, you will have the software backup, but not be able to get into the software without the original thumb drive or without hooking it up to the machine. In order to use the machine for embroidery, it must be hooked up to the machine.  The thumb drive that comes with it is only so that you can work in the software before hooking it up to the machine.  It is just for convenience.

  6. 3 Hoops.  Has the same small and large snap-on hoops as the XL-400, with an additional endless hoop (another reason I purchased it.) However the endless hoop is not very big, so it is basically for borders.

  7. Multihoop Capability—same as the XL-400.  I still have not tried it out yet.

  8. 215 built-in stitches.  I wasn’t sure whether to put this under pros or cons because it’s not as many stitches as the Quantum Stylist (600), but a lot more than the XL-400 (30). So I put it in both. The XL-580 has 100 regular and decorative stitches with the rest being alphabetic.  The Quantum Styilist has 150 decorative stitches, with the rest being alphabetic.

  9. Speed Control.  Just like the XL-400 and Quantum Stylist, the speed control comes on the XL-580 and it is a wonderful feature.

  10. Control Panel—I do like the control panel on the XL-580 better than the XL-400.  It is pretty simple to navigate through the different stitches. However, I like the tension control on the XL-400 better.

Cons:

  1. Delayed On Switch.  Takes a while to come on after flipping the switch. Most times I think I don't have it plugged in, so I flip the switch again, just as it finally comes on.

  2. Automatic Thread Cutter goes to center needle position when activated so if you have a presser foot such as the overcast foot, it breaks the needle! (I have broken two needles within an hour.) This just takes some getting used to, I suppose.  And it’s not an issue if you’re just using it as an embroidery machine.  The Quantum Stylist thread cutter would lower the needle in the same position that it was rather than changing it to the center.

  3. Needle position is automatically in the up position when you stop sewing, but you can touch a button to have it stop down instead of up. However, when you turn off the machine, the next time you turn it on, it automatically stops up again instead of down so you must remember each time you turn on your machine to push the button.  Again, it will take some getting used to and it’s not a problem if you’re just using it for an embroidery machine.  This would not have been a problem for me if I had written this 6 years ago (before I grew accustomed to the Quantum Stylist).

  4. SWIFTSMART™ Threading System is terrible and very “finicky.”  The Quantum Stylist has a much better threading system.  You have to get the thread in perfectly and it must be clean, free of any lint.  Mopsy Jay has a very good video on youtube describing how to clean it.

  5. Automatic tension is also finicky.  I am constantly having to readjust the tension.  I never had to do this with the Quantum Stylist. Again, everything must be very clean for it to work.  I cleaned it out and there was very little bobbin cleanlint, but there was also a tiny sliver of wood in the bobbin case, so that might have been messing it up.  After cleaning it, it works fine.  I only used it a few times before having to clean it out.  With the Quantum Stylist, I could go months without cleaning it and it would litterally be caked with lint before it started messing up.

     
  6. Squeaky hand wheel.  When I first purchased this machine, it squeaked so bad, I ended up sending it back, thinking something was wrong with it.  The replacement I received squeaked, too, but not quite as bad.  I pulled off the hand wheel and oiled the inside (the belt) as well as I could and it did help. See the video here.

  7. 215 Built-in Stitches. Not as many decorative stitches to choose from as the Quantum Stylist has. I also put this as a Pro because it has more stitches than the XL-400.

In conclusion, if you are looking for an inexpensive embroidery machine that hooks up to your computer, this one will suffice.  There are more features to this machine than the older versions.  However, if you sew often, the Quantum Stylist blows this one out of the water.  I regret selling mine and will be looking to buy another one.  The tension issues I have with the XL-580 is just too much to bear.  The Quantum Stylist sews so much better.

My advice if you already own the Futura XL-400, is to keep it and don’t upgrade.  I think the XL-400 sews better than the XL-580.  Unfortunately I’ve already sold my XL-400 and it’s been past the time frame that I could send the XL-580 back.


Helpful links:

Singer Futura XL-400 product info
Singer Futura XL-580 product info
Singer Quantum Stylist 9960 product info
Singer Embroidery Machine Comparison Chart

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

42 Presser Feet Guide

42 Presser Feet Guide

What is included and what do they do?

 

Most presser feet cost $5 and up.  There’s a couple big kits with loads of presser feet on the market that are a lot more affordable.  There are many different variations of the kits, as well as different sizes. I purchased the 42-piece kit.  The box reminds me of a box of chocolates.

 

presser feet box

 

I searched on other websites for a complete list for what was what and their uses.  I couldn’t find any.  So….

I went through piece-by-piece and compiled a convienent list with photos, uses, and videos (also available on PDF).

They are in order from top let to bottom right of the box.

 

As far as quality, I can’t tell a difference from these and the authentic Singer feet.


 

1. Stitch Guide Foot

 

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This ruled guide foot allows you to maintain a fixed width from the edge of the cloth and can be used for perfect topstitching on both straight and curved lines. Video.

 

 

2. Universal (All-Purpose) Presser Foot

 

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The All-Purpose Foot is used for general sewing on most types of fabric. The All-Purpose Foot may also be used for elastic insertion and basic mending. The foot’s wide needle slot allows for sewing of stitches up to 7mm in width. Video.

 

 

 

3. Open Toe Foot

 

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The open toe foot provides you with an unobstructed view of the stitching area. The open toe foot is perfect for appliquéing, decorative stitching and surface embellishment. Video.

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Zipper Foot

 

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A special foot for zipper insertion sewing.

Use this foot with your sewing machine for making zipper insertion easy.

Always use a straight stitch only with the zipper foot. Video.

 

 

 

5. Button Sewing Foot

 

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Quickly achieve the professional finish that your work deserves with the Button Sewing Foot. Featuring a textured rubber sleeve, the Button Sewing Foot securely holds everything in place so that your fingers can be a safe distance away from the needle. Video.

 

 

 

6. Invisible Zipper Presser Foot (Clear)

 

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An invisible zipper is always inserted before stitching the garments seam. The Invisible Zipper Foot has two grooves underneath the foot to accommodate the zipper coils and hold them in place as you stitch. Buy a zipper that is at least 1 1/4" (3 cm) longer than the zipper opening. Video.

 

 

 

 

7. Appliqué Foot

 

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This presser foot is shorter than most for easier maneuvering around curves and corners when sewing appliqué pieces. Made of clear plastic for easier viewing as you sew.

Video

 

 

 

 

8. Round Bead Foot

 

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Sewing on strung beads and pearls has always been a tedious task but the beading foot now goes some small way to alleviating this and to add pleasure to embellishing.Video

 

 

 

 

9. Overcast (Edge Stitch) Foot

 

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The Edge Stitch Foot is used for overcast stitches that stitch to the side and can pucker or curl the fabric to prevent the fabric from curling under. The tiny wire on the edge of the foot prevents the curling of the fabric edge. Video

 

 

 

 

10. Satin Stitch Foot

 

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For sewing dense zigzag stitching. The bottom of the foot is beveled for smooth delivery of thread when sewing decorative or sating stitches. Foot is made of clear plastic making it easier to view stitching. Video

 

 

 

 

11. 6mm Roll of Lace (Round Rolled Hem) Presser Foot

 

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Also known as a narrow hem foot, the rolled hem foot sews a very narrow hem, providing a professional edge finish. Video

 

 

 

 

12. Teflon (Non-stick) Foot

 

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The Non-Stick Foot is the cure for sewing difficult like Suede, Leather, Vinyl, or even laminated fabrics. If you are ever having trouble feeding fabric smoothly, try the Non-Stick Foot! Video

 

 

 

 

 

 

13. Open Toe Embroidery Foot (Clear)

 

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The open toe foot provides you with an unobstructed view of the stitching area. The open toe foot is perfect for appliquéing, decorative stitching and surface embellishment. Video.

 

 

 

14. Large Opening Presser Foot

 

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The open toe foot provides you with an unobstructed view of the stitching area. The open toe foot is perfect for appliquéing, decorative stitching and surface embellishment. Video.

 

 

 

 

 

15. Cording Foot

 

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This foot allows you to add decorative cording, yard, and elastic thread easily and perfectly. Video.

 

 

 

 

16. 1/4" Quilting (Patchwork) Foot

 

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Marked both in front of and behind center needle position with 1/4" and 1/8" marks. Your perfect reference point for pivoting, stopping, and starting is right on the foot. Use right edge of foot for piecing scant 1/4" seams; left edge is just right for 1/8" narrow seams in doll clothes, miniature quilts, and crafts. It’s the best type of foot to use for 1/4" seams. Also know as a "Quilting" foot It makes easy work of piecing and helps make perfect seam allowances of 1/4" and 1/8" on many Singer sewing machines. Video.

 

 

 

 

17. Braiding Foot

 

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The adjustable guide on this foot offers perfectly centered hands free placement of cords, ribbon, braiding, or tape up to 7mm in width. Video.

 

 

18. Standard (Zig-Zag) Presser Foot

 

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All-purpose sewing foot for sewing utility stitches from straight stitch to zigzag.

Video.

 

 

 

 

19. Straight Stitch Foot

 

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Often used on very fine or very heavy fabrics, the Straight Stitch Foot is flat on the underside to provide an even pressure against the feed dogs. It has a rounded needle hole which offers the benefit of more support around the needle to prevent skipped stitches and puckering.

    Designed with single hole to allow sewist to sew a straight stitch on lightweight fabrics without skipping stitches. Video.

 

 

 

20. 1/4" Quilting (Scant) Foot

 

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Eliminate swerving by running your fabric alongside the included guide. This foot ensures an exact 1/4” seam when piecing a quilt or a perfect 1/4” topstitch. Video.

 

 

21. Overcast Foot

 

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Great foot to use when sewing overcast stitches on your sewing machine because of the extra guide installed in the foot. Video.

 

 

 

 

 

22. 5- Hole Cording Foot

 

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This 5 hole cording foot makes attaching decorative cords and threads is a snap. This foot eliminates tangling to ensure that cords lie flat and perfectly parallel to each other. The cording foot controls threads so both hands can guide the fabric. Use this foot to create decorative stitching over cording on single and double layers of fabric. Video.

 

 

23. 7-Hole Cording Foot

 

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This 7 hole cording foot makes attaching decorative cords and threads is a snap. This foot eliminates tangling to ensure the cords lie flat and perfectly parallel to each other. The cording foot controls threads so both hands can guide the fabric. Use this foot to create decorative stitching over cording on single and double layers of fabric. Video.

 

 

 

24. Edge Joining Foot (Stitch in the Ditch)

 

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For even-sided stitching when joining two pieces of fabric, lace or trim, try this edge joining foot. It’s also great for narrow edge stitching and stitching seams directly into the ditch. Video.

 

 

 

 

 

25. Double Welting (Piping) Foot

 

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Used to apply piping or welt cording. This presser foot gives you a professional finish whether the welt cord or piping is purchased pre-covered or you cover it yourself. Ideal for upholstered or home decoration projects. Video.

 

 

 

26. Invisible Zipper Presser Foot (Metal)

 

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For truly invisible zippers with a professional appearance, this is the right foot to use. The zipper coils actually act as the guide for this foot, allowing for perfectly positioned stitches that won’t show on the front of your garment. Video.

 

 

 

27. Fringe (Looping) Foot

 

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Create one-of-a-kind decorative surface embellishments that look and feel like chenille-type textures. This is the perfect foot to easily create loops, fringe, and heirloom fagoting. This foot can even be used for making accurate pattern markings. Video.

 

 

 

 

28. Adjustable Bias Tape Binder Foot

 

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The Bias Binder Foot will save you hours of work on your next binding project. Transform raw bias strips into perfectly precise binding. The Bias Binder Foot will fold, feed, flatten, and finish your binding for you with unbelievable accuracy. The 1/4" Bias Binder uses bias strips 1" wide for a 1/4" finished binding. Video.

 

 

 

29. Shirring (Gathering) Foot

 

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Gather the fast and easy way with this foot. Simultaneously gather and attach ruffles to garments, pillows, and other home decor items in no time! Video.

 

 

30, 31, and 32. 3mm Narrow Edge (Hem) Presser Foot, 6mm Wide Edge (Hem) Presser Foot, and 3mm Roll of Lace (Round Hem) Presser Foot

 

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Also known as a narrow hem foot, or round rolled hem foot.  Sews a very narrow hem, providing a professional edge finish. Video.

 

 

 

 

33. Roller Foot

 

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Sew thicker and textured fabrics, heavy knits, leather or vinyl easily with the Roller Foot. Video.

 

 

34. Sewing Beads Presser Foot

 

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Sewing on strung beads and pearls has always been a tedious task but the beading foot now goes some small way to alleviating this and to add pleasure to embellishing.Video

 

 

 

 

35. Buttonholing (Buttonhole) Presser Foot

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This buttonhole foot sews perfectly sized buttonholes no matter how many you want to make. Video.

 


 

 

 

36. Darning (Freehand Embroidery) Foot, Low Shank

 

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The darning & freehand embroidery foot is used to repair holes & tears, but can also be used for free motion embroidery, stipple quilting and creating monograms.  Keep fabric flat and under control while darning. This foot is great to use while performing stippling, meandering and thread-painting techniques simply and precisely. Video.

 

 

37. Blind Hem Stitch Foot

 

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The blind hem foot is used in conjunction with your machine's blind hem stitch to sew hems that are practically invisible on the right side of the fabric.  Video.

 

 

 

38. Darning (Embroidery) Foot (Spring-loaded)

 

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The darning foot is suitable for a series of free-motion techniques such as darning smaller holes or tears. It is also ideal for embroidery, making lace, quilting and sewing monograms. When the needle raises a vertical spring presses the fabric down (hopper mechanism) thus preventing the fabric from lifting along with the needle or flagging. Video.

 

 

 

 


 

39. Zipper Foot, Low Shank (Adjustable)

 

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A must have for machines with few or no needle position customization, the Adjustable Zipper Foot is equipped with a screw to alter the position of the presser foot in relation to the needle position. You simply move the screw to adjust the position of the actual foot. You can get as close or as far away from the needle position as you like. By lining up the zipper teeth to run against the side of the presser foot, you can customize the zipper seam width. Video.

 

 

40. Knit Foot

 

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The Knit-Edge foot hems and top stitches knits and faux furs. Also referred to as the “little sister” to the walking foot, or a miniature walking foot. Video.

 

 

 

41 and 42. 7-Groove and 9-Groove Pintuck Foot

 

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The pintuck foot, in conjunction with a twin needle, creates raised tucks in lightweight fabrics to embellish garments and table or bed linens. Video.