Singer Futura SEQS 6700 / XL 550 Info Search
The Search...Well, as things go I found myself looking into a new sewing endeavor -- embroidery. I still can do hand embroidery, but this new venture is Machine Embroidery. The interest has been there for a few years, just not so hot that I needed to do something about it, that something being to mortgage the house. I mean really, have you seen the prices of the name brand embroidery machines available? The last quote I got for one of the top of the line embroidery machines was $10,000 USD. The good ones are upward of $4,000 USD, and used ones do come up on the market when a previous owner upgrades and turns in her older model.
If the machine chosen did not have a bonus package of some sort for the types of software they say is necessary, then you need to decide your most important software and then the costs can be anywhere from $300 to $2,500 which is what one lady on one of my sewing forums said her upper end embroidery machine needed.
Then there is that wonderful little attachment that cost another almost $700 for a foot that regulates stitches on one brand. One or more of the other brand machines has it attached, but if you have a lower grade machine, then you can add it, if compatible with your model.
So looking at price brought me to the Singer line of embroidery machines. They are being sold at different stores or on-line. Price can vary depending on who is selling the particular model, new or used, or even refurbished. Not to whine, but I'm retired, on fixed income, and am not making any kind of bonus bucks.
Intertwined in all this was my Facebook likes and Darlene Cahill. I joined her dot com website a while back to see sewing tips and tricks and projects. Of course she was mentioning embroidery hints and tips, too. So ultimately there came to my attention information about a Singer machine on HSN (Home Shopping Network) in December that was supposed to have 'everything' new and innovative and a value package to boot, the Singer Futura Quartet SEQS 6700 which is a HSN number for the Singer Futura XL 550. It is said that the Singer machine can read 14 of the different design formats instead of just the one or two that belong to a model/brand. It does not have a computer inside, you have to have your computer hooked up to the machine when on embroidery, with the software downloaded and any pertinent upgrades. It does not have the capability to take one of the info sticks or flash drive as I learned to call them.
I've been looking at any information I can find, since this machine seems to be within my financial reach, meaning Much Cheaper than the rest. Facebook has a couple of groups or pages devoted to Singer, Darlene Cahill, machine embroidery, Futura machines, and there is more to be found on yahoo groups. I have not visited all of the yahoo groups yet, still in the process.
The Findings...So what have I found out? The two Singer model numbers are the same machine except that one has a HSN model number (SEQS 6700) and comes with bonus software and extra attachment feet. Interesting that a week or so later, HSN started selling the XL 550 model without the bonus package at the same introductory price as the 6700. Singer sold the XL 550 earlier, not sure if this year or in 2011, but I'm basing that on comments people have made on blogs and forums about getting one.
People receiving the 6700 started complaining about the hoops, or at least the small hoop, not working as easily as they saw demonstrated on HSN. Then, following the blogs and pages, there was a problem with loading the software. Singer has identified the problem and made efforts to fix the hoop problems: they will send a replacement to those who bought the 6700 through HSN. Problems with the software possibly could be resolved by doing a live update at the Singerco site or the futura-support dot com site, whichever shows the Futura machines. (Sorry, I'm tired and may fix / correct this bit of info later, just right now I want to finish this blog article.) If all else failed, then call for help at singerco dot com. Be warned there is a hefty wait to get to a customer service representative.
Some of the other problems seem to be with the new technology, basically Windows 7 and 8, not fitting the older software sent with the machine. Singer is working on a patch. Other problems seem to be issues that may be quality control issues, but hard to say, since it could also be operator error for those new to machine embroidery and the definite learning curve -- or both. The computer must be attached to the embroidery machine to do embroidery, from what I have heard, although I think I heard Darlene say when demonstrating, that it could embroider the 125 designs already in the machine as a stand alone out of the box. Normal sewing can be done without the computer attached.
The Videos Found...I ultimately found some videos on YouTube dot com and started collecting the pertinent ones pertaining to general sewing by machine, to my Singer 9960 sewing machine, and to the Singer XL 550 and SEQS 6700 Futura models. I made YouTube playlists and for anyone looking, I made public the 9960 and the XL 550 / SEQS 6700 playlists. Search for dealya15 on YouTube and you should be able to choose one of the lists. Oh, by the way, my favorite songs are also on a public playlist, just in case you run into it instead.
If that search does not work, here is the 550/6700 link.
If you'd like to see videos pertaining to the Singer 9960 model that I bought from Amazon here's the link:
If you have any YouTube video suggestions to add to the list, please post a comment and add the correct title so I can find it. Thanks.
Sounds like I need to win the lottery in order to buy one of these machines, especially if I wanted to get one of the Bernina, Viking Husqvarna, Brother or Janome high end models. Or maybe just a small win to get the Singer machine when and if they have got the bugs worked out.
Other Machines...I have seen and compared some of the cheaper Brother embroidery models but discounted them due to factors such as hoop size, design formats read, software availability, combination or embroidery only machines and customer comments posted. Big box stores have the really cheaper models and better models can be bought at Brother dealerships and the prices go up accordingly. Pfaff, Viking and Bernina were not in my price range at all. You will have to do your own research if you want a higher end machine.
Update: more stuff I found out after I posted