If you follow me on Instagram, you probably know that I got a new sewing machine a few months ago. I had been looking at sewing machines for a couple of years as I figured out what my needs are vs. my wants and decided on a machine that would suit me and be something that I wanted to sew on for years to come. I shared a snapshot of my spreadsheet and later my new machine and several people asked for both a review and a breakdown of how and why I chose the Viking Jade 20.
I have several sewing machines. You can see some of them in the most recent tour of my sewing room. I collect vintage sewing machines, so most of them date from 1900-1970. But I really enjoy doing most of my sewing on a computerized machine, thus the reason why I wanted a brand-spanking-new sewing machine. I have been sewing for many years on a computerized Singer 160 Anniversary machine, which has been a workhorse in my sewing room. I have sewn pretty much every type of fabric on that machine with very few issues. The only fabric that I can think of that I haven’t sewn on that machine is plastic. Otherwise, I have sewn everything from silk chiffon and charmeuse to leather and heavyweight denim. Plus, I never broke it!
But, there are some features that machine was lacking. This became even more evident when I made a spreadsheet that compared various models that I was considering. My spreadsheet really helped me to decide which machine I wanted and helped separate need from want. Below is a screenshot of my spreadsheet that I made November 2016. You can view the spreadsheet in it’s entirety here.
Before I constructed my spreadsheet I sat down and figured out what features were important to me and which ones were a bit frivolous as I would likely never use them. I constructed a list of features that my new machine definitely had to have:
- One Touch Stitch Selection
- Start/Stop Button
- Needle Up/Down
- One-Step Buttonholes
- Twin Needle Capability
- Good Lighting
I had been perusing sewing machine sites for quite a while looking at machines, reading about their features and watching videos. If you fill out a questionnaire and click that you’re an advanced sewist, they will always point you towards a high-end machine that most likely has embroidery capabilities. While it might be nice to have an embroidery machine, it is not something I need. For one, I prefer hand embroidery. Two, they are always costly. I sew garments and I basically need a straight stitch, zig zag stitch and an automatic buttonhole. I don’t need 5,000 stitches I will never use. An accomplished sewist does not need all of those bells and whistles to sew a fine garment. I have no problem with anyone who likes fancy features, but I’m a practical person and a practical sewist as well. I can sew on a basic machine, but I just wanted a few more things that would make my sewing easier.
Cost is also always a factor to consider as is the distance to a dealer or the availability to buy online. I was looking for a machine that was in the $800 or less range. I live over 100 miles from the nearest Pfaff dealer and it’s 50 miles to my nearest Husqvarna Viking dealer. This made it difficult to compare prices as for some reason, they want to keep the prices a secret. WTF?! That’s my biggest pet peeve about higher end sewing machines brands. It’s much easier for people who live in rural areas to purchase online and yet you are limited with your options. I don’t have a problem traveling to a dealer, but I’d prefer to have one closer to me where I can test drive a machine, chat about a machine, buy accessories and get my machine serviced.
After considering all of my options and sewing on the machines that I could get my hands on, I narrowed it down to the Viking Jade 20 and the Janome Mod 100. The Janome was a better deal at Costco at the time and came with additional accessories. In the end, I decided on the Viking. Yes, it had somewhat to do with aesthetics as the Jade is a beautiful machine. The Janome….. not so much. I had sewn on the Jade and I loved it from the start. I saw it in the store when it was first released and found it to be eye-catching. It also is in my favorite color. I thought about having a machine that I wanted to sew on for years to come and that was the Jade. It was on sale for Black Friday and my family got it for me for Christmas. 🙂
I have been sewing on my Husqvarna Viking Jade 20 for four months now. I didn’t want to review this machine until I had sewn a variety of fabrics and tried out many of the features. I feel confident that I’ve tested this machine out thoroughly now and can share my honest opinions. When I was researching machines I could not find any reviews on the Jade other than this helpful set of videos from Sewing Mastery.
This machine was like upgrading to a Mercedes for me. It sews so beautifully and does everything with precision. It’s quiet and easy to use. The stitches are perfect and the automatic buttonholes are exceptional. Granted, I don’t use many of the stitches other than a straight stitch and a zig zag stitch. I’m happy to have the stretch stitch (lightning) now for knits and to be able to use a twin needle. I’ve used the darning stitch and the bartack stitch, but not many others. Thus the reason why I don’t need thousands of stitches!
I am very spoiled with my old Singer as I really like pressing a button to quickly pick a stitch and have everything automatically set up for me. My Jade does all of that! I’m also happy that the stretch stitch (2) has a button, too.
This machine has a neat feature with the “fix” button. It is an automatic backstitch that you can use at the beginning and end of your sewing. I use the start/stop sometimes with speed control, but I find it’s not really something that I use that often with my garment sewing. I do think I will utilize it more whilst sewing quilts or home dec.
As you can probably tell from the photo below, it converts to a free arm. It also has a drawer on each side for holding accessories. The storage space is not as big as I was used to in my old Singer, so I had to put some of the things that I usually keep in my sewing machine storage compartment into a drawer in one of my sewing desks.
The Jade has a cool feature in which it basically makes it own sewing case. A middle compartment which can hold your cords and foot pedal slides into the center and encloses all of it for storage and travel. It doesn’t do much to protect it, but it keeps most everything dust free.
So, I’ve told you many of the things that I love about this machine, but what don’t I like?
- The needle plate
- It’s hard to read the stitch widths on the guide
- The cover
- When the cover that encases the thread spool comes down, it covers up the needle up/down button. I don’t sew with the cover up as I watch movies/shows while I sew and I can’t see over the top of that.
- The grey color on the back
- Definitely not a huge factor, but I wish the entire machine was white and green without the grey.
- No automatic thread cutter
- That was the only other feature that I would have liked to have on my new machine, but it was not a deal breaker, so I did not put it on my list of priorities. The next version up from the Jade 20, the Designer Jade 35, does have that feature. The Jade 20 has a manual thread cutter.
Along with my new Viking, I got a lot of coupons to use in the Husqvarna Viking Sewing Gallery. Also, as part of the Sew Savvy Savings, you get rewards and they have occasional sales on accessories. I’ve made a list of feet that I need want and I also have an extension table on my list.
I just love my Viking! <3 I’m definitely a Viking convert!