Saturday, December 21, 2013

Butterfly Embroidery Machine Details

I have been asked a few questions on the machines I use to embroider different designs.  I have a bunch of different machines, but for today, I am going to show you my 15 needle machine. The machine is the Butterfly 1501B/T which I bought about a year ago.  This is the same machine that I brought to BronyCon and had at my booth (and hope to do again this year).

The machine has 15 needles, so it can do designs with up to 15 colors without needing to change thread.  That means the Lunar Guard and Sapphire Shores can be done without changing colors, but designs like Cadence and Shining Armor require them.  Doing more than 15 colors is a pain because the process to switch colors takes a good amount of time.  On my PE770, I can switch a color inside of 5 seconds while it takes about a minute on the Butterfly.

The Butterfly has several features that make it well worthwhile over a machine like the PE770, Dreamweaver and the PR series machines from Brother.  The Butterfly has 15 needles so the colors don't have to be changed between colors.  It will auto-cut the thread when the design calls for it and switch to the next color automatically and continue on.  Often, I only have to touch the machine every 45 minutes to change out the bobbin. The Butterfly will also sew way faster than those other machines, topping out at a true 1200 stitches per minute.

The PE770 will sew about 90% of stitches at 350 stitches per minute even when set to 650.  Same with my ULT 2001 and 6800PRW.  The pantograph (the part that moves the fabric being embroidered) can only move so fast on those machines, so unless the stitch is really small, it will be sewn at 350 or slower.  On the Butterfly, 90% of stitches are sewn at the speed you set the machine which can be anywhere from 100 to 1200 stitches per minute.  I generally sew around 750 because past that, my house starts vibrating in time with the machine.  It will start slowing down when the combined horizontal and vertical speed are farther than about 25mm.  Here's Braeburn's mane and hat being sewn at 800 stitches per minute.

The Butterfly machine has a built in LED light, and I added another to the front from Allstitch which helps if I have all the lights in the house off. The different lighting options help quite a bit depending on what I am embroidering.

Those are the different lights; front, back or off.  The hoop that you see is the largest hoop that the machine can do which is about 12" by 18".  The Butterfly can use hoops from about 90mm to 400mm wide.  I have a decent collection with 90, 120, 150, 180, and 210mm circles along with some rectangles.  The most popular hoop that I use is a 300mm by 300mm hoop which allows a maximum embroidery size of about 250 by 250mm (about 10")

The pictures of the machine don't do a good job of scale, so here's a picture in comparison to a SE400 100mm hoop (max size for the SE400 or 6800PRW

Howabout to a PE770 130 by 180mm hoop; the maximum size for a PE770

Believe it or not, the entire PE770 machine itself will fit in the hoop for the Butterfly machine.

 The PE770 will fit lying down, but it won't fit under the head of the Butterfly machine, so I can't take a picture like that. It's a big hoop; the Butterfly machine can embroider really big designs.

The Butterfly machine also has a very small throat. it is about 1.5 inches across, so it can fit inside of purses, bangs and the like.  That makes it much easier to embroider weirdly shaped items.

The machine is also open under the throat, so long or bulky items can just hang down.  This makes it super easy to embroider blankets and jackets that just won't fit in the throat of a PE770 or other home machine.

The bobbin is vertical instead of horizontal on the Butterfly machine.  The bobbins are standard type L, which can be found prewound pretty much everywhere or can be wound manually. I generally use prewound ones.

Each bobbin is good for about 45 minutes of embroidery.  The bobbin case for the Butterfly machine only costs about $4 vs the $35 for the bobbin case on the PE770 or SE400 (they use the same case).  The bobbin case on the Butterfly and the others both last about the same amount of time; roughly 200 bobbins before needing to be replaced due to wear.

The Butterfly machine has a color display like the higher end home machines.

It has lots of buttons that do lots of things.  I don't even know what some of them do, but they look cool and they beep when you push them.

I also have a 270 degree hoop for hats, though I don't make many of them.  I have them for about $13, and for some reason they aren't all that popular.  Hats are pretty annoying to hoop, but they come out great.

Total cost of the machine was about $10k with the options, hoops and other stuff I have needed to do embroidery.  Overall, I am pretty happy with it.  It has broken a few times but I have been able to fix it without much of a problem.  Next time something on it breaks, I'll have to do a post on how to fix it.

Monday, December 16, 2013


A few months ago, I embroidered some cutie marks on to fleece for Toni from Sugar Tart Crafts for her MLP costumes which you can find here.  We also had a bunch of conversations about different sewing things.  This is dangerous because I get extremely verbose.  Emails that are pages long... Oh goodness. Today, I found a present waiting for me

So many yummy cookies, and the recipes are on her blog too, so you can make them yourself.  Oh my goodness, these are so yummy I'm going to eat every single one and no one can stop me!  Bwhahahahaha! So excuse me, I need to go eat a few.

Happy Hearth's Warming Eve everyone!