Thursday, November 21, 2013

Review of Husqvarna Viking Opal 650

My sewing machine broke earlier this year, and although I did manage to fix it, I didn't have time to sew much to verify that it was indeed back to its normal state.  I haven't been able to do any sewing for a long time due to tight deadlines at work and massive amounts of overtime.  I have been looking at blogs and magazines during my "spare time," like when I am eating breakfast, which has created a pent up demand for sewing.

When the deadline was met and the cleanup started, I brought out my African Crazy quilt, thinking that I could do some handwork on it.  But as the cleanup at work happened, my house was also screaming for cleanup, so the box sat unopened.

Eventually the pent up demand for sewing got too strong, and I rushed out to buy a new sewing machine.  I went to the Viking store that is inside the Joann store. I went straight for the Husqvarna Viking Opal 650  which I had decided I wanted earlier in the year. They had simpler models which had smaller throats and bigger models with more stitches and embroidery features, but this model had what I needed, and a few extra bells and whistles without too much of the stuff I didn't need.   I was able to get it for a great price, and am very happy with my purchase thus far.

See the built in needle threader, the clear bobbin cover and the supply box in the back. The organizer (sold separately) does make it easier to find things.

The many stitches available, the needle up and down button, the fix button, the cover that keeps your thread clean and out of the way.

The guide tells you what pressure foot to use, what stitch you are using, and lets you adjust your stitch length and move your needle over.

What I like About the Husqvarna Viking Opal 650

  • It feels like a nice sturdy machine.  It has metal parts!
  • The machine has many, many more stitches than my Kenmore 16, which has 16 stitches. It has 160. I haven't tried them all yet, but don't worry, I will use all of them at one point or another.  I  like using them for quilting.
  • Larger storage space means more space to put those odds and ends supplies.
  • Larger throat means more space to quilt big quilts.
  • The reverse button works!
  • It has a needle down position.
  • You can see when you are running out of bobbin thread.
  • You can wind the bobbin with the needle still threaded.
  • It secures the stitches when it starts - they call it "fix"  and you can also secure the stitches at the end without reversing.
  • The nice big storage space is behind the needle, so there is lots of place to put all your feet. 
  • You can move your needle over to get a scant quarter inch seam. 

Negative Features of the Husqvarna Viking Opal 650

  • The biggest negative is that it doesn't come with quilting feet.  You have to buy the quarter inch foot, the walking foot, and the darning foot separately.  They do have a quilter's package that has these three feet for less than the price of buying them individually, but I'm waiting for the sale.
  • The feet don't work with other machines, so I can't mix and match and use the ones I already have.
  • The big storage space is behind the needle so you have to reach around to find things.  On my Kenmore, it is in front of the needle and much easier to access.  The big space also means that things get lost in there.  There is an organizer (pictured) that is sold separately separate that will help make things easier.
  • Since the machine is bigger than the Kenmore, it doesn't fit in my sewing table.  I am going to have to find another arrangement, which may finding someone to make the space bigger, or buying an extension so I can have a flat bed.
  • The accessories are expensive! 

Overall, I am really happy with the machine so far. 

2021 Update

I wrote this review in 2013 and have owned the Opal for a long while now. Here are my updated thoughts on the machine.
  • I stand by my opinion about the positive and negative features listed above.
  • I don't have to change anything, but I do have information to add.
  • My store offered free classes to help you learn how to use the machine. This was helpful, but it depended greatly on the knowledge of the instructor.
  • The company recommends annual servicing and cleaning to maintain the warranty. This costs about $100 per year, maybe a little less. This type of servicing is probably recommended for all sewing machines, so it isn't specific to the Opal, but it is something for new sewing machine owners to know and keep in mind.
  • I bought a flat bed extension. It has been a life changer. Having a flat bed makes quilting so much easier since it helps reduce drag. The flat bed also had a cling which had guiding marks so I no longer have to mark sewing lines for half square triangles.
  • Last year, I had a problem with the machine. I found out something about the servicing and maintenance of the machine. I, Shasta Matova at High Road Quilter, live in Ohio, and the servicing is done in Michigan. The dealer (the Viking store that is inside a Joann store) couldn't find anyone they liked in Ohio to do the servicing, so they ship to Michigan. They repair it there and then ship it back. This means it will take more than a week to get your machine back.  If there is a problem with the repair, it will have to be sent back to Michigan for a second look. Your takeaway is to ask your dealer about where the servicing will take place and the timing when considering buying a machine. 

Overall, I am still happy with the machine. 


Pamelyn's Postings said...

I have an older HV that my mom gave to me. It is the most basic model they made back in the 90's but it still sews like a dream. I just got the 1/2 price clearance sale on the Tribute and absolutely love it. It has many of the features that yours has. It's great for sewing, piecing, and FMQ. Very satisfied with the Vikings hanging around my house!

PatriciaCClark said...

Hello again, Just purchased an Opal 650 myself and I have discovered there is a bit of a learning curve to it. I consider myself an intermediate stitcher, and am so glad my old machine bit the dust so I could get a new one. Thanks for the review.

Susan said...

I can't speak to the Opal, but I moved from a top of the line 25-year old Kenmore to a Viking 500 about 25 years ago, and I've never been sorry. I love my machine more than anything! That little box behind the needle is one of the reasons I love it so much. This fall, I bought a used Platinum 770 and it had all the features I liked. When my son presumed I would pass along the 500 to him, I couldn't do it. I gave him the 770! LOL

I'm glad you like your Opal and I bet you grow in your liking over time - a long time! By the way, if you stick with Viking brand (Husqvarna), the feet are interchangeable from one to another. =) I don't think any machine brand has feet that are universal, though there are non-brand feet that will fit more than one brand of machine.