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Forum > Sewing Machines > Sewing Machine Sizes ( Moderated by Sharon1952, EleanorSews)

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Sewing Machine Sizes
How does it influence your decision to purchase?
retrotechgeneva
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retrotechgeneva
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Date: 6/3/14 7:24 AM

As I wrote in my review of my recently-acquired Bernina Aurora 430, I went through quite a list of considerations and comparisons before making my decision (which ultimately came down to a good price, friendly dealer, and excellent reviews of the machine). However, while shopping around and wondering whether I wanted to pay a premium for a brand new machine, I put two new Berninas on my wishlist in case I could manage to convince myself that the extra cost of buying new was worth it for the few additional features I would have (I then decided having a professionally-serviced machine was fine for my needs and fit my wallet better ).

The two new Berninas on my wishlist were the B580 (great for garment sewers from what I read and asking price about $4000 in Switzerland, without the embroidery module), and the B710 (TOL features like dual feed, thread cutter, huge bobbin capacity but without lots of embroidery and quilting-specific stuff I would not need). The 710 was particularly of interest due to a special offer Bernina is having on it in Switzerland till the end of June ($500 off, taking the price to $3,000 so even less than the 580).

Although I was happy with my Aurora 430, I was still dwelling a bit on "what-ifs" and decided to combine a foot-acquisition errand with some exploration in a local Bernina dealer, where the 710 had pride of place in the shop window (due to the special offer). When I finally saw it, I was stunned by the absolutely mammoth size of the 710, and not in a good way. I found it so huge as to be almost cartoonish, and was so grateful to come back to my comparatively compact 430! I still find the features of the 710 appealing, but the size seems overkill to me - an amateur garment sewer, with a small space at home to work in and no projects larger than a set of curtains to hem (even that is every once in a while, I am mostly sewing garments for myself). I can imagine that for a professional seamstress or a quilter or frequent embroiderer the size and weight of the 710 might be an asset, but for me... well, I hope one day Bernina will bring some of the dual feed and large bobbin features to a smaller machine.

I think some of my surprise comes from the fact that I grew up around quite old hand-crank style sewing machines (even newer Butterfly ones made in China), since that is what is used in West Africa most often (access to electricity is not always guaranteed). So my frame of reference for the size of a sewing machine is something that can be easily picked up (even if bolted to a base) by putting one hand around the horizontal shaft. I found my older Berninas (730 Record and 830 Record) to be huge when I first got them, but then I got used to the size (and I'm grateful for their weight that holds them stable while I sew) and I'm glad the Aurora 430 does not take up more room on my table than the 830 Record did.

So - what do you make of the growing size of sewing machines these days? How many sewing machines out there (that are not targeted to embroidery enthusiasts) are as big as the 710? - I don't have many non-Bernina dealers in my neck of the woods to check out everything that is out there. How big is your primary machine, do you wish it was bigger or smaller, and has the size of a machine (other than wanting a smaller one to tote around for classes) ever influenced your decision to purchase it as a primary machine? (I'm pretty sure that now, having seen the 710, even if I had $3000 burning a hole in my pocket and had not yet bought the 430, I would go for a 550 ($2300), sacrifice the dual feed and pocket the change; the size of the 710 just feels intimidating and also unnecessary for my garment sewing needs.)
-- Edited on 6/3/14 7:29 AM --

ilesliemy
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Date: 6/3/14 9:26 AM

I do have a 710 but I am mostly a quilter who makes the occasional garment. I do love the feature set though. For example for a garment sewer it has buttonholes where you can adjust the bead and the cutting width and that made me nuts that I couldn't do that on my 440. The harp space would be grand for making a coat too. Many many things can be made with a smaller machine though as I have been using a mechanical Bernina 1031 this week as my 710 is in for service. By the way, my 710 sits down in a cabinet so it doesn't look so large that way.
Leslie

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Bernina Gal

lgrande
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Date: 6/3/14 9:30 AM

I think the B580 (without the embroidery module) would be a great choice for you. Owners universally praise that machine.
The thing about the 710 that makes it look so huge is that it's so tall! It is a bit off-putting at first.
So far the 580 isn't available here without embroidery, I think it's odd that it's different in some countries.

------
Linda

Bernina 830LE - Brother Dreamweaver VQ3000 - Bernina B530 - Janome 6600P - Pfaff 1209 - Babylock Evolution - Janome 644 - Babylock Sashiko2 - Babylock BLCS-2

cherylwashere
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In reply to retrotechgeneva <<
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Date: 6/3/14 10:37 AM

I have the B820 and 2 reasons I wanted it so badly... the 12" harp space... and the jumbo bobbins.... LOVE IT :)

And I have a Pfaff with IDT... once you become hooked on IDT... there is no going back to a walking foot.

------
Bernina 820, Bernina 330, Pfaff Creative 7530, Janome 1600P

LynnRowe
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Date: 6/3/14 10:44 AM

I have small to jumbo sewing machines, and I don't recall size being an issue in my decisions to purchase any of them.

The Singer Featherweights are small; bought them coz they're too damn cute not to.

Same with the 3/4 size B350SE; HAD to have the dragonfly! The B560 is the standard machine size, love her (just wish she had IDT) and my Pfaff 2023, also standard size, is beautiful, has my beloved IDT, and is amazing with any type of knit fabric. The Pfaff Creative Performance and B750 are jumbos, both with IDT and their hefty size doesn't make any difference, good or bad, to my sewing.

It does make a difference (bad, lol!) to carting them in for service or for classes. They are just too large and heavy for that to be any fun.

------
I heart Panzy, Pfaff Creative Performance, the sewing machine love of my life!
And Baby (Enlighten serger), Victor (BLCS), Rupert (Pfaff 2023-knits expert) Ash (B350SE-Artwork), Kee (B750QEE-Panzy's BFF), Georgie (B560-Kee's baby sister) and the Feather-Flock!

Most of all, I heart Woo (HimmyCat). Until we meet again, my beautiful little boy. I love you.

annenet
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Date: 6/3/14 12:27 PM

I had a similar reaction when I saw the 780 - all I could think was "I don't have enough room of that"! I measured my cabinet and even though it was custom made and can be altered it wouldn't fit - I found that to be a bit of a relief.

I wound up getting a 580 and I can't say enough about it. It's wonderful and hasn't given me a lick of trouble!

------
So many projects, not enough time
At my house in VA:
Bernina 1010, Activa 220, Artista 630E, B580
Singer 201-2, 221, Bernina Serger 1300MDC, BL Enlighten, BL Sashiko, BL Cover Stitch, Consew 75T

At my Lake House in PA:
Bernina Artista 165E, Singer 503A. Bernina Serger 1100d

http://sewingtechie.blogspot.com/

Doris W. in TN
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Doris W. in TN  Friend of PR
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In reply to retrotechgeneva <<


Date: 6/3/14 2:04 PM

Quote: retrotechgeneva

So - what do you make of the growing size of sewing machines these days?

I don't make many quilts anymore and mostly sew garments and occasional Home Dec. So my standard size machines are fine for me. The really large machines, with 10 - 12 inches of harp space, are very nice if one is going to do a lot of quilting.

I never gave the Bernina 8 series more than a glance when they came out. They're too large and too heavy for me to carry up and down stairs at my age, and with my aging joints. I'm not getting younger (ack!) and barely manage with my standard size machines, for classes and taking for service visits. And then there's the price . . . so I'm quite happy with what I already have.
Al Johnson
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Al Johnson
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Date: 6/3/14 4:24 PM

I was fortunate enough to do some sewing on this machine where I worked. It's a Singer 7 Class, for harnesses. I had a tape measure across the table for a size reference, but it's hard to see in this cell phone photo. That's about 27 inches across the base, so ya, it's big.


-- Edited on 6/3/14 4:26 PM --

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A sewing machine is just a welder for textiles.

SouthernStitch
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Date: 6/3/14 11:14 PM

I love a big machine. I'd have probably purchased a Bernina 820 or 830 if I'd had the space. I like big screens, and I like that screen to be center, right in my face.

I got hooked on flat bed sewing after I had a sewing counter built with 20" long wells for the machines to sit in. The Bernina 7 series were the only long bed machines that would fit properly. So much to consider when you're thinking about SM size, your sewing space, and what type of sewing you do.

I also love my big Juki2010, and that one is sort of large too. I use my Bernina 530 mainly as a travel machine. It's such a pleasure sewing on the 780 I don't hardly want to use anything else.

------
Bernina 780, and 530
Juki TL2010
Babylock Evolution
Singer 403a

When life gives you green velvet curtains, make a green velvet dress.

Geejay
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In reply to retrotechgeneva <<


Date: 6/3/14 11:52 PM

I went from a janome 6600 and the bought a Bernina 550.
This machine is all I need. I mostly deal with garments,and smaller craft projects,textile art. Enough power to hem many layers of denim without balking,great accessories freemotion couching foot,felting foot and yes the size was a factor in my purchase.
The larger 7 series just reminded me of a whale. Too oversized for me .

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