|What Twizard likes about this machine|
When I first bought the machine, several people here read my complaints and offered advice. Thank you to all of you who did. The machine I originally received slipped through every checklist and quality assurance checkpoint. (Murphy loves living on my shoulder). This particular machine had a threading problem. Not a needle-threader problem. A threading problem. On this machine, you press a button, it moves everything in place and you wait for an LED to light up, telling you the machine is ready, You then pull the thread through, and press the threader button again, and the machine whirls, gags, levers move, tension discs load, and then the needle threader tries to thread the needle. On my machine, if you waited for that light to light up, 98% of the time this particular machine threaded incorrectly. If you rushed through and threaded it quickly without waiting for that little white threader light, 75% of the time it threaded correctly (that was the official finding of Bernina Office repair technicians in Chicago, who originally sent the machine back to me in that very condition with a signed note that said so). So, it was a gamble as to whether this machine would thread through the tension discs properly. The needle threader NEVER threaded the needle. The sewing timing was off straight out of the box, which was clearly demonstrated by trying the twin-needle on the machine. It would jam every time, on the first stitch. Also, the zig zag stitch never looked like a zig zag. It looked like something a 5-year-old had hand-sewn after being shown how by a drunken 90-year-old. The bobbin gears were slightly bent, and continually jammed on me, and the bobbin threaded incorrectly for embroidery. The presser foot shaft was set incorrectly into the socket and you could see the presser foot landing unevenly on the fabric. The screen was jittery, and when they checked it out, a few electrical cables had been kinked when the outer cover was installed. Nothing worked properly. Berninaís original position was that I just did not understand the machine. Although this was my first Bernina, I have been sewing 35 years, on all sorts of machines. Secondly, let me add that by trade, I am an electronics and software engineer. Somehow, this machine was not sewn on originally in Chicago, and it was shipped and given to me unopened, untried, and in considerable maladjustment.
Let me also add that the dealership, Nuttallís, stood by me every single time Bernina gave me a stupid answer. They supported my position, and finally swapped the machine for another one, and they took on Bernina to replace the machine, rather than making me wait Bernina out. The second machine has performed as it should, with no problems. They eventually replaced the original machine to the dealer.
I took the class for the 830, and it helped considerably, also. Thank you to all who encouraged me to do so. My first piece of advice for anyone considering this machine is: Make the dealership open that machine, stitch on it, and stitch the utility stitches. Stitch the twin-needle, and at least 1 complicated design stitch. The second piece of advice is not to wait. The warranty on this machine may run out on you if you do. My third one is that if it has been a while since you purchased a new machine, this one may give you culture shock. Take classes. Fourth is rip the manual out of its original binding and put it in a 3-ring. You will eventually do that anyway, so why risk losing pages.
What I like/love about this machine
The creativity possibilities are limitless. If any sewing machine out there can do it, this one likely can, too. There are so many options and capabilities for this machine. It can sew, embellish, appliquť, embroider, and combinations thereof. I havenít found anything I canít do with this machine, except sew ostrich leather. Nope, wonít do it, donít try it.. This has a great harp space, wonderful lighting, the biggest hoop I have found, and I can machine-quilt a king-size quilt on it. And, Bernina is constantly coming up with new toys to attach to it. Latest is a crystal attacher. The punch tool is just plain fun, it punches fibers or hair or yarn through fabric, and you can make hair, fur, texture. It is just fun. The cutwork tool and software produces beautiful cutwork and lacework. The Teflon and roller foot make sewing on sticky fabrics like vinyl, plastics, and leather easy.
I know there have been some complaints regarding the 9mm feed dogs, but I have found that between the ordinary feed dogs, special feet, built-in dual feed, walking foot, and the Teflon feet, I havenít found anything I cannot do, including delicate, accurate piecing, sewing with delicate fabrics, silkies, sheers, and lace, sewing through thick fabrics and layers of different fabrics, including 6 layers of tarp. Yep, it pierced it.
I made a huge (and I mean huge, 2í x 3í) tote bag out of bright striped tarp to carry quilting and sewing stuff to class, and at one point, where three layers of fabric folded over met three layers of fabric folded over, it stitched it). I had to put a leather needle in there, and go slowly, but it DID sew it. My old vintage Premier Singer clone pierces stronger and easier, but this did an admirable job. I have sewn denim, leather, faux leather, minky, flannel, silk, chiffon, satin, t-shirt material, linen, cottons, sheers, and veiling, quilt sandwiches, embroidery/appliquť layers on this machine. This machine handles everything, provided that you use the appropriate foot, the appropriate throat plate, a thread this machine likes, the right amount of presser foot pressure, the correct settings, and you hold your mouth right.
There are so many feet and tools available for this machine that the only thing I need extra is an iron. This darn thing wonít press anything (even though the needle gets hot enough to do so).
I own 38 feet for this machine. I have tried almost all of the feet available, and every single one I own. The ones I have tried are: Rolled edge foot, roller foot, Teflon feet, straight stitch foot, walking foot, ruffle, BSR, embroidery/darning foot, cut tool, punch tool, quilting foot, zipper foot, buttonhole foot, cording foot, patchwork foot, and several more. The circular attachment is cool.
I want to mention an unusual foot. The roller foot (looks like a tire) can be used to attach large piping, large beading, and other large embellishments. It is also ABSOLUTELY GREAT for sewing multiple layers of leather, suede, or faux leather/suede, and plastic and rubber (the kind you use to patch bicycle tires and inflatable rafts). You can also free-motion sew without dropping the feed dogs with this foot, and it corners on rails. This foot is amazing. Next month, I will have finished a leather art quilt and a tote with embellishments and vinyl pockets and it will be posted on my spot listed below.
The following great things happen. Each foot is specifically designed for a particular application. And, they work wonderfully within their design limitations. I find that the walking foot is best for some things, but the dual foot is needed for other things. They donít work the same way. And, they perform very differently. I find for slick fabrics, I must use the built in dual feed, but for even-weave, the walking foot is better if I am using a sandwich. And, if I have silky on top and woven on bottom, I need the dual feed. If I reverse that, I need the walking foot.
I also find that if I donít use the right foot and settings, the performance may be iffy, depending on what I am doing. This walking foot works similarly to other walking feet. The ruffler is one of the best I have ever used. The gathering foot does great gathers, but makes awful ruffles. The straight stitch foot used with a straight-stitch throat plate produces a wonderful straight stitch. However, use a zig-zag throat plate and an ordinary foot, and the straight stitch is mediocre. That statement is true of anything I do. I must set everything perfectly, and then the machine performs perfectly. If I try to use an ďadequateĒ or compromising foot or setting, then I get compromised results.
That being said, if you donít mind changing feet and throat plates and threads (even merely thread types, not always thread colors), then this is a great machine for you. If you are looking for a simple, easy-to-use machine that you can jump from task to task or project to project with a minimal of fuss and configuration, then this is definitely not the machine for you.
I donít mind changing everything. I want perfect results. And, I use several different types of machines, and do a lot of different projects. But, this is my first and only introduction to the embroidery world, Bernina, and I had not purchased a new machine in nearly 25 years. This is fascinating to me.
This machine allows me to enter everything into it, and then, it makes certain recommendations, such as alternate feet, suggested settings, etc. Also, if you tell the machine everything you have put on it, it wonít allow you to accidentally break needles (which at these speeds is guaranteed to knock your timing off) or do something equally stupid. If I tell it I put the straight stitch plate on there, then go away, do other things, and come back and set it up for zig zag, it stares at me and I stare back. It doesnít sew. I scream at it. It stares at me. Then, I pay attention, and oh, there is a pink line through the zig zag stitching, and a hazard triangle telling me to change the throat plate! Wow. The machine is smarter than me (banging head on keyboard, I know this is true).
I like the extra large bobbins, the standard three-thread holder, the easy-to follow screen directions, the well-lit screen, the tutorials, the fabric/needle/thread guide, the ease of upgrading the software, the ease of interface to my computer for designs, two USB ports, all the feet, all the options. I love the embroidery, and the fact that I can integrate any stitch into the embroidery hoop.
This machine sews extremely fast. However, the precision is better if I slow it down. That is true of all the other machines in this class, regardless of brand. The stitching is just better if I slow it down a bit. And, the needle doesnít get as hot, which means it doesnít warp as fast.
I also like that the machine remembers where I stopped, even in the middle of a hoop or embroidery panel, even if it has been days since I powered it up.
I love the combination stitching, that you can pull every single stitch into the embroidery module side of the house; and that you can sew in ANY direction you can think of. You can move the settings by number, pressing the appropriate selection icon, or dragging the stylus in some applications.
I love the fact that if I am using a decorative motif or stitch, I donít have to pull the fabric out, turn it upside down, and stitch the other way, and hope no one notices. The bunnies, elephants, flowers, or coffee cups can be stitched around a block or circle, all facing right-side-up. I love that you can stretch out, shorten, lengthen, shrink, or taper all the stitches, and you can make wavy, distorted stitches while you are stitching, to make flags moving, or standing-still-to-warp-speed transitions.
I like that I have to oil this machine. It means there is metal on it. Any machine that doesnít have to be oiled is made with a lot of plastic. A lot of plastics are highly tolerant of high temperatures, so they donít shear the way metal will. If it has metal, it has to be lubricated to prevent friction and overheating and warping during high-speed movement.
I love that I can change everything from the lighting setting to the settings. I can make this machine do ANYTHING.
A word about bobbin work: You may need to adjust both upper and lower tension, and play with the appropriate upper thread. At times, I find that embroidery bobbin thread works best as the upper thread when I am using a bobbin-work thread.
If your stitching isnít perfect on this machine, check the manual, check the settings, and start playing. I have found at times that I might get the pokies on top or bottom of the quilt sandwich. It means I didnít tell it I had thicker fabric or sandwich in it. I might be doing something kooky with thread painting and need to thread the bobbin for embroidery even though I am not doing embroidery.
I also like that it tells me several options for feet, in case I donít have the one it originally suggested for an application. However, you must keep your software up-to-date to take advantage of this.
I love the fishhook tool. It pulls threads out of the bobbin raceway and hook mechanism, and out of the threading mechanism up at the top (no, donít ask me why threads get tangled there. I am looking at the sewing part, not the machine part, and canít answer, except that thatís what machines do, collect threads where they shouldnít.)
I recommend doing the projects on the Bernina site, and I recommend looking at the videos where they demonstrate techniques and machine setup. And, for those who think this machine is too expensive, I propose this consideration: I only really need this machine, to do anything. I have others, but this one does it all (well, except for the ostrich leather). However, to do all the things this machine can do, you will be buying accessories and attachments constantly. They are not cheap, either.
I have a spot, Twizard2013@flickr.com, where I post whatever I have finished in the last two months. I change those pictures every 2 months, for whatever I am doing, in whatever state it is in. It could be anything. It is open to anyone viewing, and let me know if you have any recommendations.
I also have one last recommendation: Put this machine on a UPS, and good surge suppressor. It is a computer, and you would be surprised how many spikes happen because of the way buildings and power grids are wired. Unplug it when you are not using it, and if you live in lighting capitals, unplug it during the storms. This machine is first and foremost a computer.
What Twizard does not like about this machine
The bobbin thread eventually comes out of proper threading when doing embroidery. I have it correctly threaded, and it is doing fine, then all of a sudden, it is not doing fine, and the bobbin thread comes out and pulls up to the top of the embroidery. This is highly annoying. However, that may be due to the fact that it is on a third-floor apartment. I can feel the vibration, so it may not do it if I lived on a slab foundation house. (Bet the people living below me think I have a rock polisher or jack hammer up here going at it.)
I do not like that the threading path and most of the gears and workings are for the most part buried inside the housing. There are times when this machine is contrary, and when I thread it, it yanks the thread up inside the upper tension disk, and I have to rethread. Annoying! When the warranty is up, I am going to saw off the outer cover. I also donít like that occasionally, it decides there is no thread in the machine (there is) or there is no bobbin (there is), or that there is no thread, when in fact the bobbin thread has vibrated out. I also do not like that I cannot open the entire front cover, can only get in a little window. So if there is lint, dust, or thread, I may not be able to get to it. Annoying.
Every so often, the computer gets confused. For instance, I might put it on eco mode. When I try to take it out, it blinks, then goes right back into eco mode. Or, I have gone from embroidery to sewing, then back again, and it suddenly freezes. I have to reset the computer (shut it off/on). This is typical of any computer that you keep jumping from application to application, but it is still annoying. (I am a very patient sort of person).
Some embroidery designs that are very good designs by reliable companies, stitch differently on this machine than others. This is due to the operating system of this machine. An example is Anita Goodesign does not have running leader stitches on a Brother or Viking, but does on this machine. It hops, and stitches as it hops to the next position. Brother and Viking just hop. I asked this question, when comparing the two machines. This is annoying. I have to cut the jump stitches off because they look sloppy.
I do not like that you canít elect to save your previous software version in case the new one is wonkified. And, believe me, sometimes software updates have to be backed out because they are wonkified. I wish that was an automatic step of doing software updates. (it is available on the 780, and may likely be available soon in s software update coming your way).
Also, almost always, the embroidery colors it shows are quite wonky. It shows blue bears, pink bunny whiskers, purple cats, fuchsia ducks, orange dogs, and green snow. Most digitizers donít use our software, so it doesnít translate well. However, you can fix that in some digitizing software
Occasionally, the BSR does not read a white or black fabric. It stares at me, refusing to stitch. This is just weird. And, yes, it does it on the machine down at the dealership. And, yes, I know you have to move the fabric. NOPE. Not going to stitch it. We donít know why. The fabrics seem to be course-weave, linen or cotton types, but not denim. HMMMMMMM.
This machine draws lint to it. Of course, I live in a dry, dusty environment where every piece of electronics I own is a dust magnet.
When embroidering, if you have to rethread the bobbin, it is difficult to reach, impossible to see. I have found that I actually have to get down on my knees and holding the mirror behind the entire mechanism, shine the light on the thread tension clip, and check that way. It is easier to park the embroidery module, remove the hoop and support table, and rethread the bobbin, then rehook it all back.
I do not like carrying this machine to classes. It weighs a LOT.
I HATE that the bobbins have a silver coating, and it wears off and then the bobbins are useless. I know, Bernina will exchange them, but this was one dumb piece of engineering work. Coatings in high-friction or high-motion areas should not be soft metals.
Oh, and I cannot wind bobbin thread if there is thread in the machine. Up in the metal thread router, it all gets tangled and makes lovely, large, birds-nest-worthy lumps of thread. However, these can be recycled by using the punch tool into a scrap of fabric, and stitching it together for a unique gift bag.
What everyone says happens to them that I have found not to be true regarding this machine. The threads. I have been able to use all sorts of threads and finishes on this machine. But, sometimes I have to really play with needles, tension settings, etc. The only thing is, any brand 100% cotton thread is linty, as is Coats and Clarks, any type. Metallic threads need to be suspended upside down on a separate thread holder to allow for smoother feed, and donít put it through the needle threader. It will shred. Instead, put a metallic needle on, pull thread through, suspend the spool upside down, and dangle extra length out. Push the threader, then thread the needle yourself. Needles by Bernina are not the best choice in this machine. In my experience, SCHMIDT, and Organ are.
Do I recommend this machine? Absolutely, provided you are not a beginner sewist, and are not technology-intimidated. This machine is not for the faint-hearted, and it is not for the person who wants quick, easy, fast results. You will have to play with threads, stabilizers, feet, fabrics, needles, settings, etc. But, if you want perfect results, limitless possibilities, and donít mind experimenting, this is the toy for you.
This machine is also not for the budget-conscious. You will want the accessories to get the good results, or pool accessories with a friend. Trying to do stuff without the proper accessories Is not going to give you good results. However, that being said, if you tell it what fabrics and threads and stitches you are using, and touch the icon up in the upper left corner with the bouncy presser foot, it will tell you every foot that could potentially do that function. If you donít have the one it first recommends in the bouncy foot icon, check there. You may own another one that will do fine.
The accessories I find useless: The 2mm rolled edge foot. Everyone in the class disliked that hem. The accessory box needs to be redesigned. You will want MANY more feet than fit in that silly box, and bobbins too. I recommend beading storage containers, available at any craft supply section.