|What KPM likes about this machine|
The Bernina 1030 is from the golden era of Berninas, when the machine you took home was easy to figure out, ran perfectly right out of the box and continued to do so for many years. And this machine is no exception. So Iíll try to document what Iíve learned to have it here on PR, as the info seems to come and go on the internet and I canít find some of the tables I used for reference just a few years ago. Feel free to add info or corrections in the comment section so we have everything in one place. Iím happy to edit.
Iíll begin with the traits it has in common with its big brother, the more common 930, since I have both here in the studio to compare, and you may wish to do likewise. My 930 was manufactured in 1984 and the 1030 four years later in 1988. First of all, they are alike in that they are solid, appropriately heavy, smooth-running mechanical machines with metal parts. They are uncomplaining workhorses with amazing penetrating power. They both have the CB/O hook type and were built in Switzerland. All 1030s have a knee lift, but apparently the earlier 930s do not. And only the later 930s with the silver thread cutter on the bed share the ability to raise or lower the needle by a heel tap with the 1030s, which all have this feature. When new, the 930 retailed for $700 to $999, whereas the 1030 sold for $1200. Their stitches are similar, but the 1030 can stitch up to 5mm wide, whereas the 930 only goes to 4mm. They both have the same 2-3/4Ē free arm when measured across the top surface.
Stitches: Selections are made by setting a color indicator to either red or green, then by a mechanical lever to the desired stitch; no cams to deal with. The 1030 (but not the 930) displays 2 little windows--one green, one red-- showing you the recommended presser foot, stitch width, stitch length and needle position. There are 5 needle positions. The 2 machines share 17 straight and zigzag practical stitches, including a lycra and a scallop stitch. The 930 has one called combi-zigzag whereas the 1030 has one called reinforced overlock. But the 1030 also has 8 more decorative stitches and another 5 if you combine the long stitch with some others. The manuals for both machines are very clear and accessible and explain applications for these stitches accompanied by good photographs. They donít overwhelm which encourages you to try your own samples of everything.
The thread path on these machines is more user friendly than later models, in that you can see the thread guide between the spool and the vertical drop. I appreciate this and donít like threading by Braille. No needle threader but it is easy to see the eye due to the white on the shank of the presser foot. The bobbin is also very easily accessible unless you sink the machine into a table. Feed dog lowering is also very handy, right on the front of the machine.
Now for some of the major differences: Whereas the 930 is plain beige, the 1030 is a much more attractive soothing pale blue-gray (well to my eyes anyway Ė sorry, Iím just not a beige person). The thread cutter on the 1030 is now out of the way, up on the left side of the head, so no snagging which could occur with the 930. When measured across the top, the 930 is 15Ē as compared to the 1030 at 13.5Ē due to the pop-up covered bobbin-winding mechanism on the 930. This leaves room for a carrying handle built into the 1030 and makes it more compact. Try lifting the hefty 930 off the floor and you will wish it had one of those. So if youíre looking for a class machine, the 1030 would definitely be the one for you, especially since, at 23 pounds, though no lightweight, itís 3 pounds lighter than the 26-pound 930. The harp area is the same on both models, about 7-1/8Ē wide by about 4Ē high. The 930ís tough plastic carrying case is huge and appears almost indestructible. Its 2 halves unclamp and open outwards from the top (although you then end up having it all spread out on the floor), and it is well fitted out to hold all of the 930ís components in secure fashion. The 1030, on the other hand, has the thinner hard-side case of the 1230, 1630, etc. that fits down over the machine with a slot that allows the machineís handle to protrude. There is another gray handle on the case; press it and one side of the case tips outward revealing places to stow your foot control, extension, knee lift and manual. Though much less bulky, I wouldnít throw this one off the train and expect it to survive, whereas I might do so with the 930. (No, I wouldnít, but it seems as if you could!)
The 1030 has one innovation I wish Bernina still had: the retractable power cord (the manual calls it a ďmains cableĒ), like the one on your vacuum. Push a button and whoosh, the cord winds up into the machine, so youíll never get to class and realize your cord is still at home plugged into the wall. (Iím guessing they had too many repairs as I havenít seen one of these later than the 1630.) There is also a sewing table for both models, and an accessory box. The 930 accessories are in a flat, separate box. Those of the 1030 are in a more compact box that clips to the back of the free arm.
For seamstresses, you should note that the buttonholes are also different. The 930 sews one bead forward and one back, a 5-step buttonhole. The 1030 sews both beads forward; this requires a 6th step and is the one I prefer. They both sew a securing stitch at the end.
Both models have a basting stitch which requires fairly regular use, or the stitch wonít continue to function. In fact in some cases, trying to use the basting stitch when its innards are clogged in hardened oil may cause the entire machine to freeze up. Your tech can rectify this, but you can prevent it by sewing with the machine regularly Ė a minimum of once a month seems to do the trick. So if you want one of these machines on the shelf only for heavy duty sewing, you may be doing it without the basting stitch.
The 1030 is my preferred machine of the two. This is purely personal, as I have bonded with it more than the 930; I guess itís the smaller size and prettier, cleaner looking color. If I had to part with one it would be the 930, even though I suspect it is just slightly stronger in penetrating power (I cannot find specs on the motors anywhere Ė maybe someone can chime in here on the comment section). My 1030 has a consistently smooth, confident, quiet, perfect stitch. I love my modern machines too, but this one's a real sweetheart. You just want to hug this machine, and Iím careful to pat it and say ďthank youĒ after each use.
What KPM does not like about this machine
Nothing. It's simply perfect.