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Forum > Sewing Machines > Bernina 9mm versus 5.5mm ( Moderated by Sharon1952, EleanorSews)

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Bernina 9mm versus 5.5mm
Sew4Fun
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Date: 10/22/11 9:01 PM

Yet another question on this age old issue. I have read all the old threads so please bear with me.

I'm looking at buying a Bernina. All my sewing is fashion sewing and some decorative sewing. Absolutely no quilting, ever! Up until a few weeks ago I wanted to buy the 630. I like the 5.5mm feed dogs and the 630 seem to fit my criteria, although I was having some niggling doubts. Then the 580 was released and well, I've fallen head over heels in love. I have one concern though, and it's a biggie, the 9mm feed dogs.

I plan on buying the 5.5mm stitch plate and using it, but my question is about the feet. What are people's experience with using the #1 foot (not the #1C) with the 5.5mm stitch plate? How does it feed the fabric, especially around curves? Does it sew well enough to use this combo or will I have to use the wider feet. Also are the wider feet a problem with fashion sewing? I've only ever sewn on machines with 6mm feet. I'm concerned about the wider feet and not liking them for my everyday fashion sewing. I understand the 5.5mm is perferrable but how bad are the 9mm feet to sew with?

All thoughts and experience with this would be appreciated. I will of course visit a dealer and sew on the machine myself but I have to wait a few weeks before the machines hit Australia so I'm doing lots of research why I wait.

------
Belinda. Melbourne, Australia
http://sew-4-fun.blogspot.com/

dfsews

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Date: 10/22/11 9:41 PM

I have Bernina machines. IMO, using the smaller or straight-stitch plate and the correct needle is all you need to do; and you shouldn't need to do it all the time, just with certain fussy fabrics. These are precision machines, and a well-adjusted machine should be expected to have an excellent stitch for "garden-variety" sewing.
You can also do the trick where you move your needle a notch off center, but in actuality I rarely resort to these tricks. I have both a 5.5 and a 9 mm Bernina.
I should warn you though, once you catch the Bernina Bug, it will ruin you for other brands. Just call me demanding.....

Artsewer
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In reply to Sew4Fun


Date: 10/22/11 9:59 PM

This is a question that comes up a lot. I had a 1630 and it was definitly a problem for me, with garment sewing, especially for small hems and when needing to start a seam on the very edge. I tried the 5mm stitch plate and still it was a problem. It just did not feed well.
Would pull the fabric in and jam the machine pretty badly.
Fast forward to my 5.5 630. It is a dream to sew on soooo easy.
I love the smaller feet for garment and pieceing.
Now go to the 640/730 they feed really well and are much different then the 1630. It really is not the same, yet the large opening flexes the fabric slightly, but the stitch quality is very good. I tried out the 580 and it is great. It feeds really well, tried the #5 foot and the zipper foot with the 9mm plate on silk charmuse was not a problem. Except for the very begining of the seam where it looked like it could cause a jam the 580 sewed beautifully. The stitches were beautifully formed. I saw no difference in this respect to the 5.5 stitches. It is also very quiet and smooth. I still prefer the smaller feet for garment and the feel it is easier in smaller spaces. But bernina 9mm's today are great. It would be perfect to have both! lol... In my humble opinion.

------
Bernina 750Q, 635E, 380, 1630
Serger 1100DC

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In reply to dfsews


Date: 10/22/11 10:10 PM

Thanks for the reply. Don't worry I think I was born with the Bernina Bug, I just couldn't afford the bug until recent years.

I have a Bernina overlocker which is the best O/L I've ever owned. I also have an old HV Orchidea which I will take to the grave with me. I have always said I would only ever replace her as my main machine with a Bernina. That time has come.

I think this is why I am having doubts over the 630. If I'm going to replace my Orchidea it has to be with something spectacular. The 630 in some ways is a step down from my Orchidea. The 580 though has absolutely everything I want, except the 5.5mm..... It's a catch 22 because a lot of the other features are only available with the 9mm. I just want to be sure I can live with the 9mm. I absolutely love the idea of the wider decorative stitches, which I will use, but will the wider feet drive me crazy when I'm fashion sewing, which is what I do 90% of the time?

Glad to hear I should be fine. That's what I want to hear. I was hoping doing things like moving the needle position to the right and using the narrower stitch plate would be all I need. I do this all the time with my Orchidea so I'm happy and use to doing this.

What I need to know though is, can I use the narrower #1 foot on the #580? I can see there will be times, for example when sewing on a collar or cuffs, when I would like the narrower foot.

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Belinda. Melbourne, Australia
http://sew-4-fun.blogspot.com/

Artsewer
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In reply to Sew4Fun


Date: 10/22/11 10:20 PM

I would ask if when using the uncoded feet will the machine still allow you to sew a 9mm width stitch or does it need a coded foot to do this.
My 1630 would not sew past a 5.5 width with a none coded foot. This was a really good thing because otherwise one could break a lot of needles. I think for garment sewing the 5.5 has been perfered. I know I prefer it for garment sewing. How ever think of this....Try the 580 as it is what you are leaning towards, try it with a 5.5 mm number 1 foot and see how it performs and then let us all know, as I think many including myself would be interested.

------
Bernina 750Q, 635E, 380, 1630
Serger 1100DC

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In reply to Artsewer


Date: 10/22/11 10:20 PM

Artsewer, thanks so much! This is exactly what I wanted to know. Great to hear from someone who has lots of experience with the 5.5mm versus the 9mm and has tested the 580 as well. If I can have both, and be heppy, I sure would like to.

Thanks so much for your reply. Keep them coming everyone.

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Belinda. Melbourne, Australia
http://sew-4-fun.blogspot.com/

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In reply to Artsewer


Date: 10/22/11 10:24 PM

Quote:
I would ask if when using the uncoded feet will the machine still allow you to sew a 9mm width stitch or does it need a coded foot to do this.

From what I've been told and have read, the machine will only sew 9mm stitches with one of the coded feet. If I attach any other foot the machine automatically only stitches 5.5mm wide, which is exactly what I want. I just want to know how well the machine will sew/feed with the narrower non-coded feet.

Quote:
try it with a 5.5 mm number 1 foot and see how it performs

I definitely will. I just hope my dealer has a 5.5 stitch plate handy. I assume she can use the #1 foot from another machine but I'd like the plate as well so I can really test it. I'll be sure to report back.

------
Belinda. Melbourne, Australia
http://sew-4-fun.blogspot.com/

mkhpaintsew
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Date: 10/22/11 10:26 PM

I tried out the 530/550 yesterday. Oh, I am in love, too. I don't think I would like the embroidery function, but then again who knows? Those machines, all of them, are just wonderful.

Artsewer
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In reply to Sew4Fun


Date: 10/22/11 10:34 PM

I dont think the plate will make a difference for testing purposes. Just keep in mind that the 5.5. plate and foot, will be easier for lets say, the very edge of a soft or stretchy fabric. Like making a scarf or table cloth, tuning a narrow hem. Sewing a sleeve into an arm hole, What you really need to see is how does the fabric feed with an uncoded foot. Or when you are sewing on one feed dog, if it sews well with the 9mm plate then it will sew a problem fabric better with the 5.5 mm.

------
Bernina 750Q, 635E, 380, 1630
Serger 1100DC

Raye Ann
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Date: 10/22/11 10:34 PM

Hi Belinda,
I own a 9mm Bernina....I have never had the 5.5, so I can't give you direct comparisons. What I can say, though, it I do use the non- coded regular feet all the time. Particular favorite is the #10, the edge stitch foot. I also use the #1 all the time. I often move my needle position when needing to baste or sew 1/4" seams on a knit, which is about the trickiest thing I can think of on this machine. (which is not hard, I just needed to learn"my" technique)
I do highly suggest that you also get a walking foot...the newer version has narrower AND wider feed dogs that you can change out as needed.
Also, I hold my thread tails when beginning. The straight stitch plate is also helpful...but I also never change to it. I guess my other mods take care of the issues.
I am dying to upgrade my machine- today was the big once a year sale here. Cant do it this year:(. I cant wait to hear what you decide and how much you LOVE it!

------
Raye Ann

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