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Message Board > Sewing Machines > What Bernina would you recommend? ( Moderated by Sharon1952, EleanorSews)

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What Bernina would you recommend?
Looking for a new machine
Member since 7/30/09
Posts: 20
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Date: 9/15/12 10:32 PM

I need some help! I grew up sewing with Berninas - both my mom and my grandma owned a Record 930. About four years ago my husband bought me the Bernina Artista 640 and I have sewn quite a bit with it, but I've never felt like it's been the right machine for me.

First, it's an embroidery machine. I don't embroider anything. I do home dec sewing like making slipcovers and curtains, and garment sewing. I do have a vintage Necchi industrial machine I should probably be using for the slipcovers, but haven't yet taught myself how to sew on it.

I also believe this particular machine was a bit of a lemon. Every year I've had some major things go wrong with it, including now when the motor won't run at all. I do maintain it regularly with tune-ups at a Bernina dealer, but this hasn't prevented constant breaking of expensive parts.

I'd like to trade it in for a new Bernina, although it doesn't have to be "new." When the motor stopped working last week, I went over to my mom's house to hem some pants and still love sewing on her 25-year-old Record.

I am at a loss for what Bernina model I should even be looking at. I think I'd prefer a mechanial model. but maybe the computerization isn't the issue, it's the fact that the Artista is intended for embroidery?

I appreciate anyone's opinion on other models and the Artista for a non-embroiderer like me.

And P.S. yes, I am stuck on Bernina.

Member since 12/10/07
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In reply to heathertyfeatherty <<

Date: 9/15/12 10:46 PM

Your machine should still be covered under warranty for the motor, I think. Sorry to hear its always given you problems. That is no fun. The Artista's are great machines for sewing as well as embroidery. Your 640 is a 9mm. Do you want to stay with a 9mm or go with a 5.5mm? The new 7 series shows a lot of promise in all three models. They are 9mm. Have you looked into those? The Artista 630/635 is an awesome machine. It's 5.5mm and you could get one on close out prices. If you want none-computerized, you can look on eBay and Craigslist for the vintage models. Your dealer may even have some.


♥ Bernina 830E ♥ Bernina 1150MDA serger

✝The Lord is my Light and my Salvation: whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1✝


dresscode  Friend of PR
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Date: 9/15/12 10:55 PM

There are many fans of the Bernina CB hook bobbin system which I believe is only found on the 5.5mm Berninas. I just bought one of the few remaining new 630's for that reason.

I am beginning to look at sewing machines separately from embroidery machines.....although that is against the grain of most dealers.

Member since 4/4/08
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Date: 9/15/12 11:39 PM

If you can sit and consider what you want to sew and what you think you might want in the future that will help you refine the features you will want for your next machine.
For example if you like sewing home dec or large balldresses or quilts then a larger harp could be very nice to have.
If size doesn't matter then you have lots of choice and all are good!
If embroidery is not something you could imagine ever being on your radar then the 5 series 530 and 550 or the mid and lower end 7's or the 820 might be your cup of tea if you dont' like the Artista 600's range.
Then think about width of feed dogs. If you do a lot of find fiddly work with skinny seam allowances you may prefer a 5.5mm machine with a straight stitch plate fitted over a 9mm machine. This can be personal and depend on your sewing style which you like best because you will read reviews from lots of people with firm ideas on both sides of the fence on this. What feels good to reviewer A won't appeal necessarily to reviewer B.
Visit your dealership and try them all out. Read reviews and the Bernina website for all the features on offer and test the ones you are interested in again, a few times, if necessary to make your decision. This isn't a choice you have to make on one trip to the dealership.
Take along some of the fabrics from projects you usually like to sew and see how the different machines work on those fabrics with apprpriate needle and thread choices. Document your samples and take them away and study for a while if you need to, to make your decision.
At the end of the day you will probably feel drawn to one with a best fit feeling, like you click into the way it works fairly quickly, and that is a good indication you could develop a long and happy relationship with that model. Let us know how it works out.

Quilting up a storm
Bernina Girl, in possession of a small herd...


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In reply to heathertyfeatherty <<

Date: 9/16/12 0:11 AM

Have you considered purchasing a 930 Record? If you already know you like it, it may be the way to go. You will likely be able to get more for your 640 by selling it on Craigslist rather than trading it up. One of nice things about purchasing a machine like the 930 is that it should hold its value, so you won't lose money if you decide to sell and purchase a computerized machine in the future. If you do go this route, I suggest trying to find one that has the needle up/down feature in the presser foot- not all of them do.

I have a 530, which I purchased just a few weeks ago. I think it is a great machine for garment sewing, as it has the narrower 5.5 mm width, an adjustable presser foot, a bunch of utility stitches, and let's me take advantage of all the awesome presser feet Bernina has to offer. I have heard wonderful things about the 630, but so far nothing so great to justify spending the extra $1200 it would cost me at my dealer to upgrade (they had a fantastic price on the 530s). If you want a modern machine but would prefer a mechanical, take a look at the 1008. I think this might be a great machine for garment sewing... I know Gertie (of Gerties New Blog for Better Sewing) uses this machine and she seems to love it. She has written a few posts on it. She does some seriously fantastic garment sewing.

I suggest taking your time, though. It would be a bummer to trade up to another computerized machine only to find that you just don't want a computerized machine! let us know what you decide!!

-- Edited on 9/16/12 0:13 AM --
-- Edited on 9/16/12 0:14 AM --

Member since 9/26/10
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Date: 9/16/12 0:12 AM

I had a Bernina Activa 230PE and I loved it. It did have a small harp. I sold it on ebay when I purchased a 165 used without an embroidery unit. It sews very well and it had its computer board replaced and upgraded before I bought it from a dealer. I have had a few small issues but nothing major and it sews very well. Perhaps you could look for a Bernina model that does not do embroidery or purchase a used older model. My 230 was wonderful and I sewed on it for at least 7 years with no problems. I hope you have better luck with your next machine. One reason I buy used machines from a dealer is because they will offer some sort of warranty. I purchased a brother from a dealer and the computer board went on it in a year and they gave me the full price I paid for it down on a newer machine (ellageo). That machine does beautiful embroidery but I prefer sewing with my berninas.

SouthernStitch  Friend of PR
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Date: 9/16/12 0:17 AM

If you're okay going down to the smaller feed dogs, then a 550 might be it. Otherwise, wait till your dealer gets in the 710 (no embroidery) or the 750 having the choice of with or without.

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

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

andye  Friend of PR
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Date: 9/16/12 0:51 AM

So what part of sewing makes you feel as though you're being encouraged to embroider?

Bernina has simulators for the 820 and 710 (both non-embroidery machines) if you have Windows computer and want a demonstration of the user interface. They may have improved things since the 640.

Direct links:
820 simulator

710 Simulator

Bernina makes only one mechanical these days, and it's incompatible with your feet: the 1008. Most of the other machines are all buttons; knobs being reserved for those more expensive machines with the fancy screens and GUIs.

Bernina B330
Feet: 1,2,3,3A,4,5,7,8,10,13,16,18,20, 29,32,35,37,50,64,70,71,82,85,86, 92


dfsews  Friend of PR
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Date: 9/16/12 1:20 AM

What price range are you looking at? Many older model Berninas are available at dealers or from private sources. If you buy a new, current model, of course it will be expensive. I think you have a wide range of machines to look at, from vintage Berninas to the present.

KPM  Friend of PR
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thumbsup 1 member likes this.
Date: 9/16/12 3:39 AM

If you're considering a vintage model, I recommend the 1230 (and I'm pretty sure the 1130 too) because you can set it to stop with the needle down. The 930 is great and goes through heavy layers like butter, but it doesn't have that feature. As you do slipcovers, I think needle stop down is important to keep your project stable whenever you pause. I also love the 1630 for sewing shirts and its wider decorative stitches and monograms which are awesome. It has a wonderful "feel."

If you're considering a modern machine, I think my 580 is just fabulous. It's a 9mm machine so has lovely decorative stitches and with a straight stitch plate on is just fine for quilt piecing. I don't have any trouble maneuvering around smaller projects. But you cannot get it without embroidery. However I think you would enjoy adding a bit of embroidery to some of your home dec projects. You might try the Bernina Webinar on the Christmas pillow for ideas on how you might use that.

Let's just say all modern sms are well represented in my studio.

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