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|Bernette:46 (Sewing Machine)|
|Viewed 1222 time(s)|| |
Review rated Very Helpful
by 14 people
|About iSewQuiltArt |
|Member since: 4/4/08 |
|Reviews written: 102|
|Favored by: 23 people|
|sewing machines reviewed: 33|
|Posted on:||1/26/13 0:25 AM|
|Approx price paid:||$179|
|Had this machine for:||4 months|
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- Embroidery Stitches
- Free Arm
- Adjustable Stitch Length and Width
- Adjustable Presser Foot Pressure
- Adjustable Needle Position
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|What iSewQuiltArt likes about this machine|
I have tried a few different machines out for occasional air travel sewing occasions when I've needed to take along my own machine. I found that they ended up being too large, or were completely under powered, or were too small in the workspace for pratical use with too few stitch options. Or if I found the physical dimensions for my travel bag, they were computerised electronic models, or they were too heavy and I wanted a mechanical that is unaffected by the stress of air turbulence, and that was not expensive.
My search was for a machine between 5 and 6 kg that fit into my smallest wheeled bag for carry on for air travel, to take along to interstate retreats and other sewing related fun that I go to by air. I will not be asking heavy sewing of it, but would need it for light garment sewing or patchwork. It had to have a proper adjustable stitch length on straight stitch and zig zag, and it needed to have a blindhem and three step zig zag capability of some sort.
What I like about it is it is only 5.8kg. That's machine weight with accessory box and feet inside, but no foot control. Add 174 grams extra for foot control. It is 14 1/2 inch from the end of the machine to the edge of the handwheel and stitch selector knob, 6 inches deep, and about 11 inches high or a smidge less. Compact, but the working space doesn't feel compromised. There's space behind and in front of the stitch plate. Compact foot pedal, great for travel. Its cute as a button and has a sort of retro charm.
She looks like this:
Sorry I don't know how to make an active link inside a review. Copy and paste into your browser...
Its price is low, Its normal RRP is $250AU. You might pick one up on a special for $179 Down Under. It is
very easily replaced if it gets damaged or stolen from a hotel room or whatever.
I looked at all sorts of options under around $300 pricepoint and the others didn't compare up for stitch neatness on the fabrics I tested. Here's what I tested:
6 layers of denim with a size 90 needle, no dramas. I would not push it and the denim was not very thick. I wouldn't be making denim jeans from scratch or jackets with many thick layers as I do not think this machine is built for long term heavy use. It certainly managed a hem however. It manages 4 layers of thick corduroy. It sews fine Liberty Lawn nicely but I did reduce presser foot pressure from factory settings to avoid marking fabric as the default setting initially did as it was too heavily set. It sews patchwork easily. And sews through heavy weight needle punched dense batting with two layers of patchwork weight cotton. It isn't so fabulous on knits even with reduced presser foot pressure, so I think you'd want a walking foot on knits if you needed to sew those. It sewed Minky but did push the top layer forward a bit. It sewed elastic to cotton just fine. It has not fussed over any of the test samples I threw at it that I had used to test other machines with. I could see a huge difference in stitch quality compared to a couple of other models I test sewed just for comparison's sake that were at a similar price. I suspect this is because this machine is a front loader with seperate bobbin case.
Here's what the stitches on the Bernette 46 look like:
Please copy and paste into your browser because I don't know how to make an active link inside a review!
The light is bright enough for day time sewing. You might want additional lamp for evening use as the machine is black.
I like it came with some basic feet. Often very light travel machines lack some of the most basic feet inclusions. This has general purpose, button sewing on foot, buttonhole foot and zipper foot. I found the The Little Foot fits really well and works a treat on the machine for patchwork or 6mm top stitching.
It has a seperate metal bobin case with plastic bobbins. Bobbins wind easily and are firm and even. The area into which the bobbin is places is all metal.
I think the bobbins are class 15 bobbins. They are clear and flat on both edges.
The hook is totally removeable for cleaning. The metal circulular gate that holds it in place also removes so you should pay attention to how it sits when you get it new so you can easily reassemble.
The fram inside is apparently all metal. The casing is shiny black plastic. It is lightweight as you would expect at that sort of price.
The lighter build but strong chassis is a great combination for a travel machine to keep the weight down but not leave you with a warped machine or one that has parts break off a plastic chassis leaving your machine inoperable and likely unfixable. Too light a machine can be a bad thing.
Its a 5mm stitch width machine and 4.5 mm stitch length machine. Piecing on it feels very stable and small pieces are easily controlled. Have not noticed flipped seams.
It has basic stitch offerings but no overkill, so for a travel machine I'm not forced to pay for stitches I may rarely use. My minimum was straight stitch, zig zag, three step zig zag, blinhem and anything else is gravy. Buttonhole capability with preprogrammed function of some sort not a totally manual operation involving turning the fabric was needed.
The Bernette 46 added on top of my minimum blindhem to face left and to face right, as well as stretch blindhem stitch and a pretty scallop. All good!
I can alter stitch length and width for straight and zig zag. But for the other stitches the width is preset from what I can see but you do have ability to adjust the stitch length/ density on all stitches. This is no biggie. Most of the time if I use a three step zig zag to join batting or elastic its on the widest setting anyway. Other machines I looked at for comparison had silly limited stitch length and width programs that gave you only a couple of variations on length or width, and in some cases the differences were so small as to be almost useless.
Most of the sewing I do at retreats is patchwork, basic applique, garments. Simple stuff in lighter fabrics. I don't need dec stitching on this machine and I don't need to be able to sew canvas or very heavy fabrics.
I like the foot pedal is not big and heavy for travel use. Its compact and light.
Its simple to use. Dial for tension adjustment, Dial for stitch length, knob to select stitches and to select from infinitely adjustable zig zag width.
There's a presser foot pressure adjustment screw you can move with your finger nail or a coin.
There is extra high presser foot lift option for bulkier objects but it is a little tighter under there than on the machines I usually use. For most of what I sew this is no issue. It might potentially be if you wanted to sew bulky fabric.
Durability? I think if you aren't going to sew constantly or heavily, if you are hunting for a machine that you can fly with easily, or use for occasional projects or mending, want a very basic machine that is small enough in a small bag to slide under most airline seats at your feet, but has enough functions to let you sew clothes and quilts or simple things, I think you can do far, far worse than a Bernette 46, especially for the pricepoint. She's cute, she doesn't break the bank, she's compact for travel, and she's neat with her stitching.
What iSewQuiltArt does not like about this machine
These are more minor niggles only.
She is what I consider noisy..guessing sound insulation was not high on the list of inclusions at this pricepoint and that's fair enough. Sitting the machine on a mini quilt or muffler mat might well reduce the noise considerably.
There is a bit of shaking/ movement at high speed. No problem at lower speeds.
Finger marks can show on her if you get oil on your fingers. Wipe them off after you reassemble the hook after cleaning the machine out and there's no problem.
The plastic casing is a bit uneven in places, but really, you can't expect perfection for such a low price. I am used to sewing on high end machines so of course I notice these things. If I did not, it probably would not have even occurred to me.
To open the accessory box you must slide it off the machine, then turn it over to open the top flap. This means it can't open accidentally when you are sewing though which is a bonus, but it does mean there's no getting into it without sliding it off first.
Manual is rather light on. Not a problem for me but it might be for someone unfamiliar with sewing. The diagram of where to oil was I think rather inadequately vague. Many machines are similarly scant on info though especially at the low end of the market. If you are beginner buy it from a dealership where you get lessons and support.
It struck me as odd from a cosmetic perspective that the presser foot lift and the spare spool pin on the machine are white on an otherwise entirely black machine. But hey, on the other hand, they are easier to see when they contrast.
But for her price, really none of these are problems, just things to be aware of.
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