The Sewing Place

Bernina Machines - not so popular?

Fajita

Re: Bernina Machines - not so popular?
« Reply #15 on: September 03, 2017, 20:57:38 PM »
I have a bernina 550qe. I've had it about five years. It's a lovely machine.
It came with a stitch regulator and a walking foot.
I'd fully recommend it.
I don't have experience of others to compare it to.

Sewbee

Re: Bernina Machines - not so popular?
« Reply #16 on: September 03, 2017, 21:22:02 PM »
I keep reading conflicting info on this too, the factory in Steckborn is still up and running as far as I know. I know they work with partners in Asia and have done for years, but I don't know all the details. Either way, a Bernina turned out to catch my attention when test sewing between various models a few years a go, it was when the new 700 series was new. I liked it, but they just cost to much for my use. I still think they are better than most when it comes to quality, but don't get me wrong, I'm not disregarding any other brand becuse of it. There's always something; price, personal preferances, what we are used, features we look for... You have to test sew before you decide; we tend to live with these machines for years.

The dealer told me they are all made in Thailand except for the 800 series and above which are made in Switzerland. However, we didn't discuss the Bernettes.

Elnnina

Re: Bernina Machines - not so popular?
« Reply #17 on: September 04, 2017, 15:57:24 PM »
I, too, am a Bernina fan.  In fact I still have and use my own Elna SU bought back in 1975 which was at the time a Swiss owned company from Geneva.  Also in 1975 my  mother bought a Bernina 830 Record, a Swiss made machine.  I inherited this machine, and whilst my mother had used this nowhere near as much as I have used it, and  I tend to use this machine as my go to machine for daily sewing.  Both the Elna and the  Bernina 830 record are heavy metal bodied machines.  Both produce really beautiful stitches every time, are quiet and a joy to use.

Then on a whim I fancied an embroidery machine, and as luck would have it a shop was closing down and a machine the Bernina Artista 200 machine with embroidery unit was an unsold part exchange model.  The mechanic from this shop moved premises and continues to sell machines but no longer sells fabric and haberdashery.  So a question of being in the right place at the right time.  This machine is I believe another Swiss made machine, it has a plastic casing but is equally as heavy as my other machines, and again the stitch quality is superb.

I also happen to have two Bernina Overlockers, one has the coverstitch facility.  Again both machines have a plastic casing but are heavy and do not dance around when in use.  Whilst these were not made in Switzerland they were made strictly under Swiss supervision, and the difference in using these as opposed to other brands is very noticeable both in the sound they make and the stitch quality.

Over the years since I bought my Elna so back in 1975) come Christmas and birthday I asked if I could have feet and attachments for my machine (I did the buying of these) and then again when I bought the Bernina Artista I have been receiving feet and attachments as presents (again I do the buying) and as a result I have a lovely selection of feet and accessories for my machines - yes even the overlockers.  I tend to buy my accessories for the Bernina's directly from Bernina themselves, i.e. Bogod - the warehouse is down in Cardiff and the team down there are really helpful and quick.

Perhaps the cost of servicing these machines is on the high side but it is really worth the money.  I do keep the machines covered when not in use and am always cleaning and oiling them and it is so important to keep on changing the needle and again I only use Bernina or Schmetz needles - nothing else (Schmetz actually make the needles for Bernina).  I also only used a branded thread Guterman on the sewing machines, and as far as overlocking threads are concerned I now use Amann thread, the Belgian one I liked  the company no longer exists which is a shame.

Sewbee

Re: Bernina Machines - not so popular?
« Reply #18 on: September 04, 2017, 18:26:34 PM »
I have a Bernina 570 which I bought just over a year ago and I am a great fan of Berninas.  This is my third and my two daughters have the others.  Previously I have owned a Brother and a Toyota which I wore out.

I love the 570 and also bought the embroidery unit which I need to play more with.

I have one on order because I have had Bernina all my life, but never a newer, computerised one. I did some research on Google and I was amazed that many dealers don't sell them. I phoned a few of them and they told me you get more for your money with Janome, Brother, etc. While that's probably true I believed that Bernina has a much better stitching precision. Apparently, Janome's stitching quality is just as good.

The main issue they had is that the newer models tend to break down (circuit boards are dreadful quality apparently) and the repairs cost a fortune. Breakdowns are apparently frequent after they are about five years old. I asked if the Janome and Brother had as many repairs and they told me definitely not. They said these two brands are made in Japan and in particular do not have the circuit board problems.

Sewbee

Re: Bernina Machines - not so popular?
« Reply #19 on: September 04, 2017, 18:29:13 PM »
I've heard excellent things about Juki machines, and Jaguar too (they manufacture a lot for other people). I gather Bernina manufacture in china/ Taiwan etc, to keep the cost down but each run is overseen by a bernina trained QA person, how true I don't know...

But the more important question Sewbee.... have you considered an older bernina? The reputation on them is completely solid, as many vintage machines are!

Yes, I may be on the lookout for a 930 but not sure yet.

Swisslass

Re: Bernina Machines - not so popular?
« Reply #20 on: September 04, 2017, 19:03:57 PM »
Only the (new) 800 series are made in Steckborn, all the rest is manufactured in Thailand in a Swiss factory. All the Bernina overlockers are made by Juki with a Bernina badge on (wish I'd have known this earlier 😉). Officially they 'share' overlocker technology.
Last year I had the chance for a new machine, I did my research and was left with a choice between a Juki fx600 (can't remember what the updated one was - it was the one below the TOL) and a Bernina 550. I test drove both side by side and what really struck me was how quiet and smooth the Bernina was. To cut a long story short I bought the 770 (yes I know ££££££££). This machine is an absolute joy to sew with, the lighting is brilliant, there's no raising/lowering the foot, the foot hovers, (golly I love this!), press the foot pedal and sew, I never touch the hand wheel, programmable foot pedal, goes like a hot knife through butter. i love her to chuffing bits.
Bernina Support - well ho hum, could do better, I bought mine in the UK and their support is not that great, if I get stuck I now ring the Swiss line and they help me out. There is an excellent fb group for the 7 series (more help and quicker than Bernina). I got a 1 day course with them, not that inspiring as I found it rather basic, then far too much time spent on quilting stuff. The US seems to provide far more support and courses to get to know your machine (& get you to spend more or get an upgrade), and although the handbook is quite thick for what this machine can do it could be better.
Why did I choose Bernina, - because it does what it says on the tin. I've had a F&R, a Brother 😬 and a Janome 😱, they all ended up back on the shelf and I hoicked the 830 out of the basement.
Pattern review has lots of reviews on various Bernina's.
I'd like to think I was inspired, but maybe sewing is just hard wired

Sewbee

Re: Bernina Machines - not so popular?
« Reply #21 on: September 04, 2017, 19:06:32 PM »
I have a bernina 550qe. I've had it about five years. It's a lovely machine.
It came with a stitch regulator and a walking foot.
I'd fully recommend it.
I don't have experience of others to compare it to.

Thanks, Fajita. That's good to know. I haven't bought a machine in such a long time that all feedback is beneficial.

Fajita

Re: Bernina Machines - not so popular?
« Reply #22 on: September 04, 2017, 19:44:01 PM »
Bernina support, never needed it.
Take it back to shop for annual service. That's it.
(Touch wood).

arrow

Re: Bernina Machines - not so popular?
« Reply #23 on: September 04, 2017, 20:00:56 PM »
It was the quietness and firm feel I notice in the Bernina too, the other's felt slightly less. It stitched buttonholes and did top stitch thread both in the bobbin and top with out misbehaving. How a model handles top stitch thread is must when test sewing, some are hard work to adjust (mostly bobbin tension) others just can't do it. I'm guessing most top models can. I'm thinking of the 500 and 700 series as top models, because before the 800 existed they were. I never really tested it for the challenging fabrics like densely woven velvet or corduroy, cotton duck.

I don't feel I am very demanding of a machine, I get by on a simple Singer 201. It does all the basic work except zigzag, overlock along edges and stretchy seams.  I have a swiss zigzagger I use as a walking foot when it's needed, not the same ease as a built in equivalent, but it works well. I don't feel my equipment gives me any particular advantages over new; but it works for anything I can fit under the presser foot and I hardly worry about working the machine too hard when stitching through odd things like plastic and cardboard. 

Ohsewsimple

Re: Bernina Machines - not so popular?
« Reply #24 on: September 04, 2017, 22:08:34 PM »
All the Bernina overlockers are made by Juki with a Bernina badge on (wish I'd have known this earlier 😉). Officially they 'share' overlocker technology.

The new overlockers are no longer made by Juki, which is a shame.  I believe it was something to do with cutting costs.
As far as modern Berninas going wrong, the circuit boards do often seem to be a problem and if one goes it can be prohibitively expensive to fix. 

arrow

Re: Bernina Machines - not so popular?
« Reply #25 on: September 04, 2017, 23:50:19 PM »
.
As far as modern Berninas going wrong, the circuit boards do often seem to be a problem and if one goes it can be prohibitively expensive to fix.

...well, that's a remark you can throw at any computerised machine regardless of price and quality. They have guarantees though, here 5 years are common on reputable models.

Ohsewsimple

Re: Bernina Machines - not so popular?
« Reply #26 on: September 05, 2017, 08:08:23 AM »
...well, that's a remark you can throw at any computerised machine regardless of price and quality. They have guarantees though, here 5 years are common on reputable models.

Not quite.  It's based on what I see in my job. 

Sewbee

Re: Bernina Machines - not so popular?
« Reply #27 on: September 05, 2017, 19:08:24 PM »
...well, that's a remark you can throw at any computerised machine regardless of price and quality. They have guarantees though, here 5 years are common on reputable models.

I asked the dealer about the circuit boards of other brands of machines and was told they do not break down nearly so often because they are made in a Japan. He was usually speaking of Janomr and Brother.

Having said that a big part of me still wants a Bernina 570qe but I have to ask myself how much would I be adding to the cost when it breaks down. Apparently the circuit boards are extremely expensive i.e. £180
« Last Edit: September 05, 2017, 19:14:41 PM by Sewbee »

Maximum

Re: Bernina Machines - not so popular?
« Reply #28 on: September 05, 2017, 22:47:41 PM »
I am also a Bernina fan. I just love the way they sound and the stitch quality.
My first was an 830 Record - I had gone to the shop to buy a new Janome and saw it on the bench. I just had to try it, just so I could say I had sewn on a Bernina!! I did try new Janomes as planned but the ease of use and the samples I had made soon told me which was best.
Since then I got a good price on one of the last 550 QE. I had the course which was mediocre and they could not help with an issue I was having with invisible zips. I spoke to David Drummond and one of his assistants called me back and talked me through what I needed to do.
Janomes do the job and do it well but for me Bernina just do it better!
Had a Brother overlocker which worked but I hated it's clunkiness and noise and the motor seemed reluctant to get going.
Sewing for me should be a pleasure and I want to use machines that help me do the job without fighting or causing stress.
I was told by an engineer that all computerised machines should be plugged in and switched on every month or there can be expensive problems

Gernella

Re: Bernina Machines - not so popular?
« Reply #29 on: September 19, 2017, 12:11:05 PM »
My main machine is a Pfaff Expression 2, which is around 9 years old.  A little trouble with buttonholes recently set me off about getting a cheaper machine just for buttonholes.  I kicked that into touch as I needed a new washing machine in a hurry. It has set me thinking about its replacement though.

I have a small Bernina 215, which does do a lovely stitch and I think has about 11 in total but no automatic buttonhole.  I had thought of getting the next model up the 330, which will be just enough if not more than what I need. I also hovered  round a Juki F300 but even that has too many stitches for what I need.

Weighing up the pros and cons I suspect I'm going  with the Bernina, if it is as good as the 215 I will be happy.  Probably the main thing against the Bernina is the cost of them.  I had Janome Memory Craft 7000, a truly wonderful machine, but wasted on me, but Janomes do give good value for money.

So yes, I still think they are the Rolls Royce of machines, just sometimes a bit unaffordable for many.