A nearby LQS owner just returned from the Bernina plant in Hong Kong. My information came from her.
I'm sorry it was Thailand not Hong Kong.:o I got Hong Kong on my mind this morning. A friend is visiting there.
This is one of those questions that for every yes, you'll get someone else saying no. If you can, what I would suggest is to go to a few different places and test run machines to see what is the best fit for you. I can understand getting a cheaper standard machine; especially to learn on. If you end up getting into sewing/quilting then you can always upgrade and this machine will be good to travel to classes with etc or as a backup. Also why checking out machines check the customer service and classes offered at that store. I have Vikings and love them, I also have Kenmore/Janome machine bought at Sears that I love and keep it on the same table as my top of the line Diamond. Only you can decide what is good for you and the more you see as to some features that some offer the easier the decision will be. I love the auto thread cut, the auto needle down and I also love the auto thread tension because no matter what I'm doing, embroidery, sewing, or FMQ, I don't have to adjust a thing. The machine does it all. Check out your options. There are lots of good machines out there
Please read what others have said about the Bernette! There is NOTHING like a Bernina!! I have an old one, and my wonderful DH just bought me a new 750, which I'm just learning to use... but there is simply nothing like a Bernina... If you could find a good dealer who sells good used machines, I'd go for it!!
I'm another Bernina owner.It's a great machine.I sold a featherweight,a Janome & an expensive Viking.The FW is fine for basic stitching.All top of the line machines are good,but the Bernina suits me best.
You can find bargains on Craig's List.My 1st machine was a basic Kenmore that lasted many years.
I have had my "basic" Bernina for 20 years with NO problems at all. If you can get one for $200 grab it!
Nothing sews like a Bernina! You will love it and with a LQS that sells Bernina's you will have guide classes and lots of support. I'd go for it!
Wow, do I feel slighted. I have a Bernette 65, that my DH bought for me about 4 years ago. I love it. I've never had any problems with it, I've had it in for service only once, and that was preventive maintenance. I buy all my accessories at the Bernina store, I think that if these machines were so awful, Bernina would stop supplying them, so they wouldn't be associated with them.
As a couple other members said, test drive some machines and decide which one you like for yourself. You know your budget, so look at machines in that range. Before my Bernette, I owned Kenmore, and I loved those too.
If we can't be nice about the different brands of machines, and everyone's preferences, we'll never have world peace! lol
Bernette machines I have sewn on were mid to high range models. They are great and even do embroidery. I have a Bernina, Janome, Singer and Brother. I had a Pfaff and Kenmore. If I had to choose one machine I'd just grab the one closest to me. They all sew just fine.
My main machine is a Bernina 440 that is 7 years old and is has been wonderful. It is a pleasure to sew on. I bought it used, but it has never given me a bit of trouble. I have the embroidery unit to go on it, that was part of the package deal at a very good price. I also have a Bernina serger I bought used (although the Bernina sergers are made by Juki) and a vintage Bernina 910 for a backup machine. They are all great machines.
That said, I also have 2 Featherweights and a bunch of other vintage machines that I enjoy collecting and using. The 440 is my favorite, however.