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New Bernina

Old 03-10-2020, 08:05 AM
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Default New Bernina

I am sewing on an old Bernina and Love her. Thinking about getting a new one to gain a bigger harp. Interested in a machine that also does embroidery, What are your pros and cons on the 500, 700 or 800 series? It is a costly purchase and I want to be sure. Thank you for your thoughts!
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Old 03-10-2020, 08:38 AM
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Location: Near Seattle, WA
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I was given a modern (computerized) Bernina 820 and have found out quite a bit about them. The 830 is the same machine with an embroidery unit. The original owner was a previous Bernina fan but just didn't click with this machine. When she made the decision to return it, it was just long enough that the dealer only offered her less than half the value, which on an approximately $10k machine wasn't good enough. My friend offered to buy it (with the stand!) for half price and sewed on it for about 3-5 years.

Again, she didn't like it much even being another Bernina fan. She felt it was fussy with threads (recommends using Aurifil with the 820), and got herself a 770 with which she is ecstatic! She has a different brand of embroidery machines that has unique images she prefers even though they aren't Bernina. Going prices for the used 820s seems to be around 3k across the country, but she gave me the machine last time I came down to visit. Cost us about $200 to buy a box and ship it from Arizona to Seattle.

One thing to know about the 820/830, it has a proprietary sized bobbin that isn't L, M, or 15 and which means you can't buy prewound bobbin spools. We are all different and I became a fan of prewound spools with a long-arm machine because that machine couldn't wind a decent spool to save our lives! If I was doing embroidery, I'd personally want a big box of full prewound bobbins to just pop in and out. The bobbin winder is easy and fast with the 820, the bobbin is good, I'm just lazy and bobbins are expensive.

I used it hard for about a year, daily use doing piecing and quilting both and it did great. And then one night everything was fine, I turned off the machine and came back in the morning to finish putting on the last side of binding and it won't work. Or it will, about 1-2", 8-15 stitches (varies) and then a message light comes on. I can click the light and stitch another inch, everything is lovely stitch-wise, but then I get another failure. I'm pretty sure that it is going to cost me about $300 for a servicing and a thread removal, which is a price I'd normally look at buying a new machine at. But no new machines with that huge deep throat, the good lighting, the self threader, the BSR (bernina stich regulator) and built in walking foot.

Anyway, reviews and consumer reaction about the 820/830 was not good. Bernina did not admit a lemon but pulled it out of the line up very rapidly for a model number. It was a mistake to reuse the old model number (for those who say they love their Bernina 800 series, that's mostly the old solid workhorse and not the new model). I've sewn most of the last 30 years on a vintage machine older than I am after my then top-of-the-line (last one with cams, just before computerized) broke and was unrepairable. So I'm used to doing my own maintenance and tune ups, but I was determined to make the most of this fancy new machine and quickly grew to love the knee lift for foot up/down (my friend never used that feature), being able to tap on the foot pedal for needle up/down, or be able to use buttons. I have vision issues and have troubles reading the buttons but I've learned where the only one I really want is (cut thread).

Personally I think they had lemons/badly manufactured combined with badly designed machines and they had some that turned out ok or even great -- I'm putting mine in the ok category.

For under 3k and with a service contract or at least a one year warranty, I'd certainly consider it again. But I'd read easily found bad reviews first.
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Old 03-10-2020, 09:44 AM
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Location: North Central PA
Posts: 294

I started out with a Bernina 750QE and traded up to a 880 within two years. I upgraded to the Plus option a few months ago. I've never looked back. I have two complaints about it: the stitch plate has a brushed look to it and it's very hard to see the 1/4" mark and the touch screen is so sensitive that when fabric brushes it, I find settings changed. Other than that I love this machine. As I grow, it does what I need and want. Embroidery is beautiful. The harp space is big enough for me to quilt a queen sized quilt. Service on my machine runs less than 100.00. I've never had an issue that wasn't caused by user stupidity. I will say that the manual is less than stellar. YouTube has been my friend.
Now, I will confess to being a tech junkie and the Babylock Solaris and Brother Luminaire fascinate me, and I'd love to get my hands on one to try it out and see how it compares. But the cost........
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Old 03-10-2020, 09:59 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2019
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Originally Posted by Rhodim View Post
I am sewing on an old Bernina and Love her. Thinking about getting a new one to gain a bigger harp. Interested in a machine that also does embroidery, What are your pros and cons on the 500, 700 or 800 series? It is a costly purchase and I want to be sure. Thank you for your thoughts!
I got a 570 last spring.....and I am liking it.....I did have a bit of problem at first with occasional thread jams.....the tech did finally fix it after I took photos with my phone of the problems I was having and even left the mess when it messed up while piecing....he said he probably would not have found the problem if I had not showed him the pictures and left the mess under the needle...he said the timing was ever so slightly off and that is why the problem was just random....I have done piecing mainly on it and found it is a bit trickier to stitch triangle pieces together with this machine as has 9 mm feed dogs rather than the 5.5mm feed dogs my old one had....I don't like the 1/4 inch foot that came with it as the right feed dog is off the fabric...however....piecing squares is fine with it....I also got a straight stitch plate and that helps as does using the dual feed but I had to get a new 1/4 inch foot to use that.....I like the needle up/down and "hover" function that you can set three different ways.....it does allow for a lot in the set-up program so you can set your machine up to automatic know, lift needle up or leave down, cut the thread...etc....I am still learning about it...it is not a machine you can just sit down at and take off....but it is sweet once you learn how to use it! I got the 5 series because I have a long arm and did not need the huge space.....it also does the embroidery....but you can't do the big sized stuff you can do with the 700 series...
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Old 03-10-2020, 10:01 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Wis
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I traded in my 820 to get the Tula Pink 770. It has the embroidery feature. My 820 did have some extra features. But I’ve been enjoying the 770 even though it’s a touch smaller and has a smaller screen. The 820 had some bobbin issues. I got to the point where I couldn’t do FMQ on it because the bobbin would randomly act up and make a nest on the back. I also got the Q20 several years ago for quilting - I LOVE that machine.
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Old 03-10-2020, 01:29 PM
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Location: Central Ohio
Posts: 11,804

I bought the 770QE last Spring and love it!!
I opted not to get the embroidery module but if I ever change my mind I can add it.
I love everything about this machine. For the price I feel it's worth every penny.
I still have my 150QE and will never part with it.
Maybe it's just me but I'm used to using a Bernina so the new one wasn't as much of a learning
curve as I anticipated, even though it has a lot more than my 150.
Youtube and We All Sew have great tutorials as well.
Whatever you decide good luck!
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Old 03-11-2020, 10:32 AM
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Location: Southern California
Posts: 6,192

I have sewn on the 550qe and the 765 for an entire day on each. For me i have not been impressed by them for what they cost i think there are better machines out there with more features and more user friendly. I have used quite a few brands of high ends out there and the only bernina i would shell out dollars for is the q20 imho. I am definitely a brother gal. I would try as many machines as you can before making your decision because i have heard the newer ones dont compare to the older models
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Old 03-11-2020, 05:22 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Boothbay Maine
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Rhodim, I did a lot of research before the purchase of my 770QE two years ago...I love my machine and have no regrets about spending the money on a hobby I love. Good luck in your research and decision making.
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Old 03-12-2020, 02:14 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2019
Posts: 164

I upgraded my Bernina 880 to a Plus and love it even more. I also really like using the Bernina Embroidery Software on my laptop as a companion to it. I can do all kinds of adjustments to designs, create labels and other things. Then the software will “write” it to a thumb drive for my machine. It was quite an additional expense. But it is a very comprehensive program. You would want to take classes on using it. The pinpoint placement method And the Jumbo hoop are exceptional. Especially if you want to do a Claudia Dinelle wall hanging. I am finishing her A Child is Born”. A 55” nativity project. And I am signed up for the 2 day class to do “The Potting Shed” in June. If you have a good dealer you won’t regret the 880 Plus.
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