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Thursday, May 1, 2014

New Sewing Machine - Bernina 1008

I got a new (to me) sewing machine a few weeks ago and I thought I would share how it is going.  When I was deciding which one to purchase, I scoured the sewing blogs for recommendations, so maybe this will help someone else, as well. 

Here were my requirements: something that does a really great straight stitch, zig-zag and a button hole. And it had to go faster than my current machine.  I realized that although the embroidery is really cool, I wouldn't really use it that much.

While I was looking for a good machine, I got a marketing e-mail from Burda advertising a partner company's machine on a great sale.  I thought I would check it out, so I clicked the link in the e-mail... I shouldn't REFUSE to look at a good deal.  The machine looked fancy, but the sale price was about $15,000.  Really?  For that price, I'd want it to do more than sew.  I want it to also make really good coffee, clean my toilet, and insist that I look at least 10 years younger than my actual age.   Flawlessly.

I ended up going with the all mechanical Bernina 1008.  I found out new ones are expensive - over $1000.  But I got obsessive about checking e-Bay and I got one that must be at least 10 years old  for about 350.00.  It came with the foot pedal/wall cord, but only one foot. Still, it seems like a decent deal. Here are the pros and cons.

  • It is definitely faster than my old Singer Confidence Quilter.
  • It does a cleaner stitch and is fairly easy to switch stitches.
  • The thread length is much easier to adjust than my older machine.
  •  The easy-remove foot is very cool.  If I had more than one foot, this would be even better.
  • I like the button-hole feature - it isn't perfect, but my old machine didn't do this well at all.
  • No computer, which may not be a pro for some people, but I like a lot.  My old machine was fussy and the computer didn't always work right.  This is all mechanical and from what I am reading, the machine should last forever. 
  • It has a smaller arm so I can fit round sleeves over the arm to sew.
  • The light is really bright and makes it easy to see what I am sewing.
  • It takes a little getting used to the needle not automatically stopping at the highest point.  It stops wherever you darn well stop.  This caused me to have to re-thread the needle a few times at first when making the next stitch after cutting.
  • I do miss the needle threading attachment that drops down on my other machine.
  • Bobbin is front-loading, not top-loading.  I liked being able to see the bobbin through the clear cover on top and seeing just how much thread I had left.  Plus, it is a little more of a pain to load.  Not overly horrible, but not as easy.
  • The clutch is stuck in the off position which means that the needle will move when trying to wind a bobbin.  I will either have to invest in a bobbin winder or just keep my old sewing machine around for it.  I googled stuck clutch on Bernina, but none of the solutions offered worked for me.  I will have to take it in to get serviced and see if there is something that can be done.
  • Holy cow, the feet are expensive.  30.00 minimum per foot is what I am seeing. I regularly use the zipper foot, the blind hem and I was thinking about getting a walking foot since I am sewing with knits more.

Next up: get some new feet.  I looked on e-Bay and noticed that the feet are sold as Bernina old style foot and Bernina new style foot.  Huh?  How do I know?  It turns out that the newer ones are square and have a notch at the back.  Mine is rounded with no notch.  Old style, it is.
 Here are some of the different stitches that the machine does.  They are pretty, but the reality is that I won't likely use most of them.
 And the buttonhole.  Not great, but better than what I had.  And some of the problems are likely just me getting used to the machine.
Overall, I am happy so far.  I got a decent price, and although the machine is probably far from new, it should last for many more years.  I can't say that about many computerized machines- or at least not the ones in my budget range.

Anyone else have any luck with a Bernina?  Any solutions for the clutch that don't require taking it in?  Or maybe there is another machine that you love and can recommend?


  1. I'm not in the market for a new machine but it's always interesting to read reviews! I bought my daughter an Ikea machine the other day and will post a review on that too in a while. :)

    1. You know, I have seen the machines at IKEA and wondered if they were any good. I'd love to see a review.

  2. The bobbin winder on my singer broke and in frustration I bought an inexpensive seperate bobbin winder. I love it! It's much more convienent than un threading the machine. I now have a new machine, but I still use the bobbin winder instead. For less than $20, it was a great purchase.

    1. That is good to know. I saw bobbin winders for sale on Amazon, but they all got lousy reviews. It made be really hesitant to buy one. It seems like such a good idea.

  3. To unstick your bobbin winding clutch, take your needle and presser foot off and place a thread spool or similar item of the correct height under the needle bar. Then, using plenty of force, turn the centre of the hand wheel towards you. The bar will wedge into the spool and give you enough leverage to undo the clutch - but don't forget not to over tighten it when you wind your next bobbin.
    The buttonhole would be better if you use a buttonhole foot and a smaller stitch length (go to zero and then give it a quarter turn ). Don't forget to put the bobbin thread through the hole in the finger of the bobbin case as that increases the tension for a better looking buttonhole. Hope that helps!

    1. OMG! I can't wait to try these suggestions... that is so helpful! I'll try it out and update the post! Thanks!!!

    2. This fixed the same issue I was having with our machine! Thanks so much!


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