Time For an Upgrade!

Tomorrow is a big day – I’m visiting my family in PA this week, and tomorrow we’re trekking out to Amish country so I can buy a new Bernina! I’m very excited since this is something I’ve wanted for a long time (about five years?) and the timing couldn’t be better as I start to sew my wedding dress. My OG machine above, the Bernina 1005, will be going in for a check-up and cleaning and will hopefully have a new friend to come along on the car-ride back to Boston this weekend.

I had to explain to Chris the concept of having more than one machine, he didn’t understand…oh grasshopper, you have much to learn! I tried to put in terms he’d get: “you have your twelve-string guitar, your electric, your mandolin…”

Here are the three models I’m considering. Of course, price will really be the determining factor:

530 – probably as basic as I’d go. All of these have an automatic button-hole feature, which is a HUGE deal for me, but I like that this one doesn’t have all of those fancy embroidery stitches (don’t need), has needle up/down, can wind a bobbin while sewing, etc. Pretty much all of the modern functions of sewing machines out there that I’m dying to have!

560 – this one is a little fancier than the 530. It stitches faster, has a touchscreen, automatic thread cutter, tutorials, and a USB. Not must-haves, but nice-to-haves.

710 – ooo baby, this is a Cadillac of a sewing machine. What’s nice about this model is the longer arm, which would allow me to try some machine quilting without bunching up the project too much, or would just be helpful with a bulky garment. It stitches 1000 stitches/minute, has all of the fancy features of the above machines with LED touchscreens, stitch memory, and adjustable presser foot pressure. What really takes the cake is the Bernina Dual Feed – essentially, it has the capability of a built-in walking foot. How cool is that?? One of the reasons for upgrading to a new machine is that it’s virtually impossible to find a walking foot for my model (nope, don’t want one of those generic “converters” off of eBay). This would be so great to have…but it really comes down to price and what deal I can get. When I called the store they said they had this, but it was a floor model and was being discontinued…so maybe I can get a deal!

Do you have any of the above Bernina models? Wish me luck tomorrow!



  1. June 25, 2015 / 10:10 pm

    I wish you the best experience and decision with your new Bernina.
    As a 710 owner and having worked extensively with Bernina's from the 60's and early 70's here's what I would suggest…
    -before you get caught up in the model…get caught up in researching the potential dealer and what you currently sew and anticipate sewing.
    -the dealer is vital. What is their service like? What is there tech like in terms of knowledge and experience..and how can you validate what they tell you? Validation is tough. Check the dealership's reputation with other Bernina owners in the area, internet forums and maybe ask the dealer if they will supply you with references.

    How do you feel about them? I know that sounds weird but it's like picking a family doctor. You maybe ok with a gruff sort who knows their stuff or maybe not. Also ask about the warranty. If you live far away from them and need service will the warranty be honored at your local Bernina dealer?

    Then the model… Be tough. (I am chuckling cause it sure is hard to do so.) What do you need?
    That's your base line. Do you need the wide harp…I chose it for machine quilting but now I think hmmm I am not doing much of that.. What about the features? What do you need and then as you pointed out the sure would be nice… Once you have the baseline established maybe the smaller harp machine is your baseline. Then look at the price differential. Does the price differential warrant the sure would be nice to haves? Again..nice to have in terms of what you would use and not the features that you probably wouldn't use.

    Even if you don't buy the machine on your trip..go in and get to know the folks in the dealership. If you decide to spend more time on the research..and you may have already got this in the bag.. you will be able to build a relationship with them and get the feel of who and what they are all about. Berninas are expensive and so I would spend the time. Don't forget that there are sales a couple of times a year and that often Bernina offers a foot of the month (something like 25% off list price for that foot..so you don't have to buy all the feet you want on the first go round. Also depending on the area but if there is a big show..say a quilting show or sewing show in the area the dealers often will run specials and you may get lucky.

    When you go to negotiate price you will be a stronger position knowing what is your baseline in terms of the machine and what you can afford to spend on the nice to have's. I got lucky in one way and ended up with a "free" BSR. I think though I could have worked in a better arrangement on the feet but the feet that I didn't get and wanted were not huge dollars..and I waited for the foot of the month to come up.

    It's a big investment. Much success with whatever you choose.

  2. June 25, 2015 / 10:28 pm

    WOOOOOT!!! i say go for the most you can afford…who wants to regret not getting what they really wanted? and i feel like a lot of shops have those 0% cards now, makes the price tag more palatable 🙂

    and side whisper…if they carry them…try a pfaff…because who knows? i was all in on bernina until i did. hell try everything!!! buying a machine is so freaking exciting! tell chris this is basically christmas in summer!

  3. June 26, 2015 / 6:08 am

    Good luck getting your machine! I was eyeing that 560 a while back but I really have no excuse to buy it, especially considering that I consider the dual feed a dealbreaker and I have a Pfaff. Before you make a decision, you might want to read up on the problems a lot of people had with the 7 series Berninas on Pattern Review. There were problems with the stitch quality being terrible in needle positions to the left or right of center, I can't remember which. Having these positions look right is essential to topstitching, so I'd want to make sure they were okay. Not all machines had the problem apparently and there was some talk of Bernina sending down a fix, but they've also discontinued the machines, so it's hard to say what exactly is going on. Whatever the case, I hope you're able to find a good deal on a machine you love!

  4. June 26, 2015 / 12:44 pm

    I know this isn't on your list, but I just got the 350 and am very happy with it! I figured out what was a must have and what I could live without before I even looked at the different models which was a great place to start.Once I narrowed it down to a few models I started saving and diligently looking for sales.
    If you don't find one on your trip, Nashua Sew & Vac is where I got mine and they were amazing to work with. I even bought the barely used floor model for a nice discount. It comes with free classes and 2 years of complimentary maintenance. Best of luck!

  5. June 26, 2015 / 10:35 pm

    On that last one, discontinued being carried in that store, or discontinued being produced in general?!

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