Review: Bernina 780 with embroidery module

For the last month or so, I’ve had a visitor in my sewing room.  A fancy schmancy high end sewing and embroidery machine.  The Bernina 780. 

There isn’t room in this review to list out all the features and functions packed into this machine.  I’ll refer you to the Bernina site for that. 

For me, the three stand-out features of this machine are the embroidery capability, the stitch regulator (BSR), and the integrated Dual Feed.  I’ll give my thoughts on them in the next few days.  Today I want to talk about the basic functions and overall thoughts on this machine. 

But before I do that, I’ve got to give a quick shout out to Karen from The French Seam in Stuttgart, Arkansas.  She gave 2 hours of her Saturday to get me acquainted with the features and functions of this machine.  (If you can believe it, we barely scratched the surface of what it can do.)  She specializes in Bernina machines and is a wealth of information.

Check out all of the pretty machines in her shop!

Now back to my review.  There’s a lot to tell, so I’ll just throw my thoughts at you in a bulleted list format.

Pretty accessory case!  It’s like a fancy wardrobe armoire for your presser feet!  It also has spaces to hold bobbins and memory cards.  It even has a place to hold a buttonhole foot.  I loved this so much that I had to buy one for myself to keep.  It works with my regular Bernina 1006 feet, though the bobbin and memory card slots don’t fit my accessories.  The “shelves” are interchangeable so I’ll just replace the bobbin shelf with another one to hold presser feet.

It’s BIG.  It’s hard to get a sense of scale in the photos on the Bernina site, but this machine is BIG.  When the embroidery module is attached to the machine, it’s 38” end to end.  The arm of the embroidery module is 25” deep, and you’ll need to be sure that nothing bumps or touches it.  Between the machine, the embroidery module, and accessories and notions, I needed every inch of a 6-foot table to hold the machine.   The embroidery module causes a lot of shaking, so you need a heavy duty table (no plastic folding table).

Here it is in my studio. (Please pardon the mess.  My studio is clearly not one of those pretty studios you see photos of in craft magazines.)

The bobbins are big, too.  I was surprised when I saw how big the bobbins are.  And even more surprised when I saw how much thread it took to fill it.  On the other hand, once it’s filled you won’t be running out every time you turn around. 

Easy load bobbins.  They may be big, but they load easy.  LOVE!  The bobbin fits easily into the bobbin case.  There’s only one way it’ll fit in so you don’t have to figure out which way the thread runs.  Then, just pop it in the front and pull the thread across the cutter.  No need to pull the thread up; the machine will do that for you.

Plenty of sewing space.  One benefit of the large machine is that it gives plenty of sewing space.  I measured 10” of space to the right of the needle.  When you add on the table extension, you get 9” to the left of the needle.  The table extension is easy to install and has markings across it at 1” intervals.  This is super helpful when you’re sewing with larger seam allowances.  There’s also a ruler at the front of the extension, plus a clip on seam guide that you can slide to mark your seam allowance. 

Knee lift.  It’s a nice feature and it worked well.  It isn’t critical for the type of sewing that I tend to do (garments rather than quilting), but I I know this is a plus for other folks so it’s worth mentioning.

The feet!  Having the right presser foot makes all the difference in your sewing, and a good selection of commonly used feet is included with this machine.  You can find a full list of included feet at the Bernina site (click the Accessories tab).  Like all Bernina feet, they’re easy to change.  I can do it with just one hand. 

Large full color touch screen display.  This is a nice feature.  The large screen allows for more intuitive navigation of stitch settings than you get with a just a bunch of fixed buttons and dials.  For example, the screen displays what the stitch will look like in relation to the foot that you are using.  (The machine doesn’t automatically know which foot you’re using.  You need to tell the machine this information.)

Easy to adjust stitch properties such as length, width, etc.  You can do this with the touch screen, or with the dials.  (Personally, I prefer the dials.)  AND when you do this, it adjusts the display to show what the stitch will look like.  As long as you tell your machine when you change feet, it will show if a wide stitch will fit within the foot throat.

Save your favorite stitch settings.  I have certain stitch settings that I like to use over and over.  I can save these settings so I can switch over to them quickly and easily.

High pitched noise.  This is one aspect of the machine that I didn’t like.  I noticed a high pitched noise every time I turned the machine on.  Don’t get me wrong.  It was almost imperceptible, but it was there.  It might not bother everyone, but it was an issue for me.  My husband also heard the noise, though he says it’s more like a drone than a high pitched noise.  Either way, it seemed like something I should mention.  I should tell you that I’m very sensitive to lights and noise, so this might not be an issue for you.  But if you do have sensitivities or have a tendency for headaches, I would advise you to test this out at your dealer’s store before bringing one home.


Check back tomorrow.  I’ll share my thoughts on the Bernina Stitch Regulator and the Dual Feed.


  1. Dianne says

    I also heard the high pitch noise. I thought I was hearing things. Thanks for mentioning this. I feel better knowing I’m not the only one.

  2. Alma says

    Both me and my husband hear the same high pitch noise when the machine is idle. I thought this is was bad but now I have a bigger problem. Every time i turn the machine on the screen stops on a slider and is loud as a train. Even though the factory setting for this mystery slider is somewhere in the middle, I have to lower it to 1 for the noise to stop. I have to then close that window in order to use the machine. Anyone knows what this is?

  3. Alma says

    Never mind the previous comment. I figured it out. While bringing back the machine from a class, I must have pushed in the bobbin thread filler “thread cutter” hammer at the top. The slider on the screen was the bobbin filler speed slider and the noise was coming from the bobbin filler motor. I wish Bernina had put a title on that window, so I could have figured this out and not panicked.

  4. Nan says

    Hi Everyone,

    I was looking for reviews for the 780, and found you. Thinking about trading for 780, do you still like the machine? Did you find any cons about the machine? I have a 830 and I have never care for it. Yes, it will do everything, but it is to sensitive for me.
    Thanks for your input.
    Best Nan

  5. Debbie says

    Picked up my 780 today. Brought it home and it doesn’t work. Back to the dealer tomorrow. Very frustrated.

  6. Norene says

    I bought 780E fall of 2012 spent more time in the repair shop. company repl. it Feb., 2013. Still having to many problems. Spends many days in shop. I Think comp. released it to soon. to many bugs in it.
    Tension problems. Race replaced. Ben reprogramed many times.
    Straight stitch is not straight!!!! sew slowly the stitches don’t align, 2 on one side then switched over to 2 on the other, back an forth. run fast its ok. I do not sew pieced quilts at high speed. I sure would not us it for any top stitching on garments. I sew every thing from silk to leather, wedding dresses to work clothes. I m not a happy camper.!!!!!! Thinking about trading for a different machine!!!!! (brand) It has lots of nice things on it it the machine would just work correctly.

  7. Norene says

    Oh forgot to mention, the dealer has done all he can to help. Great dealer ship.
    I also hear the high pitched noise when I turn it on. Mine seem to be in computer part of it. Im not losing my mind!!! Thank God. Its not the bobbin wined on mine.

  8. Kimberley Majczan says

    I purchased the Bernina 780 several months ago and have had many issues. The first one out of the box had several features that were not functioning. I took it back after a week or two and they replaced the machine with a new one. The replacement one is so frustrating I am seriously thinking of trading it in. First of all every time I go to sew, it takes about an hour’s worth of fiddling with it (rethreading, cleaning removing the bobbin case, taking the throat plate off etc.) just to get it to run. The stitch quality is horrible. Despite tension adjustments the difference between the top and bottom of the fabric is atrocious. I am so frustrated and if my husband finds out that this very expensive machine is horrible, he might kill me. Just kidding but he will be furious!!

  9. Gloria Morris says

    I got my 780 in April. Upgraded from a 200. I love it. I have not had any of the issues posted. I’m still learning all the wonderful features. Love the extended sewing area. I love the ability to combine stitches and move them where I want. The built in walking foot has improved my seam matching tremendously! My only complaint is that i have lots of embroidery designs in the ART format that won’t work in this machine which reads EXP.

  10. Carol says

    With my Series 8 830 I’ve had it but not too bad. This is irrelevant but would like to ask if someone might know if this is due to the computerized make up of the Bernina’s now or if it is just something that is expected the same as the background hum of a computer processer which is typical? The noise from the Bernina when it happens can be a test of endurance whenever it is heard though when you want to relax.


  11. angel says

    I just recently purchased the 780 as well, and it has been a nightmare, the tension is horrible, the bobbin case breaks constantly, it will embroider at a slow speed even though the lever is set at high speed and the internal setting as well on the screen, the hook has broken twice for no apparent reason, and Bernina will be the first to blame you for not knowing the machine!!! I hate this machine, I have had three top of the line babylocks and never had any trouble with them.

  12. Carolee says

    I am thinking of going from my 8 Series 830 to a 780 or 880. The dealer is long way off from me. She actually advised that if I am thinking of purchasing either of these machines that she recommens the 780. That there is less hiccups with the 780 especially with bobbin threads becoming tangled and almost impossible to remove without a trip to the dealer to rectify the problem. I have never had any major problems with threads being caught in the bobbin area of my 830 in the past though. The dealer knows these machines and so I’m in a catch 22 situation on what to choose. Do people still have the problems of the past with the bobbin system in the 780 machines? Or the bobbin thread lying flat against the back of the fabric and not being able to adjust the bobbin? I’d love to hear more from 780 owners on the pros or cons of their machines and what they just love?

  13. Carolee says

    My message regarding thinking of a 780 or 880 purchase. Going from a Seres 8 830 is from a second person. I am not the first person named Carol but was given the same Avatar as her own?

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