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.
By Anne Weaver