Tuesday, March 22, 2011

An Ode to Bernie

One of the questions I get a lot is about what kind of sewing machine I use. 

The short answer is I sew on the Bernina Aurora 440QE.

While we're getting our bearings back around here (folding the MOUNTAIN of laundry accumulated during our sick-cation, putting away the flury of clothes left by my husband in his frenzy of packing for Daddy/Daughter time in Singapore, putting away a weekends worth of dishes and figuring out the baby gate question for the bottom of our stairs-still with me?) I thought I'd share a little about my favorite sewing tool-io.

I call her Bernie.

I've got a lot of love for my little Bernie.

Here are the things I love about my Bernina 440 QE

-Her nice extra L O N G sewing arm-
This is a machine specifically for quilters so they make the arm of the sewing machine extra long so as to make room for the quilt roll you have as you machine quilt on this baby.  I've tried quilting up to a good sized twin and it was a taddish heavy but totally do-able.  Very nice for this quilty girl who doesn't have much of a budget to send out quilt tops for quilting.

-The nice, extra large sewing surface slide on table.
This too really helps with the machine quilting as well as piecing.  I don't think I could ever go back to a regular sized sewing machine work surface.

-Her free motion quilting foot
Machine quilting on Bernie is a dream.  The free motion quilting foot plugs in and you can just go as fast or as slow as you want and her little sensor tells the motor how fast to go to keep up with you.  Its fantastic and makes it possible to EASILY do my own machine quilting.

All the fun feet she comes with
Before I bought my Bernie, I'd never used a different sewing foot than the basic one that comes with it.  In fact I don't think I even knew what the sewing foot was. Much less that there could be other ones.  But then I took the free classes that came with my Bernie purchase and as we worked through the different feet, well, lets just say I have a little wishlist for all the fancy feet I'd like to get Bernie.  

My favorite extra (didn't come with purchase) foot is my #10 Edgestich foot.  Love it!

On my wishlist are:
the binder attachment
the straight stitch hemmer
the ruffler
the button sew on foot

The embroidery arm!  FUN!
Admittedly I don't use this little function all the time.  BUT when I do.  Its awesome.  Every time I get it set up its all I can do to keep myself from pulling out all my clothes and labeling them as my own.

There are a lot of similar machines of other makes (Janome, Viking, etc...) that have their embroidery software built in which I admit would be easier to move around.  The Bernina uses a laptop for the software which makes for a full sewing table.  BUT it also makes for a nice big screen to create your design.

-She's solid, my Bernie
All metal parts makes for a heavy, not so "let's grab the machine and go to sewing class" machine.  But she's solid and in the four years I've had her she continues to run like a dream.  Bernina's are excellent machines and last forever.  A dear friend of mine has her Bernina that she got for her wedding (over 30 years ago!) and it still works beautifully.

A couple of buying tips
for anyone (who made it to the end of this long post)
who is looking to buy a machine.

These baby's aren't cheap (BUT TOTALLY WORTH IT) so its good to make sure you shop around to get the best price.  My feeling is, if you are going to spend this kind of money get what you want, but get a good deal.

Visit all the sewing machine dealers in your area and test drive their machines

Decide what features are really important to you.  
There are all sorts of whistles and bells that will woo you but once you get it home, does it really matter to you if you have 3500 embellishment stitches or will 250 suffice?
(by the way, I think in the four years I've had my machine, I've used maybe 10 of my 180-but some people use a ton)

Find out if there are any sewing shows or expos coming to your area and buy your machine there.
I bought mine here.
They usually have an exhibition area where they have all the demos.  Buy a demo model and save a bundle.  You can wheel and deal here too.

So if you've made it to the end of this post, you must be interested in buying a machine.

I wish you good luck!  

And good sewing once you find it:)

So now lets hear what you sew on...

1 comment:

  1. You have a Bernina stitch regulator! I'm a bit jelous.
    I piece on my little old sewing machine, nothing special, but I quilt on my mother in law's Bernina. It's like yours, a QE, virtuoso she's had for about 8 yrs(?). I love it and some day will have one of my own...


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