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Bernina or Janome

sharonquilts | Posted in Equipment and Supplies on

I have sewn clothes and quilts for over 40 years. I sew all time (when I am not at work). My current machine is a 1992 Viking 945. I have long wanted a Bernina but many of my quilting friends now have Janomes. I need a machine that has a larger area for machine quilting and one good for making garments. Dilema is: I think I “deserve”  the best (Bernina), but my budget says “whoa” (Janome).  I am 58 and plan to be sewing for many years to come. any thoughts?


  1. Alexandra | | #1

    My first thoughts are get what you want, have no regrets.  But then saner thoughts creep in.  Sew on them both, see how they feel to you.  Maybe there is a Bernina used that was top of the the line (TOTL) that would fit your budget. It's all about what fits your needs and your wallet, not the name on the machine.  FWIW I have a Janome 6000 which was TOTL in its time, but now have a Husq and prefer it over the Janome.  BUT I've kept the Janome as back up cause the trade in $ wouldn't be worth having a GOOD back up machine.  And for real laziness I've had one set up for quilting and one set up for garment making so it's easy to sew on which ever project I fancy at the time.  Have fun shopping.

  2. Betakin | | #2

    I also say try both first. I also always wanted a Bernina but the prices were more than my pocketbook held. I feel for the price Bernina had less features than other brands but I know they are outstanding machines. I own a Pfaff, a computerized Janome made Kenmore and a computerized new Viking. The 7 piece feed dog systems on the new Janomes are outstanding. I also love the dual feed of Pfaff. If I was a quilter I would pick the Janome 6600 for the size and speed and the Acufeed which is like Pfaff's dual feed.  I love the Pfaff Grand Quilter (no IDT) but it is a straight stitch only and if I was more into quilting I might decide on the Pfaff GQ.  I think that Janome makes the quietest and smoothest sewing machines on the market. BTW, Janome is now the mother company of Elna. Janome has made Elna's for some time including the large 7200 quilter (also worth consideration), along with Kenmore, HuskyStar for Viking and the Viking Mega Quilter and Pfaff Grand Quilter and many other brands and models. I understand Janome no longer makes Huskystar since Singer's holding company purchased Pfaff/Viking. I don't know if they will continue making so many other machines for other brands as they have in the past since they now head Elna USA. Kenmore sergers have suddenly vanished from the Sears website which were also Janome made..but then KMart recently took over Sears. I have no idea if Janome will expand their lines or discontinue some, but I would sure would like to purchase a 6600 just in case it is discontinued, but then Janome just might come out with something new that is also fantastic.


  3. alotofstitches | | #3

    I absolutely love my Berninas--all of them!  Started out with 830 30 yrs. ago & it was a major chunk to shell out!  I've sewn all clothes for my 3 little boys, then button up shirts for H. & the 3 sons, my entire wardrobe is homesewn, even panties & bras for a while.  My 830 has sewn anything I try to sew and sews it well.  I treated myself to a new 170E in 1998 while expecting our first g.child and also as a bus. expense since I was then sewing for profit.  I teach sewing classes and I sew all these ladies struggle with a machine that has only 1-3 feet, either fast or slow speed, etc.  Get the best you can afford as you'll probably never buy another if it's a good one.  Another thing, now that my granddaughters are learning to sew and I'm wanting each of them to have a good sewing machine, I find the Berninas really hold their value, much more than I expected! I sew all the stuff my sons "want Mom to fix" and tiny 1/8" hems on silk chiffon 'cause of the specialty feet that each machine arrives with and the quality of the machine!

  4. User avater
    crg | | #4

    i bought a new machine a year and a half ago after trying out 9 different machines for both in machine embroidery stitches and free motion quilting. i ended up getting the one that "felt" best to me, a Janome 10001. it was a hug amount of money, but i doubt i'll ever need another machine. i turned 57 today. good luck with your journey. crg

    1. thimbles1260 | | #5

      View ImageHappy Birthday!  The 57th, huh.  I'll hit the big 5...7 on the 11th.  Isn't it a wonderful age to be!?!  I'm looking forward to my retirement (in about 5 months) and more time to sew, sew, sew!!

  5. mainestitcher | | #6

    Although I loved my Bernina 830, the 153QE is a bit of a diappointment. Fussy, and the tension is a constant problem. It won't cost you anything but your fuel and time to try them all!

    1. nisee | | #9

      Hi, there just jumping into this discussion. I ,too have a Bernina my 2nd.  Its a 1260 and I love it.  I love the leg lift.  I've never had any trouble with my Bernina's and today I went to my local dealer to get some notions and looked at the new Bernina serger.  I have a Pfaff 5 thread serger that is some years old.  It has been a good machine but the 5 thread coverlock is teadious to set up and hard to keep the tension in line.  The new Bernina seems to have solved some of those issues.  I plan to spend some time at the shop doing a test run and maybe trading up.  I think a good sewing machine shop/dealer is essential.  I live close to one in San Rafael, CA and have found them very helpful and willing to spend the time answering questions.  Good luck in your search.

  6. CoopSews | | #7

    I have a Bernins 170E and love it.  I've had it for 5 years and have put many hours on it.  I'd consider the following: 

    1. How close are the dealers?  Bernina has a great support system but I was too far away to take advantage of most of it. 
    2. What are your sewing interests?  Some machines are better at the fancy stitches and have a wide footpath that is too skittish on 1/4" seam allowances. 
    3. Can you take advantage of any interest free financing if you don't have the cash immediately?  As you said you'll be sewing on it a long time, sew what if it takes a little longer to pay for it. (pun intended)

    I wish you the all best.  I turned 50 last month and have been sewing more than ever before!

    1. sharonquilts | | #8


      Thank you for your reply.  I have had both sides presented to me, but yours is the one that gave me food for thought. I have seen a used Bernina 170 on ebay and considered bidding, so I am glad to hear you like yours.

      I sew mostly quilts and garments, some upholstery and tailoring.  I mainly want a machine that has an option of the needle stopping in the down position as well as one with a larger arm hole.

      As I am looking to become debt free so I can retire sometime in my sixties, getting further in debt is not an option (I think).

      Lots to think about, thanks.

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