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bernina vs. pfaff

hollee | Posted in Equipment and Supplies on

i am currently shopping for a new machine and would like to upgrade to something better than my mother’s old Kenmore.  i have been looking at the Bernina Bernette series, specifically the 80e and the pfaff 1042.  Either machine would suit my current sewing needs but I just don’t know if one is considered a better machine, and if so why.  I would also like to start sewing more and didn’t know if either machine has more “grow with you” capabilities.  I won’t be embroidering or making quilts, but i do plan on sewing more clothing and home dec stuff.

If anyone has experience with these machines and could offer some guidance, I would very much appreciate it!



Edited 9/23/2004 4:10 pm ET by hollee


  1. lize | | #1

    holiee I just purchased a Pfaff and I am thrilled with it.  I used an old singer for years and then I had a viking which was wonderful but unfortunately when my daughter went off to school in Chicago to study design I gave it to her and I went back to my singer now I decided to treat myself and did some pricing and found that for about 1,000. less I was able to get everything I wanted, needed and didn't for a lot less than Vining or Bernina.  I am very happy with it and the features.  So many machines today cater to the quilter and this one does also but it is also is perfect for garment construction.  Have fun with whatever you go for.

    1. hollee | | #6

      thank you so much for the input.  i got the same response from everyone who replied and deciced to go with the pfaff.  the sale price made the decision even eaiser, and i couldn't be more thrilled.  i had no idea sewing could be this hassle free.

      thanks again,


      1. lize | | #9

        congratulations Hollee now maybe you can teach me how to use it to the fullest all i've done so far is the dressmaking and can't wait to use the embrodery portion.  I think its the best bang for the buck.  enjoy and let me know if you discover any interesting tricks this machine can do for dressmaking.  I've been so busy, and my mom passed away and work has been busy everyminute that by the time i get home at night i'm so tired that sewing is at the bottom of my to do list.  Can't wait for things to settle so i can start designing and creating a whole new closet full of exciting outfits.  Embrodery included... Betty

        1. Kiley | | #11

          lize, so sorry to hear about your mom..God bless.

  2. SMiles | | #2

    Dear Hollee,

    A good friend of mine had a Bernette and was not happy with it.  In fact, she replaced it with a Pfaff that she loves.  I too have a Pfaff 2040 that I am very happy with.  I found that Pfaff was a better value (more for my money). In addition, I upgraded from a Singer and still use some of my old feet.  One of the things that I don't like about Bernina is that you must use Bernina feet (or buy an adapter) and I believe each Bernina machine uses different feet (they aren't interchangeable), so if you upgrade you have to buy all new accessories.    Another big plus with the Pfaff is the built in walking foot which I use on almost all sewing.  However, I know many sewers who have always had a Bernina and wouldn't consider anything else.  But I think a Bernette is not a Bernina.  I don't know if this has been of any help.  Good luck.


    1. hollee | | #7

      this is a wealth of knowledge, believe me!! the salespeople are helpful but no one everhas anything bad to say about their products and that's just as important as the good stuff  I went for the pfaff 1525 classic and love it.  It has made sewing so much smoother that i think i'll end up creating much more.

      thanks again,


      1. SMiles | | #12

        Dear Hollee,

        I think you made a great choice and I'm sure you'll enjoy sewing more than ever.  Good luck with all your sewing endeavors.


  3. user-192941 | | #3

    I own and use a Pfaff, and love it.  I make mostly clothes, and have used my current machine for years without a single problem after hundreds of hours of use. I can't imagine how I got by without it.

  4. Kiley | | #4

    I believe the newest Bernettes are Janome made. I am uncertain about the older Bernettes. I tried the Bernina 125 and it was different from the models above it being that it had a different type of feet. The foot was like a slide on or clamp on where the other models had the regular Bernina foot. They have a new model of the 125 which is the 125s and I haven't seen the feet on that model but it has a few extras that the first 125 did not have. I believe needle threader and possible up/down needle. I was going to purchase the 125 but it was not on sale at the time and while waiting for the sale I purchased a Pfaff which I am thrilled with. It is not computerized it is a mechanical but has the IDT. This is the best machine I have ever used. I have another brand machine that is computerized that I use for deco stitches to add to my embroidery work. I usually use it along with my embroidery machine and the Pfaff I use daily for everything else.

  5. laural | | #5

    Hi Hollie. I too replaced my 1970 high school Kenmore. I rec'd a used Pfaff Creative 1275 from a well meaning ex hubbie and like it. I had my eye on a new Janome, but he surprised me. I am not interested in machine embroidery either. This has numerous fancy stitches, but just enough, much like the Janome. My suggestion is to go to a good sewing machine store, find someone you can relate to and let them sit and demonstrate. It was easier than I thought. I quickly figured out my needs and which brand based on their recommendations. They carried Janome, Pfaff, Viking, Brother, and numerous hi end embroidery machines.

    There is a good review of machines in one of the back issues of Threads. Check in the on line index.

    1. hollee | | #8

      Thanks for the input. the resounding answer was pfaff and so that's what i went with..  I got the 1525 classic and i love it.

      thanks agin for taking hte time to respond!


      1. Kiley | | #10

        Oh Hollee that's great. You will enjoy your new machine more each day. It is designed like my Select 1530. I think it is the new model and actually takes the place of the Selects. Happy sewing !

  6. Berna | | #13

    I don't know about the particular Phaff you are looking at. I will say that the Phaff I bought brought about the following statement everytime I sat next to the machine: I HATE this machine!

    After a year I bought a Janome. While it, too, has some idiosciencies (?) I have never said I hate this machine.

    From my experience I would go with the Bernina and save yourself a lot of grief. I have never owned this brand but I have heard good things about it.

    Berna Haws

    1. lovetosew | | #14

      As they say "nothing sews like a Bernina, nothing..."  I have had both Pfaffs and Berninas and you can't go wrong with either.  The Bernina feet fit on all the models, so you can upgrade and your feet will still fit.  I do like the dual feed on the Pfaff which keeps the fabric from shifting.  I would say try, and enjoy whichever you decide on.  I would stay away from the other brands, as I have had them too over the years.  By the way, I teach sewing and quilting, and have taught in classrooms with all brands of machine, and I really thing Pfaff and Bernina are the top two, and you can't go wrong with either choice.  The all-steel Berninas are built to last, I will say.  Most machines now are plastic.

      1. FaithT | | #15

        Hi.  I have a Pfaff 6270.  It is about 6 or 7 years old and I really enjoy using it.  I sew almost everyday.  I have made dozens of quilts, wool jackets, hunting jackets, skirts, bridal, and such for myself and my family members, mostly men.   It sews beautiful buttonholes and the dual feed is the greatest thing since sliced bread.  My next machine will be a Pfaff.  I looked at Berninas before I purchase the Pfaff and they were more costly for the same amount of extras I wanted.  I would recommend Pfaff to anyone.   FaithT

      2. Elisabeth | | #16

        That's a good point about the plastic parts. My 20 year old Viking is going strong but the plastic accessories tray that slipped around the free arm is not usable any more. The plastic has broken in several places, not to mention yellowed awfully. If essential pieces of the machine had been made of plastic would I still be able to use it today? Even my old Kenmore from the 70's that my mom uses is running well. Except for the plastic slip on tray thing and a little plastic extension.

        1. lovetosew | | #17

          I was talking mostly about the shell material of the machine and its parts, such as he feet.  I prefer metal feet to the plastic ones.  If you will look at various models, and see which are made mostly of plastic and then examine the ones made from metal, I feel that the metal machine will hold up better in the long run, because their interiors too have mostly metal parts.  This is just a personal preference.  Of course, the metal ones are heavier, and not as easily carried to workshops.  I like to leave my top of the line Bernina at home.  The suitcase system for travelling makes it easier to carry, if it is in the budget.  Ideally, one for home and one lightweight for travel is the ticket!!!!   

  7. lovetosew | | #18

    Hollee, I like to buy a machine one step up from the model that has the features that I am currently using.  Like stitches - I found that after I bought a machine, I wanted to applique with a blanket stitch that looks like handwork, but my machine didn't have that stitch, so I had to use a zigzag, which is okay, but didn't give the look of a hand embroidered stitch.  So my advice, would be:  buy a machine with some extra goodies that you might use in the future on a project.  Of course, now I have bought a machine that does more than I will ever do in a lifetime, but having fun with it.  Berninas and Pfaffs - you can't go wrong with.  Lou

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