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Designer 1 vs Bernina 185E

AlwaysInStitches | Posted in Machine Embroidery on

I’m having a tough time deciding between the Designer 1 and Bernina 185E (very similar to Bernina 180). I look forward to exploring machine embroidery, which is a new world for me, but I will continue to do lots of dressmaking. My main concern is stitch quality for straight sewing and embroidery. I would also like a quiet machine. Whichever choice I make I will buy from the same dealer, so dealer support should be the same. The Designer 1 has a color screen and even more built-in stitches than the Bernina 185E. The Bernina 185E can do free arm embroidery. I think I like the dials for stitch width and length on the Bernina: my current machine is a wonderful New Home 7500 but I dislike using a button for adjusting stitch width & length—I preferred the dial I had on my old mechanical Viking. I like Viking designs more than Bernina designs, but once I get software I can use designs from many sources on either machine, right?
Any advice? Any other questions I should consider?


  1. GhillieC | | #1

    "I like Viking designs more than Bernina

    designs, but once I get software I can use designs from many sources on either machine, right?"

    Not quite right. The Artlink software which comes with the Berninas is very limited, will only handle Bernina (.art) designs and cannot manipulate them much. However if you invest further in the Artista software you can do just about anything with a design.

    I like the small things about my Bernina 170 - the ability to go VERY slowly, the very solid feet and the knee-lift.

    My Bernina seems quiet enough, but it has a different mechanism from the 180s.



  2. snivsl | | #2

    I have the D1 and you don't have to use a knee lift, it lifts automatically when you finish, you also have needle down position so when you stop it will lift with the needle still in the fabric, great for pivoting.

    It has endless amount of presser feet and it's software which my dealer included can convert many different formats including professional formats

    Its user friendly and if you need there is the D1 group at Yahoo Groups with over 5000 members to answer to all your needs.

    It was a difficult decision for me too and I know what you are going through prices being what they are.  I researched the pros and cons of all.  In the end quality is what counts and of course your dealer is primary in making a decision.  It boils down to service, service, service.

  3. SewTruTerry | | #3

    I myself have the Viking Rose and D1.  I love them both but more so the D1 as I have had the D1 now for 2 years and it is like a brand new machine everytime Viking comes out with upgrades. All of the upgrades they come out with are based on recommendations from people like me that ask for them.

    The D1 is really easy to use and I have not had it into the shop in all the time that I have had it and believe me I rarely if ever have it turned off.  Somedays it is on and sewing for 12-15 hours at a time.  I know that sounds impossible but I have my own sewing and embroidery business. I use designs that I have downloaded and converted from other formats and also digitize my own.  The soft ware is so easy to use. 

    The other reason I bought Viking was from a recommendation from Consumer Reports that rated Viking #1 with computerized sewing machines.

    Hope this helps.

  4. FitnessNut | | #4

    I have a Bernina 180, which I absolutely love. I am a fashion designer with a home based business in custom evening, bridal and business wear, so my machines really get put through their paces. Originally, I was looking to purchase an industrial machine, but fell in love with the Bernina. The stitch quality is excellent, and I have used lots of machines. I have to say that it has the nicest buttonholes I have ever seen. The knee lift is worth its weight in gold...and it is the only one that drops the feed dogs at the same time, which gives maximum clearance. It has performed for me daily for about 14 months with only a few minor concerns, all of which were dealt with promptly by my dealer. As for the embroidery, I have't used it all that much at this point. What I have done has been outstanding, especially in the area of resizing of designs....most machines don't recalculate the stitch density when resizing and it is very important to the finished look of the embroidery. I intend to purchase the Artista Designer software eventually, but as it would also require a new computer (I have a Mac), it won't be for awhile yet. I highly recommend that you take a selection of fabrics (a representation of what you are likely to sew) with you to your dealer and "test-drive" each of the machines you are considering. That is the only way to truly make an informed decision. After all, these are both good machines. By using them, you will likely find that you prefer one over the other.

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