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Sewing-machine purchase advice

sewinrabbit | Posted in Equipment and Supplies on

I own a Viking 500.  It has been trouble free, but I want to get a Bernina so I would have a stitch regulator for free motion.  I also want a Bernina so I can purchase the felting foot as I love creative sewing.  Another gain would be a knee lift so I could keep both hands on my sewing.  Do not know if I could justify the purchase as my machine is only ten years old.  I will buy, I won’t.  I’ll buy, I won’t.  What a dilema.  Sewing is my passion.  Does anyone have any opinions on the felting foot, stitch regulator or knee lift.  Life is short and we should enjoy but I am so sensible about dollars!


  1. SewistKitty | | #1

    I have an Activa Bernina which was recently discontinued although it is still available if your dealer will special order it for you. My Activa is able to use the felting foot which I purchased but have not used yet.
    Beware! In a "Know your sewing machine class" that I was in with some non-Activa Bernina users, the instructor told us that their machines would not accomodate this felting foot. I found this odd because my machine was about $1,000 and theirs were $3,000-4,000. Anyway, the felting foot works on my Activa but not on certain other Berninas. Now if only I could make myself learn how to use it.

    Hope this will help you.

    Edited 6/18/2006 4:18 pm ET by LasVegasKitty25

    1. Kiley | | #2

      The needle punch attachment is only for the machines with a CB hook excluding the Bernette 55 model. The Artista models 180, 185 and 200 have a rotary hook and therefore cannot use the felting attachment. I saw on another forum that the felting foot also needs a special plate.

      1. SewistKitty | | #3

        Thanks for the clarification. All of the recent Bernina models start with "A" and I get them mixed up. When I use my felting foot I will write about it in this forum.

  2. sewsew | | #4

    I have a Bernina Artista 180, I have loved having the machine and all it can do.  The knee lift is very valuable for giving you two hands to manipulate fabric and not worry about raising and lowerin the foot.  I have been happy with the classes provided and the quality of the product.  I would recommend you clarify what does and does NOT work on any machine you purchase.  You could always sell your current machine to upgrade.  Good luck.

  3. MaryinColorado | | #5

    I am intrigued by that felting foot and plate and hope that Viking will come up with one also.  I can't justify a new machine as I bought the Designer 1 two years ago and plan on buying the upgrade for the dongel device for it.  The D1's are on sale because of the Designer SE being the new top of the line. 

     The D1 has "automatic presser foot lift" that can be turned off or on so the knee lift would not be necessary.  My latest passion is thread painting and free motion embroidery/quilting which is so o o o fun, Viking has a new clear open toe free motion foot which I love as you can really see what you are working on.  I have been doing this without a hoop so far but am sure when I do it with the zig zag stitch it will probably be necessary to prevent puckering. 

    I am not a dealer and do not work for the industry, just a happy owner of 3 Vikings.  As far as investments, I think my 936 serger is the wisest and most utilized of all.  Mary

  4. nisee | | #6

    Hi, I have A Bernina 1260. Troublefree for years.  Love the knee lift.  I have looked lovinly at the Artista models for the embroidery.  Someday. Bought this machine for the buttonholer. I use it for somethings and then I use a different approach described in Threads which I find more finished. 

    1. thimbles1260 | | #7

      I have a Bernina 1260 as well (hence the name).  I love my machine and it's been trouble-free for several years now.  I do a lot of quilting so it gets some hard use, but so far, knock on wood, it's been holding up very well.  I would love to upgrade to one of Bernina's upper line models with the free motion quilting regulators, but I just can't jusitfy it now.  How many dollars do they want for them??!!!!

      I also have a Deco 650 embroidery machine.  I have not used it as much as I thought I would.  Perhaps one day I'll trade them both in for an upgrade.  Oh, the decisions in life!!

      1. nisee | | #8

        Hi, I have looked longinly at the fancy embroidery options on the new Bernina and have seen some incredible items produced and displayed at our local dealers shop.  There was a class with "heirloom" type christening gowns etc showing last time I visited.  I am very happy with my machine but it is always wonderful to see the new technology.  Maybe the prices will go down, like computers!  I don't do quilting just clothes on my machine.  For home dec. projects I have a friend that runs a workroom - complete with huge cutting tables and industrial machines. I am a big fan of quilters and have been to many shows featuring the art.  I saw a lazer? type machine that did all kinds of free arm stiching. Now that had a price tag!   

        1. thimbles1260 | | #9

          You're right, those long-arm quilting machines are boo-koo bucks!  Big too!  I had an opportunity to purchase a used one for dirt cheap.  I measured my house every which way but loose and the only place it would fit was right down the middle of my livingroom.  The DH did not really approve of that one!  LOL

          I love piecing quilts and also quilting if it is small enough.  Right now I have a large queen sized quilt (Bear Paws in multiple sizes) waiting to go to my quilter.  It truly was a bear to do....the hardest pattern I've attempted thus far.  The actual block is not so hard, but I had one with teeney-tiny little claws as in 1" pieced blocks.   I'm glad it's finally done.

          Keep sewing

          1. nisee | | #10

            That sounds so beautiful. Not to long ago that had a show at our county fair and some of intricate piecing just knocked you out.  Lots of traditional and some new approaches as well. In doing home dec projects I have been amazed at the endless creativity of people mixing and matching patterns and the subtle way colors are combined but quilting is does all that in one product. I'm guessing you saw the article in threads on patchwork in clothes, some of those items really apeal to me. 

            As you say: keep sewing.

          2. thimbles1260 | | #11

            You said, "I'm guessing you saw the article in threads on patchwork in clothes, some of those items really apeal to me. "

            I DID!  I especially liked the "subdued color" jack and the brown, beige and taupe jacket on the next page.  Now, if I could only sew!!  LOL  I thought the button embroidery was intrigueing too.  So many things to do and so little time! 

            You mentioned you are doing Home Dec. projects right now.  What are you working on?

  5. TJSEWS | | #12

    I have a Bernina Activa 240 and I absolutely LOVE the knee lift.  I am a garment sewer and love the control it gives me when turning corners or manipulating ease. 

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