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Bernina 820

Bernina 820

3.0 from 4 reviews

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A lemon

I purchased this machine as a treat to replace a good old basic Brother Machine...well it has given me no end of trouble and been back to the manufacturer for obvious faults within the warranty period. The main problem is the bobbin area which continually jams causing frustrating sewing. I am using the recommended (expensive) thread. My trusty old Brother has come to the rescue time and time again...finally packed it up yesterday to trade in on a new Brother machine, if anyone will take it. Fingers crossed. I am an experienced quilter/ home dressmaker ..do not buy this lemon 2nd hand from anyone. Not worthy of any stars, but have to put one in.

Purchased in June 2015 for $6,500.00.

Build Quality
Value for Money
Ease of Use
Cleaning & Maintenance
Noise Level
Thick Fabric Performance
Sewing Experience Level Advanced

820 Threading Problem

This is my replacement machine so the second to have the same problem
If I am lucky enough to have it thread, then it’s fine. Lots of room to work. Love the space to the right of the needle
The Bernina service people and the lady who has handled my calls indicate user error
I spend more time try to thread this lemon of a design than actually sewing
I’m at my wits end

Date PurchasedNov 2015

The most divine Bernina ever!

I was given this sewing machine last Christmas and had lusted for it for several years previously, it is in every way the most divine Bernina I have ever worked with! It is packed with so many features that make my quilting and sewing so much more efficient and painless but that also makes writing a review quite difficult..as there is no way I can mention everything I love about the machine!

The machine is highly customisable. For example the presserfoot lift height can be customised to pivot for different thicknesses for different projects. And there is no presserfoot lift lever, just buttons to control the foot. There is a huge amount of clearance under the foot for really bulky projects to fit. I can change the lighting contrast level on the screen and the light output according to the environment I have the machine in. I can disengage the dual feed mechanism, or engage on demand but unlike other machines with dual feed, the 820 and 830 machines are adjustable to feed faster or slower the top layer of fabric. I haven't needed this feature yet but it will be good to have when I need it.
I love the Eco model that saves all my stitch settings whilst I leave it in energy reduction model whilst taking a break. When I wake the machine up again, everything is as I left it.
I can program alerts into the machine to remind myself of things I need to do (such as stop sewing and collect kiddies from school!), and I can time the length projects take to make, as well as how many stitches they take to make.
Anytime I need to pay attention to the machine, such as when a bobbin is running low, icons flash up on the screen telling me what I need to do. Troubleshooting time is reduced dramatically because I don't waste time figuring out what I must do. There is also a creative consultant built into the machine with guidance on matching threads and accessories to different techniques for the best results.

Oh, and the buttonholes!! Huge array to select from, and not only adjustable in length and width, but also in the space between the buttonhole beads. So, so useful for different weights of fabric. Buttonholes are very easy to make and you can make unlimited numbers of buttonholes exactly the same. The direction of the beads is sewn in the same direction, so the beads are absolutely balanced.
The buttonhole quality is lovely.

When you get the machine, its packaging is amazing. Layer upon layer inside box, seperated and properly cushioned, in a huge box. There is a fabulous DVD for training you on the machine set up and use as well as a well written manual written by a educator with English as the first language. The machine is complex so good instruction that is easy to understand was something I really appreciated.

I love the stitch quality. The extra enormous bobbins are amazing requiring fewer bobbin changes for each project since up to 40% more than standard sized bobbins fits onto the bobbin. I can totally control the speed of winding of thread as well as the percentage of thread I want loaded onto the bobbin.
This is good if you just want a small amount of thread on the bobbin, or when working with delicate threads being able to slow the machine down to wind prevents metallics from stretching or breaking during bobbin winding. And, at highest speeds, the bobbin winding is lightning fast.
Machine weighs 20 kg and is huge, but there is no vibration at all if you put the machine on a properly sturdy table or cabinet. Horn make cabinets specifically designed for the very large machines with a Maxi lifter to support their weight. I know some girls carry these to class, but there is no way I am going to (bad back)- so I have a lighter smaller machine for travel use. I get the feeling this is a machine best suited to finding a permanent location for, unless you are extremely strong in the shoulders and back.

There is a learning curve with the machine, especially with regard to threading correctly the top and bottom, but once you learn the right way to do these things for this machine you are rewarded with exceptional sewing capabilities. The onscreen threading tutorials are fabulous.
The manual itself is nicely produced with clear diagrams and photos to show exactly which part of the machine to adjust or to clean for different needs.

The machine comes with a nice selection of feet but I have bought additional feet for specific uses and store them in the really nicely designed "barbie's wardrobe" storage container. I love that so many of the new feet for this machine have the cut out back allowing the dual feed feature to be engaged with specialty feet.

The space in the harp is huge, 12 inches to the right of the needle, 15 inches total freearm length. This isn't a big deal until you start to sew large projects and then OMG, its total bliss! Physically wrangling a large quilt or dress through the machine is much easier. The freearm is a beautiful stainless steel topped arm, and the stitch plate is totally flush with the surface of it, no annoying little bump to flip seams over before the needle as other machines can have. I absolutely love the extension table that comes with it.
The machine is also fast at top speed 1200 stitches per minute, when foot is flat to the floor. I can use the sliding speed control to cap the speed to my choice for controlling speed yet having my foot comfortably relaxed on the foot control (which is very comfortable)

The machine has every bell and whistle, refinement and feature you could imagine, and then some. Truly, they thought of everything. The thread cutter cuts properly. the needle threader robotic system is absolutely amazing to watch and if you thread it correctly it threads the needle perfectly (for size 75 to 80 needle and above) and then holds the tail for you to begin sewing!!
I love the thread stand on the machine. One spool for bobbin winding, two available for the top thread. No need for a seperate thread stand.

I like that I could buy a machine specifically developed for quilters and garment sewers and NOT have to invest into an embroidery capable machine to get the features I wanted. This has saved me literally thousands of dollars.

Everything is controlled through the touch screen or easy to touch buttons. Its been surprisingly easy to remember what each icon does, but the manual has a quick reference guide for when I haven't used it in a short time and might have forgotten something.

The machine is made in Switzerland and the quality is evident right from the packaging to the machine, right down to the smallest detail or accessory. Labour costs are higher and there is a huge amount of R and D invested into the machine, so the machine comes with a hefty price tag. Mine was bought on a pre Christmas special right before a price rise, so we paid only $5999 for it, but they cost a good deal more at full RRP today. Watch for sale times if you dont' want to shell out the full RRP. However the quality and attention to detail is there that justifies the price tag: Everything is smoothly finished, no rough edges, no poor moulding of parts, everything precisely built, and most importantly, everything works as it should. Nothing feels cheap or nasty. Even though the casing is plastic, it is heavy duty.
Its a joyous machine I felt I have waited for, for so very long, but the wait was absolutely worth it!
This is not a machine that will be outgrown as the skill of the user increases. I cannot recommend it highly enough for the sewer who wants more than basic or mid range machines can possibly ever offer.
Absolute TOL, fully featured, dedicated machine for Quilters and Garment sewers

It's fabulous

I'm very happy with my machine. So user friendly and took very little time to familiarise myself with and use the features.

1 comment
I have found the tension dreadful drives me crazy

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