Bernina 790+ suggested improvements

Pinpoint Placement improvements

Background  : I make athletic shirts with an embroidered logo on the sleeve and use pinpoint placement to compensate for imperfect hooping of the sleeves. 
Problem : Pinpoint placement changes the size of the original design when both the vertical AND horizontal positions are misaligned. Several tutorials on the web (and the pinpoint placement section in the Bernina Embroidery Workbook – page 26) explain how to compensate for improper hooping while maintaining the original design size but they are incorrect.
The procedure is the following :
 1) Draw a crooked vertical and horizontal (intersecting) line on your fabric to simulate imperfect hooping.
 2) In pinpoint placement, choose the “grid alignement” method
 3) Select the grid center point (point 1) and align it to the center point on the fabric (intersection of the 2 lines) . Hit Set.
 4) Choose point 2 (left center point) and align it with the horizontal line using only the LOWER adjustment knob only. Hit Set.
The design is properly centered and aligned, but it is NO LONGER the same size as the original design.
The problem is that when you align point 2 to the horizontal line, it is being extended in a STRAIGHT path effectively stretching the design, when instead point 2 should be rotated in an ARC towards the horizontal line. On screen it does appear to be rotating but the software (firmware) is increasing the size (vertically) to compensate for the horizontal increase to keep the original design proportions.
Proposed Solution : It would be VERY useful to have an “easy peasy” method of compensating for hooping misalignment. This additional option would essentially allow you to ROTATE the design to a known horizontal line and center point on the fabric while keeping the ORIGINAL size of the design:
1) As described in the Bernina Embroidery Workbook, you begin by draw your center vertical and horizontal lines on the fabric.
2) Select the center grid point as point 1 and define it as a Pivot Point,
3) Turn the adjustment knobs to align this Pivot Point (point 1) to the center point marked on the fabric, hit Set.
4) Choose the Left or Right grid center point (point 2) and use the LOWER adjustment knob ONLY to move the second point in an ARC to intersect the horizontal line (thus rotating the design around the pivot point WITHOUT modifying the size)
In fact after discussing this at length on several Bernina forums, I believe most people think this is the way pin point placement actually works.
The current “work around” requires transferring 2 known design points to the fabric and aligning them with pinpoint placement to their corresponding grid points (or “free” points depending on the pinpoint method being used). But it is a bit of a kludge and not nearly as precise or quick as the proposed solution.

Proposed Stitch Editor Improvements 

  • When designing satin type stitches, it is impossible to make them tightly spaced and the editor automatically replaces tightly spaced stitches with TRIPLE stitches, it would be very practical to bypass this builtin “safety feature”.
  • Add the ability to integrate the Density Selector from the i-menu for custom satin stitches so the user can change the stitch density of custom stitches
  • Add some additional advanced editing features and controls that would allow to program the length of a stitch using the “Reverse” button for the creation of custom button hole stitches, darning programs, etc.

Proposed Eco Mode improvement

Eco mode doesn’t actually turn off the screen. The screen turns black with Eco in the center, and the fluorescent tube remains ON. It would be nice to power down the actual screen to help preserve it. The red sewing light would remain on so that the user knows the machine is still on.

Proposed Presser Foot Selection Screen improvement

On any given project I typically switch between 2 to 4 different presser feet, alternating between 1D, 10D, 4D, and 26. It would be nice to be able to filter the long list of feet in the menu with a list of RECENTLY USED feet only – it could implemented as a small button next to the starred recommended presser feet button.


I'm currently on unpaid leave to take care of my mother with late stage dementia, so if you enjoy the content on this website and are enjoying my downloads (trail maps, custom Bernina stitches, dysphagia recipes, etc.) please make a small donation to keep this website alive. Thanks :-)

Bernina 790+ firmware bugs

If you haven’t read my review of the 790+, it’s an amazing machine and I gave it a VERY favorable rating. But the current firmware v37.40.42 still has several bugs that need to be addressed. If you know someone at Bernina please send them a link to this article. Dealers are supposed to send bug reports back to headquarters, but my dealer is a complete putz. If you discovered a bug not on this list please let me know about it in the comments section.

Bug list for firmware version v37.40.42 :

  1. There is a needle positioning problem using foot #4D. Since the foot is joined at the center, positions 0 -1 and +1 are invalid and cannot be used, and valid needle positions begin at -2 and +2. The problem is that positions -2 and +2 are in fact CLOSER to the CENTER of the foot than positions -1 / +1 and the edge of the needle touches the center of the foot. You can see this odd behavior when moving the needle from position -2 to -1 or from +2 to +1, the needle actually moves OPPOSITE to the expected direction. Selecting position -1 or +1 actually brings the needle further OUT and far enough away from the center to prevent the needle from rubbing on the foot, however those positions are invalid and the machine cannot sew. Positions -1 and 1 should really be removed and the needle should directly move to position -2 or +2 and at the current physical location of positions 1. This appears to be a firmware issue and can also be reproduced using the 790+ simulator.
  2. There is a cutter related bug using foot #4D. The cutter does not engage at needle positions -2 and +2. The foot goes up and down but the thread cutter is not activated and a presser foot error message is quickly displayed. Strangely enough, if you set the needle to position -1 or +1, the thread cutter engages correctly. I have consulted several other users that have experienced the same problem.
  3. The safety feature that prevents you from sewing with the wrong foot does not work with foot #4D. If you select foot #1C in the menu but instead attach foot #4D, you can still move the needle to position 0 and smash the needle into the center of the 4D zipper foot.
  4. When embroidering and you want to bring the bobbin thread up by pressing the “needle down” button, the presser foot will randomly go down and back up again without dropping the needle. A second press is required for the needle to drop and pull the bobbin thread back up as expected.
  5. When I try to calibrate the embroidery hoop, the machine freezes.
  6. In multi-directional sewing, it is impossible to accurately change directions. When you stop to change direction, there are always a couple of extra stitches  sewn in the previous direction before changing to the new direction. This makes it impossible to precisely sew along a line or design on the fabric such as a square. There is also a tension problem when sewing left and right, the bobbin thread often appears on the top of the fabric.
  7. In sewing mode the green light stays green in Eco mode.


I'm currently on unpaid leave to take care of my mother with late stage dementia, so if you enjoy the content on this website and are enjoying my downloads (trail maps, custom Bernina stitches, dysphagia recipes, etc.) please make a small donation to keep this website alive. Thanks :-)

Bernina 790+ loud and noisy hook rattle problem

If your Bernina 790 or 790+ sounds like mine did, it likely has a defective hook.

I now LOVE my 790+ but it wasn’t without it’s share of issues straight out of the box.

First step is to properly oil the hook. This will initially quiet it down significantly, but if it starts getting obnoxiously loud and rattly shortly after oiling it, you may have a defective hook. In addition to oiling the race (as described in the manual), add a little oil to the flat surface around the edge of the hook, and also a few drops to the two felt pads on the inside of the hook.

If you’re still having problem please contact me and send me a short video of your noisy hook :

  • Unthread and remove the needle.
  • Lower the feed-dogs and place a piece of fabric under the presser foot.
  • In Sewing settings, shut off the bobbin and upper thread sensors
  • Open the bobbin compartment door (but not the metal latch that hold the hook in place). Leave the bobbin case installed.
  • Record a video and run the machine at various speeds.



I'm currently on unpaid leave to take care of my mother with late stage dementia, so if you enjoy the content on this website and are enjoying my downloads (trail maps, custom Bernina stitches, dysphagia recipes, etc.) please make a small donation to keep this website alive. Thanks :-)

Bernina 790+ Review – Part 1


Warning ! I’ve gotten some flack for my use of profanity in this article – and someone even accused me of writing hate speech for my use of a particular derivative of the f-word (I don’t hate anyone – well maybe my Bernina dealer a little ;-). There are a few “bad” words used for comedic relief, (6 in fact – yes someone actually counted).  So if you’re sensitive to that kind of thing, I suggest you skip this article and be on your merry way. You’ve been warned 😉

Newsflash, my Bernina dealer still sucks, but that’s a topic for another day.

For those of you who followed my 590 saga, I finally exchanged my 590 for a 790+, which has also had its share of issues. This won’t be a long winded review like my 590 was;  let’s cut to the chase.

My brand new Bernina 790+ rattled like hell straight out of the box.

Weeks of back and forth with my dealer: “Clean it he says, you must have done X Y and Z to it, oil the hook, re-thread, change the needle, bla bla  bla”. I’m surprised he didn’t suggest I might not be bonding with it; maybe he reads my blog.

Well 2 months later, and they finally determined I had a defective hook. No shit eh ? I can say eh, I’m half Canadian. And the other word, well I’m half American, and our president is Donald Trump, I get a free pass.

Normally, I ‘m careful with my French, but this is a Bernina article I’m writing – and I’ve developed a really bad case of Bernina Derangement Syndrome. So let me get it out early, for fuck’s sake, why does Bernina treat customers like we’re all a bunch of clueless fucktards ? Even if you are a new user, or new to sewing, or new to Bernina, it’s not a reason. Please Bernina, respect your clients.

I know a lot of you complain about having a really noisy hook, it shouldn’t be. Oil it first, but if that doesn’t quiet it down and it sounds as bad as mine, chances are you have defective hook. Be persistant with you dealer, don’t let him tell you it’s you.

The machine is whisper quiet now, even without frequent oiling. It’s amazing. I still oil the hook, just not every 15 minutes. Bernina still has MAJOR quality control issues, but at least the defective hook was replaced under warranty. Begrudgingly I might ad, my dealer actually said I must have damaged it – because Berninas are always perfect. It’s this type of attitude that brings out the vulgarity in me. I remember the day I unpacked it and ran a piece of test fabric expecting to hear the sweet melody of swiss machinery when my girlfriend yells from the kitchen “WHAT’S ALL THAT RACKET ?!”.

But that wasn’t the only problem right out of the box. But the next issue I was able to fix myself. I’ve seen other users report this problem and if you’re a little handy maybe you can fix it too, or I can show you how.

Which reminds me, I recently created a new Bernina Facebook group called Bernina Technical Support. I originally called it Bernina Haters, then it morphed into Bernina Love/Hate, now it’s just Bernina Technical Support. It’s a group for people interested in getting help with their newer Berninas, you know, cause they’re full of problems – even straight out the box, and finicky, really finicky. And sometimes as much as we really love our machines, we’re tempted to smash them through a window.  It’s an easy going group. I guess we have to be, we only have 2 members right now 😉 You’re allowed to vent, in fact you’re ENCOURAGED to vent :). It’s not very politically correct either so you won’t see your posts mysteriously disappear for no reason, like mine did, after linking to this post in some other Bernina group… That’s not entirely true, there are a few instances where you might get a lifetime ban, like telling someone they’re not bonding with their machine. That’s at the top of the list, don’t say that, EVER. Anyway, I encourage you to join. I’ve started to gather a lot of resources to help users out with their machines. When we reach 100k members, you can tell everyone you were the third to join, or the fourth, or even the 100th. After that people might not care so much, so hurry up and join ! Now back to the review.

The next problem I had with my machine involves the basting stitch, stitch #21. For some reason, using a 6 mm long basting stitch, the thread gets pulled down to the bobbin and jams. Hard. Re-thread, and everything is OK, until you baste again. Jam. Well, it turns out that the spring that prevents the thread from coming out of the thread lever became un-clipped… so I re-attached the spring, problem solved. If you have this problem, remove the front cover with the include Torx wrench and with pair of needle nose pliers, pull the spring back and clip it back in.

The re-attached spring (between 1 and 2)

Next issue. Can you guess ? Presser foot alignment. Why does almost every frigging Bernina come from the factory with a misaligned presser foot ?! FFS.


It’s easy enough to adjust yourself, and I did, but I couldn’t get it PERFECTLY aligned, and believe me I tried. I’m super myopic. With my glasses off, a sewing needle one inch from my eyes is the size of a javelin. But I just couldn’t do it. And that’s when I discovered that the needle itself was misaligned with the needle plate. How can you tell ? Install the straight stitch plate and lower the needle, it should be smack in the middle. Of course, mine wasn’t. Why should it be. And no, it’s not user adjustable. Off to the dealer.

Misaligned Needle

Well, that last incident left me without a machine for 2 months. But the timing wasn’t so bad; I spent most of those two months freezing my butt off photographing the arctic village of Salluit in Northern Quebec – my sewing machine was the LAST thing on my mind. Survival was, and fear, mostly of a polar bear encounter, or a wolf, or a wolverine. Here are a few images from an upcoming book I’m writing. SALLUIT is cold, it’s raw, but it’s also incredibly beautiful, barren and desolate, and romantic, and sometimes ominous and frightening, and completely disconnected from the rest of the world. A magical place.

Salluit Northern Quebec – Hudson Strait
Salluit Northern Quebec

Back to the needle alignment. The needle alignment is adjusted with a concentric screw. Mine was cracked. How is that possible on a new machine? Because it’s a Bernina. And trying to get new said concentric screw ? 2 months back order.

So now that everything is fixed, how do I like my machine ?

It’s AWESOME. The large screen is easy on the eyes, the lighting is fantastic, the stitch quality is SUPERB and the embroidery is PHENOMENAL. I give it a 3 Flaming AMAZEBALLS rating. I really couldn’t be happier. Well actually I could, with a new dealer; he gets 3 f-you umbrellas, we have our own rating system, you can read about it here. Hopefully my machine will never need service and I’ll never have to see him again. 

Part 1 was a just a short introductory review to tell you that even though my 790 and I were off to a rocky start, it was well worth persevering through the initial pain.

Stay tuned for Part II of my review where I will go into detail about all of my favorite features, like the Stitch Editor – so much fun ! Actually I already talk about it in depth on this blog, and there are also a bunch of custom stitches I designed you can download for free. Have a look around. And don’t forget to join my Bernina Facebook Group ASAP !




The firmware still needs a little work and has some bugs that need to be addressed, I talk about that here.

There are a few other features that would improve the current firmware, noticeably pinpoint placement, you can read about it here.

Again my apologies for anyone offended by my vulgarity. Because Bernina.

Fantastic stitch quality


I'm currently on unpaid leave to take care of my mother with late stage dementia, so if you enjoy the content on this website and are enjoying my downloads (trail maps, custom Bernina stitches, dysphagia recipes, etc.) please make a small donation to keep this website alive. Thanks :-)