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


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