Bernina 790+ Review – Part 1

TL;DR

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 !

RATING – 3 AMAZEBALLS

  

PS

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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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 Custom Stitch – Water Drop

Download Water Drop v1.0.exp

Installation Instructions in the Bernina Repository


Sample stitch out using default settings and Schmetz Microtex 70/10 needle.



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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 Custom Stitch – Bandaid v1.0

Download Bandaid v1.1.zip

Update February 23, 2019 : I updated this stitch to 1.1 to fix a problem with the original stitch. There were a couple of stitches that were too close together + a misplaced triple stitch segment that could cause the stitch to hangup and “get caught” sewing in place causing a thread knot. Apologies to anyone who may have had this problem with the original stitch.

This is a great little decorative stitch you can use to patch small holes in your jeans or other clothing. The best way to use is to first repair the hole with the darning program, and then cover it with the bandaid stitch. This stitch comes as a 2 stitch pack that includes bandaid “end pieces” to sew seperately to form an X (see images below). It includes beginning and end tie downs so you do not have to add them yourself.

Tip : like the darning program this stitch works best with the automatic button hole foot 3A.

Tip : Use the “i” setting to specify a stitch count of 1, or press the “Pattern End” button before starting the stitch to sew a single band-aid.

Tip : Test the stitch FIRST on a similar piece of fabric . This stitch uses a Tatami fill that is relatively tight and depending on the fabric and stabiliser used it could sew too tightly and sew on itself and create a thread knot. If this happens simply lengthen the stitch to an appropriate length.

 

Installation Instructions in the Bernina Repository


Sample stitch out using default settings and Schmetz Microtex 70/10 needle.



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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 Custom Stitch – Kiss

Download Kiss v1.0.exp

You can find the installation instructions in the Bernina Repository


Sample stitch out using default settings and Schmetz Microtex 70/10 needle.



Donate

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 Custom Stitch – Fleur-de-Lis

Download Fleur-de-Lis v1.0.exp

You can find the installation instructions in the Bernina Repository


Sample stitch out using default settings and Schmetz Microtex 70/10 needle.



Donate

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 Custom Stitch – 4 Leaf Clover

Download 4 Leaf Clover v1.0.exp

You can find the installation instructions in the Bernina Repository


Sample stitch out using default settings and Schmetz Microtex 70/10 needle.

  



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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 Custom Stitch – Bauhaus v1.0

Download Bauhaus v1.0.exp

You can find the installation instructions in the Bernina Repository


Sample stitch out using default settings and Schmetz Microtex 70/10 needle.



Donate

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 Stitch Repository

This repository was created to encourage users to create and modify stitches on their Bernina sewing machines and to share them with their fellow Bernina owners 🙂

You don’t need a fancy TOL 790/790+ or 880 to use the built in Stitch Designer, instead you can download the Bernina 790 or 880 simulators (PC-only) and modify stitches directly on your PC. Working on the PC is actually better than since you can use the mouse instead of the stylus. The custom stitches from the simulator can then be transferred to all modern 9mm Bernina sewing machines that have a USB port including the new 5 series (570/590) the 7 series (740/770/790), the 880 and even the new 4 series.

I’m working on an automated upload system but for now you can simply email me your stitches and I will manually add them to the repository (and give you credit 😉Please include your name and a brief description of the stitch, any specific hints or tips to make it sew out properly, and if possible a photo of the sewn stitch.

Water Drop v1.0

 

Bandaid v1.1

Sashiko Roman v1.0 (7 stitch pack)

4 Leaf Clover v1.0

Fleur-de-Lis

Bauhaus v1.0

Kiss v1.0

Bernina 438 Special

Sheriff Star v1.0

Sashiko Classic (coming soon)

Sashiko Ranch (coming soon)

Installation Instructions :

  1. Download one of the stitch files or packs above to your computer.
  2. If the stitch is part of a pack, extract the individual .exp files from the compressed zip.
  3. Copy the .exp stitch file(s) to a USB key
  4. Turn on your Bernina sewing machine and plug in the USB key.
  5. Go to your Personal/Favorites/Hearts folder, then click the small left arrow to expand the dialog box :
  6. Select Open Pattern :
  7. Select the USB key option next to the sewing machine icon :
  8. Select the stitchyou want to load :
  9. After loading your stitch, the file is still on your USB key, it’s a good idea to same the stitch immediately to one of your 4 Personal Folders.
  10. You must repeat this process for each individual stitch, so if you are installing one of the stitch packs, you will have to repeat the process for each included .exp file.


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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 :-)

Sashiko Roman – Bernina custom stitches

This stitch pack for 9mm Bernina sewing machines contains the 7 classic Roman Numerals sewn as a triple run stitch with 0.5mm connecting stitches. These stitches are perfect for patching worn out jeans or adding a decorative “Sashiko look” and are best sewn using WHITE thread. The very short connecting stitches help them disappear into the fabric making the triple stitched Roman Numerals appear to be sewn individually. As a finishing touch you can use a dark blue fabric pen to make the connecting stitches disappear completely.

To use these stitches, first download the compressed zip file below and extract the 7 individual .exp stitch files to a USB key. Then transfer them to your Bernina sewing machine by saving the 7 stitches to one of your 4 Favorite/Heart folders.

These stitches are best used in Combi mode using the “+” button like shown below and can be combined with tie-downs between each stitch to make them even more secure.

Download stitch pack – Sashiko Roman V1



Donate

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 Custom Stitch – Sheriff Star

Download Sheriff Star v1.0.exp

You can find the installation instructions in the Bernina Repository


Sample stitch out using default settings and Schmetz Microtex 70/10 needle.

  



Donate

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 :-)