Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Bernina Sewing Machines - Should You Buy One?

Bernina sewing machines are among the best in the business. They are made in Germany and are very high quality. They are great for beginners because they are so easy to use. They are also loved by master seamstresses because the technology is amazing.

They feature sewing machines with color touch screens, access to the internet and features that are out of this world. From embroidery to basic hemming, the Bernina sewing machines are one of the best on the market today.

People who use these machines love the ease. Even for those sewing pros out there, a Bernina allows you to create more projects much faster.

You can even use this machine to sew on buttons. You just need to put the button on the garment anywhere you want it to go and you let your Bernina do the rest. The sewing machine will decide what size stitching and what size hole you need automatically. You can sit back and relax because this pretty much does all the sewing for you!

Many people love Bernina sewing machines because no matter how long you have them, they seem to last and last and last. This is important because it saves you a lot of money in the long run that you would have normally spent on replacement machines or repairs. Whether you are a novice or a natural, the Bernina brand makes it easy to create projects that you will love.

Not sure which model to get? Well first you need to determine how much you will be using it. If you are only going to utilize the machine some of the time, you won't need the most expensive one.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Bernina 830 - A Hall of Fame Sewing Machine

If you were to start a sewing machine Hall of Fame, the first few inductees might include the Singer 221 Featherweight and perhaps a Singer 201, but ... it would definitely include a Bernina 830.

This industry and sewing proven machine has a large and dedicated following ... and more and more sewists want to join the 830 club. As a result, even though it was only produced from 1972 through 1977, it's probably more in demand today than it ever has been.

Prices unfortunately reflect this -- there's not a great supply, but there is a great demand. Expect to pay between $350 and $800 for a good used machine! The Bernina 830 is one of those rare and happy mechanical occurrences where the manufacturer simply got everything right (kind of like a 1957 Chevrolet!). These metal and mechanical marvels purr along as smoothly today as when they first left the dealer showroom.

The manuals are long out of print -- although copies are easily found on the Internet. There are online support groups as well (like I said, there's a dedicated following!)

The 830 is a sturdy mechanical machine -- no computers or chips. It offers 21 stitches -- with 15 of them being decorative. It has 5 different needle positions and you can vary the stitch width and length up to 4mm. You've also got a Five Step Buttonhole; this is the same as a four step buttonhole, with a fifth straight securing stitch down one side of the buttonhole stitching.

Controls manage the stitch length (including reverse), the stitch width, and the stitch selection (straight/zig-zag mode or decorative stitch mode). There's a dial for the 5 step buttonhole as well as selections to drop the feed dogs and to slip into a "slow speed/high torque" mode for extra punch!

Finally, there's a socket that accepts Bernina's presser foot lift arm. Nudge it with your right knee to raise the sewing foot (you can also raise it manually with the standard lift arm behind the sewing head.). To really use the knee lift properly, you should use your left foot for the foot control! This takes a tiny bit of getting-used-to, but is nice once you do so.

The 830 is a free arm machine -- although there is a sewing "table" that slides and locks onto the free arm -- that uses old style Bernina feet. These are bayonet mount feet that pop on and off incredibly easily (that's what sold me on my first Bernina). The old style foot is a little shorter than the new style.

Once you join the Bernina family, you'll find yourself in constant foot acquisition mode! There are dozens and dozens of feet -- but you can get by with only a few. Standard feet on an original 830 include Zigzag, Embroidery, Overlock, Blindstitch, Buttonhole, Small Darning, Tailor tacking, Hemmer 4mm, Pintuck (7-groove), Lap Hemmer, Zipper, and the low Shank Adaptor.

Bernina "Old Style" feet are readily available. List price tends to be $20 to $30 per foot; used feet may only be a few dollars on Ebay.

I've occasionally had bobbin woes on Bernina models -- but never on the 830 series. It simply works all the time.

The Bernina 830 is a simple machine -- but there's something special about being simple. If you're simple and easy-to-use ... then you have to be really, really good! The Bernina 830 passes this test easily -- as attested by the legion of fond owners. If you get a chance to start your own Hall of Fame, you couldn't go wrong by including the Bernina 830 as an early member!

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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Machine Embroidery and Embroidery Digitizing

Machine embroidery is described as having two different techniques, of which embroidery digitizing is one of them. The other technique is more of manual means, mainly with the use of a sewing machine. The computerized or digitized technique is what is popularly being used nowadays because of the less effort and less costs involved in the process.

Manual machine embroidery mainly used in fiber arts and quilting projects. It involves the use of a sewing machine to make a design on a piece of fabric or cloth. With the introduction of the computerized embroidery process, however, the use of manual embroidery lessened and lessened. Embroidery digitizing became the primary technique in creating embroidery.

Computerized embroidery became popular for two reasons. One reason is that it lessens the amount of labor placed into the work. The computer and the digitizing software does most of the work in perfecting the design and embroidery. With this machine embroidery technique, there is less effort given and no time wasted at all. The second reason is because of the lesser cost incurred in embroidery digitizing. With manual machine embroidery, you need to have a sewing machine which should not just be any kind of sewing machine. There are machines made strictly for the purpose of embroidery, and these are the ideal machines for the job. Sewing machines are also expensive nowadays. Add to that the manual work you'll be doing, it would really seem like manual machine embroidery is as tiring as it sounds. And it really is.

With the computerized embroidery process, the embroidery digitizer will automatically produce the design you have had pre-made and inputted into the computer. With the digitizing software you're using, you can make the design by setting up the stitching patterns and arranging the settings of the colors and the threads. With the simple processes and easy instructions, it is really no wonder why computerized machine embroidery has become popular in our time.

If we are talking economics, using an embroidery digitizer will still be the better method. We can buy digitizing programs and software that won't cost us a lot of money, and still be able to produce great embroidery work. Buying a sewing machine, however, might not be a good idea especially if you are not that good in using the machine to make your embroidery project.

There are also those who just opt to buy the embroidery designs instead of making them on their own. There are machine and digitizing software manufacturers who also sell their own designs. There are already a lot of individuals and small companies making a business out of offering their digitizing services and selling their designs and patterns.

Looking at the facts and appealing to practicality, it is quite obvious that using computerized embroidery machines are better than going manual. Embroidery is also not a simple task to do, especially if your project involves a lot of stitches and patterns put together. Whether it's a small or large design or pattern, you certainly will not go wrong with embroidery digitizing.

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