Thursday, July 30, 2009

First Steps into Research

This is the first machine I've looked at in my sewing machine research. It's a Bernina 440QE. Marketed to quilters, it comes with a walking foot, BSR, patchwork foot, daring foot and embroidery foot (the last 2 look similar to me) in addition to 4 other feet. Price point is $3000.
Ok....I wasn't ready to sew with it, so I didn't. I'm too early in my research and frankly I was a bit overwhelmed. So I'm taking it slow - no impulse purchases allowed! I really liked the dealer and feel they would support me. I really liked that they didn't utilize any high pressure sales techniques. I can take the mastery classes as many times as I want. Who wants to bet I'd need to repeat at least one?

This machine can have the embroidery package added to it. In doing my online research, I'm not sure I'd do enough embroidery to justify the costs. I'm shelving the idea of embroidery for now. I can revisit this later if I need to.

I like how easy and quick the feet are to change. That's actually a big deal for me. I have big hands and getting both of them in a small space to change a foot with a screw is tough. And slow.

Questions Outstanding:
1: How big of a quilt could I actually quilt with this machine?
2: Is the BSR over rated? I've done some free motion quilting and I've read some reviews that the BSR is a bit slow. Do I really need the BSR?
3: I've gotten some feedback that this machine unthreads easily. Does anyone have any experience with that?
4: Is this a machine that I could take to classes? I'd want to be sure it would travel well in the proper travel case.

I'd love to hear from anyone who has anything to share about purchasing a new sewing machine!

10 comments:

Yvette said...

This is the machine I learned to quilt on and it now serves as my class machine since I upgraded this past spring. I have done a queen sized quilt on it. I can't say it was easy but I did it. I do use the BSR but if you already quilt without it then you don't need it. I am not a fast quilter so I have never had the problem of it being too slow. I just like the way it keeps my stitches even. I have never had the problem of the machine un-threading either.

yarnjourney said...

Hi Jackie, I am interested in this machine too. Thanks for your notes and questions to ask.

Amy said...

Hi Jackie,

I love my 440QE. You asked me if I had sewn quilts with it, and yes, I have. I've pieced and appliqued quilts both big (queen-sized) and wall-hanging sized. I've quilted the smaller sized quilts, but due to shoulder/neck problems, I don't try to shove twin-sized or larger quilts through the machine. I know others who do it without too much trouble, though. I like the BSR foot. It isn't fast, but it really helps to keep your stitches even when free-motion quilting. I don't have the embroidery attachment, although I think that might be a fun addition someday. The machine's stitches are gorgeous. I'm not sure what you mean by the machine unthreading. I've never had the thread come out when I didn't want it to. :) It would be a great machine to take to classes. It's not too heavy and the bag that comes with the machine is really nice and sturdy. If you've got a good dealer, I'm fairly sure you'd be happy with the machine!

Amy
quixoticpixels.com

Bethany said...

I had this machine when it first came out. It's a great machine but the BSR is way over rated. If you break it or lose it it's a 1100? dollar part. It was 900 to replace it when I purchased it years ago. I couldn't afford this machine (impulse purchase) and sold it.

When I went to purchase a new machine I took a look at it again and thought it sounded really tinny and cheap for the price. I couldn't justify it.

It quilted beautifully, sewed beautifully when I owned it but the cheapness factor just didn't sell it when I looked at it again.

Candace said...

I've answered 1 and 2 for you Jackie, on 3 - I've never heard this - if you thread the machine properly, it shouldn't happen! And on 4 - they are heavy, but with a proper case, they travel just fine!
Cheers!

Clevelandgirlie said...

Hey There Jackie. I researched and researched and researched - like everyone, I too looked at all the Bernina machines and there were things that were very appealing. I also looked at BabyLoc and Janome. I ended up with the Janome 6600P and am sooooo happy that I did. It has a walking foot, very easy to change feet, tons and tons of stitches, letters, etc. It does have I believe one of the longest necks on a "regular" machine and, the best part - the price (around $1600). It also has a 1/4 walking foot. I've used the BSR on the Bernina and it IS overrated. If you are experienced with machine quilting you don't need the BSR.
I'm so happy with my Janome - and I have lots of $$ left over for fabric and threads!

Nettie said...

I have this machine and like it, I can see why some think the BSR is overrated tho. I already owned a Bernina Virtuosa 155 when I got the QE440 and found that the latter did seem cheaper, less sturdy than the 155, I felt like the casing had been economised on to finance the BSR. I still like it tho and am pleased to own it. I have only made average sized quilts so can't comment on larger, I would imagine a longer arm would be better. All in all I'd say if you do free motion embroidery OK then don't bother with this machine

ranette said...

I love my Bernina 440QE and I like the BSR. I didn't buy the embroidery module and I really don't regret it as I don't have time for that anyway. I have quilted a queen size quilt but it wasn't easy pushing it through. I use all the stitches and I'm very happy with it overall. I don't take it to classes though, but you could. I bought a Janome gem 780 (i think) for that, which is a great little take along machine.

summersadie said...

Hi Jackie,
I bought a new machine 2 years ago. My choices were fairly limited, but I'm happy with what I got (a Viking). Anyway, the feature I really wish I had got was the thread' cut' button. That would come in so handy when you're quilting, and you try to find the bobbin thread under all that material. The next machine I purchase will have that.

Simone de Klerk said...

I was thinking of buying a new machine too, but after I saw all those machines and went back to mine, I thought mine could still do for a while. But ... it is soooooo tempting .... Have you decided yet?