Friday, May 27, 2011
Sewing Machine Review: Bernina Artista 185E
Price paid: $1800.
How long have you had this machine? Since January 2009.
Would you recommend this machine to others? Yes.
What do you like most about this machine? I like that it has adjustable presser foot pressure, which was lacking in my Pfaff 7570.
I also like the half-stitch option on the foot pedal. If I want to lift the needle up when it's down or vice versa, I can just press my heel down on the pedal. This feature, along with the knee lift, is like having an extra set of hands while my own hands are busy holding and manipulating the fabric.
The quality of Bernina feet is beyond compare; they have such a nice, sturdy feel to them.
I love the removable extension table. Without the extension, the machine is very compact and naturally a free-arm. With the extension table, I have a wide, flush sewing surface. The extension table comes with a sliding gauge that is invaluable when sewing seam allowances wider than one inch. I use it to sew perfectly straight 4" hems on monogrammed pillowcases.
Things you DON'T like about this machine: The stitch length indicator is a bar graph (on the far right of the screen)
rather than a digital numeric display. This may not be a big deal for some people, but my left-brained mind would prefer to have solid numbers to work with.
The tension can be finicky. While the presser foot pressure can be adjusted by turning an actual knob, the tension is adjusted through the computerized display. It's rather tedious to page through the menus, make the adjustment on the screen, and then back out to go back to sewing.
The complete package does come with an embroidery unit, which is a negative in my book, since I prefer to have a separate embroidery machine for that. Having the unit means I have to dedicate valuable real estate to store it for as long as I own the machine. The sewing machine has a stitch counter in its computer that tells how many stitches it has sewn from day one, much like a car odometer. Stitching out embroidery designs greatly increases that number, and will adversely affect resale value.