If you know me (or follow me on Instagram) you’ve no doubt seen/heard all about this by now. This beautiful piece of machinery joined our family last March. Technically, it was my 5th anniversary gift from Jesse. But being responsible adults, we put off the actual purchase until…we had a 4 year old and a 14 month old in a small, run-down rental house while our new home was a month and counting past scheduled completion.
In my defense, we got a great deal. Also I was at that point in the throes of stay-at-home-motherhood where you feel your identity slipping away (there is no Christy. There is only Allie and Theo’s mom) and to be honest, sewing felt like a lifeline. It had been so long since I’d been able to dedicate any time or space to crafting that I was feeling a little desperate for something “mine.” So when the great deal presented itself I couldn’t really resist, and Jesse agreed that the time was right.
So what was so great about this deal? Well, for one price, I got my Bernina 790, Bernina’s embroidery digitizing software (DesignerPlus V7), and a Babylock Evolution serger/coverstitch machine. I’ll write more about the software and the Evolution in future posts, because they are just as exciting. But this post is about my 790.
So why Bernina, and why the 790? My first machine was a Babylock Grace, which I still consider the perfect starter machine. I have grand plans of teaching my kids to sew on this machine, although Allie is already showing signs that she’ll skip right to the big one. My second machine was a Bernina 440, which had been my Aunt Claudia’s. That is the machine that made me a Bernina loyalist for life. It was so heavy and precise, and I felt like everything I made on it came out perfectly. The only downside of that machine was that the embroidery features were all computer-based, and the user interface was clunky enough that it discouraged me from working with it. I eventually realized that if I wanted to do more embroidery, I was going to need a machine with more on-board versatility.
So I started looking at the high-end Berninas. Originally, when Jesse said “pick out your dream machine” I gravitated toward the top-of-the-line 880. But when I started comparing the 8 Series and 7 Series machines, I realized that the 790 had all of my “must have” features, plus a handful of my “would love to have” features.
Really, the only features the 880 had over the 790 were in the category of “that’s kindof cool, but when would I really use it?” The only practical difference between the 790 and the 880 as far as I’m concerned is the extra 2 inches of throat space on the 880. Honestly though I’ve never quilted anything bigger than crib size; and only in the last week have I seriously started to think about getting a hoop larger than the 6×10 oval. So I suppose at some point in the distant future I could justify a larger machine, but by that point I think I’d be looking at long arm quilters or multi-needle embroidery machines. (Jesse, if you’re reading this, calm down. I’m not actually going to buy a long arm quilter…probably.)
I did also look at comparable Babylock machines, but pretty quickly decided that I preferred the Bernina. This comes down mostly to personal preference, but I do feel like the stitch quality on the Bernina is better. More tangibly, I love the large bobbins on the 7 Series machines, and prefer the side-loading bobbin so that I don’t have to remove my work when the bobbin does run out. I also felt like a lot of the extra features on the Babylock machines were overkill or unnecessary.
Almost a year in, I know I made the right decision. My machine sings for me. It’s so simple to use that it doesn’t feel like overkill for simple projects, but it’s also strong enough to sew through a heavy quilt, or leather, or multiple layers of denim with zero trouble. I love it, and I want everyone to have one so we can all sew and be happy together.