UnBoxing a Bernina 380 - What do you get?? And a Bernina Newbie's impression :)

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Hey Guys!

You may remember when I was looking at getting a new sewing machine? Well if you are on twitter or Instagram, you will have noticed that I bit the bullet and invested heavily in my sewing future.

I had never considered Bernina before as a machine that I might use. I knew they were the best, but I didn't like how slim and tall they were, I didn't like how little space on the neck you had to sew over the footplate, and I didn't like how simple looking the 1 and 2 series were, which were the only ones I was familiar with.

Its a terrible thing to say, and my dealer thought I was mad for not considering certain machines because of how they look. Thankfully, my partner understood! He is massively into aesthetic. You should have seen how long it took him to choose a television (hint: we are talking months in double figures).

At the end of the day, you need to be happy with what you buy, and have feel positive sitting at it, no?

Well my first inkling that I may consider Bernina was looking at Lauren from Lladybird's 350PE. Seeing it occasionally in her photo's, in a natural sewing environment was what swayed me. Throw in on top that you get a table extension as standard was what really sealed the deal - the slim neck problem solved.

Now the reason I went for the 380 over the 350, was only because I got an amazing deal on my machine. I really wanted to keep it local, for support, and to support my local sewing shop. They were happy to match an offer I had found which had £100 off the machine (which made it only £100 more than the 350) and a walking foot included (worth £99). Otherwise I may not have stepped up to the 380.

I had never sewn with a Bernina before so they ordered it in, and I had an agonising week to wait to try it out as my shifts at work didn't line up with their opening hours. Argh! Thankfully, she was leaving it boxed and sealed for me, so I was a happy camper. I didn't want someone touching my (potential) baby!

So I went there yesterday morning and spent 4 hours chatting and playing. I was unsure when we unboxed it, but I could find no fault with it as we played. By the end, I was panicking about having to make a decision but it felt like it was mine. When my partner was turning up, I knew we would be on a time limit to get back to the car so I just went 'Yes, buy it'. At times like that, money seems no more precious to me than beans.
You gotta have joy in your life! And my machine at home, was not making sewing feel joyful to me.


What I would have liked when I was looking at machines was more home reviews, natural environment pictures, user impressions, etc. My main point of reference was Bernina themselves, which is of course biased. But I did have some sewists help with questions! And my dealer is pretty straight talking, and will answer your questions straight.

So I thought perhaps, any of you guys out there who are pondering a purchase, may like to see what comes out of that tightly packed box.

Firstly the Beauty itself

Next the extension table

The Knee-Lift (lifts the presser foot)

A Cloth-Guide

The Foot Pedal

The Dust Cover

The Accessories Case

The Included Presser Feet
1 - Reverse Pattern Foot
2 - Overlock Foot
3A - Automatic Buttonhole Foot
4 - Zipper Foot
5 - Blindstitch Foot
8 - Jeans foot
20 - Open Embroidery Foot

The Other Accessories
5 Bobbins (one in the machine)
Selection of Bernina Needles
Seam Guide
Height compensating tool
Bernina Seam Ripper
Lint Brust
Oil/Lubricant (Only to be used in bobbin case)
2 Foam pads (Vertical Spool Pin)
3 Spool Disc Clamps (Horizontal Spool pin)
Star Alan Key

The Three-Sole Walking Foot

The Decorative Stitch Guide (Fits to stand up in handle)

A little pack of threads

The Guarantee
Instruction Booklet
Accessories guide
Price list for Accessories

Also - not pictured is the box!

SO - Some random bits of info (as many as I can remember!) -

The other machines in the 3 Series should be almost identical to sew on, there is just additional functionality, and possibly different accessories as you move between (the 350 has a few extra different feet/is missing a few different feet than the 330/380 as it's a 'Patchwork Edition')

Regular universal needles are fine, but some brands aren't the best due to slight variances, so I'm going to stick with Schmetz

The machine was actually smaller than I expected from the pictures

No oil in the machine head, only the bobbin case occasionally

Bobbins are sold individually at £1.75 each

The bobbin case is under the neck, so you won't be able to peek at it as you stitch

The throat-plate just pops up, so no screwdriver required for a quick clean

Until the end of January, new machines get a 7 year warranty (Usually 5 I think)

This warranty requires servicing by an authorised Bernina Engineer every 3 years min to remain valid, so factor that cost in (although you should service in any case). My local shop is £89 for a computerised machine for a full service.

The presser feet that came with mine are solid necks, there are snap-on versions too, but I'm not sure about what machines they should/shouldn't be used with etc - must find out. The solid neck ones clip on just as easy as a snap-on foot.

Remember, Presser Feet are pricey; snap-on are clearly going to be cheaper than solid neck. Solid neck range from about £21.50 for a straight stitch to £72 for a ruffler to £165 for a Non-prefolded bias binding foot.

The machine can be used without the pedal, and has a start/stop button with a speed regulator. Therefore the power lean and pedal lead are separate.

The pedal is amazing! So much more control of speed, etc, than any pedal I've tried. Stitching in general is incredible. I think you would have to fight to have wonky stitching on this thing.

When you select your stitch, it will tell you what foot to put on.

There are 9 needle positions - and only 3 feed dogs

There are a pattern end and pattern mirror functions

There is a needle stop at up/down function - which is active using both the pedal and without

It has really nice bright LED lights

There is a 'Balance adjuster' that occasionally may be requires for decorative patterns and a feed dog drop button

The bobbin winds automatically

The table extension is included - very handy

The 380 is the only 3 Series machine that comes with the Accessories case, the others have a zip bag.

I would avoid magnetic pin-cushions, etc, near the machine, due to the computer. There is a risk that it could wipe the memory

Keep your box, as all transport for servicing or repairs will require the box. You will be charged each time if you have thrown it away

The instruction manuals/accessories catalogue are worth a lot of money so keep them safe!

You set up a buttonhole initially, and once set it will repeat the button hole automatically for your project.

Ummmmmmm.... I think that's all I can think of for now! Hope this helps someone make that important decision!

Thanks everyone for your support!

Emmie x

Double-Collar Airelle - Deer & Doe (Minerva Make 3!)

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Hi Guys!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas break and you are all refreshed and ready to start stitching again!

I have had what you might call the minimum of breaks. I think I finished my last Christmas make on the 20th December, and was making this blouse on the 28th! It was a week, but it didn't feel like it! Here's to some more relaxed sewing...

I would like to take this opportunity to apologise for the indoors-at-night photos!When I went to take them on Sunday morning, I realised Mr.G had absconded with my camera. The Cheek! And no other daylight hours were available from that point! I do think the colours are fairly well represented, the main fabric is if anything, slightly creamier in reality. 

Oh well, onwards, and upwards - please excuse my ominous background shadow! Also, I had to bin most of the forward-facing photos as the flash was bouncing on my specs, lol. 

For this Month's make, I chose some of the lovely floral Cotton Lawn, and a contrasting Poplin. The Poplin is cream but is called 'Natural Seeded' I think. It had teeny irregular flecks in it - kind of like seeds I guess! this was my first time working with Lawn, and it was really wonderful to work with. I don't know why I was scared of it!

I decided to try the 'Airelle' blouse by the Independent French pattern company 'Deer & Doe', after seeing a few lovely versions pop up online (both Rachel and Clare have made beautiful versions, which you can find on their blogs). It is a loosely shaped blouse, with a Chelsea collar and a back yoke that comes over the shoulders and joins the front bodice, which is gathered.

I cut the 42 at the shoulders and neck, and graded out to the 44 at the bust, waist and hips. In the end I shaped it in more, as it was very loose. I could have easily gotten away with the 42 all over, and maybe less! I was hesitant to shape it in as much as I wanted to, as I needed to be able to pull it on over my head!

I ordered a contrast fabric for my collar and cuffs, but when it arrived, I wasn't sure that was the direction I wanted to go in. So as a twist, I decided to create a double collar, with the contrast collar peeking out from underneath a main fabric collar. My boyfriend may or may not have had a hand in the idea!

To create the contrast pattern piece, I expanded the original piece by 5mm at the lower edge, and to be sure there was enough peeking through, I sewed the lower edge with a 4/8" seam allowance instead of 5/8". So I think that makes it 8mm in total!

The trickiest part of the make was overlapping the collar pieces at the centre front, so that when you turn the facing over it meets perfectly. It is explained with a helpful picture in the pattern instructions! Also, trying to overlap 2 collars and trying to keep them in line with each other and not distort the neckline was fun! It might be helpful to run a line of basting stitches as a guide just inside the seam allowance, or popping a pin 5/8 down from the centre front as a guide. It might even help to pop a pin at the very centre of the front also, so you don't end up lining everything up slightly off to one side. sometimes when I look down I wonder if i sewed it slightly off, or if it's just my uneven shoulders! I of course did none of these things, but I will in the future! I did hand-stitch the top collar and bottom collar together at the inner edge to give a clean and even finish in the centre, and if I were to do it again I would consider doing it before I attached the collars to the blouse. Maybe.

I suck at gathering fabric, so my gathers at the yoke are really tiny pleats, and I had to create some teeny pleats along the top of the sleeve head to ease the sleeve in - although in the pattern it didn't mention needing to gather or ease. Granted, I didn't stay stitch anything, and I have a feeling I may have distorted the fabric on my overlocker. That's if my first neck facing is anything to go by! It was warped so badly I needed to re-cut it!

When I had set the sleeves in, I sort of remembered that I don't like oversized sleeves. Errrr, what a great pattern choice, eh? So I did some off-the-cuff pinning (excuse the pun) to get a more fitted silhouette. I traced the new line on my pattern piece before I trimmed the excess, and used it to copy the shape onto the other sleeve. I also forewent the cuffs, and turned and stitched the sleeve edges. I don't know why, I think it was just the mood I was in!

My last piece of advice would be to use a fine needle for sewing with this lawn. I used a 90/14, and you can definitely see holes when you rip back stitches. Luckily all of mine went further into the seam allowance!

All in all, I do really like the blouse, but I need something better to pair it up with than a black skirt! I do have one purple skirt that suits perfectly but it has a MASSIVE bow on one hip and the whole thing just looked a bit nutty together!

I fully intend making some plain swing skirts this year in lots of different colours to expand my wardrobe a bit, so perhaps I should start with purple! 

Pity I've already chosen my next three kits, eh! Yes - you're stuck with me for the next three months!

If you guys like my blouse, you can buy the kit with 2m of Cotton Lawn, 1/2m of the contrast Poplin, interfacing and matching threads for both fabrics :)

Till next time!

Emmie x

Made With Love By The Dutch Lady Designs