Bernina vs Janome: Which Sewing Machine Brand is Best for You?

If you're looking for a sewing machine, two brands that will likely come up in your search are Bernina and Janome. These manufacturers have solidified their reputation in the world of sewing with a range of quality and diverse machines, suitable for both beginners and experienced seamstresses. You might find yourself comparing these two, noticing both common features and distinct differences that might influence your decision.

Bernina B770

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Bernina, known for its Swiss precision, tends to focus on high-end machines that offer durability and a range of features for precision sewing.

Janome Horizon 14,000 Memory Craft

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On the other hand, Janome, a Japanese brand, offers a wide selection of machines often offered at a more attractive price without compromising quality.

Upon closer inspection, you'll see that both brands feature innovative technologies, such as computerized sewing options and a variety of stitches, but each has its unique features that meet specific sewing needs and preferences.

The origin of Bernina

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Bernina was founded in 1893 in Steckborn, Switzerland, by Fritz Gegauf. The brand has since become renowned for its innovation and quality. Bernina first became known for the creation of its hemming sewing machine, which was a worldwide success. Over the years, the company has remained family-owned and continues to emphasize precision Swiss engineering in its sewing machines.

The evolution of Janome

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Originally from Japan, Janome began its journey in 1921 as The Pine Sewing Machine Factory and later adopted the name Janome in 1954, which means “snake's eye” in Japanese. This name was chosen because the latest technology of the time featured a round metal coil system that resembled a snake's eye. Janome has become one of the world's largest sewing machine manufacturers, known for its technological advancements and diverse product line.

Types of sewing machines

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Both Bernina and Janome offer a wide range of machines, from basic mechanical models perfect for beginners to high-end computerized machines equipped with the latest features for experienced sewers.

Mechanical machines

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Ideal for simple sewing tasks, Janome offers a wide range of mechanical sewing machines for beginner seamstresses.

The last fully mechanical sewing machine sold by Bernina was the Model 1008, which was discontinued in 2020. Bernina now only offers mechanical sewing machines under its sister brand, Bernette.

Computerized machines

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Both Janome and Bernina offer a line of computerized sewing machines featuring intricate, easy-to-use sewing patterns.

Machine embroidery features can be included on high-end sewing machine models from both companies if you're willing to pay more.

Embroidery machines only

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Artisans interested in machine embroidery will find dedicated machines from Bernina and Janome.

Sewing machines for quilters

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Quilters can choose from a range of classic sewing machines with extended work areas from both manufacturers.

Quality and durability

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Both Bernina and Janome have a reputation for making durable sewing machines.

  • Materials: Use of high quality materials in construction.
  • Longevity: Machines built to last, maintaining their functionality over years of use.
  • guarantee: Both offer warranties, ensuring peace of mind with your investment.

Key differences

Remove the needle plate
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When comparing Bernina and Janome sewing machines, you will notice that they cater to different segments of the sewing community through their pricing, innovative features, available models, and distribution channels.

Price level

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Bernina is often considered a premium brand and its machines are usually priced higher. You can expect Bernina the machines are more expensive due to their sturdy construction and advanced features. On the other hand, Janome offers a wider range of options that includes budget models, making them more accessible to beginners or those on a tighter budget.

Availability and distribution

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Bernina generally distributes its products through authorized resellers and boutiques, ensuring personalized customer service and support. Janome machines are more widely available; You can purchase them from a variety of retailers, including big box stores and online marketplaces, which can provide you with more convenience and, sometimes, better deals.

Embroidery capabilities

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Both Bernina and Janome are renowned for their high-quality embroidery features. Each offers unique features that meet various embroidery needs.

Integrated designs

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All Bernina and Janome embroidery machines come with more built-in designs than you will ever need or use.

Most people

  • Bernina 770: More than 275 models
  • Janome Memory Crafts 14,000: 350 models

Pro Tip: Don't let the number of embroidery designs included on a sewing machine influence your decision. Machine embroidery designs are very cheap compared to the cost of the embroidery machine itself. Most people forget about the designs included on their machine as they build up a collection of purchased designs that are more to their liking.

Maximum embroidery area

Embroidery field 9.1″ x 11.8″ on Janome MC 14,000 Photo credit SewCanShe.com

The maximum embroidery area is a crucial factor that dictates the size of projects you can take on. Bernina models such as the Bernina 7 series have an embroidery area of ​​up to 400 x 210 mm. Comparable machines from Janome, like the Janome MC 14 000, offer an embroidery area of ​​400 x 230 mm, which is squarer than the larger, long, narrow Bernina Series 7 hoop.

I found that I enjoyed embroidering on my Janome MC 14 000 more than my Bernina B770 because the hoops were a more convenient size and the embroidery performance was virtually trouble-free.

Characteristics of quilting

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When it comes to quilting on a home sewing machine, an important factor is the throat gap: the space between the needle and the body of the machine.

Bernina: Throat space varies by model, but higher-end machines like the Bernina 7 and 8 series offer between 10 and 12 inches, leaving plenty of room for smaller throws and quilts. A larger top of the Bernina sewing machine is expected to be released this year.

Janome: Offers models even more generous throat space, like the Janome Horizon Memory Craft, which offers up to 11 inches of space. The new Janome Continental M17 has 13 inches to the right of the needle.

Free Motion Quilting

Bernina stitch regulator on B770 Photo credit: SewCanShe.com

Both brands allow you to adjust the stitch width and length, ensuring you can customize your quilting to your exact specifications.

The high-end Janome and Bernina machines all feature feed dogs that can be released to allow free-motion quilting and free-motion ruler quilting.

For many years, Bernina domestic sewing machines were the only ones that could use a stitch regulator (the BSR or Bernina Stitch Regulator). Other sewing machine brands, including Janome, have developed their own technology and now offer stitch regulators on their high-end machines. The Janome stitch regulator on the Continental M17 is called the precise stitch regulator (ASR).

Maintenance and support

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When choosing between Bernina and Janome sewing machines, consider their maintenance and support options. They both offer resources to help you keep your machine in tip-top shape.

Purchasing a sewing machine from an authorized dealer of either brand may qualify you for free classes and one or more service appointments. Be sure to ask your dealer what is offered.

Current sewing machine warranties are shown below. Be sure to verify this information at the time of purchase.

Bernina:

  • Guarantee: Your Bernina machine comes with a 2 year limited warranty for electrical parts, a 5 year warranty for printed circuit boards, and a 20 year warranty for mechanical parts.
  • Services: Authorized Bernina dealers offer maintenance and repair services to keep your machine running smoothly.

Janome:

  • Guarantee: Janome provides a 1 year warranty for labor and parts, a 5 year warranty on electrical components, and a 25 year warranty on mechanical parts.
  • Services: Access to Janome certified service centers nationwide for regular repairs and maintenance checks.

Accessories

When choosing between Bernina and Janome sewing machines, you will find that both offer a variety of accessories to enhance your sewing experience. Generally, the more you pay for a sewing machine, the more accessories you will receive.

Pro Tip: You will inevitably find additional accessories that you would like to use. In my experience, Bernina accessories are more expensive than Janome brand accessories.

Consider your needs and budget

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Your choice between Bernina and Janome should fit your sewing needs and budget. Remember to consider the after-sales support and warranty options of each machine, as service and support can be crucial in the long run.

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Disclosure: Some of my posts contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through one of these links, I may receive a small commission, so please support SewCanShe when you shop! All opinions are my own and I only suggest products that I actually use. 🙂




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