Now you're probably thinking “This is a BERNINA blog, of course it'll be a super amazing review”. And my answer would be yes, this will be a super amazing review, but it will also be honest and based on a whole year of sewing on the Bernette 79 machine. I think it's also good to share some additional stitches that shape my stitching. view :
- I learned to sew as a child and then tried my hand at sewing about 8 years ago. However, it wasn't until 2020 that I started quilting and making time to sew daily.
- I had never done machine embroidery… as always
- I had also only used a mechanical machine, not computerized
About the bernette 79
The bernette 79 is a combined sewing and embroidery machine. There are two other machines in the 70 series:
- The bernette 70 Déco, an embroidery machine only
- The bernette 77, a sewing machine only
The b79 comes with a removable embroidery module that can be attached for machine embroidery. There are also a variety of included presser feet, two needle plates, a regular bobbin case and a high tension bobbin case for embroidery, a knee lifter, a foot pedal, three embroidery hoops and much more. There really is everything you need to get started right out of the box.
Being new to embroidery machines and computerized machines, the legendary BERNINA and bernette backing was essential for me. In addition to my dealer support, the online resources were spectacular and available upon request.
My dealer, Marigold Quilt Shop, made this experience great. When I went to pick up my machine, Karen made sure to unbox it with me and go over every part and accessory included. One of the most important things she showed me was how to attach and remove the embroidery module.
I also noticed a small piece of fabric in the box with the machine that had a design sewn onto it. Karen let me know that the machine was tested when it arrived at the quilt shop to make sure nothing had moved in transit. This helped me feel confident that the machine I was bringing home was in good working order and ready to go.
The other value I found in getting to know my dealership was the feeling of community and shared connection. We've built a relationship around the brand and sewing and it's really great to have found someone who is as passionate about sewing with these machines as I am.
Each product in the bernette range has a page on bernette.com with a multitude of resources. Although I have used several, two have become go-to resources for me:
In the box you will find a print Quick Start Guide but you will have to go to the website to get the full user manual. The full user manual is around 180 pages but is packed with useful information. One section that stood out to me is a comprehensive inventory of built-in embroidery stitches and designs. It truly is a one stop shop for all the information you would need for your machine,
For those who like to learn with a hands-on approach, the Mastery Workbook will be your best friend. This was the first thing I found when I was ready to start my first embroidery. The manual guides you through completing projects on your machine, developing your skills as you go. I'm a paper lover, so I downloaded the workbooks and then used a local print shop to have them printed and spiral bound. They're still on my desk, a year later, and are one of my main resources when I have questions.
The bernette 79 is such a feature-rich machine that it's really hard to pick a handful of favorites, but I did it just for you.
Needle Down and Back Kick function
In the outline of this article, I listed them as two separate favorites, but they really go hand in hand.
The first is a setting of the b79 that allows you to finish each stitch with the needle down. This means that when you are sewing and then take your foot off the pedal to stop, the machine will complete the current stitch and finish with the needle through your fabric, in the down position. This is especially useful when you are sewing and need to pivot since your fabric will stay in place and your stitches will be continuous.
The other setting I like is the back kick function on the pedal. Imagine yourself with your foot on the pedal. You know that by pressing your toes down, your machine will start sewing. On the other hand, when you lift your toes, the machine slows down and then stops. On the b79 there is an additional movement where you press your heel down. Once you do this, your presser foot will rise very slightly to the hover position. This, coupled with the needle down feature, makes swiveling so simple and easy.
The other note I'd like to make about the foot pedal and hover feature is when you're getting ready to start sewing. If you lightly press your pedal with your toes, you will see that the presser foot lowers to the hover position and stops there before the machine starts. I love this because I make sure my fabric is aligned just before the needle pierces the fabric and I can get my perfect 1/4″ seam.
Automatic thread cutter
This was the feature I was most looking forward to. When quilting at home, it can be very difficult to reach under the quilt to cut the bobbin thread if you need to finish a seam in the middle of the blanket rather than the edge. The automatic thread cutter is the perfect solution.
The bernette 79 has several ways to set up the automatic thread cutter, either by using the button on the front of the machine or by programming the back-to-cut function. I prefer to use the button since my bounce is programmed for presser foot hover.
The automatic thread cutter is also very practical when embroidering. Most designs have several stages of color change in addition to areas where the design transitions from one place to another. The automatic thread cutter will cut at the end of a color step so you're ready to move on to your next color. You can also program the machine to cut jump stitches. Jump stitches are those longer trails of thread where the pattern moves to the next place to start sewing again. If the machine is not programmed to cut jump stitches, you will need to cut them yourself after the design is sewn.
Thread cutter tip
One additional note about the b79's automatic thread cutter: take your time. I learned that when I was sewing and stopped cutting my thread, sometimes the thread would come back through the needle and I would have to rethread it. If you do it enough, it can cause some frustration. I've found that if I start moving my fabric too quickly under the foot, it causes a pull on the thread as it cuts. This puts additional tension on the upper thread and when cut it contracts and pulls off the needle. My advice is to make sure the machine has completed the entire process (it will cut the thread, raise the needle, and raise the presser foot) before moving your fabric.
Dual Feed presser feet and bernette
Before becoming a Bernette Ambassador and getting my b79, I sewed a b35. The b35 is a spectacular mechanical machine at an incredible price. Naturally, I picked up a few presser feet that I loved, along with the Patchwork foot being my favorite. I didn't want to let go of this foot and fortunately, Bernette thought of it with the Universal presser foot holder. The support allows me to use the feet of my b35 with my b79 which is perfect!
One foot that I didn't need to worry about replacing or using on all machines was the walking foot. In fact, the Bernette 79 is equipped with a dual integrated Bernette power supply. The dual feed acts like a walking foot in that when engaged it helps feed the fabric from both the top and bottom. Dual feed works with presser feet that have open backs only. I found it particularly useful when quilting. Since it pulls the fabric from the top, the quilt sandwich stays in place better. This reduces wrinkles or minor shifting before being sewn.
My last information on the bernette 79 concerns cleaning and maintenance. I have a secret I have to reveal…before the b79 I don’t think I ever cleaned a sewing machine, oops! In fact, once I realized how important it is, I went back to my b35 and was a little bothered by the amount of lint there was.
Almost all of the frustrations I had while sewing on the B79 were because it needed a good cleaning. Fortunately, cleaning the machine is relatively quick and has almost become a therapeutic practice for me when I need a quick break from sewing.
My tips for cleaning
- Use a small, dry, new paintbrush (never used) to help collect lint balls from under the needle plate. These little craft kits that your kids receive in a bundle are perfect for hanging paintbrushes.
- I've also heard of people using pipe cleaners. They are thin and flexible and the fibers will cling to the down. I just remind you to be careful when fishing in the machine so as not to dislodge any components. It's probably best to stick to what you can see in this case.
- Don't forget to remove the bobbin case and dust underneath. This is where I get the most blur, with the wire cutter.
- Speaking of under the bobbin case…there's a circle and then a small hole in the middle. If you look into this hole it will look like there is lint, but it's actually a wick for oil. Don't take it out, it should stay in there.
- Do not use canned air or blow into your machine. Many people will tell you that the reason not to do this is because it pushes the lint deeper. But another reason is humidity. Air canning and blowing will introduce moisture into your machine, which can cause problems in the future.
- Finally, don't neglect your feed dogs. This is one of the most satisfying areas because you can extract accumulated fiber from it.