My Sewing Machines, an Updated Review Juki & Bernina

  I get so many questions about sewing machines, and honestly I am NO expert on sewing machines, I only know what I have!   So I thought I’d write a quick update about my sewing machines, what I’m using and what’s working!  Here is my last post 4 years ago that is more in depth with more links.  

Sewing Machine Review

The Juki TL-2010Q:   

 Last week I was answering an email with questions about my Juki and I told her I’ve had it for a “couple of years“….then she emailed me back after reading my first post about it and said….”actually, you’ve had your Juki for 4 years“.   Whoops!  And that’s why I blog….because I can’t remember ANYTHING unless it has been documented.  

So…I’ve had my Juki for 4 years.  I still LOVE this machine.  I’d buy it again in a heartbeat.  I have had zero problems with it…but this is also my second machine. I had my first for a couple of weeks before I broke it and sent it back for a replacement within the warranty.  You can read all about that at the bottom of this post.  I purchased my machine here (I think SewVacDirect also sells directly on their website) and I would highly recommend buying an extended warranty.   I bought this machine for $975 at the time before tax.  I have no plans to upgrade or change machines…this baby should last me many more years (knock on wood)!

What I love about this machine:  It is fast, it is reliable, it’s very low maintenance, it has no computerized mechanisms I worry about breaking, it still has the needle down and thread cutter I love, it free motion quilts like a dream with a much larger throat space, it’s powerful when sewing through multiple layers, and it’s very easy for my kids to operate and sew on now that they are more interested in sewing (this model has the speed control, so I can turn the speed dial all the way to slow and it’s perfect for kids).  It’s just a great, basic, non-fussy, powerful machine. 

What I would change about this machine:  The walking foot is still loud, clanky, and really a pain to use.  I rarely use it, but on the plus side this machine is so powerful that I can bind quilts without the walking foot without any issues or dragging.  The tension is the main problem I’ve heard with Juki’s, and if it gets off it’s really hard to get back to perfect.  I’ve never had serious tension issues, but there have been a few times my kids have turned the tension dials just for fun and it’s a nightmare to re-adjust.  Also it’s annoying there is no zig zag stitch, this is only a straight stitch machine.  Luckily those have been very minimal things and are the only things I dislike about this machine (and maybe the walking foot issues have been fixed since I bought mine 4 years ago?).  

 

The Bernina 440QE:   

Okay so I have to first say that my Bernina 440 is about 7 years old, so there have been great improvements and changes to the newer models.   So take what I say with a grain of salt…but also it’s nice to know how your machine will hold up after 7 years and millions of stitches!  

4 years ago this was my main machine and my Juki was my “once in awhile” machine…and now they have changed roles.  I hardly ever use this machine!  I do use it for all of my decorative stitches, and lately it’s been sitting on my dining room table while I quilted a bunch of quilts using the a wavy stitch with my walking foot (Bernina stitch 4, width set to 5, length set to 3).  But before last month it had been in my closet for maybe a year or more untouched (I hate typing that but it’s true!). 

What I love about this machine:  It is so reliable, and makes a perfect stitch every single time.  Also it has never once has tension issues like the Juki.  I love using the walking foot on this machine, and it’s quiet and pulls the fabric through like a dream. 

What I would change about this machine:  My light went out in this machine, and after taking it all apart they figured out it was a motherboard issue, and to fix it I’d have to have the motherboard changed.  So my light doesn’t work, but I have an external light attached to it that seems to work fine.  It seems really slow after stitching on the Juki, it would be too slow for me now if this was my only machine.  The throat space is so tight, so it’s tricky to push a full rolled up quilt through it.  Basically the same things that I didn’t like before I still don’t like, but they didn’t bother me before I had the Juki and realized the difference.  Newer Bernina’s have larger throat space and are faster, but they are also thousands more than the Juki.  My Mom has a Bernina 750 and it sews like a dream…but it also has way more functions than I would ever use.  

Anyways…those are my long winded thoughts about my sewing machines.  I love them both, I use them both, but now I’ve used the Juki as my main machine for 4 years.  I also have a Bernina 1008 I was gifted when I got married, and I only pull it out when I travel or teach youth how to sew, etc.   

Gretel fabric

I’ll leave you with this stack of Gretel by Amy of Diary of a Quilter that is on my cutting board today.  I have it all cut up into squares now to sew back up again!  

 

 

 

46 Responses to My Sewing Machines, an Updated Review Juki & Bernina

  1. Marty February 21, 2019 at 7:12 pm #

    I have a Bernina1090 which I love, bought from Harriet Hargrave in 1992. I absolutely love it. I have a Pfaff and Babylock embroidery machines (discount working in quilt stores) and Janome Gem 760 (great for classes), 2 Featherweights (don’t use because I love the knee lever on the BERNINA. I have friends that have Juki’s too that love them, esp for large sewing area for machine quilting. What’s nice having more than one machine is if one needs servicing you always have another to continue quilting.

    • Ann Lundy February 25, 2019 at 5:00 pm #

      Really enjoyed reading your review of your Juki and Bernina 440. I purchased my 440 QE after the birth of our only granddaughter, 15 years ago. I had to wait for the machine to be shipped from the factory. The motherboard went out within the first year, thankfully, I had a wonderful Bernina dealer in Wichita, KS, he loaned me a machine until mine was repaired. My light has also gone out, the closest dealer is 2 + hours away, like you, I am using other lighting to allow me to see what I am stitching.. I bought the Bernina 930 in 1986; still sews as good as the day I brought it home. I find myself relying on my “old” faithful, using the 440 for embroidery and BSR foot when quilting. I purchased a Brother CX155LA for classes and quilt retreats. I would love to have the larger throat space; thankful for the three machines I have, and certainly can’t justify the price of a new Bernina.

      • Allison February 25, 2019 at 9:35 pm #

        Thanks for the comment Ann! Yes besides the light issue…the Bernina 440 is a workhorse and I love it too!

  2. Little Quiltsong February 22, 2019 at 4:09 am #

    Thank you for this review Allison! My Janome is very slow and also has a small throat space, but is great for piecing blocks. A few years back I was interested in another Janome that had a nice wide throat space, but was discouraged (by the staff) to buy it as it only did straight stitch. Not knowing what that meant, and wanting it especially for quilting my quilts on, I just left the store without buying anything.( I realized later, that they had hoped I would buy a sophisticated ‘Memory machine’ for quilting – table and all)! Your review has helped. We are so limited here with places to buy sewing machines, but I will be checking things out more closely.

  3. Sue H February 22, 2019 at 5:00 am #

    Thank you for the reviews. I sew on a Bernina 135 & a 351. Love both machines but would love a larger throat too. I’ve considered getting the Juki when Primitive Gatherings puts them on sale around Christmas but always back away because I don’t want the mess of having 2 different bobbins. That’s also my main concern with moving up to a fancier Bernina — different bobbins.

    Great post and very helpful! Thanks for giving the specs on your wavy quilting!!!!

  4. Patricia Furlong February 22, 2019 at 5:57 am #

    I too have a Juki and I love it. I had a Pfaff since 1973. It was so heavy duty; just like the Juki. I make about 20 quilts a year and this is my go to machine. Would only trade it in on another Juki at little newer perhaps.

  5. Linda Gwin February 22, 2019 at 6:34 am #

    I think I have had most of the sewing machine brands over the years. All were very good, except my Sears Kenmore, it was awful. I too have the Juki mentioned in this article, (love it), I have a Pfaff 4.0 and a Singer featherweight. Now, I have the new Juki QVP J 150. If you get a chance sit down at one of these. It does a straight stitch only, with free motion ability. It is so smooth that it almost creates the design for you. Love it. The only drawback is that it is heavy, so heavy you can not move it from place to place. Finally, I have a machine that is a dream to free motion on, and I can do my piecing on it as well. Go try one out..

    • Allison February 22, 2019 at 9:28 am #

      I’m definitely going to check out the Juki QVP J 150! Thank you for the recommendation! I bet I can find one to try at the quilt show I’m attending next weekend…thanks for the idea!

      • Linda Gwin February 27, 2019 at 7:46 pm #

        I forgot to mention that this machine comes with a large sewing table with a drop leaf. I have been to several large quilt shows and have not seen this machine there. Maybe because it is so heavy. Here is a video that shows it. https://youtu.be/W2KDHL657sE

      • Allison February 28, 2019 at 10:50 am #

        Thanks Linda! That is interesting…I wonder how much I would use it if I had it?!

  6. Cheryl B. February 22, 2019 at 7:23 am #

    I have a Bernina 135 or I did, my first Bernina I bought it in 2001 after 9/11 when DH said life’s too short, go buy a good machine. I bought the cheapest Bernina available and it was a dream after trying to sew on a cheap singer. Singer was my first machine when I graduated from high school in 1976 and it was great! Anyway I was rear ended on 9/30/18 in a 4 car pileup and my 130 was in my trunk from a sewing group I enjoy twice monthly and it flipped over I don’t know how many times and needs a new motherboard at about $700. I decided to just wait and buy another machine at some point. I also have a Bernina 220 which is basically the same machine. A great deal got dumped in my lap and when I took it in for a checkup, the Bernina guy said wow this only has about 30 hours on it. I also have Pfaff I never use. I bought it for my daughter, but she is too busy to sew. It does have a bigger throat and I have considered using it for machine quilting. I need to dig it out. I taught my 10 year old granddaughter to sew when she was about 5 on the 135. It and the 220 are work horses.

  7. Nancy Pleimann February 22, 2019 at 7:25 am #

    I have the same two machines as your’s. I love the Juki. I got it about 3 years ago and I sew on it all the time. I too don’t like the walking foot. I was a Bernina dealer years ago and I would tell anyone today that they are a wonderful machine but the Juki has helped me to get this sewing done. I love the fact that I don’t have to hold the thread before I start and at the end the cutting of the thread and you can start up again. I have sold a couple machines to my friends and they even get a better price than I got. But that’s OK because it is worth every penny. I would replace it tomorrow if I had to. Thanks, Nancy Pleimann

    • MELANIE HERZFELD March 25, 2019 at 5:34 am #

      I have the juki TL2000qi and the DX7. I love them both…but the DX7 has a couple of advantages. It is for sure lighter than the 2000 or the 2010, does 250 stitches, and has a floating foot feature which actually allows me to quilt without changing feet, and you don’t have to oil it. I know I have to be careful when stitching really fast on the 2000 because I can tell you that screws loosen when you do that! I am going to try free motion quilting on the DX7 next. But for me, the lower price point is very appealing and in machines which seem to be workhorses!

      • Allison March 25, 2019 at 1:39 pm #

        I tried the DX7 at a recent quilt show! When I’m ready to upgrade I’m definitely going to check it out again, it was fabulous.

  8. Johanna February 22, 2019 at 7:30 am #

    I also have a Bernina 440QE. I have had it for 8 years and I love it. I have found though that now that I have started to sew bags I have problems getting through thickness of fabrics. I have a Bernina 220 that I have as back up and I am currently seeing if it can handle the extra thickness better than my 440. If it does not work out I will be getting a Juki.

  9. Sheila February 22, 2019 at 7:35 am #

    Thanks for your reviews on your machines. But personally… I can’t wait to see what you are making/creating with the fabric at the end of the post.

  10. AZ Quilter February 22, 2019 at 7:57 am #

    I started with an Elna (now permanently loaned to my mother), upgraded to Bernina 135 and then 440QE. I, too, wanted to do more quilting so made the leap to a Q20 sit down long arm rather than another sewing macine with features I wouldn’t use. I love my Berninas and have had minimal problems. I also have a second hand Juki 98 collecting dust. It’s great on heavy materials, etc but I don’t do much garment sewing – just quilt these days.

  11. Rachel February 22, 2019 at 8:47 am #

    A good recap! I’ve had my Juki for more than 4 years and I still LOVE it. I would choose it again. Plus, Sew Vac Direct is great to work with.

  12. Wendy Hansen February 22, 2019 at 9:02 am #

    Can I just say thanks Allison for all the free tutorials and great patterns you share. I found your blog quite by accident and I love it. I love your HEART quilt and the PUMPKINS quilt. My sister has been nagging me for months to make her a heart quilt (her bday is in February.) So this year I made the quilt and she loves it. I have made the Pumpkin Quilt two times (both for me) and it’s one of my favorite patterns. I have a Pfaff Grand Quilter which is a workhorse like your Juki. I think when that goes out I will get a Juki also. Thanks for the review.

    • Allison February 22, 2019 at 9:29 am #

      Thank you Wendy for the sweet comment!!

  13. September February 22, 2019 at 9:53 am #

    Thisi s an excellent review! I just recently replaced my Elna Quilter’s Dream which was 20+ years old!!! I spent MONTHS deliberating between Bernina and the rest. I was just about convinced I *needed* a Bernina 570QE (i think it was 570?) but then I stumbled on the Janome 9450 and fell hard for it. I’ve had it for a month and it’s absolutely the best ever. It sews 1060 stitches a minute, which is good for me, and is strictly for sewing. I was hesitating on the Bernina because I wanted all the sewing functionality of the Bernina but NOT the embroidery stuff. Been there done that not again. :) Anyhow, it’s good to see reviews of more and things that don’t just say “Bernina is the best, nothing else compares.” Thanks! :)

  14. Polly February 22, 2019 at 12:08 pm #

    Hello, Sewing newbie here. I’m considering the Babylock Jubilant, the Juki (unspecified model) or maybe a Bernina 300 series. I would like to learn to quilt. I could also see making accessories and other items (bookmarks?) that would include leather and fabric. My two daughters are anxious to get involved and our current machine is an entry level used Singer I got at a yard sale:) Our local showroom has the 3 brands I mentioned as I’m the type of person who likes to shop local and see what I’m buying in person. As long as their price is competitive, I would like to buy local. The lady in the shop was all about Babylock and Bernina. I’m not quite sure why she discounted the Juki, although maybe her profit is smaller on those.
    I would GREATLY appreciate any guidance or tips you smart sewers can offer me:) For example, is a walking foot or a knee lift a big help?

    • Polly February 22, 2019 at 1:46 pm #

      I meant Babylock Brilliant;)

    • Allison February 22, 2019 at 10:09 pm #

      You definitely need a walking foot….you will use it ALL the time. Both my machines have knee lift and I NEVER use them…it’s more of a pain than it’s worth.

  15. moosebaymusings February 22, 2019 at 12:58 pm #

    I have the same two machines and feel the same way as you do about yours. My Bernina stays packed up for retreats (the Juki is just a bit too heavy to drag around IMO). This last year I had a few things I wanted to zig zag and took them along on a retreat so I wouldn’t have to set up my Bernina at home. The only thing that bothers me about my Juki (which I love) is that I’m never sure if I am oiling it too much or too little. The last time I took her in for a spa treatment, she oozed oil all over the car seat–oops!

    • Allison February 22, 2019 at 10:08 pm #

      Yeah I just don’t oil it. ;) Just kidding I do…just not every day like it says you are supposed to? More like once a week…maybe when I clean it.

  16. Fussell February 22, 2019 at 3:42 pm #

    Good to see an updated review! I have the Juki 2010 as well, I’ve had her for three years and she replaced my Janome HD3000 almost immediately, I didn’t see it coming cause I used my Janome constantly, it’s an excellent machine but the giant throat and the speed won me over and I use Mrs Slocombe (my Juki) for quilts, blankets, purses, clothes, everything pretty much. The light and the walking foot are terrible but I have two nice LED lights that I move around my sewing area as needed and I use the Janome high shank walking foot which is a great foot. I’ve never had much luck quilting or binding without a walking foot but maybe I’m using too much foot pressure?? I got my Juki locally and had a great experience and a great price, I was actually going to get the 2000 to save some money but my hubby talked me into the speed control and I’m so glad he did, I love it!

  17. Fussell February 22, 2019 at 3:47 pm #

    @moosebaymusings, the oiling is tricky but Juki support actually told me not to oil by the manual but only to do a drop in each port after being in storage for awhile or “when it starts to sound different.” .It took some time but now I can tell when she needs oil, her sound changes slightly. He said “if you oil by the manual it’ll be everywhere.” Ask me how I know he’s right 🤣

    • Allison February 22, 2019 at 10:07 pm #

      I am the worst at oiling mine…but I do give it a good clean and oil every couple of weeks.

  18. rrregena February 22, 2019 at 4:31 pm #

    Oh my gosh, I think I’m you!! LOL I have the same two machines, not quite as long as you, except for the bernina maybe. I was just getting ready to do the way stitch on a baby quilt tomorrow. I LOVE that stitch!! My juki is the next number…the tl-2200 mini. Same machine….different colors. It’s been trouble free for a couple years now. And no, the walking foot is still freakish loud. Can all machines have bernina’s feet and the jukis body????

    • Allison February 22, 2019 at 10:06 pm #

      SO funny!! Machine twins!

  19. Kathleen McCormick February 22, 2019 at 9:19 pm #

    I love my 440QE. I think it is a great machine but I am in the market for a midarm and will probably not replace the 440 with a Bernina….too pricey. At Quilt Con I have been trying a few new things, and for the money the Bernina is I could get both – domestic and midarm. Its unfortunate but true – non of the feet I have fit the new ones…on and on it goes. Its too bad, because I think that they are great machines but way overprice.

  20. Karen Dean February 23, 2019 at 5:53 am #

    I really enjoy your Blog, I have heard the same thing about the Juki walking foot. They ordered another off brand one and they love it. I do not remember the brand but it was Sara Lawson on Sew Sweetness. Hope this helpa have a blessed day. Karen

    • Allison February 23, 2019 at 12:38 pm #

      I’ve heard Janome feet work great with the Juki (I have the piecing Janome foot) so maybe that was it. Good idea!

  21. Rosemaryflower February 24, 2019 at 6:52 am #

    Thank you Allison for these statements about your machines. It seems you have some good ones.
    Is The Bernina mechanical?
    I do not want a computerized machine, ever. I am 64 now and if I need something like that, I will go to my friends sewing shop and borrow hers haha. I do have a 301A and 316G Singers and a White mechanical that I have set into our dining room table leaves (mother in laws solid Walnut, family heirloom, I think she would approve!!)
    I quilt all of my little to medium size creations there, or just any heavy duty sewing. It is just a nice tough machine for $100 made in USA about 30 years ago
    You are always so inspiring.

    • Allison February 25, 2019 at 9:36 pm #

      No this Bernina is computerized…not as much as the newer machines but it still is. The Juki is mechanical and a great machine!

  22. Laura February 24, 2019 at 8:16 am #

    I have the same Juki TL 2010Q as you. The walking foot is my biggest complaint! BUT! I have found a walking foot that works on the Juki that is worth every penny! I talk about it on my blog here: http://www.sliceofpiquilts.com/2017/06/theres-new-workhorse-in-town.html. I use my walking foot to quilt a lot, and the Juki one isn’t worth anything to me. I plan for my Juki to last me many many years!!

    • Allison February 25, 2019 at 9:36 pm #

      Thanks Laura I’m checking it out now!!!

  23. Sharon Ray February 25, 2019 at 3:32 am #

    I have this same machine and after complaining about the foot on another site, someone said to oil it!! What a difference it made. I hated it before, it sounded like it would destroy the whole machine. Now I love it, works perfect so give it a good oil where all the parts move and check it out. I have a Bernina also that is 20 years old and I only use it for buttonholes and blanket stitch.

    • Allison February 25, 2019 at 9:35 pm #

      I heard that advice too! Oiling does help for sure…but it still sounds like a cement truck compared to my Bernina walking foot. ;)

  24. Ellen Fournier February 28, 2019 at 7:38 am #

    I have the Juki 2010 too and I love it. At QuiltCon I bought a Unicraft table for it that I think I’m going to love, although assembling it was an adventure. My few complaints about the Juki are that the built-in light is terrible (remedied with after-market LED lights) and there is no warning that the bobbin is almost empty. At QuiltCon I also tries out a Juki QVP seated quilter with a stitch regulator. I was so tempted.

    • Allison February 28, 2019 at 10:50 am #

      Yes I totally agree on both those things about the Juki I don’t like either. I’m anxious to try the other Juki’s at Sew Expo this weekend…we’ll see how they compare!

  25. Suzanne Culkin March 14, 2019 at 7:56 pm #

    Hi, thanks for the reviews. Just wondering if you ever have the Bernina skip stitches when quilting stitch #4 with the walking foot? It never skips when just sewing a straight line. I slow down, change needle, rethread top and bobbin, and try to manage the weight of the quilt. That stitch is a pretty quilting stitch but just not working for me.

    • Allison March 15, 2019 at 1:01 pm #

      Hmmm I haven’t. When mine skips stitches I know I need to clean it out and give it a new needle and it always works fine, so I’m not sure why it would be skipping if you did those things. Sorry!

  26. Linda Langlois March 18, 2019 at 8:59 am #

    My Bernina Virtuosa 153 is 20 years old and is my primary machine. It is serviced every 2 years and so far I have only had to replace the needle threader twice. I don’t quilt, but I do a lot of garment and home dec sewing. The only problem I have had with the machine is that I ask it to do things it should not do, such as heavy vinyl boat cushions and large canvas awnings.

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