bernina, quilting, Superior Threads, teaching

I’ve mentioned before I’m a Bernina girl

And if I could I’d have this Beauty. . .

I would.  I want the space from needle center to the inside of the harp, the larger bobbin, the automatic feed dog drop and the BSR (not that I particularly need one, this is solely about want).

For now though I’m content with this Beauty!  My Bernina 1080, which I’ve bonded with but she still has no name.

I’ve written about her before here .  We’ve quilted well over the years and truth be told if I ever get the 820 I’ll keep the 1080 for piecing and smaller projects.  I love listening to how she sounds and finding that good medium speed for freemotion machine quilting.

I also love teaching Beginner Freemotion Machine Quilting on a domestic.  I love watching the students relax into the process, start breathing and just quilting.  Just a reminder that Machine Quilters Expo begins Wednesday April 11th and I’m teaching 3 classes and will be in the Bernina Booth one day but I digress.

Every once in a while I look at the search terms that have led inquiring quilters to my blog.  Several terms have been used quite frequently, “Bernina”, “Bernina 1080”, “freemotion quilting on a Bernina” and the one that prompted this blog post “is a Bernina 1080 worth buying”.   And I’m going to answer here and with why.

I purchased my Bernina 1080 in 1995, so we’ve been stitching together for a very long time.  She’s been to the spa (tech for cleaning) almost yearly since I got her.  I’ve been a bit more vigilant since working at a Bernina dealership that’s for sure in part because my boss asks me.

So why do I like Berninas in general and more specifically the 1080?

1) this is a workhorse of a machine.  I can quilt through quilt top, 2 layers of batting and quilt back with no problem.  When the sales girl showed me that this machine could stitch through 8 layers of leather I think that’s when I was sold.  I did wait about 2 1/2 years once between spa treatments (tuneup & cleaning) and she still ran well.

2) the multi-step foot pedal allows me to reach a good medium speed on the machine while quilting and stay there without fiddling about while stitching.  With the heel of the foot pedal I can tap it once and drop the needle into what ever I’m working on; tap it again and the needle comes up.  This makes bringing the bobbin thread up so I can stitch then bury the thread is so much easier.

3)  It’s heavy.  I know that no matter if I’m going very slow or full tilt this machine is Not going anywhere.  No machine creep here.

4) Changing the needle and presser feet is very easy.  (Did you know that over-tightening the needle can cause “tension” problems?)

5) Dropping the feed dogs is simple, even on the newer machines.  On the 820 & 830 once the BSR is plugged in the feed dogs drop out of the way.  PS  There are quilters who like to leave the feed dogs up, I’ve stitched both ways.  If you like to leave the dogs up, go ahead.

6) There are feet for every purpose!  No, I don’t have them all however I have what I need and that includes the patchwork (quarter inch) and free hand quilting (embroidery) foot.


If you happen to want to purchase a Bernina 1080 I’d say go for it as long as it’s in good condition and has recently been to the spa for a tuneup and cleaning.

The quilt I’m showing here is “Serendipity the 3rd Time Around”  The silk is lime green/chartreuse and the thread is all Superior, mostly silk, some polyester and some cotton.

Happy Quilting!

PS I now have a facebook “LIKE” page.  Hope to see you there!

8 thoughts on “I’ve mentioned before I’m a Bernina girl”

  1. Teri, That harp, that harp…almost worth the price by itself.

    Isn’t it great to lo have a machine that you love so much…to have such a satisfactory and nurturing relationship. Does she take care of me, or do I take care of her? Since she entered my life, I have certainly found the creative part of me. And that’s why they get to to the spa and be pampered.


  2. Teri, I also love Berninas. I have two Berninas now. I have an old 1230 that I have had for more than 20 years and she (Betsy, after Betsy Ross) still sews so very well. I now use her for teaching, classes, and other things. Then I have my new big blessing, my 830 LE. I am so blessed to have this machine. I am still learning all he will do (his name is “Gibbs” after Willcox & Gibbs…my Serger is “Willcox”). I love the solidity. It does so many things beyond what I thought it would do. I have found the quilting on this machine to be remarkable. It’s like having a sit down long arm that will also do fancy stitches. I hope Gibbs runs for 25 plus years like Betsy has, and I suspect he will. I’ll be 90 then, and maybe I’ll get a new machine then. Hahaha. BTW, I do quilting both ways — feed dogs down, feed dogs up, and feed dogs up with the pressure loosened for decorative stitch almost free motion quilting. Here’s to our Berninas!

  3. I’ve had my 1630 Bernina, “Bernie” since 1995 and she has provided me with many wonderful hours of FM quilting. She is computerized and my machine technician tells me that the mother board will die in another 10 years so I will have to purchase another machine because there are no mother boards for that model now. (I’d love an 820 for the harp space.) She goes annually for a spa treatment and she runs great. Your quilt and quilting are beautiful.

    1. It’s amazing that our machines last and last and last.
      I do hope you get more than 10 years out of that board.

  4. Hi Teri:
    Love “Nina” a Patchwork 140. If you have to look up that model, you won’t find it cause I’m just that old! 😉 My DH surprised me with “Nina” a couple days before Christmas one year long ago. I had been babying along my Singer with a screwdriver and it finally gave up completely before I was finished with that year’s Christmas presents. I had waken early to sew and was sitting in the living room crying when DH woke up to go to work. Oddly he said he had a “meeting” and had to leave early. During my time of crisis? Well, doesn’t that just figure! More crying. Ten min. after DH left, he returned pushing a wrapped package across the floor to me saying, “Merry Christmas.” He had it stored at his Mom’s down the street. When I was still crying after I opened the box, he asked, “Is it the wrong one?” I laughed through my tears and said, “There is no such thing as a wrong Bernina.”

    Nina has served me well and seems to have a mind of her own. Sometimes I will not have adjusted the settings to what would have been the best possible setup and she will over-ride it and I won’t even notice. Almost like her little computer brain is thinking: “I think you must have meant this setup”. Totally cool.

    Like your quilting on the TQS blog by the way,
    Jane (JaneAnne, TQS screen name)

    1. What a wonderfully sweet husband! And you’re right there is no such thing as a “wrong Bernina”.
      Thanks for the compliment on the quilting, I love seeing what I can do with fabric, thread and batting.


  5. I have 2 Bernina’s and love them. I also didn’t know too tight needles effect the tension. Makes sense if one thinks about it, thanks.

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