Saturday, December 8, 2012

Santa Baby: Slip a Bernina 750 QE Under the Tree...

Dear Santa Baby,

You can skip the yacht, the sable coat, the Tiffany tree ornaments, the duplex AND the checks this year.  I'll pass on the deed to that platinum mine, too -- let someone else deal with the labor strikes in South Africa this year.  I'd trade them all away for the new 750QE sewing and embroidery machine from Bernina.
Bernina 750QE Sewing Machine

Yes, I flirted briefly with Bernina's top-of-the-line machine over the summer, the 830E or the 830LE (the Limited Edition version of this machine even had pretty swirling red graphics on the outside of the case -- pretty, but probably ultimately very distracting).  The 8 Series was released about 4 years ago, and my Bernina dealer made several valiant attempts to sell me on this machine.  However, the staggering $12,999 MSRP on the 830 machine is WAY out of my comfort zone.  Moreover, it's really not the perfect machine for me.  Why not?  

Well, having sewn on a top-of-the-line Bernina for several years (my Artista 200E/730E), I know that my current machine has lots of bells and whistles that are not important to me.  Outside of the initial machine mastery classes, I have never ever, not once, altered and combined decorative stitches and saved them in my machine's memory.  I never, ever combine or edit embroidery designs on my sewing machine, even though it has that ability, because I prefer to do that on my PC with my design software.  And, although I had fun using many of my decorative stitch patterns on my crazy quilted Christmas tree skirt project, I don't use decorative machine stitches often enough to need 557 different decorative stitch patterns to choose from.  These are the kinds of features that make the 830 so expensive, but I'd rather buy a machine for half the price that has only the features that will make a difference in the kind of sewing I enjoy.

I have read mixed reviews of the 830 online -- owners either love that machine or they hate it.  It may be that those who are having trouble are the ones venting on the Internet, and those who are happy with their machines are too busy sewing to post on message boards, but the 8 Series bobbin system seems finicky to thread and needs to be threaded differently for embroidery versus regular sewing.  But the real deal breaker (as if we even had a deal -- and we don't, not at that price point!) is that the 830 machine weighs a whopping 37 pounds.  

Carrying an Anvil: Training to Lift a Bernina 830 machine

No way would I ever want to pack that beast up to bring it to a class, and I don't even feel like I could get it up and down the steep flight of stairs to my sewing room safely, since I couldn't hold the railing if I've got both arms around the sewing machine.  How would I get it to and from the dealer just for routine maintenance?  In an alternate universe where money grows on trees and I had a private butler to schlep my sewing machine around for me, it might be nice to have an 830 in my sewing room for those times when I'd like to embroider a 10" wide design, but I don't think I would be happy with it as my one and only sewing machine.

So, back to the new 7 Series.  At 30 pounds, these machines are still heavier than what I'm used to, but I can lift them with one arm.  The 720 machine is the least expensive model in this range, but it's out because it does not do embroidery.  The 780 machine is the top model in the range, but it has added bells and whistles and unnecessary (to me) additional stitch patterns and built-in designs that push the price point close to that of the 8 Series machines.  But the 750QE machine is like Baby Bear's porridge -- it's just right.  Please know that I'm writing about this machine as an interested consumer only -- I'm including links to relevant information on Bernina's web site, but I have no affiliation with Bernina other than giving them way too much of my money on a regular basis!  😜. I am not a Bernina dealer, employee, or brand ambassador, etc. and all opinions shared here are my own.

Bernina 750 QEE with Embroidery Module Attached

Key features of the B 750QE:

  • The harp is much larger than my current machine, which means there are three more inches to the right of the needle, more room for cramming a large bed quilt to the right of the needle so you can quilt the center.  The larger harp is also what enables the 750QE to embroider a wider design in one hooping, since the entire width of the embroidery hoop is to the right of the needle when the machine is stitching the left edge of the emrboidery design.  This would enable me to use my sneaky Quilting-in-the-Hoop technique for larger quilt blocks than my current machine will accommodate, though not quite as large as what the 8 Series machines could handle.
  • The bobbin on the 7 Series machines holds 80% more thread than a standard bobbin.  For garment sewing, this is not a big deal, but when you are free-motion quilting or embroidering large, complex designs, you go through bobbin thread quickly and repeatedly stopping to refill the bobbin slows you down.
  • Just like the 8 Series, the 750QE has a built-in dual feed for those times when slippery fabrics are misbehaving, but you don't want to get out the bulky walking foot.
Integrated Dual Feed

  • The new 9 Hook system on the 7 Series makes these machines run quieter and smoother, with less vibration even at top speeds, like a luxury automobile, and the stitch quality is fabulous even when scrutinized under a bright light with your nose touching the fabric -- the only way to properly evaluate stitch quality, in my opinion. 
  • The 750QE comes with the BSR Bernina Stitch Regulator for free-motion quilting that I've enjoyed on my current upgraded 200E/730E machine. 
  • I love the streamlined designed, simplified user interface, brushed silver and less obtrusive touch screen on the 750 (you can even customize the screen color in the machine's settings).  Also, the 7 Series machines show you exactly where your decorative stitches will form in relation to the presser foot you're using, right on the display screen, making it easy to precisely position decorative stitches on your project, and even the 8 Series machines don't have this feature:
750 QE Touch Screen Shows Where Stitch Forms in Relation to your Presser Foot
  • The 750QE has a maximum sewing speed of 1000 stitches per minute both for regular sewing and for embroidery, versus my current machine's max of 680 stitches per minute for embroidery and 900 stitches per minute for regular sewing.  Now, I don't need to sew at 1000 stitches per minute if I'm inserting a sleeve cap or hemming a pair of slacks, but those higher speeds are very handy for free-motion quilting and MUCH faster stitch-out of large, complex embroidery designs, which can have thousands of stitches in just one design.
So, what would I be giving up when I went from a previous top-of-the-line to today's mid-range machine?  As far as I can tell, the only things I'd lose would be some decorative stitches (the 750QE has 250 decorative stitches to choose from, whereas my current Artista machine has 396 decorative stitches), the sideways-motion stitches (another really cool feature on my current machine that I never, ever use), and the ability to edit embroidery designs at the point of stitch-out, right on the screen on the sewing machine. 
Honestly, I don't expect Santa to be shopping at the Bernina dealership this Christmas, but I do have a Big, Unpleasant Birthday looming this Spring.  A shiny new sewing machine to learn and play with would really help to take my mind off the blazing inferno of candles on that cake...  ;-)
UPDATED February 16th, 2013:
Well, Santa didn't bring me the Bernina 750QE for Christmas, but my husband and sons took the hint (subtly broadcast over the Internet!) and they snagged me the very last machine my Bernina dealer had in stock before Christmas.  WOO HOO!!!  Now that I've been sewing on my 750QE for a couple of months, I really love it and have no regrets; this machine is perfect for me and the operation has been smooth and trouble-free for all kinds of sewing. 


Jenny K. Lyon said...

You are so subtle! I sat down and played with a 750 at Houston and I'd love that machine too! The review you wrote was spot on and expressed my opinion exactly. I want that big ole honking bobbin and that quiet, fast mechanism and they say that the tension "never needs adjusting"-I'd have to see about that.

Good thing about Santa and that Awful Birthday coming up-I don't think they are even available until Jan anyway!

Meredith said...

I have had my 750 QE since late November and love love love it! Your review is perfect.

Colleen said...

HI There, I received the 750 QE for Christmas and I do love it ! Your review is very good and covers many of the reasons why this is such a great " sewing computer " ( Bernina's description ) The only problem I have had with the 750 is that I can't figure out how to turn off the securing stitches it takes at the beginning. The sewing instructor and service man at the dealership could not figure out how to turn it off either. If anyone could help me out I would greatly appreciate it !
TIA, Colleen

Rebecca Grace said...

Hi, Colleen! Santa didn't bring me the 750QE, but my husband and my sons did. :-)

I'm not sure what you mean about automatic securing stitches "at the beginning." Do you mean at the beginning of an embroidery design? My machine does not automatically tie off prior to begining regular stitching, if that's what you mean. I know I read in the manual about how to turn on and off some features like securing, auto thread trimming, etc. but I'm not sure what kind of sewing you're having this problem with. Odd that your dealer is stumped about it!

I do know that there is a firmware update posted on the Bernina web site for our machines, as well as a service pack that your dealer can install (or save to a flash drive so you can install at home; that's what mine did) so first of all, I would make sure your machine is completely updated. If the problem persists and you can't find it in the manual, try posting to the 7 Series Yahoo users group:

Good luck!

Colleen said...

Thanks for the reply Rebecca. Yes, my machine has the updates. I was referring to securing stitches at the beginning of regular sewing. I would like to be able to piece quilt patches without the machine making the securing stitches. I had taken my machine in to have my introductory lesson about mid January and that's when I had the updates done as well. The instructor is a trained Bernina rep but she said that the machine was so new she hadn't had much time to get acquainted with all the features. I suppose , since I'm still having the problem I should phone them and see if they've figured it out yet - it's a 3.5 hour drive ! I'll check out the Yahoo group first. Thanks again.

Rebecca Grace said...

You mean, your machine is automatically sewing securing stitches at the beginning of regular sewing using Straight Stitch #1? Mine does not do that, and it never did that. I just looked through the manual and as far as I can tell, only with Securing Program #5 stitch selected is the machine supposed to secure stitches at the beginning of a line of stitching. What you’re describing does not sound normal. So first (and I’m sure you and your dealer already checked this!) make sure that you have Stitch #1 selected, not Stitch #5. It’s possible that somehow the securing stitches got accidentally programmed into your personal settings, so I would also try doing a Reset Settings to factory defaults (instructions are on p. 52 of my 750QE manual – you have the choice to Reset Sewing, Reset Embroidery, or Reset All). If this STILL does not solve your problem and your machine continues to do this, I think your dealer should contact tech support at Bernina. Does your machine do this with other stitches, too, like zigzag, blind hem, or decorative stitches, or is it only a problem affecting the straight stitch?

Good luck, and let me know how this works out for you.

Colleen said...

Sorry it has taken me a couple of days to get back to you, Rebecca.
Yes, it was Stitch #1 that I had selected (not #5) but, my machine does the securing stitch in all other stitches as well, although I did not try the embroidery stitches. I did try your suggestion of re-setting the factory settings and no, that did not get rid of the securing stitch. It's good to know that your machine does not do the securing stitch in stitch #1. I had thought that maybe this was normal... annoying but normal. So, I would have to think there is something wrong with my machine. I will try phoning the dealership this week. I am guessing they will probably just tell me to bring it in, though.

Mary Menzer said...

I am utterly jealous. I ordered & paid for my 750 in mid November -and have yet to see it. A little of the wind is coming out of my sails with all the waiting.

Unknown said...

Mine arrived today, ordered in November. Just got it up & running chain stitching some flying geese blocks. Looking forward to joining the Yahoo forum.

Unknown said...

Mine arrived today ordered in November. Already up &running have chain pieced 40 flying geese blocks. Looking forward to joining the Yahoo forum.

Rebecca Grace said...

Securing Stitches Mystery Solved -- Colleen's 750 QE was not defective. If you use the automatic thread cutter (scissor button on the front of the sewing machine) to trim threads at the end of a seam, the sewing machine will automatically take securing stitches at the beginning of the next seam. If you are chain piecing and/or using the manual thread cutter, no securing stitches. You can turn off the securing stitches for the thread cutter under the machine's embroidery settings, but you would need to remember to turn them back on prior to embroidering so that your stitches don't pull out!

Unknown said...

HELP !! I would love to by the Sandy Clough Collection Bernina number 557, but i cannot find it ! Can i please ask somebody to help me. xx Heloise

Rebecca Grace said...

Hi, Heloise. I just did a quick search on eBay for "Bernina 557 Sandy Clough" and I found two of those cards that sold recently. Your best bet is to add that search to your "saved searches" in your eBay account and set it so that eBay notifies you as soon as another one is listed. Good luck!

Unknown said...

Thank you, Rebecca for your review about the 750 QE. I'm a so-so garment sewer and I love to machine piece and hand-sew quilts. Recently I just got back into both now that I'm retired and have three little granddaughters to sew for! I have an old Kenmore and never thought I'd give it up because it was just nice and simple. But I've tried machine quilting and I think I'm ready to move on. I was going to buy an HQ Sweet 16 quilting machine but the local Bernina dealer showed me the 780 today and I changed my mind. No need for two machines! But she didn't tell me about the 750QE. If the price is right, I think I'm interested in the 750

Rebecca Lynne said...

Tried this machine recently and am IN LOVE. Have always been a Bernina fan but my machine is tiny...saving my pennies for this one. I thought I was going to go with the 710 (or is it the 720?) but the idea of using the hoop for quilting is tempting as something to grow into. Thanks for your review!

Rebecca Grace said...

Rebecca Lynne, you can also purchase the 750 without the embroidery unit, and purchase the embroidery unit separately later on if you decide you want it. I really like that Bernina gives that option with the 750 QE. Thanks for stopping by!

Marcella said...

Thank you so much for your excellent review. It stated exactly what I needed to my choice is made: 750QE it will be.
Will keep an eye out for the Yahoo group,Thanks again, Marcella in Holland

Jean said...

Did you ever get this solved? My new machine does this too. It is up to date...just brought it home last week too.

Rebecca Grace said...

Hi, Jean. It turned out that there wasn't anything wrong with my machine -- the 7 Series was programmed to do those automatic securing stitches whenever you are using the automatic thread cutter. So, if you sew a seam, clip threads by pushing that scissor button on the front of the machine, and then start a new seam, you will get securing stitches at the beginning of that new seam. If, on the other hand, you sew that first seam and then chain-piece onto the next seam without cutting threads, or if you trim threads with the manual cutter razor thing at the side of the machine instead of using the auto thread cutter, you will NOT get securing stitches with the next seam. Does that make sense? A lot of users have complained that they want to be able to use the auto thread trimmer without having auto securing stitches on the next seam, and apparently Bernina is planning to add that option the next time they come out with a firmware update for our machines. In the meantime, the workaround is to avoid using the auto thread trimmer.

Anonymous said...

Hopeing to try one of these in a few days time. Can't wait. If it is easy ro use I will order one.
Thanks for brilliant review. EH

Anonymous said...

I just took a great class on the 750. How to program etc and when I got home my scissor function no longer works. I have programmed it several times..still no luck. She had us take the plate off so we could see how they work. I wonder if something happened putting it back together. Ever heard of such a thing?

Rebecca Grace said...

Anonymous, I do know that you are supposed to clean out stray thread bits and fuzzies from that automatic thread cutter from time to time. In order to clean it out, you have to remove the needle and stitch plate, and press something in one of the touch screen menus (can't remember which icon, though) that moves that thread cutter out of position for cleaning. Then you're supposed to touch something on the screen AGAIN to put the thread cutter back into cutting position before putting your stitch plate back on.

If your thread cutter worked fine before the class and now it doesn't, my guess is that you moved it out of position and forgot to move it back. If all else fails, have your dealer take a look at it. I'm sure it's something simple like that.

Anonymous said...

I've owned my 750QE for one year now and am totally in love with it!! I purchased it without the embroidery unit to save money.....and just added that two weeks ago. However, I'm having problems with it embroidering when beginning the design. It seems to knot and pull the top thread into the bobbin area! I tried different threads (this is my third embroidery machine), bobbins, etc......and finally got the design to stitch out. What did I miss??

Rebecca Grace said...

Anonymous, I wish you had left your email so I could respond to you directly. Have you tried holding the thread tails as you begin to embroider? Could be you have a speck of thread or lint fuzz caught somewhere in or behind your bobbin case.

Cyndi said...

I purchased the 750qe with embroidery and have had many problems while embroidering. The bobbin hook was defective in my machine and was finally replaced but my machine has other issues. It will lock with the needle down in the fabric. It tends to have problems with thread changes during the start of the new color. It's very frustrating. I also have the securing stitch problem at the beginning when sewing. I have tried everything, but will now try the suggestions in the post.

P11otter said...

I have the Bernina 780 for 9 months now and I am in love whith this sewing and embroidery machine. Every thing works fine! But you have to clean en oil it al lot!! That's not so difficult to do, read the instructions in the book. I am very happy that my husband bought this 780 for my, hy said I am worth it. Love the guy! Greeting Marie

Rebecca Grace said...

Cyndi, I wish I had your email address so I could respond to you directly. On the Yahoo 7 Series owners' group, there have been a couple of people whose machines were one problem after another. What I have learned from that group is that all Bernina dealers and techs are not created equal, and whether someone is happy with their high-end sewing machine often has more to do with their dealer/tech than with so-called "user error" or machine malfunction.

If you're having serious, pervasive issues with your 750 that your dealer has not been able to solve to your satisfaction, I recommend that you take your machine to a different Bernina dealer (hopefully one with a strong reputation and excellent technicians) and ask them to look over the machine for you. If all else fails, contact Bernina directly. Good luck and let me know how it works out for you!

Janet M said...

Hi Rebecca,
I have an opportunity to upgrade my 710 (bought 8 months ago new) to a 750 that is the floor model at my Bernina dealer. They're asking $2999 for 750 and will give me $1500 for trade on my 710. To help me out, my dealer is checking with another customer that is interested in purchasing my 710. This would be a private transaction so I can get more for my machine. Dealer will honor warranty on both machines. Can you give me any advise on a fair price to ask if this transaction works out? (I don't have a BSR.) I follow your blog and am member of the 7 series Yahoo forum that you monitor. I always enjoy and learn from your thoughtful comments and insight. Thanks,