Bernette 35 Review
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|Pros||Two metal spool holders, relatively inexpensive||Good sewing performance, easy to use, high value||Easy to use, notably good zigzag stitching, free-foot sewing option||Excellent lighting, clear and easy stitch selection, very easy buttonhole set-up||Excellent straight stitching on cotton jersey, very easy to get stitches set up|
|Cons||Cannot easily see how much thread is left on the bobbin, buttonhole setup/quality are below average||A bit harder to set up||Buttonholes on light to medium fabrics aren't ideal, subpar bobbin winding||Trouble with the bottom of zippers, basic side-mounted manual thread cutter||Lacks a needle up/down button, no presser foot lock, trouble with bottom strap of average zipper|
|Bottom Line||A capable sewing machine for a beginner, but a person with more sewing experience will prefer something with more and better features||A great machine for the price and a good bet for both beginning and seasoned users||A great machine that leaves something to be desired in creating buttonholes on lighter fabrics but overall provides excellent features for the price||Good for those starting out, but advanced users will get better performance out of other machines||Great machine for a beginning sewer, but lacking a few helpful computerized features|
|Rating Categories||Bernette 35||Singer 7258 Stylist||Brother XR9550||Brother CS6000i||Brother CS5055|
|Ease of use (35%)|
|Specs||Bernette 35||Singer 7258 Stylist||Brother XR9550||Brother CS6000i||Brother CS5055|
|# of Built-in Stitches||23||100||165||60||60|
|# of Buttonhole Styles||1||6||8||7||7|
|Measured Weight||13.4 lbs||14.6 lbs||12. 1 Ibs||9.4 lbs||10.8 lbs|
|Maximum Sewing Speed (stitches per minute)||N/A||750||850||850||750|
|Buttonhole Sewing (number of steps)||1-Step||1-Step||1-Step||1-Step||1-Step|
|Maximum Stitch Width||4mm||6mm||7mm||7mm||7mm|
|Maximum Stitch Length||5mm||4.8mm||5mm||5mm||5mm|
|Automatic Bobbin Winder?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Bernette 35 has some great features that set it apart from other sewing machines. It's the only machine with metal spool holders, and the bobbin-winding is superior to all the others in our lineup with very clear threading directions.
The Bernette 35 ranked well above average in our sewing tests, especially with how well it handled silk and chiffon, traditionally difficult fabrics with which to sew. We were very pleased with the tension in the zig-zag stitch across all the fabrics, and the straight stitch was well above average except with denim. We were also very impressed with the blind hem that this machine produced — even, smooth stitches on almost every fabric. Even the zippers went in smoothly.
Ease of Use
The 35 is the only machine with a front-loading bobbin, which means you have to bend down to table level to see what you are doing. That also means you can't see how much thread is left on the bobbin without taking it out of the machine. Our testers also found that the needle moved up and down while winding the bobbin, and that there was no clear indication of where the top is for the needle.
The needle-threader is semi-automatic but works well because the thread is held tightly by the machine, so you can easily hook it onto the threader, which then slips smoothly through the needle. The thread cutter is toward the back of the machine and has a large guide with the blade facing up so the thread can get cut with either the right hand or the left. We felt that the upward-facing blade used a more natural movement of the hands.
You can't see to sew without lighting, and the Bernette 35 has good, warm lighting where the needle penetrates the fabric but not much light around the rest of the area. But since one usually doesn't sew in a totally dark room, that shouldn't be too much of a problem.
Buying a new sewing machine with all new features can sometimes be overwhelming, which is where a good instruction manual comes into play. The Bernette 35 has a great manual that is clearly laid out and well organized. It includes a reference for stitch lengths and widths, a list of the types of stitches on the machine, and the suggested length, width, and tension settings for each. This is all very helpful for beginners. It also lists the kind of presser foot you need for the sewing you are doing, including clear instructions and drawings.
The 35 has a fairly standard buttonhole set-up for a non-computerized machine. It's a 1-step process, but trying to gauge how the buttonhole markings line up with your fabric is difficult, and the overall quality of the buttonholes we sewed was below average.
In our estimation, the Bernette 35 had some nice features, but the flaws kept it from being an award winner. That said, as a member of the Bernina family, it is still a solid machine, and anyone who owns it will become accustomed to its quirks.
The Bernette 35 had an average performance in most of our tests without any glaring weaknesses, but an experienced sewist will likely want something with more robust features.
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