Friday, 12 September 2014

Bernina Activa 220 - 2 Year Review

Bernina Activa 220 - 2 Year Review

I know people do lots of research before investing in a new machine (I know I did), after all it is a big purchase.  Unlike cars which have magazines providing lots of expert reviews there's often not many reviews on sewing machines other than customer shop reviews which are generally written very soon after purchase and often relate to delivery times and shop service.

I thought it might be helpful to do a review of my home machine.

Model - Berninan Activa 220

Cost when new £549 

Extras I have purchased
Walking Foot - cost new £99 - I got mine on ebay second hand for £40
Extension table - £25
Metal Bobbins 
Patchwork 1/4 inch foot £35

So 2 yrs on what do I love about this machine ?

Most things !

1. Perfect straight stitches every time.  

2. Unlike some other machines you don't need to pull up the bobbin thread before you start, and you don't need lead in fabric it starts off sewing neatly straight away.

3. The 1/4 Inch patchwork foot a perfect quarter inch and it's really easy to use. 

4. I have 9 needle positions to make top stitching easy & neat.

5. It's got a 30 stitch memory so I can design my own stitch patterns by combining stitches.

6. The Needle up / down stop position - love it !, never even knew I needed this until I got it !

7. I can change stitch length and width whilst sewing !

8. Lovely bright lights

9. Easy to put the extension table on.

10. 50 Stitches more than I need personally.

11.  Alphabet Stitches - so I can make school uniform name labels (note these are just basic they don't look amazing).

12. I can drop the feed dogs (although I never do the option is there !)

13. Great darning program and overlock stitch.  I don't own an overlocker so it's really brilliant to have for me.

The extension table, really lovely - really steady, easy to put on no feet add so easy to store too.

From left to right - needle stop up/down, 1/2 Speed option and finish stitch pattern so if you are doing the memory stitches you know when it's complete - good for lettering so you don't run on by accident.

Stitches 1-10 are detailed on the machine for the rest you type in the number

Screen shows you the stitch number selected, the footer you need, and the width and length of the stitch, which you can change.

What's not so good...............

1. This machine does not have a one step buttonhole ! its a 4 step and you are meant to buy a buttonhole foot as extra, you don't get one with the machine. Now I'm a quilter and I did buy the machine primary to quilt but I do think for the money Bernina are mean not putting an auto button hole on the machine !

2. Sewing space to the right of the needle.  Although the machine is really study and well made it's slightly small when it comes to getting a big quilt under it, it's possible but life would be so much easier with a bit more space.

3. The 3 step Lycra stitch on the Bernina is a wave shape not the pointy shape most machines have.... not the end of the world I'm being picky I guess !


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