A tale of 2 machines

A big thank you to everyone who liked my little twist on the Elisalex dress. I wore it to work today, and my colleagues were really impressed with it. 

In my last post, I mentioned that I bought 2 sewing machines in 2 days. I did not intend to buy two machines. Oh no. My intention was to buy a basic machine to use while my Pfaff went to the repair man. Normally I would not even think about buying a new machine, because I really love my Faffi, and the only other brand that would make me bring out my card, is a Bernina. However, I am travelling back home to Cameroon in 2 weeks, for my cousin’s wedding, where I am the chief bridesmaid, and I need to sew my dress. So, I had to convince Mr.Dibs to let me buy a new one, and what better way to do it, than to tell him a good bridesmaid dress would cost me the same as a basic sewing machine. The major difference? I get to keep the machine, and get my money’s worth as opposed to wearing the dress a handful of times.
So armed with his blessing, I ran to John Lewis after work on Monday, to look for a good basic machine. I settled on the Janome 7025. I ran back home, very excited. I decided to continue sewing my Elisalex dress with it, but I got really frustrated when I could not get the tension right. I spent about 1 hour fiddling with the machine. I finally got it to the right tension, and began sewing. It is a nice little machine, very quiet, BUT, I found it very slow, and a tad lightweight. When I told Mr.Dibs, he said I had been spoilt by designer sewing machines. I did not even attempt to tell him that my Faffi only cost £485, and that there were machines out there even more expensive than cars. So I told him I did not like the Janome, and that I was taking it back on Saturday. It is not a bad machine, but it is not just for me. The needle threader, the main reason why I choose it, is nothing like that on Faffi, but then again, they are not in the same price bands. She is currently all boxed up, waiting for Saturday to return to John Lewis.
On Tuesday, I went back online, looking for a good machine. I decided to go for a an old Bernina. Ebay had auctions that were going to take too long, and I was not even sure I would win. Then the was the matter of delivery. I called Bamber sewing, and they said they had an old Bernina for £330. I think it was the 730. I tried to haggle, but he would not bulge. Apparently, if I had paid cash, he would have given it to me for less. I was going to take it, but then he told me it only had 1 foot. I know how expensive Bernina feet are, so I decided not to buy the machine. Next I called Direct Sewing Machines, because they had a couple of Bernina 1008s without boxes, and were selling them at a discount. 
As luck would have it, they had 1 left, so during my lunch break, I jumped on the tube and went to buy the machine. I got there, he demonstrated how it worked, got a brand new one out for me, and then I turned around, looking at other machines on display, and I saw HER.

 She, Nina, is a used Active 240, just over a year old, and the woman who had it, had recently upgraded to the 350 I think or 380. It has been serviced, and comes with a 1 year guarantee. I had never thought about owning the 240. They don’t make them any more, but when I started looking for a second machine 2 years ago, the Activa 220 was the one I was thinking of getting. Nina came with  came with all the original feet, and an embroidery foot . I also bought an invisible zipper foot, just because I love invisible zips.

I set it up this evening, and tried it out. I can’t describe the way I felt when I saw the stitches. I had read before that Bernina machines produced beautiful stitches, but nothing could prepare me for the beauty I saw. I am not exaggerating. I love my Faffi, but Nina produces more beautiful stitches. I am still tying to understand how she works, but I have a feeling I am going to have an enjoyable relationship with Nina. Does anyone have experience with this machine? Is she as nice as I think she is?


  1. May 15, 2013 / 11:41 pm

    I used an Activa when my Bernina 430 was being repaired and I, too, fell in love. It's a great little machine!

  2. May 16, 2013 / 5:24 am

    Thanks for the info Dibs. I am glad you have found a machine you can work with. I am using an old Toshiba that I have had forever. One day I will upgrade when finances permit. She has done me proud over the years, so I will keep her for sentimental reasons, even if I don't use her so much. zora

  3. May 16, 2013 / 6:50 am

    Your Bernina is a beauty, and what a bargain! I am jealous. Also, I'm loving your logic on buying a new machine versus the price of a bridesmaid dress!

  4. May 16, 2013 / 10:40 am

    Oh well done! You had me in stitches over the Bridesmaid dress comment, I read it out load to my husband who shook his head as that is the sort of thing I would say! I love sewing machines and am tied to my pfaff, but teach on an Elna which I was told is made by the same company as Janome. I do like sewing on the Elna now. No snarly bobbin threads and tangles that seem to just happen with some machine. Cant wait to see what you make next. Aliza

  5. May 16, 2013 / 12:31 pm

    I bought my bernina 220 a few months ago, she's the same age as your Nina but I call her Harriet. She's the loveliest machine ever and we get along so (sew) well!
    She's the same series as yours but has less options (stitches mainly). You won't regret buying her as I couldn't imagine my life without her now! Good luck!

  6. May 16, 2013 / 1:50 pm

    I have that machine and I can tell you, it's a corker! An absolute work horse and will cope admirably with really thick fabrics should you venture into things like coat making. Very wise to buy an invisible foot zipper. I've also found my walking foot extremely useful. You will love this machine, Dibs!

  7. May 16, 2013 / 3:37 pm

    Hehehe you crack me up! Enjoy your new machine, she's a beauty!

  8. May 16, 2013 / 7:54 pm

    I love that you've named your machines! I hope you and Nina get along fabulously and that Faffi doesn't get jealous!

  9. May 16, 2013 / 8:49 pm

    You're so lucky to get a Bernina, no doubt you will get good use of Nina. Too bad the Janome did not work out for you, that is my brand of choice (until I'm rich enough to buy only Berninas !), I have the sewing machine (6600P, but weighting 12kg), overlocker & coverlock from Janome, and they're just so reliable (at least that works for me !). Have fun with Nina 😀

  10. May 18, 2013 / 11:49 pm

    How serendipitous! Looks like you guys were meant to be together! 😀

  11. May 25, 2013 / 12:27 pm

    I've got the Bernina 215, which I use downstairs when it gets a bit hot. I love it, just wish I had more space upstairs to have it out all the time. Less stitches than yours but they are all I need. Looks like you have everything covered now, can't beat having an heir and a spare.

  12. Anonymous
    May 31, 2013 / 11:25 pm

    I bought the Bernina Activa 230PE (Patchwork Edition) about 2 yrs. ago, now. I love it. Enjoy your machine that will do what you ask it. Mary G.

  13. August 11, 2013 / 10:12 am

    I've got a Bernina which I have had since I was 18 (I'm 40 now) and he is still going strong. He makes a bit of a racket when sewing (bad art student years not oiling him enough) but he is built like a tank and the tension is beautiful.
    Yes the only annoying thing is the cost of the extra (feet etc) but I would def recommend a Bernina. Although having sewn recently on a Janome I am loving the automatic button hole stitch – its the old 4 part method on my machine ; (

  14. Dee
    June 4, 2014 / 11:52 pm

    Hi just discovered your blog while googling sewing machine brands, had a chuckle at this one. Could you recommend a sewing machine to a newbie with very little experience, though I did make a satin Nightie in a sewing class 30+ years ago, this was the last time I used a machine. I hope to practice on calico and cotton and eventually sew heavier fabrics like soft leather and denim, I won't be using the machine as frequently as you do as I have to rotate my many hobbies :-), and worry that I will buy something expensive that will not get a lot of use, ( Though have been looking at the Bernina and Janome brands and sighing alot ) but still would like something I can grow into. Any tips would be appreciated. Thank you x

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