My New Bernina 350


Bernina 350 Cotton + Steel Special Edition Mint Green Sewing Machine
For my birthday back in May, my parents offered to get me a new sewing machine. I had been using my old one since I had gotten it when I was about 18. It wasn’t a terrible machine, but I did get frustrated sometimes trying to sew through especially thick fabrics and sometimes the stitch length wasn’t super consistent. So I started researching a bit to find out what kind of machine to buy.



It’s really overwhelming since there is such a range of prices and features, including lots of things I knew I would probably never need! I got a very helpful spreadsheet from Tanya that she put together when she was deciding on her new machine. I looked into a few of the ones that she listed as well as going to my local sewing machine store. I was looking for a good-quality machine without a lot of bells and whistles, but which would stitch evenly through lightweight all the way to heavy fabrics. Pretty much everyone I spoke to said Berninas were the best machines for garment sewing, and once I tried one out in the store I was really impressed. Then I saw the special edition Cotton + Steel Bernina 350 model and I knew that was a must-have- I’m a sucker for bright colors and gorgeous design!


The machine comes with a lever that allows you to raise and lower the presser foot without using your hands. I tried it out but so far haven’t used it during a project, though I know many people swear by them.



This machine has a digital display that is pretty simple and easy to use. You can adjust the stitch length, width, and move the needle with simple arrow buttons. When you enter the number of the stitch you’d like and the display will tell you the correct foot to use. There is also this removable extension table which gives you some extra room-  I tend to keep it on for everything but sleeves and such.


The machine comes with this card which shows all of the stitches the machine has available. I’ve just left it up on top of the machine as I learn the various features. I’ve tried out most of them, though I don’t use these fancy stitches very often and mainly just use the straight and zig-zag. As I had hoped, the stitches are even and consistent and it sews through every fabric I’ve put through it with ease. Another bonus is that I rarely get tangled “thread nests” at the beginning of seams, which was a regular occurrence with my old machine.

One thing I thought would be annoying to me (but actually hasn’t) is the fact that this machine uses a traditional bobbin rather than the drop-in kind that most newer machines have. The lady at the sewing machine store explained that this gives a better stitch. I was afraid I would be annoyed to have to load the bobbin case and snap it in underneath, but I’ve actually gotten used to it pretty fast.



The machine comes with a few interchangeable presser feet. They are actually really easy to change out, despite not being the snap-on ones I was used to before. The lady at the sewing store said Bernina uses the shank type because they are sturdier. In addition to the ones that came with the machine, I went ahead and purchased an invisible zipper foot, which has become indispensable to me now that I’ve learned to use one properly. (Seriously, get one right now if you don’t already have one- they make inserting fiddly invisible zippers so much easier!) The machine also comes with a book showing all of the feet and other accessories that are available and how to use them. In the photo above you can see: (1) Reverse-pattern foot, snap-on foot adaptor, (34) Buttonhole foot, (4) Zipper foot, (5) Blindstitch foot, (20) Open Embroidery Foot, (35) Invisible Zipper foot, and (37) Patchwork foot.

I’ve done a few buttonholes, and I can say that though the foot is a bit weird and looks intimidating, it’s not hard to use and has done a perfect buttonhole every time. You can even sew buttons on with the machine, but I’ve been too chicken to try that one out yet… so I just keep sewing them on by hand.

All in all, I’m really happy with my new machine! It has been such an upgrade from the one I was using before, although I didn’t really know how much until I made the switch. I’m looking forward to using it for many years to come!