Today is binding day – two quilts have been trimmed and the binding is on and ready for hand stitching – I’ll start that tonight. Since I set Grace up for string piecing, I thought I’d do the binding on the Bernina. My feelings so far about the new machine are tepid … I’m definitely not in love but remember I told you it takes me a long time to warm up to a new machine.

I don’t like the 1/4 inch foot and the way it interacts with the feed dogs and the fabric. Toward the end of a narrow seam, it loses its grip and the fabric slides over. It takes a lot of attention to keep the seam from narrowing at the end. I’ve seen people use stilettos to guide the last bit of a piece under the foot but I have never had to do that with any of my machines and I’m hoping I can learn to end pieces in this machine without one. Who wants to pick up a stiletto at the end of every seam in a block?!?!

I’ve also had to make some adjustments in how I cut, lift, and pull a piece out. With the Jane it’s a quick 123 motion, almost without pause. With the Bernina, you have to have a definite pause after hitting the scissor button otherwise the thread will tangle around the hook and you have rotate the flywheel to release it and then turn the machine off to reset it. I’m getting better at this so I’m not having the issue as often but boy is it a pain.

The bobbin is a mixed review. I LOVE the big bobbins. It holds more thread than any machine I’ve ever had. What I don’t like is that it’s not a drop in bobbin and it’s harder to get to it to change a bobbin and to oil. The big bobbins are probably worth the hassle

Today, I machine stitched bindings on and it handled the bulk beautifully, it was easier than either the Grace or the Elna. I did not have a walking foot on but it fed and stitched nicely.

Bernina B475 Quilter’s Edition


  1. I think Bernina machines have really tight foot pressure. I have two – an older 630 and noticed it is on 27.
    My Bernina 720 ( the awesome 5.5 mm machine) is set on 34. The default is 50 on that machine. Try lowering your foot pressure. I think the cutter is slow on the 720. I don’t have one on the 630. I have a Pfaff 720 with a fast cutter and terrific automation. I love them all for what they do well.

  2. Mary. Been following your interaction with new Bernina as my old Bernina does exactly what yours is doing! It goes not sew straight off the seam, often times button fabric escapes and is not meeting on outside edges.
    My dealer uses a walking foot for piecing. I do not – or even use walking foot for attaching binding either.
    If you find a way to resolve this problem. Please post! My machine is an older 640 Artista. Stitches beautifully still…

  3. I bought a Bernina 800 series shortly after they came out and returned it because of
    the 1/4 inch issue. I don’t do fancy sewing so I didn’t need the larger mm stitch area
    anyway. I got my 500 series machine when I returned the other and in spite of the
    smaller bobbin and no thread cutter I am MUCH happier. I use deco bob in the
    bobbin and get a lot of piecing done before I have to wind a new bobbin. I am sure
    you will get to know your new Bernina and start liking her more. They are good machines
    and I like how quiet and well made they are. Have you tried moving your needle to get
    a better grip in your seam?

  4. I have that very same issue on my older Bernina Virtuoso. It slides away unless I use my wood thingy to keep it secure. That is a serious issue, in my opinion, for us quilters. What machine has been your favorite?

  5. I’ve never had a machine with the large bobbin. I did like one of my old Singers that rewound the bobbins without removing it from the bobbin case. That was handy. But my Pfaff machines do have easily accessed bobbins. It’s interesting to see how different the bobbin features are among the different brands of machines.

  6. Mary, I have 2 Berninas. The workaround on the 1/4 inch foot is to use the 34D or C depending on your machine.. It’s clear. It has a 1/4 inch mark. You can see what you’re doing. And it grabs all the feed dogs. I hardly ever us the 1/4 foot itself, if ever.
    The bobbin is great. I have no problem with it on my 830. My 640 has the smaller bobbin. Again no issues. The larger bobbin sure goes a long ways.

    I love my Berninas. You will too. Keep working with it.

  7. I have a Bernina 770 QE and the Bernina 475 QE. I have always had issues with the 770 and rarely use it these days and wish I had never bought it. I really like the 475 because it is the 5mm. The 770 is a 9mm and what a pain that can be sometimes. But both machines have that large bobbin and I love those!! But the machine I love the most right now is the Juki TL-18QVP Haruka. It is a straight stitch only but it does that straight stitch perfectly. I have had it about 8 months now and it is the machine I sew on the most. Everything works so well and it also sews through many layers of fabric without the walking foot. You can sit down and sew and no fiddling around with anything. It might be similar to your Jane. Now I only use the Bernina’s if I need a decorative stitch or zigzag.

  8. I have a Bernina 440 QE. I do all my piecing with the walking foot on. It has quarter inch marks on it, but I also use Quilt in a Day Sew Straight guide to extend the guide lines and make them easier to see for my aging eyes. I love the knee lift on the Bernina. Having sewn on Bernina’s for 50 years, I can put the bobbin in place by feel, so it doesn’t seem that awkward to me.

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