This is a continuation of the 8th Post, Shopping for a Sewing Machine. 

I visited Steve’s Sewing Center, an excellent place to buy sewing machines and vacuum cleaners and explained that I was shopping for my gifted young student who needed a really good sewing machine. 

Steve’s is where I go to have my machines repaired. They offer dependable, expert service.


The machine pictured above is the 380 model. It looks like the 350PE, but is slightly more expensive version and has additional stitch patterns and similar extra features I feel aren’t necessary.

I told the sales person at Steves about my student and what I felt she needed in a sewing machine. I was shown  a variety of sewing machines.

The machine that I especially liked is the Bernina 350PE. It has almost all of the features I listed on my 8th Post, plus an especially nice feature I had never seen on any machine before – one can sew without using the pedal.
With the exception of standard, low-shank feet it has all the features I would like on my student’s machine:
1.       All medal parts
2.       Zigzags
3.       Blind hems
Has an automatic buttonholer that is easy to use

5.       Has a feed-dog that drops so the machine can sew on buttons
6.       Is portable
7.       Is fast, but also sews well at a very slow speed
8.       Uses standard, low-shank feet
9.       Has a straight-stitch plate to prevent fabric from jamming down in the race.
10.     Has screw-on feet – When sewing at high-speeds it is better to have everything screwed on  tight – I don’t trust the snap-on feet I’ve used them and I don’t like them very much.
11.     Can wind a bobbin as it sews
12.      Has a straight stitch plate.
13.     Can be set so that when one stops sewing the needle is either down in the fabric, or up out of the fabric
14.   A knee pedal that lifts the presser foot would be nice

 I have crossed this machine off the list for two reasons:
1.  Unfortunately it does not have standard, low-shank feet. Bernina machines use only feet designed by the company specifically for their machines. This could cause a problem for my student. Low shank feet are becoming the standard feet used with home sewing machines. It is unlikely that my student would take this machine anywhere. So if she were to visit someone, or take design lessons in school, she, like sample makers in the industry, would probably want to take her sewing machine’s feet with her so she could use them on the machine at that location. The foot problem also makes me nervous. Bernina machines are currently the Cadillac’s of the home sewing machines, but I have seen a prior, highly-regarded  home sewing machine company loose its status. I don’t want anything about the machine to create a potential problem down the road.
2.  The other concern is the price. This machine costs just under $1400. That’s a lot of money.
So I’m still shopping.
Laurel– published– school
Contemporary Fashion Education, Inc.
Laurel’s Design Room Techniques book that presents sewing procedures used in high-end designing departments is available for sale at
P:215 884 7065, F:215 884 3727, C:610 908 7222



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