I only just now realized that I've had my Bernina 1008 for over two years! When I was in the market for a new machine, I asked your opinions on mechanical machines and then discovered how much I liked them. I haven't written about my machine since, because it's been a smooth, drama-free relationship. (Yes, we're in love.) But I've been getting lots of emails about machines lately, so I thought I'd revisit the topic.
If you're unfamiliar with the 1008, here are a few facts: it's a simple mechanical machine (no computer or LED display), but it's made by Bernina (renowned for its quality) so you're looking at a higher price tag than for other mechanical machines. I paid $850 for mine, but I think the price has gone up slightly since then (anyone gotten a quote on this machine recently?). It's an all-metal machine, so it's very sturdy.
Let's talk about the good stuff.
- I love the way this machine sews. It's smooth and fast. It does 1,050 stitches per minute. For comparison's sake, you can usually expect 800-900 from a home machine. The downside is that when I sew on other machines, they feel so slow!
- It's an easy, no-fuss machine. It does what I expect it to do, and doesn't jam or have other annoying issues.
- The stitch quality is lovely.
- It sews chiffon and heavy wools with ease. It doesn't have adjustable presser foot pressure, but I haven't even noticed because it just takes whatever material you give it and sews it flawlessly.
- When oiled and dusted regularly, it purrs like a kitten. I haven't taken it for maintenance since I bought it because it does so well with proper home maintenance. (And I'd miss it.)
- No extraneous features and stitches. I love the simplicity of it. It doesn't have alphabets or alligator-shaped stitches; it just does what I need and does it well. The majority of my time is spent on a straight stitch, with occasional zigzagging. I'll use the blindhem and the buttonhole every now and then. That's all I really need.
- The metal case is sturdy and good-quality.
- The 6-step buttonhole is a revelation! Not having to deal with my machine jamming in the middle of an automatic buttonhole is lovely.
- It comes with snap-on feet, as opposed to Bernina's standard kind with the shaft attached. This was disappointing, since everyone raves about Bernina feet. So one of the first things I did was start replacing the snap-on feet with the traditional Bernina feet. I've spent a pretty penny on feet, some utilitarian (zipper, invisible zipper, edgestitch, clear, blindhem, etc.) and then lots of fun extras (ruffler, walking foot, pintuck, narrow hemmer, and the list goes on). Many of these I would have had to buy extra anyway, so it's not entirely a fault of the 1008. But damn, these feet are expensive!
- It's heavier than a small child. Not really an issue if you're not planning on traveling with it. (I lugged it on a bus to Baltimore, along with luggage, and it was hell. I couldn't get a taxi home from the bus station on the way back, and it was raining, and it was awful, readers.) On the other hand, metal has that nice, quality, long-lasting feel to it.
- There's only one buttonhole. I love keyhole buttonholes, so this is sad for me.
- The price makes it out-of-reach for beginners. The quality makes it worth the price, in my opinion. But beginners always ask me for my recommendation for their first machine, and while the 1008 would be a fantastic machine for a new sewist, the price tag just isn't practical for a newbie.
- It's made me a speed demon. (I've always had a lead foot, just ask my parents and the California state police.) If I were to get another machine, it would be a straight stitch or semi-industrial that sews more like 1,500 to 2,000 stitches a minute.
I feel like I'm missing stuff here, so let me know if you have questions and I'll update the post! I hope this helps you all in your quest for your dream machine.