If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know that I have been dealing with a bad case of SMAD for the last few years. SMAD, if you’re unfamiliar, is Sewing Machine Acquisition Disorder, which occurs when you become obsessed with buying new sewing machines. My case started shortly after I sold my Brother 2500D sewing/embroidery machine in 2012, and caused me to try nearly every brand of sewing machine on the market today.
Last year, I decided to purchase a Bernina 570QE after buying a used 435 and loving it. I’ve been using the 570QE for about a year now, so I think it’s time to share my opinions about it with you.
I ordered the machine from my local dealer last July, but I didn’t receive it until September. At that time, we were preparing to move, so I didn’t get to spend nearly as much time with it as I would have liked, at least, not immediately. But I have been able to spend enough time with it to tell you two things. Number One – I’m not a fan of the Bernina 570QE. Number Two – I plan to sell this machine, as well as the Bernina 435 that I have.
Let’s start with the basics. When I bought the machine, I did not get the embroidery unit, but a few months later, Chris bought it for me as an anniversary gift. It comes with the Barbie case to hold accessories, but it doesn’t, in my opinion, hold enough feet for it to be a feasible storage unit. I invested in a Bernina accessory case, which is huge, and holds a ton of feet and other accessories. I paid about $3,700, for the machine alone, and Chris paid another $1,500, for the embroidery unit. I’ve bought several feet and other accessories, so all in, I’ve got more than $6,000, invested in this machine.
First the good. I love the bobbin in the Bernina machines. It holds a lot more thread than other machines do, and quite simply is amazing. I also love the front loading bobbin. Something about the vertical bobbin hook makes for a prettier stitch than any other machine I’ve ever sewn on. While it does have a low bobbin sensor, it goes off well before the bobbin is empty, and can be quite annoying.
The stitches on the Bernina are beautiful, and they have wonderful presentation. This machine offers 34 utility stitches, 16 buttonholes, and 450 decorative stitches. There are also 73 quilting stitches. The machine has 8.5″ to the right of the needle, comes standard with a knee lift, and now includes the 97D foot. When I bought my machine last year, it didn’t come with that foot, it came with the standard 97. The 97D can be used with the machine’s dual feed, and has a guide that screws into the bed of the machine.
Speaking of the dual feed, the 570QE does have dual feed, much like Pfaff’s IDT. I have to give the edge to the Pfaff for this feature, though. It just seemed to work a little better than what I’ve experienced with the Bernina. Also, it seems like there are a lot more feet for the Pfaff IDT than the Bernina dual feed. It works, but I didn’t experience the same thrill, if that makes sense.
Bernina’s feet, if you’re not aware, are not snap on feet. They are full ankle feet, well made, and very high quality. They offer all of the standard feet for quilting and garment sewing.
Now for the not so good. I think that for me, coming to the Bernina after having used the Brother with the 11.25″ to the right of the needle, the loss of almost 3″ is too much. It was the primary death knell for the Pfaff as well. I am not really a fan of the 570QE for piecing, but I will say that I seem to be in the minority on this one. I have yet to get a good 1/4″ on the 570QE, which is extremely disappointing to me, considering I bought this machine because the 435 has such a wonderful 1/4″ seam. I have used every 1/4″ foot that Bernina makes, and I still am not happy with the 1/4″ seam.
Bernina machines have to be oiled every time they are used. I’ve never had a machine that required daily oiling, and I often forget to do it, until I take those first couple of stitches. Other modern brands do not require any oil, and in fact, oiling them can void the warranty. I like low maintenance machines, which does not include the Bernina. And getting the bobbin case back in can be tricky, once you’re done oiling the bobbin race. It annoys me, and makes me want to not sew, when I have issues getting the bobbin case back in the machine.
The accessory prices are very expensive. A single foot can cause in excess of $100. Yes, they are full ankle, but this is not an economic machine. It is an investment, to be sure.
While the embroidery is adequate, I’m not happy with the oval hoop. They seem to cut off a fair amount of embroidery area. In fact, I have seen designs sold by third parties that specifically state they are not suitable for Bernina’s oval hoops. Why they went with an oval hoop when the rectangular hoop was the standard is beyond me.
Going back to the size of the bed to the right of the needle … The only Bernina that offers more than 10″ to the right of the needle is the 880 Plus, which boasts 12″ to the right of the needle. However, that machine costs $18,000, which is thousands more than other brands with a bed that size. The 700 series boasts a 10″ bed to the right of the needle, but I think if you’re going to spend the money for a 700 series, you should check out other brands to see if you can find an 11″ or better bed for less money.
The Bernina 570QE is a nice machine, but I don’t find it worth the price of admission. There are so many other choices that deliver more bang for your buck, but I know that there are people who just love Bernina machines. As I say with any machine purchase, try out the machines you’re interested in and make sure it’s something you love before you pull the trigger and buy it.
Thank you for your review. It certainly is a lot of money not to be impressed! Which machine are you most impressed with that has a larger throat space?
That’s a good question, and one I’ve received several times! I have a blog post in the works to answer that very question that will be posted on Friday, August 12th!
I’ve owned 2 Berninas and took the owners’ classes with both purchases. I’ve never been told to oil every time I use it. I just oil when I change the bobbin.
Having said that, your other criticisms are fair. I have the 550QE which is a step below yours. I am also unhappy with the needle threader which is flimsy and easily broken.
I tried the Bernina 580 with the intention to purchase but went on to try out the Phaff sensation 720 and that machine wowed me. 10” off space, dual feed with free motion stitching, built in cutting and on off button, full touch screen with embroidery stitching….it is the dream Machine….plus the price is much better than the 700 series Bernina….way more bang for your buck….and it’s fun 🤩
I’m glad you found a machine that works for you! I have had two Pfaff machines, but I prefer the Brother Stellaire XJ1 for throat space – more than 11″. And the 570QE is growing on me! But I always say, when it comes to sewing machines, one size does not fit all, and quite frankly, I use the machine that fits my current purpose. Honestly, I could have one of each brand and use every one of them for something different. They all have a place!