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Bernina 820

by Helen
(Elk Grove, CA)

I'm very sorry I purchased this machine, I've had nothing but trouble and take it back to the dealer every couple of months.

Adjusting the tension to accommodate any thread except regular sewing thread is a nightmare, I get messages saying the thread is broken when it's not. When the thread does break it pops back into the machine and can't be pulled out the correct way. It just goes on and on, my dealer has been very patient and has replaced computer boards, the BSR, springs, tension disks etc.

I should have just stayed with my Bernina 1080 and saved myself a lot of frustration.

From the Editor:

Others have written in with problems with this machine. You can find these pages with the following links:
In researching answers to those questions, I did find that there is Bernina Series 8 discussion group that might be helpful to you. When you're in the middle of a problem, they may be able to help the fastest.

I have a girlfriend that's gone through almost the same kinds of problems as you, except with a Pfaff machine. She preferred her previous model so much that she finally went to ebay and bought another of the older model.


Julie Baird

Comments for Bernina 820

Click here to add your own comments

Sep 18, 2016
by: Anonymous

The Bernina 820 is worthless!

We have had problems from the first week we owned it. It has been with the dealer as much as it has been with us. Each time we get it back it was because we were using the wrong thread, we weren't threading it properly, you have the wrong settings...etc, etc, etc.

We tried to trade it for a different model, an upgrade, and the dealer wouldn't take it on trade...What does that tell you!!!

If you have any inclination of buying a quilting machine, I would not buy a Bernina 820.

Aug 18, 2016
The Learning Curve
by: Anonymous

The first year I had my 820 I felt like running over it with a semi truck.

By talking to a few techs I found out that the 820 machine is built around the threading system.

Always use the auto thread button. Give the thread a little slack where it comes off the spool. The thread won't pull back on you that way.

Have had my 820 for 3 years now. Is a learning curve, but now we have bonded & I love her.

Still learning.

From the Editor: Thank you for sharing the tip about threading. I hope other owners will find it helpful, too!


Julie Baird

Jul 05, 2016
Bernina 820
by: Pat Power

I stumbled across this website and am astonished at all the problems people have had with this machine.

I purchased an 820 when they were first available in Canada. Yes, there was a long learning curve for me but the machine came with 3 days of intensive training and excellent support from the technician both when it was my learning or a problem with the machine. The store provides such good support that I eventually traded up to an 830, again with 4 days of training included in the price that I can take over again at no charge if I wished so 2 years ago I traded up again to the 880 - lots of help on the Bernina website, bernina blog, Bernina youtube videos and registered for emails from them.

I can phone or email the store anytime with questions and always get a response. Even after 2 years, I am still learning things that the machine can do from their videos that come in their emails.

So my learning in all of this is it is VERY IMPORTANT to have the support of the store that you buy from.

The Bernina warranty is carried by the store that sells it and not the manufacturer and is not transferable if you sell your machine.

I am sad that so many people have had so many problems that are unresolved.

Jun 24, 2016
No Trade
by: Anonymous

Went to trade this pos and found out they won't take an 820 QE in on a trade. Even Gammill knows the reputation on this Bernina 820 QE.

Jun 21, 2016
Bernina 820
by: Joybelle

I agree with everyone.....what a lemon.

I have talked to dealers and today over heard a Bernina dealer responding to the person who answered the phone which I wasn't supposed to hear, "Oh an 820, a dog of a machine with lots of problems", then I got fobbed off saying I should get in touch with Bernina Australia....their answer 'Not their problem, they only sell them to the dealers".

I really love all of the features, if only they worked consistently!! My husband and I have spent all day looking at You tube videos and found a problem with the spring in the bobbin being installed incorrectly, we fixed that, but would never admit would void the warranty!!

It worked for a while then went to wind a bobbin and that didn't work....will take it back to a repairer one more time, then give up. It was recently serviced.

Looking at Brother machines now.

Jun 13, 2016
Tension problems again.
by: Arisaid

November 09 my husband got me a Bernina 820 when I was told I was in remission from lymphoma. It has been back for tension problems so many times I have lost count. I have to resort to using my 980 Record which is over 40 years old. Thank goodness I didn't get rid of that machine. I am waiting for Bernina in Sydney to phone me back. I am really over this. The Tech gets it going fine and when I get home and use it do a test piece and then it stuffs up again. Beyond disappointed and frustrated.

May 16, 2016
I hate the 820
by: Galen Nippert

I bought my 820 when it first came out, and started regretting the purchase almost immediately. I hate the automatic threader, and have had to take the machine to the shop repeatedly to get it readjusted. The machine is so touchy that it is impossible to just sit down and sew.

I bought a Janome 6600 as a backup machine, and use it much more than the Bernina. The only thing I like about the Bernina is the large space under the head, which allows me to machine quilt large quilts. As the Bernina is broken AGAIN, I am going to go look at upgrades to the Janome.

I guess the Bernina will end up in the closet; a very expensive mistake.

A friend of mine also has the Bernina 820. Between our two machines, the local sewing machine repair shop stays very busy.

May 06, 2016
Test Trial of Used 820
by: Vince

I am new to quilting and Bernina dealer was allowing me to trial an used Bernina 820. From what I see from the reviews, I should stay away from the unit. Is that what most would say?

Mar 31, 2016
Class action time
by: Anonymous

I have owned my "dream" machine for 5 years.

I bought the 820 with hopes of taking my quilting and sewing to the next level, after sewing for over 40 years. I sew ALOT, having worn the feed dogs down to nothing on my other machine.

"Tension" adequately describes the experience of owning this machine. I, too, have been insulted by the local dealer, and this machine just keeps giving me problems.

I'm selling "the beast".

Meanwhile I am very happy with my Elna 540, owned for 2 years and sews everything and most all thread types with minimal amount of time to adjust.

I'm sad that a company with the reputation Bernina had is willing to allow this to continue.

Feb 18, 2016
Embroidery-dual feed issue
by: Anonymous

I have an 830 and keep getting an error that says my dual feed is not fully retracted when I try to use the embroidery module. I contacted a friend's husband who is a Bernina repairman--he ran me through some diagnostics and said I need a new sensor, so it will be off to the repair shop for me. The sewing functions all work--just having the issues with the embroidery.

My machine is 6 years old and this is the first real service it has required. It is a bit touchy sometimes, but usually I can figure out the issue and get it working again. I oil it regularly, keep new needles on it and keep the bobbin area clean. My BSR works for the most part (I just used it with a chalk pounce and that was a mistake).

So very sorry to hear about the issues you are all having. I sure wish Bernina had more 'self help' videos or material available, including the ability to purchase the sensors. It is a real waste to have to drive the hour to my nearest repairman to get the thing serviced.

Jan 06, 2016
Got rid of it
by: Anonymous

Gave my 820 away...

Jan 05, 2016
Aaaaaaargh....what more can i say?
by: Melinda in Virginia

I havre an 820 purchased in 2013 and a Grace frame with Quilt Motion purchased same year. The machine has virtually always been on the frame, I don't use it for other sewing. I have yet to ever, and i mean ever, turn the system on and have it work from the get go. I have yet to finish a quilt without problems, some of which required picking out lots of stitching. In December 2015 I had it serviced, routine checkup, because I had decided to sell it, and the frame, Too frustrating....I just want to SEW. Got it back from its checkup, told it is in perfect condition with very low hours (no never runs to accumulate hours!). The technician updated the firmware. Got it home, got it set up on the frame and the @#$%# thing will not work! It sews for a couple seconds then the quilt motion screen says "sewing stalled". Click resume, 2 more seconds of sewing. Works perfectly with the BSR for free motion quilting. After more than a dozen hours on the phone with Grace, and them trying everything including sending me a new circuit board and all new cables, they threw the problem back saying it is an 820 problem. Worked with the Bernina sales person at my local shop, a very nice and very knowledgeable person (sold me the Quilt Motion). She thought it might be the software update and downloaded a prior version from the technician website. No dice, my machine simply locks up with that version so the only alternative she could suggest was to reload the updated software, obtained from the website. To do that she had to walk me through a back door way to start the machine since it was frozen partway through the startup process. Now we are back to square 1....stitches a second or two and stalls. I am ready to post an ad that says "Free to good home-sewing machine with behavioral issues". If anyone responds to the ad, and asks how to work the setup, I will just have to say "beats me - it's all yours!" Has anyone had this same problem??? If so, please let me know if you solved it, and how. I JUST WANT TO SEW, and quilt I bought a sit down Husqvarna quilter and I LOVE it, works, simple, no fuss, no bother, no computerized quilting but I don't care....I can manage myself.

Dec 10, 2015
solving problmes
by: Anonymous

I've worked through many problems with my 820, I've permanently turned off the top thread sensor as it was a constant interruption, tension is something that I have conquered for various thread types, I routinely drop the top tension every time I sew.

You must always use the automatic threader because this also does something about seating the thread correctly. Now she and I have bonded and I adore her, but the learning curve has been very steep and she has had to go to Sydney on two occasions for adjustments.

Oct 18, 2015
by: Angie

I have all the same problems of everyone who has posted on here. If anyone figures out a solution, please include me... I am so disappointed!

The technicians of course blame me the user... I've been quilting for 20 years and this machine has been nothing but trouble and of course it is all me according to the technician....

What to do??

Oct 13, 2015
More of the same
by: Anonymous

I just found this site, I could have written all of the entries.
I have had the 820 machine for six years, I excitedly bought it the first year it was introduced. I "used" to be an expert sewer, but the dealers have me convinced that I am the village idiot and incapable of running a sewing machine. ( I have been sewing for 50 plus years, and this is not my first computerized machine)

My husband has forbidden me to even mention the B word in his presence.

I recently decided to suck up the loss and trade the whole works, including the frame, in. Guess what two dealers in two states will not trade it in. I don't know what to do with it or about it. I would not have another Bernina product in my house.

I don't know about legal matters but if a legal complaint is ever initiated please notify me.

Ps I bought a Brother computerized machine with a long throat and it works like a dream, actually sews when I turn it on. Have had it for 2 years, with zero issues. I have always owned a Bernina, and had no idea how much I would like the Brother.

Jun 27, 2015
Dud sewing machine .
by: Kate

I too have issues with my Bernina 820. It is constantly being returned for service.

Tomorrow I intend to ask for a replacement. Will never buy another Bernina.

Loved my 2 Pfaff's and my Janome which I still use at my summer home.

I've been sewing for 50+ years. Am so frustrated now I just don't enjoy it any more.

May 14, 2015
Tamar Smith
by: Breatherightaway

What happened after the shop sent your 820 back?

May 13, 2015
by: Anonymous

I think this machine is a piece of junk. Bernina should be sued for shipping machines that just do not work.

One of my problems is thread breaking. My dealer said my thread was cheap. He recommended Auriful, this breaks also. I took it back to another repair person who suggested I lower the tension from 3.0 to 1.75, the thread breaks less, but the stitch looks funny. The thread also bunches up at the bobbin. The thread still breaks.

I made the mistake of also buying the frame to machine quilt. What a joke, I will never be able to use the BSR so will never be able to quilt my own quilts.

I paid $6800 for both the machine and frame.

An expensive mistake...

Apr 18, 2015
top thread snags in bobbin race 820
by: Desperate

Please does someone have a cure for this---repairman says it works?
Thank you

Apr 17, 2015
820 Big mistake
by: Anonymous

I bought this machine and the Grace system including the 10 ft frame from the dealer (only 2 in my geo area--if you call a 1hr drive my area!) and have made just 1 quilt...into the dealer, says it's fixed.

Get it home and again I can't even get the machine to pull up the bobbin thread. The upper thread hangs up in the bobbin....I spent an extra year working to pay for this machine. Could have bought a Janome for less.

I am actually embarrassed that I have spent so much for so little productivity. Actually moved to a rental place w/a room long enough to house this system---my husband is frustrated--we could have bought a cheap car for the price.

Just add my e-mail to the class action list.

Apr 10, 2015
Some good news
by: Tamar Smith

I own a Bernina 820 which has given me nothing but $6000 dollars worth of misery.

BUT good news, my dealer is going to send it to Bernina -- that is 'where to start the process.'

I want either a machine that works well and easily or a refund.

Keep trying folks. There are too many of us here not to get some satisfaction.!

Apr 07, 2015
Another Bernina 820 wounded quilter.
by: Nancy

Well, question would be: just how does one begin a class action law suit?

Apr 02, 2015
class action
by: Shirley Brown

I'm all in for a class action suit.

I bought my 820 when I retired in 2010. It is a dog. Tension problems galore.

My dealer in Concord, North Carolina talked down to me when I took it in asking for help. Told me I was using cheap thread and that was the problem. I'd only been sewing and quilting for 30 years at that time.

After much complaining directly to Bernina, they had me send it back to them and they replaced 4 parts. Still a dog!

Tried to sell it to someone recently who had a Bernina specialist check it out. He worked on it for four hours and told her not to even consider purchasing it. So it sits in a closet.

You are all right. Bernina should have recalled the machine or at least taken it back as a trade in.

Lesson learned: Never, never, never buy a machine until it has been out long enough to have all the bugs worked out or to find out if it's a lemon. Expected more of Bernina.

Sorely disappointed.

Mar 26, 2015
Joining the throng
by: Joanne Gaul

I'm another dissatisfied, horrified Bernina 820 owner. It's been totally replaced once with no help, and I've about given up sewing because it's so discouraging to spend more time fixing it than actually sewing.

I miss my old 1230 so much. And can't believe I sold it! I'm ready to cut my losses, as great as they are, and start over.

Mar 23, 2015
Sorry I bought it, but most of its features I love
by: Anonymous

I wish I had bought another brand with the same quilting space. I love most of the features but I have had more problems with it than any other machine I have ever owned, I started with a 1020, then the Artista 170... They were flawless...thread gets in places it shouldn't, threader doesn't work, clock is crazy. I don't seem to have the tension problems everyone says the do, and my BSR works fine.

I am stuck with this machine for the rest of my life because of the price...thinking there are other brands much less expensive that are more reliable.

Mar 22, 2015
Error message
by: Anonymous

Aileen I just received same error message after a recent servicing (January 10, 2015). How was your resolved? I have to say. I hate this machine. If it wasn't so expensive, I would have replaced it! Sad.

Mar 02, 2015
by: Ruthann

I was searching to find out how much my 820 is worth so that I can sell it - It's noisy - stops working for no reason then you have to work to get it going again and I came across this site. The tension is also not perfect - it should be since it is a Bernina. All should be perfect. At a Sewing Expo I spoke to a Bernina rep about how I didn't really like the machine and he convinced me (at the time) that it is a great machine. It was VERY expensive - even on sale. It was to be my final sewing machine... I'm upset.

Feb 22, 2015
Bernina 820
by: Breatherightaway

If this machine were a man I would throw him out and I would care what he took with him as long as he never came back!

It's absolutely worthless.

Not one time has it finished a quilt perfectly, not one single time.

Problems galore!

Feb 06, 2015
Software has locked the machine
by: Aileen

Sunday I had skipped stitches. Tried several things. Took a break and then it worked properly.

Thursday it won't sew at all and a warning picture showing the needle hitting the presser foot appears and the red X. There is no override, a 1D foot, the 9mm plate, and it is programmed into the machine.

I have never seen this error message and assume it has to do with the latest software update I did I January. Well, I guess I can throw it at the service rep when I take it in.

Just serviced in December.

Feb 03, 2015
endless problems
by: Claudia

I woman that I spoke with in Chicago is Cathy phone number 630-862-3536. We should all call and E-mail Bernina our concerns.

Does some know the E-mail for Bernina - both in Chicago and Switzerland?

Feb 03, 2015
Endless problems
by: Claudia


Since Bernina and the dealers will not stand behind their machine, we should start a class action suit! If were were a group of men instead of woman some type of action would have taken place.

In November, 2014 I spoke with Kathy in customer service in Chicago. She said I would have to have a dealer ship my Bernina 820 to Chicago at my expense. I would have to pay for labor cost of which she could not tell my what there labor charges would or even how much they charge per hour. She also said I would have to include a note with the machine stating the problems. That Chicago hub would only repair the problems I state on the note. I choose not to go this route because of all of the variables. I am going to call her again this week.

After fiddling with my Bernina 820 for many years, I have had no success in getting a working machine. The value of the machine has gone down and I can not sell it on eBay or any other place in good faith knowing its history. So the machine is worth nothing and so is yours!

I did speak to one honest dealer in another state and he said not to mention his name (watergate), but Bernina should have recalled that machine. That Bernina is well aware of the problems of Bernina 820 and 830. To be fair, Bernina has done updates on the 820 and 830 and they did replace my hook which the new one is not working.

Bernina needs to step up to the plate and recall these machine replace or truly fix them.

Where do we go from here? First of all we need to set up our own forum to communicate to each other. Find a class action attorney who would be knowledgeable in machines.

Feb 03, 2015
Endless problems
by: Claudia

(refer to my notes 8/26/14.)

My machine was in the shop for 5 months waiting for a replacement Hook which was paid by Bernina under the warranty. I got it back in Nov 2013.

I have a busy life and hadn't the time to sew. When I started repairing some clothes problems again started. Back to the shop.

I tried to use my BSR to sew a wall hanging for a quilt show in February. The thread kept breaking. Back to the shop.

Three months ago Nov 2014 back to the shop tension thread breaks hook locked message. They said I was using the wrong thread BSR skipping. Returned in December, 2014 and January, 2015.

February the hook is jammed again I only sew a few stitches. No visible thread can be seen. My dealer charges $250 to service the Bernina 820. I think the new hook is no good.

Will continue...

Jan 29, 2015
The comfort and pain of hearing the same story....
by: Amanda Evans

The stories are all the same. Like me you have all bought the 820 with the great hope that it will deliver the performance you expect.

My old 1120 is a dream machine and works wonderfully. So I paid $7500 and on a 'symposium special' for my new machine that works about a well as a outboard motor for sewing quilts. At least with an outboard motor you might get somewhere.

The problems were all those you have mentioned - tension, false warnings, constant jams, the bsr foot being as useless as a flat tire, continuous skipped stitches. They have usually blamed me for using the wrong thread. I was using Gutermann 50 top and bottom - the simplest and easiest thread I could find. They then said Gutermann wasn't that good these days!

What a crock! I have been thinking it's me, so it's a comfort to know it's not me.

I feel really angry and would join a class action in a flash. If they have upgraded the most recent models why don't they accept our 820 bodies back and replace the faulty components - especially the bobbin mechanism and the tension devices?

If they don't make this right Bernina will lose their reputation altogether, which is sad. Taking a hit on the overhauls would still be cheaper than trying to rebuild a multinational brand from rock bottom. We have power in our numbers and telling the same stories.

Girls it's not you! Power to us to get some action! Social media is a very useful tool because now we can talk to each other whereas before we were isolated, frustrated complainers.

No longer!

Jan 24, 2015
troubles with Bernina 820
by: Evelyne from France


I live in France and I am also a Bernina 820 owner. I bought it in May 2010. Summer 2012, I already had this engine repaired four or five times by the seller I had bought it from. In December 2012, realizing that I was more and more annoyed, he eventually sent the sewing machine back to the importer located in northern France (for my part, I live in the south-west of the country).

At this occasion I wrote to Bernina Swiss, to the importer and also to the seller to point out that it was unthinkable to consider these troubles as an ordinary breakdown, that I was convinced that it was a manufacturing defect in this series and that I requested a refund or the machine’s replacement.

Reading your posts, it is definitely confirmed. Bernina had certainly not the means to achieve its ambition when the company brought out this model. This can happen to the biggest companies, what I blame them for is the way they manage this trouble, a car manufacturer would have recall the cars and found an amicable settlement with its customers.

Today, my B820QE is again under repair since the sixteenth of September, as it was the case a little more than a year and a half ago; first to the seller and then to the importer (in the north of France). I talked to the technician on the phone who tried to reassure me saying that she had replaced many pieces again and that the cost of these ones were borne by Bernina, but not the labour and the transportation either of course… I was also told (by the same person) that this model will not be commercialised in France any longer in 2015, whereas it will still be sold in the USA. When I asked why, she simply told me that French customers are more demanding in case of troubles, that they make a fuss more often than American customers who are usually more accommodating.

It is purely and simply outrageous. Bernina is said to be the "Rolls Royce of the sewing machines"… Except the price we paid our machines, I can’t see any possible comparison. Indeed I truly doubt that RR behaves that way with its customers.

I got in touch with my lawyer today, and I encourage you to do the same because you seem to be a lot. The behaviour of Bernina is definitely unbearable.

Jan 22, 2015
Problems with my Bernina
by: Anonymous

I didn't realize so many others are having trouble with their Bernina 820. I had the old 820 (before electronic machines) and had no trouble at all with it. Had it for about 30 years.

When I got interested in quilting, I looked for a machine with a little more harp space and a few more of the bells and whistles.

Naturally, I looked at the Bernina.

It was NOT cheap - in the neighborhood of $5000.

My husband did not want me to get it but I pleaded and he gave in because of the trade-in and no-interest for 5 years. Well, I have had nothing but trouble. It's been in for service too many times for as long as I've had it. I did not use it all this past year because we had custody of our 13-year-old granddaughter and I had no time for myself. I had it covered the whole time, I uncovered it about a week ago and the auto needle threader doesn't work.

I have been looking at videos, reading my manual but I can't figure out the problem. It will probably have to go in, again.

About 2 months after I bought my machine from a quilt shop, the shop was sold and they got rid of all their machines and the promises that went with it. They do still have a repairman for Berninas but I'm still upset about the problems.

Jan 10, 2015
by: Anonymous

Really would like to know how to get Bernina on board with handling the problems with the 820. Mine has been in the shop for over a month while a very reputable dealer tries to repair it once again......

Jan 07, 2015
no power on it now
by: Julia Hale

I have always had Paff sewing machines. I wanted the wide space for free style quilting so bought is 820 Bernina (ONLY ON FRIENDS REMEDIATION)

It has been nothing but bad/trouble.

It stayed at the store for service the 1st 3 months. Shipped to Chicago came back with note saying could not identify the thread I had in bobbin!!! Crazy!! What did that have to do with it?

Today I turn the switch to on and nothing!!! No light. Nothing. I refuse to take it back to Atlanta Sewing Center as they have been so rude and would not take it back and give me another when bad from the beginning.

Would love to have some $$ back but guess not.
I understand all of your problems.

How sad :-(

Dec 09, 2014
Bernina 820 renamed the Brazilia 2014
by: Maureen

I have renamed my 820 'the Brazilia' as just like the Brazilian team at the 2014 world cup it has FAILED to DELIVER in spite of the price and the hype.

My machine has just come back from head office and I wait with bated breath to see if I can enjoy trouble free quilting. I would happily join a class action so that the ignorant and arrogant agent I have had to deal with can get her comeuppance!!

Dec 05, 2014
Recourse for Bernina 820
by: Tamar Smith

Lemon laws are American state laws that provide a remedy for purchasers of cars and other consumer goods in order to compensate for products that repeatedly fail to meet standards of quality and performance

I just wrote on the Bernina Facebook page and would urge others to do the same:

"I bought a Bernina 820 (in the range of $5000K) a couple of years ago and it has never worked properly even for regular sewing. It is beyond frustrating and my dealer has not been able to do a satisfactory job of solving the problem. The reason is because this machine is no good, and no amount of reading about changing this or that will solve the problem.

My experience has been echoed by a large number of Bernina 820 users (

I would like Bernina to reimburse me for the machine and I presume that the other people who own this bad machine would like the same thing.
Kindly respond to me via Facebook and we can continue the discussion.

Dec 05, 2014
Bad Bernina!
by: Tamar Smith

Hi --

Yes, I spent a ton of money to buy my last quilting machine. And every problem discussed is the case with my machine.

I am very interested in a class action suit and also wonder if Bernina might have to respond to a 'lemon law'. I'll try to do some research on this.

As I write it also occurs to me that if we all pressured the Bernina dealers, they might help us. And finally, I think we should make a lot of noise about this on social networks....

If anyone wants to talk about this please email me at

Dec 03, 2014
Bernina 820
by: June

I live in the UK and bought a used 820 about 6 month ago and I use it quite happily with none of the headaches you seem to have in US.

I have had minor problems with the cogs appearing when I first got the machine but it was me not the machine.

A tip I learned when using my 730 (which used to drive me mad). when the bobbin sensors stopped the machine, which they did every 90 secs sometimes, a blast with canned air cured the problem. I have done this on the 820 and it gets rid of all the fluff around the bobbin.

Do you think the US has different spec machines than UK? They do with cars.

Dec 03, 2014
Just about had it!!!
by: Anonymous

Bought the 820 four years ago and when it works it does a nice job but if you so much as sneeze on it, you have to take it to the shop which in my case is 2 hours away.

I was trying to finish a quilt today and it just stopped in the middle of sewing, showing me a broken thread icon. The thread wasn't broken. I tried all of the tricks my dealer's mechanic had taught me to no avail, so I called them once again and did you know that if the silver marks on the bobbins are too scratched up it can set off the sensor and it won't sew? That is just beyond ridiculous and to top it off apparently I have a thread bit stuck in the upper part of the machine which I can't remove so I have to take it 2 hours away to have them remove a thread for me for a mere $99 service charge.

Oh how I wish I had waited a year for the baby Gammill to come out...I have to take this piece of trash 2-3 times a year for thread removal. Might as well sell it and save my $300 a year for a REAL sewing machine.

The dealer's mechanic did tell me the 700 Series was a much better machine. He has only had one in for repair. Might trade in if it is an acceptable deal but I hate to pay more for a machine that cost less than the one I bought--might be the only way to salvage the machine.

After that--Never again Bernina.

Dec 02, 2014
I, too, Regret Buying the Bernina 820 Quilters Edition
by: Anonymous

Hello, fellow rippees.

I, too, have experienced most of the problems with my Bernina 820 as you have. I, too, purchased this machine as the one that was going to see me through my last years of quilting.

I have no recourse.

I am now stuck with an albatross of a machine for the rest of my sewing life. And the ripoff continues.

One of my most recent adventures--This machine was sold for quilting but with the wide feed dogs, little pieces get jerked around and it is very difficult to maintain a consistent seam allowance.

Bernina knows this so they created what I consider a stab at fixing a problem that shouldn't have been there in the first place. They created a new foot 97D to address the problem. They announced it but didn't make it available for months and I object to having to pay ($90) for something that fixed a design error in the original machine.

It is sad that Bernina doesn't seem to care about their customers. I really would not want to be a Bernina Dealer.

Today I have spent 2 hours trying to get the bobbin tension adjusted so that I can machine quilt a Christmas present. I adjust it per the instructions, nothing happens. I adjust it a little more and nothing happens. I change the needle, the thread, the upper tension, and I use the old trick taught to me by my dealer, "If all else fails, turn it off and on. Sometimes this fixes things."

No wonder we all feel discouraged and ripped off. The world is changing and so has gone Bernina!

Good luck, everyone.

Dec 01, 2014
Bernina 820 worthless machine
by: Anonymous

I had an old Bernina 830 for almost 40 years and loved it - sewed perfectly with never any problems and never needed any repairs. So when I was ready to buy a new machine to really quilt in my retirement golden years, I went straight to the new Bernina 820 ( the quilters' machine).

What a mistake.

How Bernina has changed in the last few years. The new computerized Bernina is a disaster. It must have been designed by someone who had never quilted at all.

It is impossible to thread and can you imagine having to use a dentist tool to try to thread the bobbin. It constantly breaks threads, is slower than molasses, drops stitches, and the stitch regulator doesn't work at all. It is the worst machine ever. I absolutely hate it.

After two years of struggling with the stupid thing, Bernina finally admitted the program had glitches and tried to fix them. Not a good fix.

Even the Bernina dealers admit the machine is not good. Do not buy it. Stay away from Bernina.

The company does not stand behind their products and provides no help whatsoever. A few of the dealers try to help but there is no help for this machine. The best they can do is offer to help you choose a different machine.

I wasted all the money I has saved for so long to buy a quilting machine and now can't afford to buy a good machine. I am trying to sell mine but who would buy it.

Be warned. Never buy Bernina. The company is not what it used to be.

Nov 23, 2014
Bernina 820 The lemon
by: Maureen =====nz

I agree with everyone of the comments made here, the 820 being my 3rd bernina machine, thought I was getting the Rolls Royce of machines, but instead it is a beast.

I have suggested to my dealer that they should be recalled, but I may as well tell her to fly to the moon. Bernina headquarters have to have the pressure on them, I agree this issue needs taking further.

Nov 18, 2014
I'm Ready for Class Action Suit
by: Sara Quattlebaum

It is entirely too difficult for me to work on my Bernina 820, although I had the best hopes for it to run like a dream. I'm so disappointed and am still trying to get it to work to my satisfaction.

As many of you know, the Bernina dealerships stand by this machine, even giving free classes on it to help get over some of the hurdles. But their efforts have been in vain, as this machine is just not built right.

I'm fed up. I could go on and on, but all of you have said it all and I, too, would join a class action suit if one were brought.

Nov 15, 2014
Klunker in KY
by: Sherry

I have had my 820 ever since they came out with them.

It was supposed to speed up and enhance my online quilt business so I was able to justify the high expense. I have had nothing but disappointment and problems which are all blamed on me by the dealer.

It will only sew with King Tut thread otherwise it breaks or gets knotted up inside the machine. The threader and cutter rarely works.

The real kicker is the $1000 BSR! No matter how I use it the stitches skip. Sometimes I can get 5 minutes out of it before the headache starts. Other times it does it from the beginning. I have spent countless hours pulling threads out. The quality of my work is so diminished that I am embarrassed to sell any of my work, so no sales and no business.

I have taken it in numerous times and it comes back the same. They said it was rebuilt for me yet it's still the same. The instructor at the quilt shop has experienced the same skipping that I have on it yet the owner of the shop will not budge in trading me for the loaner I used twice for months at a time with no problems at all.

Now she doesn't get my $200+ a month I spent in fabrics and supplies because I have no business to recoup the costs.

I used to have so much excitement, joy, and pride in sewing. Now my stomach knots up every time I even think about sewing with that machine. Bad thing is I sold my Pfaff when I bought the "miracle machine". Now I have nothing to use at all. I would be all for a class action if everyone wants to rally together.

Oct 23, 2014
Bernina 820
by: Anonymous

So, I'm one of these partners who has to cope with the frustrations these machines bring to our beloved ones.

Also we made the mistake to trust the Bernina name.

I'm an mechanical engineer and am amazed what the machine can do.....when it wants to cooperate.
The machine has shown all the problems in this blog as well and more. I finally figured out how to get to the service menus which allow me to reset the machine properly.

One of the most frustrating things is the bullish behaviour of Bernina and its dealers. I've gone to the point of discussing our issues during exhibitions and sales events by the dealer we bought the machine from to discourage potential buyers of this machine. Obviously the dealer does not like this but they will not be able to stop me.

Sell only - no ( qualified / competent ) service personnel.

Bernina, shame on you!

Sep 30, 2014
820 tension
by: Anonymous

The 820 has been in the shop four times in six months. Tension, tension, tension, tension, thread cutter, needle threader, needle threader, plus.


My dealer wants to blame me for everything, except she can't get it to sew when I bring it in. Then it comes back and, last time, it would not even work for her, tension.


Class action sounds fine.

Sep 22, 2014
Bernina 820 is my biggest sewing regret
by: Esther Aliu

I deeply regret the day I asked for a Bernina 820. I trusted this brand name too much. The Bernina 820 should never have been manufactured and now that it has, it should be recalled.

My husband purchased this machine for our 40th wedding anniversary after I had spent months looking for a machine to trust and work with for the next 10-15 years of my sewing life.

It has been nothing but trouble. Every time I sit down to sew, there is another 'problem', this machine is a non stop nightmare. The biggest issue with my machine is tension. I have blogged about my issues and will continue to do so, Bernina have a reputation that many women (including myself) trust and the fact that this machine exists need to be rectified.

Some people try to ignore the issues saying that it must be 'us' the users, not the machine. Well, I am an experienced sewer, have been sewing for over 40 years and I can't get this machine to I wonder who can?!

Sep 17, 2014
glad to know it just not me having trouble "bonding"
by: Diana

I have had my 820 for several years and have a total of 51 hours on it. I take it in (for me that involves an expensive ferry ride and several hours' time) and it works for a few hours and then something happens and it quits.

Class action suit sounds good to me.

Sep 06, 2014
4th helped
by: Lillian

I inherited my mothers 820. I was excited to have a newer machine. My viking #1+ Was 16 years old.

The Bernina 820 has been a headache.

It has been in the shop 4 times in 3 months. It had all of the issues mentioned here.

On the last visit he updated the software and changed the "thread sensors" and there is a huge improvement. There is one more issue we need to fix but they have worked really well with me to get Mom's machine working well again.

Hope this helps someone else.

Aug 26, 2014
820 Endless Problems
by: Claudia

Problems with my 820. Burr on the bobbin casing (in shop 3 mo.)

Tension problems - for every project you have to spend 1/2 hour dealing with tension then back to the shop. I was told the tension was never set correctly from the manufacture.

The upper thread continue to break. I changed thread, tension, needle back and forth to the shop. I found that there was a manufacturer's design problem on the hook. It was replaced by Bernina after the machine was in the shop for 3 mo.

Now the BSR is skipping stitches and goes on/off while sewing. When I switch from zig-zag to straight stitching it continues to zig-zag.

I have called Bernina—they only offer a repair. They won't do a replacement for a lemon. The manual makes many promises that machine doesn't keep. The machine was put on the market too soon.

Bernina knows of these problems.



Aug 26, 2014
Bernina 820
by: Claudia

Recently I took my 820 in for repairs it is the 6th time.

The dealer said that I have not bonded with my machine and that I should consider trading to a 750 because the tension is easier to use.

He would do me a favor taking it in, as he has so many used 820. It would cost me only $3,400 - the sale price for the 750 QE was $3,900.

In other-words the value of my 3 yr. old machine is $500 and all because I have not bonded!

The history of the machine: 1st in the shop for 3mo before I even took it home, burr in bobbin case, won't sew a corner without corner underneath pulling out, the dealer said the tension was not set correctly from the factory after many hours of trying on my own.

I will continue this.

Aug 01, 2014
Bernina 820
by: Anonymous


Jul 04, 2014
Do not buy a 820.
by: Anonymous

My wife was happy to buy a bernina 820 for quilting. But now after 3 months, many hours of trying to get the machine working, 2 times repair by the distributor, now she wants to get back her 440.

It is a shame that Bernina has set this machine in the market. The distributor tells us that he has only problems with this type. I hope that Bernina takes back the machine and we buy another type .

Probably again the 440.

We do not love spending time on solving computer or mechanical problems

I write this after looking for a problem solving of 3 hours. It is over. Finished. Bernina shame on you.

Törtel HU. 0031 651491317.

Bernina Please call us and say what to do.

Jun 17, 2014
820 v Metallic Thread
by: Val

I spend so much time trying to fix my issues. It should not be impossible for the normal sewer to be able to deal with issues.

I was so thrilled with my Activa that I jumped at the chance of owning a 820, when I saw one for sale at a really good price, being a demonstrator.

Big Mistake.

It drives me CRAZY.

May 24, 2014
Lined scroon
by: Anonymous

I just got the machine back from the repair and the screen is at first blank, then gets one line and gradually gets more and they get darker???

Apr 17, 2014
I just feel sick and want to cry!
by: Anonymous

I have had the 820 for a little over 3 years now and it has been nothing but trouble! I'm so frustrated I just want to sit down and sew and can't do that.

Bobbin issues, threads issues, the bobbin winder didn't work properly, I've had a new board put in but now it's out of warranty and I'm really afraid of what the future holds.

I have probably had the machine in to the dealer at least 10 times! I'm just at my wit's end with it.

Mar 23, 2013
Disappointed with the 820
by: Linda In outh Carolina

I share the concerns and disappointments as posted before me.

I too have the 820 and the frame expecting to be able to quilt with lovely results, and have had issues after issue with the stitching quality. I have sought help to no avail. Was hoping someone on line could help see what I must be doing wrong, but only find you all have the same problems and no technical help.

BAD investment of my money, limited money, and time....So sad......

If anyone knows what would fix the skipped stitches, and the lovely threads one bobbin, and loose threads on the next two bobbins, PLEASE let me know.

Feb 01, 2013
820 nightmares
by: Narelle

I just wanted to join my voice with the others. I was so excited to get my new Bernina 820. I'd been admiring it for quite some time.

It starts with the threading. I have gone through so much thread you would not believe it. The time taken is ridiculous! Then I found out I should be opening the front panel to watch it thread! Still only works half the time. What a pain in the proverbial.

My machine was the subject of a recall and it came with a box of little things to make it work. Big deal.

The Stitch regulator still skips and doesn't work properly. The screen shows things that aren't correct. The percentage of cotton for the bobbin winder doesn't work all the time and overfills past my requirement. The list is endless and to top off it does not sew straight.

No it is not the operator.

I have been making quilts for many years and have owned machines for 35 years. I could cry every time I have taken it to the shop and 'there is nothing wrong with it so I gave it a clean'.

I am going to persevere with getting Bernina to take it back.

I have had it!

Dec 30, 2012
Metalic thread problems
by: Pauline

I, too, have a rocky relationship with my "dream" machine. It simply will not sew with metallic thread--I have tried everything the thread just breaks or knots around the bobbin. I probably would not have bought this model had I known how finicky it could be. Having said that it does piece quilts beautifully.

Dec 16, 2012
Stitch Counter
by: Flosew

I do have a stitch counter. Great idea. I will check the number of stitches and keep track of them. . Thank you.

Dec 16, 2012
by: Flosew

I didn't mean to be anonymous. Just figured out that I hadn't put my name in the box. I wanted to let everyone know that I am getting closer to finding out what the problem is with my 820.

I decided to make a lot of quillows for Christmas and use the 820. What I learned is that every evening there comes a point where the machine is done. It won't do a thing but show the cogs or the red spool. I learned that if I turn it off and return the next evening and turn it on again it will work just fine.

Nothing is different.

I haven't changed thread or put a new bobbin in. No changes at all so they cannot blame me, which is what usually is implied. So I am thinking there is a sensor that overheats and refuses to work until it cools down. This is not something that could easily be replicated in the repair shop. I am still working on this theory and will let you know what my dealer says when I get a chance to go to the store and show him the problem.

From the Editor: That seems like a logical assumption to me, too. I'm curious...does your machine have a stitch counter on it? I'm wondering (--if it does--) if it's shutting down after about the same amount of stitches. That would go further to prove the source of the problem.

I've got my fingers crossed that you get to the bottom of this. Quilting should be fun...AND go for as long as YOU want it! The machine SHOULDN'T be the deciding factor.

~ Julie

Dec 16, 2012
by: Viv

Ditto, ditto, ditto. I can relate to everything I have read here. I have been so convinced it must be me, that I am sick of hearing myself moaning!!

I have had it 18 months and as yet haven't had the lessons. I get hot under the collar and the threading is a nightmare. I get the cog wheel icon most times I sit and sew. I cannot just plug and play. Help!!

I think I am finally going back to the dealer tomorrow and sorting this out once and for all.

Any suggestions??

Cheers everyone!

Nov 11, 2012
820 bernina
by: maggie

I am a Bernina girl through and through as was my mum, I have several older models and my 1520 workhorse is a gem,as is my overlocker. I bought the 820 approx 18 months ago, I am still having awful problems threading and placing the bobbin. I thought this machine would see me out, sadly it is a gonna in my opinion, I really dislike it and find there is nowhere locally to give advice and support.

Sep 24, 2012
I can soooooo relate.
by: Anonymous

I have had my Bernina 820 for three years and have had the same rocky relationship with it to the point that I too hate, hate, hate it.

It has been nothing but problems and my dealer is an hour away from me. He is a great guy but I do think he is just as baffled as I am. Now I am concerned that the warranty on the mother boards is going to end and I will be stuck with the cost of having the dealer fix it at a million dollars per hour. This just doesn't seem right.

I was hoping that this machine would be the last machine I would ever have to buy. Instead, I just want to pick it up and throw it against the wall. If it wasn't forty pounds I probably would have done so by now.

If it is true that the earlier models were not ready for prime time why isn't Bernina making it right for those of us with problems? I am going to have to call my dealer and insist this one goes back to Bernina. I am really fed up and can't afford to take a loss if I were to sell it. I must do some more research.

When it works it is the most beautiful machine ever. When it doesn't it just makes you want to cry.

A very disappointed life-time Bernina customer.

Apr 30, 2012
Bernina 820
by: Jaci

Boy do I hear you!

My 820 had the same issues and was eventually sent back to Illinois for the "super mechanic" to repair. That fix lasted for about 2 weeks when the tension went off again.

I took it back to my dealer straightaway and was giving a brand new machine, with a new warranty.

This machine is the dream I had hoped for in the first place. I struggled with the first one for a year because I am very stubborn but now wish I had been more insistent in the beginning.

Hang in there and insist that your dealer make it right. I believe the first ones off the assembly line weren't ready for prime time but from what I hear the 820s made later are doing great.

Apr 26, 2012
Mind of it's own
by: Trina

Since purchasing my Bernina 820 last December, it too has been in shop many times.

The problem is sometimes it sews nicely and other times it just plain does what it wants. I also have had many tension problems, bobbin jams, pivots terribly, BSR running rampant.

Of course, it is not the machine, it is me.

On many occasions, it also stops sewing and shows that the needle needs to be threaded when there is clearly thread in the needle. On one occasion every time I raised the presser foot to pivot, the 8 symbol flashed on the screen and it did the locking stitch every single time that I wanted to pivot. Then, just like magic, it stops doing that.

I have never experienced a machine that I have spent so much time adjusting the tension and finally get it to sew nicely, only to have it go completely out of whack as I continue to sew and then go back to good tension. Yesterday, when I started sewing, the straight stitching was not exactly straight, the little dots on the screen were even slightly askew. I touched the straight stitch on the screen many time and it would not sew straight. So here I am again turning my machine on and off many times until it corrects itself. I keep a notebook with all the things that have gone wrong with this machine but the dealer does not even want to look at it. That's all I get is that it is such an amazing computer sewing machine.

I really hate this machine and would not recommend it to anyone!!

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