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Bernina Aurora 440

by Vicki
(Charlotte, NC USA)

I have owned a Bernina since the early 70's (the same one until the early 2000's). I bought the Bernina Aurora 440 because of the first one I had.

I am not totally happy with it because it has upper thread breaking issues. I keep being told it is the bobbin, tension, needle, quality of thread, and yet, I can take the same thread and sew on my daughter's Bernina 240 without a lick of problems.

My machine also doesn't want to do a buttonhole stitch for machine applique when the needle is in the left or right position. To make a buttonhole, that is another story. It doesn't want to advance with regular thread, but I can put embroidery thread and it is fine.

No, I wouldn't recommend another Bernina. I know they still make good machines, I just don't know which ones.

Editor's Note:

I am so sorry, Vicki. My mother had been a dyed-in-the-wool Singer gal, as had her mother. Both were professional dressmakers.

In the late 60's/early 70's, Mom upgraded to a Singer Golden Touch n'Sew (more like a Singer Touch and Don't Sew) and regretted it before she switched to Husqvarna Viking and was finally happy. She decided that she'd ended up with a lemon, period.

You've probably already tried these suggestions, but I can't just leave you hanging, I want to help if I can.

It sounds like you've gone through all the basics with your Bernina Aurora 440, changing to a new needle, reducing needle thread tension, using good quality thread, etc.

I'd check for a couple of other things...
  1. Is there a burr or nick in the path the thread follows as it winds its way through your machine? If there is, the needle catches on it and snaps. A dealer would have to fix this.

  2. Is the thread either winding around the spool spindle or getting caught in the 'nick' in the spool? You might try a separate metal thread stand behind the machine so that the thread pulls up and off the top of the spool or cone. If it's a nick in the spool, use the horizontal spool pin and load it so the nicked end is to the right.

  3. Is there a nick or burr in the throat plate of the machine? Again, you'd either have to replace the throat plate or have it ground/rubbed off with emery or crocus cloth. I've had this happen a couple of times when I hit a pin and bent or broke the needle...the needle put a nick in the hole of the throat plate.

  4. Try skipping the last thread guide before the needle and test. Every guide on your sewing machine adds a bit of tension to the thread. Skipping a guide would reduce the tension a bit.

  5. If you are a 'pedal to the metal' gal as you sew, try setting your machine to a slower speed. Higher speed means more friction as the thread passes through the fabric. It might be adding to your problems.
If your thread is fraying when it breaks, that would point to using too small a needle.

About quilting thread...

I have heard from different sewers and quilters in guilds and clubs I belong to that sometimes their machine just doesn't like a particular kind of thread.

I've had it happen with my Viking and a white (and not any other color) 40 wt rayon thread. My machine just didn't like the brand. Switched to another brand of white and I had no problems.

In another instance, a girlfriend of mine has a wicked time with Bottom Line thread for quilting...she has no problems using it just in the bobbin...I use it for quilting with no problems all the time.

If you always use the same brand of thread, try another brand of matching weight and fiber.

It's time for a visit to your dealer...

No buttonhole stitch from either the right- or left-hand position; that problem absolutely sounds mechanical unless it's an automatic override by the machine. It won't let you stitch because the stitch is too wide for the throat-plate installed.

If these fixes don't help at all, go back to your dealer and make a lot of noise. At a couple of thousand dollars, these machines aren't cheap and there are so many good reviews about the Bernina Aurora 440.

If your dealer can't or won't fix the problem, check at your local quilt guild (or quilt store if they don't sell machines—no vested interest in the outcome) and find out who the best sewing machine repairman is in the area. If that's of no use, contact Bernina directly.

You should be happy with the machine you buy!

Readers, if you have had these same types of problems, please let us know how you've fixed them using the 'comment' link below. Or if you'd prefer, write your own review of the Bernina Aurora 440 using the 'review' link that follows.

Thank you for your help.


Julie Baird

Comments for Bernina Aurora 440

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Jun 10, 2016
Bernina 440QE
by: MEF

My husband solved my thread problems with an old radio aerial, a block of wood and something that looks rather like a very large opened up paperclip, in other words a thread stand. The 440 works much better that way and I can now do embroidery with confidence. We bought this machine as my 25year old Pfaff 1471 was unfixable according to machine repair people, the mother board had failed. Husband saved the day again and sent it to a computer games hospital, where for £50 they fixed it! I get very crabby when I can't sew....

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