Why I Sold My Juki and Bought a Bernina

This post is one I’ve been working on in my head for a year and a half. I have had reservations of how to word things, how to post about it, how to not make it seem like you need to sell your sewing machine if you like it, etc etc etc.

I jumped on the Juki bandwagon after being ready to upgrade from my beginner-level Husqvarna Viking sewing machine. I couldn’t get a decent 1/4″ seam, things pulled to the left when I sewed long seams, I didn’t have a walking foot. These were all growing concerns as I participated in bees and things that required a consistent seam. I like to quilt a lot of my quilts on my home machine and it was not possible without a walking foot.

At that point in time, I believe 2016, Juki was all the rage among home sewists. They were relatively inexpensive, seemingly indestructible, and fast. They were rumored to be a workhorse with very little issues beyond needing to maintain them by oiling frequently.

I purchased one and I remember it arrived on Easter Sunday. I got it out of the box and worked on figuring out how to thread it. It was a doozie. Eventually I mastered that and was on my way sewing.

A few months later was when I had my first issue with tension. It was always a guessing game. I’d go through the same checklist and sometimes the problem fixed itself, sometimes it didn’t. I could never understand why the issue righted itself and why sometimes it persisted. New needle, new bobbin, re-threaded, cleaned and oiled it, turned it off and on again. It grew to be incredibly frustrating.

I took my Juki in to be serviced at a Juki dealer and 1 day after their 30-day guarantee, it broke. I spent a few hours on the phone with Juki headquarters and they told me to mail it to them and their guy would fix it. He did and it worked well for a few months. Then the tension issues creeped back in.

Sensing my ever-growing frustration, my husband suggested that I look into a new sewing machine. His grandma had a Bernina that his sister still used. Was it too good to be true? I went in to my local Bernina dealer and tested out the Bernina B 475QE. It felt smooth like buttah. I compare sewing on the Juki like a pick-up truck. It has its job and it does its job well, until it doesnt. A Bernina is like a luxury car. It is a JOY to sew with and a really amazing machine.

I have now had my Bernina for almost 2 years and I have never had even 1 tension issue. My stitches are perfect every single time I turn it on. I do miss the large throat space that I had on the Juki, but I miss literally nothing else. I gladly trade that for a machine that does exactly what I ask it to do every. single. time.

I love that I can purchase feet for a specific job (like making piping for my vintage chair reupholstery). I love that I can buy a straight stitch plate to help me not need leaders/enders. I love that I can use a blanket stitch around applique on the rare occasion I applique. I love the beautiful stitches I get even without the Bernina Stitch Regulator upgrade. I love that I have a built-in zigzag stitch for making frankenbatting. I love everything about my Bernina and I know that will continue as I use it more.

Liberty Winterbourne Gingham Pillow

Is there anyone out there who doesn’t just love Liberty of London fabric? Their florals are classic and so amazing. Within the last year or so, Riley Blake Designs has been printing some of their classic florals on quilting cotton! Normally Liberty is printed on Tana lawn, which is oh-so-soft, but also oh-so-expensive. It has been so fun to finally add some Liberty into my quilting life at a fraction of the cost and in a quilting cotton weight with which I am confident sewing.

I used 3 prints from their latest collection, Winterbourne, to make this fun Gingham Pillow (free pattern by Meg of Monograms for Makers). Meg has written a clever way to use strip piecing and very little yardage to come up with a modern spin on a classic gingham pattern. The Liberty florals are allowed to shine in this configuration and pattern.

Are you a Liberty fan? Look for the Winterbourne collection in your favorite local and online quilt shops!

Thread Weight in Hand Quilting

If you’ve been following me for awhile on instagram, you know I have a deep seeded love for hand quilting. I love the slow process of adding stitches onto a quilt top and the wonderfully snuggly finished feeling it provides. I have written a whole blog post dedicated to my process (you can find that HERE), but I had the idea recently to highlight different thread weights for hand quilting. I have organized them in this photo (as well as this post) from lightest weight to heaviest weight.

Aurifil 50 wt Thread:

This is a typical weight thread that you would use for machine piecing. Some of you use a different brand. Anything you basically buy for machine piecing is about this weight. If used in hand quilting, this will provide a delicate line of stitching that will be closest to invisible that you can achieve by hand (or machine).

Hand Quilting Thread:

This thread is a representation of many different brands that sell a “hand quilting” thread. It is typically cotton thread and a heavier weight than machine piecing thread. I have used this on a few quilts and in my experience, it knots up really badly. I highly recommend using short lengths of thread as well as thread wax if you plan on using this type of thread. It provides a really beautiful finished line of stitching that pops a bit more than 50wt thread.

Aurifil 12wt Thread:

This is one that I just tried for my first time. I have previously used Perle Cotton #8 (see below), and I love this even more. The best part about Aurifil 12wt is I could use a regular needle! I find I need to use an embroidery needle for Perle Cotton, which hurts my fingers more. The finished look of quilting with Aurifil 12wt thread is very similar to Perle Cotton. They both knot up occasionally, but I know it is because I like to cut off really long thread lengths so I end up needing less knots in my quilting. This will be a go-to for me in the future and I’ll be upping my color supply.

Perle Cotton #8:

In my previous hand quilting post, I said I exclusively use Perle Cotton #8. It is available online in a huge amount of colors. It has a shiny finish that I really love, and doesn’t tend to knot a ton. The biggest downfall for me (mentioned above) is that I have to use an embroidery needle. Even with a leather thimble (a life changing tool!), it hurts my fingers. The finished line of stitching is really beautiful, though. You can choose a color that blends really well or pops to add extra personality. I’ve done both and love the look of both!


Aurifloss is embroidery floss. I used this to quilt my Pillow Fight Pillow and while it worked well for a small project, I could picture it being really frustrating for a large quilt. It tended to knot up and every once in awhile a strand of floss wouldn’t move with the rest of the group. I found I achieved a similar result with Aurilfil 12wt thread.

If you haven’t tried your hand at hand quilting, I highly recommend trying it out on a small project. Maybe a coaster or a pillow or a mini. It adds such a fun pop of personality!

For a list of supplies I love to use, see below!