Bernina 1260 Quilter's Platinum Edition - 1260QPE

Bernina 1260 Quilter's Platinum Edition - 1260QPE

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I Love My Bernina 1260 Quilter's Platinum Edition Sewing Machine!

Jun 3, 2008
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:39 stitches, 2 alphabets, knee lever, memory holds 50 stitch patterns, hard carrying case

Cons:hand-look quilting stitch not the greatest, the machine is heavy to carry

The Bottom Line: This Bernina 1260QPE sewing machine will last me a lifetime.

I had always wanted a Bernina … the Cadillac of sewing machines. So when the time came, I didn't hesitate to purchase a Bernina 1260 Quilter's Platinum Edition, also known as the 1260QPE.

Why I love It … What I Sew

I love to quilt. I also sew clothes, mostly quilted vests with some fashion garments thrown in for variety. On occasion, I also sew craft projects such as the large flock of fun Funky Chicken Pincushions I made for holiday gifts one year.

This Bernina sewing machine has handled everything I've thrown at it. I have sewn quilts from wall-hanging size to twin size … including the machine quilting using this machine (cotton batting works best). It works well with all types of fabrics, too. I have mended jeans, and sewn crazy quilts using brocades, satins and silks. This Bernina also does exquisite paper-piecing, a quilting technique that sews fabrics to a paper foundation (which is later removed).

Many projects have involved attaching trims such as ribbon and cording to fabric. This sewing machine also has a variety of embroidery stitches (39 stitches total), which I frequently use in quilting projects, and it also includes two alphabets with numbers (block letters and handwriting). The buttonhole feature practically sews the button holes by itself (keyhole and standard buttonholes). The special basting stitch can be adjusted to stitch up to 1" in length, too, which is great.

My Favorite Features

1. Knee Lever – This is a bar that rests beneath the sewing machine. Press the bar with the side of the knee to lift the presser foot. Hands free! It's a terrific feature that I constantly use.

2. Automatic Tension Adjustment – The machine senses the tension necessary for sewing. I rarely have to manually adjust the tension. The only time I've had to adjust the tension is if I'm using something other than regular thread or monofilament in the bobbin.

3. Embroidery Stitches – This is not an embroidery machine that does large embroidery motifs such as people, cartoon characters, or logos. This Bernina, however, has a variety of straight-line embroidery stitches. The stitches include filled patterns such as ovals, asterisks, hearts, and triangles. Some other embroidery stitches include: hand-look stitches (quilting, feather stitch), compact stitches (half circle, wedge), edging stitches (scallop, buttonhole), pearl stitches (leaf, Greek key stitch), floral stitches (leaves, fantasy florals).

4. Mirror Image & Programming – Press a button and the machine will sew the mirror image of a stitch. The machine can also be programmed to hold up to 50 stitch programs in memory. For instance, if you are using a combination of three embroidery stitches, the machine can be programmed to memorize the stitch sequence. This works for the alphabet, too, so the machine can remember frequent names or phrases that are sewn.

5. Needle Down – A button can be pushed to always make sure the needle is in the fabric when the sewing machine stops sewing. This comes in handy!

6. Presser Feet – My favorite presser foot is the 1/4" patchwork foot. It's great for my quilting projects. I bought the larger darning foot with the bigger hole for my machine quilting, and it was a good purchase. I use it all the time for free-hand quilting. I also purchased the walking foot, another solid choice that has come in handy for sewing thick layers of fabric. (The machine comes with the following feet: reverse pattern foot (#1), overlock foot (#2), buttonhole foot (#3), special buttonhole foot (#3A), zip foot (#4), blind stitch foot (#5), embroidery foot (#6), jeans foot (#8), darning foot (#9), 1/4" patchwork foot (#37).

7. Sewing Table & Free Arm – A nice size sewing table slides onto the free arm for a working surface. The table is great for "normal" sewing projects such as sewing clothing or small- to medium-size craft projects. The free arm is perfect for sewing cuffs onto shirts. Since I do so much quilting, I upgraded my work surface … I own the Quilter's Dream Sewing Table, which I love.

8. Carrying Case – This Bernina also came with a hard plastic carrying case that not only holds the sewing machine but has a built-in compartment to house the sewing pedal, knee lever, table and cords. It's a durable case. The sewing machine also comes with a removable accessory box that houses the presser feet and a variety of tools.

Some Negatives

1. Hand-look Quilting Stitch -- I was very disappointed with the hand-look quilting stitch. I've tried it using a variety of threads, including monofilament, and it never looks right. The best result I've found for machine quilting is using regular thread with lowered feed-dogs, the open darning foot, and free-hand quilting.

2. Broken Needles (my fault!) – Be careful when using the 1/4" patchwork sewing foot. Don't forget it is in the machine and try to use the zigzag stitch. The zigzag is too wide for the presser foot. The needle hits the metal 1/4" presser foot, and the needle breaks.

3. Stitch Width (my fault again!) – My sewing machine table is in tight quarters, so when I turn in the chair, sometimes my arm brushes the stitch width knob. The knob easily turns. Brushing the knob widens the stitch, and I don't notice until I've started sewing again.

4. Bobbin Holder – The bobbin holder is on the side of the machine, beneath the presser foot plate. It's a bit awkward inserting and removing the bobbin. I always have to make sure the bobbin is seated fully into the casing before sewing.

5. Walking Foot – The walking foot can be a bit tricky to attach to the machine. It usually takes a bit of tilting the foot and wiggling it until the foot snaps into position.

6. Machine Weight – This Bernina is heavy! When I first bought it, I took it to a few sewing workshops. It's a heavy machine to lug around. It didn't take long for me to purchase a smaller, lighter Janome Jem sewing machine to take to sewing classes (another great machine!).

Let's Sew ... How the Machine Works

The Bernina 1260QPE comes with a great 50-page spiral-bound instruction booklet. The instructions are easy to follow, with plenty of illustrations and photographs. I highly recommend reading the book before using the sewing machine.

The machine is simple to thread, and there are two spindles to hold two thread spools if desired. The bobbin is also easy to wind. There is a short spindle on top of the sewing machine that holds and locks the bobbin in place while it is being loaded with thread. The bobbin quickly fills with thread, too.

There are two cards that come with the machine. One card holds the block letter alphabet and an assortment of embroidery stitches. The other card contains the handwriting alphabet and five specialized stitches. The card snaps into place on the front right of the machine, beneath the stitch adjustment knobs. I find that I use the block lettering card, which holds the most embroidery stitches, most often. The alphabet stitches are okay, but I've had mixed results with them. Sometimes the letter looks wonderful, and other times it has taken me several tries to obtain the results I want.

A nice feature is that when a button is pushed to select the various stitches, a lighted display indicates the number of the presser foot that needs to be used for that stitch. When sewing, a button can be pressed to backstitch. Release the button to continue forward stitching. Another button will make the machine stop at the end of a stitch or stitch combination so that no partial stitches are formed. I also like the double-stitch button. It sews the double number of stitches, which beefs up embroidery stitches. Another great feature is the "half sewing speed" button. Using this feature, when the sewing pedal is completely pressed down, the machine will sew at half speed. This comes in handy for fussy work.

Purchasing & Reliability

I bought this Bernina 1260QPE new from a local Bernina sewing machine dealer. I bought the machine in 1997 for $2,299.00.

The machine has only been in for tune-ups. It's a trooper. Only once did the machine choke up and cease to work, and that was because it needed a serious cleaning. The machine still looks like new. I keep it covered with a cloth cover when it's not being used.


I love my Bernina 1260QPE Sewing Machine. There are so many ways to combine stitches, stitch lengths and widths, mirror stitching and double-stitching … that this machine is constantly inspiring me to create. I plan to keep this machine for a lifetime!

I hope you found this review useful.

Enjoy the day,

Please read my other reviews:

Janome Jem Sewing Machine

Quilter's Dream Sewing Table

Horn of America Sewing Chair

Rotaing Olfa Self-Healing Rotary Cutting Mat

Bernina Accessory Box

Ott Lite Flex-Arm Plus True Color Lamp

Quilt Pro Software

Quilter's Newsletter Magazine

Threads Magazine

Keepsake Quilting Online Store

Joann .com Fabric & Craft Store

Copyright 2008 Dawn L. Stewart

Recommend this product? Yes

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