Bernina 2500DCET Mechanical Sewing Machine
(7 Epinions reviews)
Epinions Product Rating:
Very happy with mine
Dec 15, 2000 (Updated Dec 16, 2000)
Review by rstoresund
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Free-arm, swing out presser foot, lay-in threading, automatic tensions.
Cons:No swing-up needle bar, lack of jazzy extra attachments.
I bought this serger when I was looking to replace my old Babylock with a newer model that had a differential feed and a cover stitch. In the shopping process I tried out the Bernina 2500 DCE and DCET, the Viking Huskylock 936, and the Elna 945. I felt that the Elna was too difficult to thread because the space under the needles was so cramped, plus I wouldn't use the 5-thread feature enough to warrant paying for it. Also, I thought the cards that preset the settings for you were way too expensive for what they did. The Bernina 2500 DCET also has five threads, but does not do what is considered a traditional 5-thread stitch. It uses the fifth thread to create a top/bottom cover stitch. I personally don't care for the look of this stitch and I felt the extra apparatus necessary to create it got in the way. The Viking would have been my second choice (my first choice if I were looking to save some money), but the Bernina 2500 DCE turned out to be exactly what I was looking for.
Recommend this product?
The lay-in tensions make threading the machine very easy. In fact, I find this serger so easy to thread that I don't even bother tying on new threads when I change them. There is a tab that pushes the lower looper arm out from under the presser foot area so that it's a snap to thread the little hook. The thread paths are color-coded and marked right alongside the thread paths, so it's very easy to follow. Tension settings are automatic, but you can override them when necessary, and it's easy to reset them to default merely by turning the selection knob through the cycles and back to the original setting. The presser foot swings out to the side for easy access to the needles and for threading the loopers. The free-arm also comes in handy, although I have had a few things I've made that were too small in diameter to go around it, but those were crafty type things and not garment things, so I didn't care that I had to cover hem flat rather than in the round. In garments I would want to do this in the round and the free-arm is small enough for all but infantwear sleeves, etc.
It only takes a few minutes to change from overlock to cover stitch set-up and back again. The only difficult thing is to remember not to sew off the edge of the fabric while doing a cover stitch the way you can with a regular serger stitch. To end a cover stitch seam/hem you have to stop, turn the wheel backwards 2-3 times to unhook the threads, then pull the fabric out from under the presser foot.
The few times I've had a problem with a stitch it has turned out to be my error, not the machine's, and usually it's because I did not have a thread seated properly between the tension discs, so now that's the first thing I look for when I have a problem. This is not to say that it does everything perfectly, but the only time I have had a less than satisfactory seam is when I tried to do a 4-thread overlock on a single layer of thin muslin. The loops hung off the edge a bit and the fabric tunneled between the edge and the right needle stitching, although I realize now that this was the wrong choice stitch for what I wanted to do and later used a narrow 3-thread seam that I was perfectly happy with. Also--and, again, this is my own failing and not the machine's--I can never remember which way to move the tension knobs, so I printed out labels with my label maker telling me which way and stuck them on the tray that catches the clippings.
I would like to have some of the extra presser feet options that the Elna has, such as the belt loop foot and the bias binding attachment, but I didn't feel it was worth getting the Elna serger just for those (expensive) extras when I much preferred the Bernina 2500 DCE for the type of serging I'm going to use it for most. Also, while the swing out presser foot is very handy, it would have been nice to have the needle bar swing up as it does on the 1100--sometimes I have a hard time seeing whether I'm putting a needle in the left, center, or right position.
All in all, I've been extremely happy with the results I've had in the two years I've been using this machine and I'd recommend it to anyone who does fairly advanced home sewing, both garments and home dec., and who can afford to buy the best. (Otherwise, go for the cheaper Viking model and you will be just as happy, although not able to do quite as much.)
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