Bernina Artista 170 Sewing Machine

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Embroidery Addict

Jul 18, 2000
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:High Quality Embroidery

Cons:Expensive!

***This review is actually about the Bernina Deco 600. I could not find a better place to put it and have requested epinions to have a separate area for this. I will move it if needed!***


As an adult, there are few times in my life that I am REALLY surprised by a gift. I always like or enjoy my gifts, but usually I have a fairly good idea about what my family will be giving me. Christmas 1998 came with a big surprise. My husband surprised me with a Bernina Deco 600 embroidery machine. Life has not been the same since.

My husband secretly took care of all the details in purchasing my machine. He called (long distance) to a Bernina sewing machine dealer and had them explain all the machines that they carried. Remember, he has no experience with sewing! I'm sure the ladies at the store enjoyed helping a man pick out a machine! He narrowed his choices down and selected the Deco 600. Since we lived out of town, he even called a friend who happened to be in this town, to pick up the machine for him.

The Bernina Deco 600 is only an embroidery machine. It does no sewing or serging of any type. The embroidery that comes from this machine is high quality and would compete against any professional embroidery!

Looking at the machine, it is the same size as a regular portable sewing machine. It is easy to lift and carry if needed. It comes in a cream color with a white vinyl-like covering to place over the machine when not in use. The top of the machine has a holder for your embroidery thread and on the base is your location for the bobbin holder. (Those of you that sew will realize that this is like a regular sewing machine.) As far as threading the machine, you use the same technique as you would with a regular sewing machine. Obviously, if you can thread and work a sewing machine, you would have not problems setting up this embroidery machine.

The embroidery machine comes with a small hoop. It is very important that you read the instructions carefully on how to hoop your items. The better you hoop, the better the quality of embroidery! At first, I tightened my hoop too tight and soon my screws were all messed up! I also discovered that using a disappearing marking pen helps in your hoop techniques. I mark the center of my item with a pen and use that dot to center my hoop. You also need to put some stabilizer under your fabric inside the hoop. Once you get the hang of hooping, it is very simple. Once your item is hooped, it hooks onto the base of your machine.

Next, you would want to turn on your machine to select an item to embroidery. The computerized machine comes with two built in alphabets and 50 designs. It also comes with 10 shapes. Once you start to play with it, these built in designs seem to multiply. You can embroidery a large shape and then center a name in the middle. Or, you can embroidery one of the designs and embroidery a name around it. Or, you can embroidery a design and embroidery a name on top of it. As you can see, you can create all kinds of design packages! Not only does the machine come with these built in features, but you can also buy "memory cards" to use with your machine. These are cards with a certain theme of designs on them. For example, I purchased a farm card that has designs of horses, pigs, cows, barns, scarecrows, etc. To use a card, you just insert it into the side of your machine and it "read" the design information.

After selecting your design, you would pick out your embroidery threads. It is important to use a high quality thread to make beautiful designs. I prefer Brother Embroidery Thread. You do have to thread each color separately. This may take some time if your design calls for alot of colors. Bernina has developed a thread holder that will hold up to 13 different spools of thread at once. No matter what you do to hold your threads, you will still have to thread them through your machine one at a time.

Once you have your item hooped and stabilized, your design picked out, your threads threaded, and you hoop snapped into place.........you simply push "start". That's it. The machine takes over. It will stop every time that you need to change thread color and even tell you which color to use next. It will stop if it becomes jammed or a thread breaks. It will inform you when your bobbin thread is running out. It is extremely simple to use!

Once you get the hang of it, the machine provides lots of fun and numerous gift ideas. I use my machine to embroidery baby blankets and bibs. I also embroider on cloth diapers to make burp rags. I make my girls t-shirts with cute pictures on them. I have done sweatshirts, cheerleading outfits, camera cases, backpacks, shorts, windbreakers, baseball hats, fishing hats, sheets, pillowcases, dress shirts, painting smocks, hair bows, placemats, napkins, towels, and many more! It has cut back the cost that I spend on gifts. I shop at Walmart for items on sale and then deck them out for gifts!

The major drawback to this machine is the expense! The machine is expensive at $1699.00. However, I have recently seen sales for $1299.00. The thread runs around $4.00 a spool and stabilizer runs several dollars a yard. I have found some discount supply places on the internet to help with the expense. Also, the memory cards run around $139.99 each. Hopefully, as this hobby grows, the costs will start to come down.

It is also important that I let you know that in the 18 months that I have used this machine, I have not had any problems with it. It came with a yearly cleaning for three years and that is the only time it has been "in the shop". It is durable and has worked on hundreds of items for me!

I have enjoyed this machine. It was a wonderful Christmas surprise for me. Even though it was expensive, Bernina had a good pay out plan. I would recommend shopping around for the best buy! My husband summed it up best when he walked by it one day and said, "You really have gotten your money out of that machine!"


Recommend this product? Yes

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