A sewing and embroidery machine both sews and does machine embroidery. You can find this type of machine at various levels, from the bargain basement to the top floor. The Bernette B79 sewing and embroidery machine sits in the middle of the price range, but its features are over and above. Could it be the next addition to your sewing room?
About Bernette and the Bernette B79
Bernette is a child brand of Bernina, and Bernina is an interesting company.
While many manufacturers have turned to outsourcing to third party manufacturing firms, planned obsolescence, and cheap construction to maximize profits, the Bernina group has gone in the opposite direction.
All of their machines are made in just two factories: one in Switzerland and one in Thailand. Everyone who builds their machines is a Bernina employee earning above the minimum wage in their country, and working in modern, ergonomic factories.
Bernina also engages in sustainable manufacture, recycling and reusing materials when possible, and disposing of refuse in an environmentally responsible manner. Finally, they build their machines to last a lifetime, rather than to need replacement after a few years.
If that’s not enough, Bernina designs their machines with creators in mind, often partnering with textile artists to choose the features that sewists will use the most. The result is a range of equipment that you can feel good about buying and using.
The Bernette B79 is a mid-range sewing and embroidery machine with an exciting array of features.
Who is the Bernette B79 For?
The Bernette B79 is a high level sewing machine with a wealth of machine embroidery features.
The controls are well organized and intuitive. A machine embroidery novice could easily use this machine.
But this isn’t a beginner’s machine. It comes with large libraries of both sewing stitches and embroidery designs. It also comes with two different software packages: one for adjusting and creating your own sewing stitches, and another for editing embroidery designs. You can also download additional designs from the cloud, and edit in the cloud, as well.
As far as sewing functions are concerned, Bernette doesn’t skimp. The B79 is a high speed machine with a maximum speed of 1,000 stitches per minute. It has a knee lifter and a generous nine inches of space to the right of the needle. It’s not advertised as a quilting machine, but a quilter could make good use of its features.
Who is the Bernette B79 for? Anyone who wants a well made machine for sewing, machine embroidery, quilting, or a variety of other crafts.
How Does the Bernette B79 Stand Out?
Quality and sustainability don’t come cheaply. Bernette and Bernina machines tend to be expensive. However, the Bernette B79 is quite fairly priced for its features, and when you look at similarly priced machines, the B79 is actually quite a bargain.
The Bernette B79 doesn’t stand out by being flashy. Rather, its quality construction and powerful features speak for themselves.
What’s in the box?
Accessories that come with the Bernette B79, include:
- Spool net
- Selection of needles
- Brush / Seam ripper
- Spool discs large (2)
- Spool disc middle (1)
- Spool discs small (2)
- Felt disc
- Second spool pin
- Seam guide
- Three hoops
- Knee lifter
- Touchscreen pen
- Straight stitch plate
- Zig zag foot
- Embroidery foot
- Embroidery foot II
- Hopper embroidery foot
- Buttonhole foot
- Blindstitch foot
- Button sew-on foot
- Overlock foot
- Free motion foot
- Dust cover
- Power cable
- Foot control
- Stitch Creator software
- Bernina Toolbox embroidery software
- Extension table
- Enormous sewing stitch library
- 17 buttonholes
- Three sewing fonts
- 208 built-in embroidery designs
- 7 embroidery fonts
- Included embroidery software with 300 additional designs and 100 additional fonts
- Cloud based editing
- Stitch designer software to create your own sewing stitches
- Top and bottom thread sensors
- Hoop detection sensor
- Push-button thread cutting
- Knee lifter
- Integrated dual feed
- Nine inches to the right of the needle
- Extension table included
- Large 6.2 inch by 9 inch maximum embroidery area
- Three included hoops
- Very generous accessories pack
- Pretty heavy for a domestic machine
How to Choose a Sewing and Embroidery Machine
A mid range machine like the Bernette B79 could be a great follow-on machine for sewists who have outgrown their entry level sewing and embroidery machine. It’s also easy enough to use that a keen machine embroidery novice could enjoy using it to learn their craft.
There are quite a few differences between a beginning sewing and embroidery machine, and a higher level machine like the Bernette B79. Here are a few features to look for.
A sewing and embroidery machine is a sewing machine first, and the foundation of a sewing machine is its stitch library. In addition to essential stitches like straight stitch, zig zag stitch, blind hem stitch, and overcasting stitch, look for a generous library of decorative stitches. Also look for specialty stitches like an eyelet stitch and a darning program.
All told, a sewing and embroidery machine at the mid range level should have several hundred distinct stitch designs.
A sewing font is distinct from an embroidery font, in that each letter of a sewing font is a single stitch, rather than made up of numerous stitches. At the mid range level, a sewing and embroidery machine should have several sewing fonts. Most have a Latin (English) font with European diacritics. Some may also have non-Latin fonts like Cyrillic or Japanese.
Sewing Stitch Editing
Even at the basic level, most sewing machines allow you to “edit” the length and width of your stitches. Higher level machines can often make other types of edits, for example elongating designs without distortion, combining designs and / or letters into sequences, and sewing in mirror image.
A mid-range machine typically has around a dozen buttonhole designs, to accommodate different types of buttons and projects.
High sewing speed is often a feature of a higher level sewing machine. The average speed of a home sewing machine is around 850 stitches per minute, but higher level machines can often sew at speeds of 1,000 to 1,300 stitches per minute.
On many sewing machines, users lift and lower the presser foot with a hand lever. But some sewing machines, particularly those made for quilters, have a knee lifter. A knee lifter is a bar that slots into a port on the front of the machine. By pushing this lever with your knee, you can raise and lower the presser foot without ever taking your hands off your work.
Most sewing and embroidery machines also come with a selection of embroidery designs. These may include motifs (images), frame elements, and more. At the mid-level and higher level, machines may also come with access to additional designs through apps or even streaming services.
Embroidery fonts are alphabets where each letter is composed of many stitches. Most embroidery machines come with a selection of Latin and non-Latin fonts. You might also find decorative designs, for example floral fonts. Some machines also have a monogram function.
In addition to using the embroidery designs built into your machine, most embroidery machines also have a way of importing designs from your computer. The vast majority of machines have a USB port. However, at higher levels, you might also find WiFi connectivity and app-driven design transfer.
On-Machine Editing Capabilities
At the lower levels, on-machine editing can be pretty limited. Generally speaking, you can rotate designs, resize them, and sometimes sew them in mirror image.
At higher levels, you might be able to combine designs, move the designs around within the embroidery area, edit design elements, and more.
For most embroidery machines, you won’t be able to do subtle, sophisticated edits on your machine. Instead, you’ll have to do these edits through your machine’s app, or on your computer, using specialized software.
Maximum Embroidery Area
The maximum embroidery area is just what it sounds like: the maximum area in which you can embroider on any given project. On lower level machines, this area can be quite small. Four inches square is common. Higher level machines have larger design areas.
Many top of the line embroidery machines have an embroidery area of as much as 12 inches by 16 inches.
Almost every embroidery machine will come with a hoop to hold the fabric taut during embroidery. Higher level machines often come with several hoops in different sizes.
Because embroidery uses a lot of thread, often in different colors, thread handling features can be important. Here are some features to look for:
Many higher level embroidery machines come with sensors to tell you when you’re running out of thread or bobbin thread. You might also find thread tangling or thread breakage alerts.
Push-button thread cutting is very common at the mid-range level and above.
Push-button thread tie-off or lockstitch is also very common.
Return to Last Stitch
Some embroidery machines will remember the point at which a thread error occurred and return to that stitch once the problem is resolved. This can be a project saver.
Features and Benefits of the Bernette B79
The Bernette B79 is a richly featured sewing and embroidery machine. It would take quite a bit of time to explore all of its features. For now, though, here are the ones that we think are most important.
Enormous Sewing Stitch Library
The Bernette B79 has an absolutely gargantuan library of sewing stitches – 500 to be exact. These include all of the essentials, a large complement of decorative stitches, quilting stitches, a darning program, eyelets, novelty image stitches, and more.
In the unlikely event that you run out of stitches, you can create additional designs using the included Stitch Creator software.
The Bernette B79 has an incredible 17 buttonhole designs for all of your buttonholing needs.
Three Sewing Fonts
The Bernette 79 has three Latin sewing fonts: block, double block, and script. In addition, you can use the included Stitch Creator software to create additional fonts.
208 Built-in Embroidery Designs
The Bernette 79 comes with 208 embroidery designs built in. These include motifs, borders, and frame elements. In addition, the embroidery software that comes with this machine has 300 more designs that you can upload to your machine.
Seven Embroidery Fonts
The Bernette 79 comes with seven embroidery fonts built in. These include several Latin fonts, as well as Arabic, Hebrew, and Cyrillic. This model’s included embroidery software gives you access to 100 additional embroidery fonts.
Cloud Based Editing
You can edit your designs on the machine. However, the B79 also has cloud based editing for more subtle and sophisticated design adjustments.
Top and Bottom Thread Sensors
The Bernette B79 has sensors to alert you to problems with both the top and bottom threads.
This model also comes with a knee lifter for hands free presser foot operation.
Integrated Dual Feed
Quilters will appreciate the integrated dual feed, which feeds fabric from above and below in order to make light work of layered projects.
Extended Throat Space
The Bernette B79 comes with nine inches to the right of the needle. This can be very helpful for working with larger projects like quilts.
Extension Table Included
This model comes with a detachable extension table for quilting and free motion sewing.
Large Maximum Embroidery Area
The maximum embroidery area of the Bernette 79 is a generous nine by 6.2 inches.
Three Included Hoops
This model comes with three hoops in different sizes for all of your different sized projects.
Alternatives to the Bernette 79
We think the Bernette 79 is an outstanding sewing and embroidery machine. However, different models have different features, and it’s possible that one of our comparison models has more of the features that your sewing demands.
Baby Lock Accord
Like Bernette, Baby Lock makes well constructed high level equipment that’s fit for use by a variety of levels of sewists. The Baby Lock Accord is Baby Lock’s mid-range sewing and embroidery machine. Its features include:
- 250 built-in sewing stitches
- 5 sewing alphabets
- USB design transfer
- Knee lifter
- 141 built-in embroidery designs
- 140 frame designs
- 13 embroidery fonts
- Five inch by seven inch maximum embroidery area
- Multi-position hoop
The Baby Lock Accord costs about 20 percent more than the Bernette B79, but for the right sewist, its particular mix of features may be well worth the bump in price.
Husqvarna Viking Jade 35
The Husqvarna Viking Jade 35 is an easy to use sewing and embroidery machine with some standout features, for example:
- 120 built-in sewing stitches
- Two sewing alphabets
- 70 built-in embroidery designs
- 13 embroidery fonts
- Included Font Wizard font creation software
- Large six-inch by 9.5-inch maximum embroidery area
- Sewing Advisor on-machine advice and tutorials
- USB design transfer
- Top thread sensor
The Husqvarna Viking Jade 35 costs about one-third less than the Bernette B79.
Janome Memory Craft 9850
Janome sets the standard for crafting, and when it comes to sewing and embroidery machines, the Janome Memory Craft 9850 is a standard bearer. Check out these features.
- 200 built-in sewing stitches
- 6 one-step buttonholes
- High speed 1,000 stitches per minute stitching speed
- 175 built-in embroidery designs
- Two embroidery fonts
- Two and three letter monogramming function
- Advanced on-machine editing
- Auto return post thread break
The Janome Memory Craft 9850 costs about the same as the Bernette B79.
Should You Buy the Bernette B79?
If you’re looking for a fully featured sewing and embroidery machine that can perform both functions at a high level, then the Bernette B79 is definitely worth your attention. The B79 is powerful, easy to use, and packed with features.
It’s easy enough for a beginner to hit the ground running. At the same time, its functions are expandable enough that intermediate and advanced users are unlikely to outgrow it. And, like all Bernette machines, the B79 is made sustainably and to last.
And, as you can see, it’s difficult to find a machine at the same price point that has features that even come close.
Have you had a go with the Bernette B79? What did you think? We’d love to hear about your experience!