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Bernette 35 Review

A capable sewing machine for a beginner, but a person with more sewing experience will prefer something with more and better features
Bernette 35
Credit: Bernette
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Price:   $399 List | $299.00 at Amazon
Pros:  Two metal spool holders, relatively inexpensive
Cons:  Cannot easily see how much thread is left on the bobbin, buttonhole setup/quality are below average
Manufacturer:   Bernette
By Austin Palmer and Ruth Bruckbauer  ⋅  Jun 9, 2022
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60
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#9 of 10
  • Sewing - 45% 7.2
  • Ease of use - 35% 5.7
  • Buttonholes - 20% 4.0

Our Verdict

Bernette is a subsidiary of the Bernina brand of sewing machines, which has been the premier sewing, embroidery, and quilting machine in the world for over 125 years and one that any serious seamstress dreams of and talks about in reverent tones. Bernette is relatively new, first coming on the market in the late 1980s, and is the value line of Bernina. The Bernette Swiss 35 does not have the sewing speed that a Bernina does and only delivered an average performance in most of our tests. There were no glaring weaknesses, but an experienced sewist would want something with more and better quality features.

Compare to Similar Products

 
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Awards  Editors' Choice Award  Best Buy Award  
Price $399 List
$299.00 at Amazon
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Pros Two metal spool holders, relatively inexpensiveGood sewing performance, easy to use, high valueExcellent lighting, clear and easy stitch selection, very easy buttonhole set-upExcellent straight stitching on cotton jersey, very easy to get stitches set upBobbin quality and winding, simple, great at scallop stitches across multiple fabric types
Cons Cannot easily see how much thread is left on the bobbin, buttonhole setup/quality are below averageA bit harder to set upTrouble with the bottom of zippers, basic side-mounted manual thread cutterLacks a needle up/down button, no presser foot lock, trouble with bottom strap of average zipperNot computerized, trouble with our 8-layer denim test
Bottom Line A capable sewing machine for a beginner, but a person with more sewing experience will prefer something with more and better featuresA great machine for the price and a good bet for both beginning and seasoned usersGood for those starting out, but advanced users will get better performance out of other machinesGreat machine for a beginning sewer, but lacking a few helpful computerized featuresA solid, non-computerized model that leaves more to be desired with buttonholes and lighting
Rating Categories Bernette 35 Singer 7258 Stylist Brother CS6000i Brother CS5055 Brother GX37
Sewing (45%)
7.2
7.5
6.7
6.8
6.8
Ease of use (35%)
5.7
7.8
9.3
8.0
6.8
Buttonholes (20%)
4.0
7.4
6.2
6.6
4.6
Specs Bernette 35 Singer 7258 Stylist Brother CS6000i Brother CS5055 Brother GX37
# of Built-in Stitches 23 100 60 60 37
# of Buttonhole Styles 1 6 7 7 1
Measured Weight 13.4 lbs 14.6 lbs 9.4 lbs 10.8 lbs 12.5 lbs
Maximum Sewing Speed (stitches per minute) N/A 750 850 750 850
Buttonhole Sewing (number of steps) 1-Step 1-Step 1-Step 1-Step 1-Step
Maximum Stitch Width 4mm 6mm 7mm 7mm 7mm
Maximum Stitch Length 5mm 4.8mm 5mm 5mm 5mm
Thread Cutter Built-in Built-in Built-in Built-in Built-in
Automatic Bobbin Winder? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Twin Needle Capability? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Cover? No Soft Hard No Soft
Free Arm? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Bernette 35 has some great features that set it apart from other sewing machines. It's the only machine with metal spool holders, and the bobbin-winding is superior to all the others in our lineup with very clear threading directions.

Performance Comparison


Bernette 35 sewing machine - the bernette has some very nice features.
The Bernette has some very nice features.
Credit: Laura Casner

Sewing


The Bernette 35 ranked well above average in our sewing tests, especially with how well it handled silk and chiffon, traditionally difficult fabrics with which to sew. We were very pleased with the tension in the zig-zag stitch across all the fabrics, and the straight stitch was well above average except with denim. We were also very impressed with the blind hem that this machine produced — even, smooth stitches on almost every fabric. Even the zippers went in smoothly.

Bernette 35 sewing machine - the bernette did very well in our sewing tests, even with some...
The Bernette did very well in our sewing tests, even with some tricky fabrics like silk and chiffon.
Credit: Laura Casner

Ease of Use


The 35 is the only machine with a front-loading bobbin, which means you have to bend down to table level to see what you are doing. That also means you can't see how much thread is left on the bobbin without taking it out of the machine. Our testers also found that the needle moved up and down while winding the bobbin, and that there was no clear indication of where the top is for the needle.

Bernette 35 sewing machine - this machine has a front-loading bobbing, which meant you have to...
This machine has a front-loading bobbing, which meant you have to bend over to insert it.
Credit: Laura Casner

The needle-threader is semi-automatic but works well because the thread is held tightly by the machine, so you can easily hook it onto the threader, which then slips smoothly through the needle. The thread cutter is toward the back of the machine and has a large guide with the blade facing up so the thread can get cut with either the right hand or the left. We felt that the upward-facing blade used a more natural movement of the hands.

Bernette 35 sewing machine - the needle-threader and thread cutter were both easy to use.
The needle-threader and thread cutter were both easy to use.
Credit: Laura Casner

You can't see to sew without lighting, and the Bernette 35 has good, warm lighting where the needle penetrates the fabric but not much light around the rest of the area. But since one usually doesn't sew in a totally dark room, that shouldn't be too much of a problem.

Bernette 35 sewing machine - the bernette has merely adequate lighting.
The Bernette has merely adequate lighting.
Credit: Laura Casner

Buying a new sewing machine with all new features can sometimes be overwhelming, which is where a good instruction manual comes into play. The Bernette 35 has a great manual that is clearly laid out and well organized. It includes a reference for stitch lengths and widths, a list of the types of stitches on the machine, and the suggested length, width, and tension settings for each. This is all very helpful for beginners. It also lists the kind of presser foot you need for the sewing you are doing, including clear instructions and drawings.

Buttonholes


The 35 has a fairly standard buttonhole set-up for a non-computerized machine. It's a 1-step process, but trying to gauge how the buttonhole markings line up with your fabric is difficult, and the overall quality of the buttonholes we sewed was below average.

Bernette 35 sewing machine - clear markings and dials on the bernette 35.
Clear markings and dials on the Bernette 35.
Credit: Laura Casner

Value


In our estimation, the Bernette 35 had some nice features, but the flaws kept it from being an award winner. That said, as a member of the Bernina family, it is still a solid machine, and anyone who owns it will become accustomed to its quirks.

Conclusion


The Bernette 35 had an average performance in most of our tests without any glaring weaknesses, but an experienced sewist will likely want something with more robust features.

Austin Palmer and Ruth Bruckbauer
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