Where Precision Meets Creativity and Versatility
When I first started on my sewing journey, the only thing that I was sure about was that I had to get a sewing machine. And in my mind, that meant getting as cheap of a deal as possible.
Somehow, Bernina never occurred to me, despite them being one of the oldest international manufacturers of sewing machines.
Why did I overlook such an obvious choice?
My guess is as good as any; I’m willing to bet that it had something to do with the price tag.
If your search somehow led you to Bernina sewing machines, you’re probably scratching your head, wondering:
Why do they cost so much? And more importantly, are they worth it?
I’ve asked myself the same thing back in the day.
But as my experience grew, I realized that I could only be as good as my sewing equipment is. That’s when it hit me – I can’t cheap out on a sewing machine. It makes no sense productivity-wise.
One thing you need to know about Bernina as a brand is that they’ve invested in delivering nothing but top-notch quality products.
And that goes well beyond the member of the 5 Series I’ll be talking about today.
You see, while they cost more than other sewing machines with similar features, they more than make up for it in construction quality, user-friendly features, and unmatched functionality.
That’s why today is all about showing you why the Bernina 530 is worth every penny – whether you’re a complete novice or a seasoned expert on sewing!
Bernina 530 At A Glance
If you want to have a quick look at my impressions of this sewing machine, the table below might give you an idea:[ninja_tables id="6611"]
That’s Bernina 530 at a glance. If you’re interested in knowing more about its design, performance, and features, keep on reading. My review will show you exactly what it has to offer to its users – and how it earned these grades, too!
My Honest Review Of The Bernina 530
After spending quite some time with this sewing machine and getting familiar with its features and functionality, it’s time to sum up my findings in this Bernina 530 review.
Here’s everything you need to know!
Design & First Impressions
The Bernina 530 Sewing and Quilting Machine – that’s the full name of this model – is one of those rare sewing machines that perform as promised.
And if I had to describe it using only three words, those words would be precision, creativity, and versatility.
Here’s how Bernina first introduced this sewing machine into their line of products:
What took me by surprise right out of the box was the weight of the sewing machine.
At 33 pounds (15 kg), it’s anything but lightweight. It measures 22 x 15.1 x 18.3 inches (56 x 38.4 x 46.5 cm), too, which is much bigger than some heavy-duty sewing machines I’ve tried lately.
With those dimensions comes 7.5 inches of working space, complete with a slide-on extension table.
Fortunately, it doesn’t compromise on portability, despite its massive dimensions and heavy construction:
It comes with an integrated handle, as well as a carrying bag that fits your machine and included accessories for transportation purposes.
The entire front portion of the sewing machine is home to various button controls and features, including:
- The numeric keypad for stitch selection
- Dedicated function buttons, such as „Mirror“ and „Reverse“
- Stitch length and width controls
- Needle position controls
- Speed slider controls
I’ll go through them later on in my Bernina 530 review, but for now, you should know that most of the buttons are located on the front panel. That’s where you’ll find the LCD screen and the touchpad with dedicated „Home“ and „Back“ buttons, too.
I was somewhat disappointed that it doesn’t come with an automatic thread cutter.
However, once I started examining the sewing machine a bit closer, I discovered three manual thread cutters on it.
I found one at the top, right next to the bobbin winder, one on the side, and one on the bottom portion of the machine, where the bobbin is inserted.
Here’s what other happy owners have to say about their Bernina 530:
Stand-Out Features That Make Bernina 530 Worth It
Now, it’s time that you get up close and personal with this sewing machine’s features – and there are a lot of them!
The Bernina 530 comes equipped with an extensive repertoire of built-in stitch patterns – a total of 148, to be exact.
That impressive round-up includes 22 utility stitches and 117 decorative ones which are all at your disposal from the get-go. You’ll find 12 quilting stitches and four sewing alphabets in there, too.
To top it all off, the Bernina 530 also offers a total of nine different buttonhole stitching programs, which is impressive by any standard.
Choosing the desired stitch is as easy as dialing up the stitch number using the keypad located on the far right of the unit. Another option is selecting one using the control panel on the home screen.
Once you select a stitching pattern, you’ll see a preview of it on the LCD screen, along with the presser foot recommendation.
That’s where you’ll see several other options for modifying your stitches even further:
- Customizing stitch width and length, the maximum being 5.5 and 5 mm, respectively
- Choosing among one of the 11 available needle positions
- Adjusting foot presser pressure based on the type of fabric you’re working with
- Selecting Needle Up/Down as your default needle stop position
All of these modifications can be permanently or temporarily saved in the sewing machine’s memory.
That means that you can come up with your signature variations and store them in the machine’s long-term memory for future use.
If you only need to alter the machine’s short-term memory for each sewing session, that’s an option, as well.
No matter what project you’re working on, the Bernina will be up to the challenge – and give you exceptional control over your stitching parameters, too.
Here’s a quick tutorial on how to select the desired stitch patterns on your Bernina 530:
With the sewing speed of 900 stitches per minute, the Bernina 530 might not be the fastest sewing machine I’ve come across, but it’s still up there with the competition.
Plus, you have the freedom of adjusting the speed by using a slider to match your skill level or the nature of your project.
The Start/Stop button is another notable feature, as it allows you to operate the sewing machine without using the foot controller.
What’s It Like Using The Bernina 530?
Now that you’re familiar with everything it has to offer, it’s time to get to the actual fun part:
Setting up and using your Bernina 530 for the first time.
You should start by plugging it into a power source, and connecting the foot controller – which is used to control the speed – to the sewing machine. That’s easy enough to do.
If you plan on using the Free-Hand System, or FHS, you can switch to it by attaching the knee lifter into the opening on the machine.
Here’s the official Bernina tutorial that will show you how to set everything up:
And if you want to increase the work area, you can do so by adding the slide-on extension table onto the functional free arm. It comes with a transparent piece – something like a „window“ – that lets you keep an eye on what’s going on with the bobbin.
One thing I found particularly helpful while using the Bernina 530 was the option to alter the stitch memory temporarily.
Of course, once you turn off the machine, it’s going to reset to default – that’s why it’s called „temporary.“
However, as long as the sewing session lasts, you’ll have all your selections and customizations memorized and easily accessed.
The option to make your variations – besides the already broad selection of built-in stitch patterns – is what allows you to let your creative juices flow without any restrictions.
It’s the definition of creative freedom if you ask me.
Combining lettering and stitches is one way to use this to your advantage:
Sewing buttons and making buttonholes seems to be one of its strong suits. And with nine different buttonhole stitches to choose from, this shouldn’t come as a surprise.
You can say goodbye to sewing buttons manually and struggling to get them all to match, which is next to impossible to do by hand.
Navigate to the “Buttonhole” section in the Home menu, and select the desired stitch pattern.
Then, measure the button you’ll be using, and be sure to add 2 mm to it to make room for the actual button. Attach the included buttonhole foot, and sew the first bead.
Now, use the “Reverse” button to set the buttonhole length to “Auto,” and finish sewing your first buttonhole.
That’s it – that’s your secret weapon to getting all your buttonholes down to the same size!
Here’s a tutorial that might come in handy:
Oh, and did you know that it comes with the Creative Consultant built-in?
Here’s the thing about this feature:
For an experienced sewer, it might not matter that much. You know your fabrics, and you know your stitches.
However, I can see a lot of beginners using it until they get a better understanding of combining different fabrics and stitches to achieve a high-quality finish.
You can see this handy feature in action here:
You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how fast and powerful it feels without making too much noise in the process.
All these extra features aside, working on Bernina 530 is a delightful experience. Sophisticated, packed with features, and surprisingly versatile, it offers a perfect balance of modern and traditional – something every home seamstress will appreciate.
Accessories & Tools That Come With Your Bernina 530
As most other computerized sewing machines I’ve reviewed recently, the Bernina 530 comes with handy accessories for starting your sewing journey.
The five presser feet – Reverse pattern, Overlock, Buttonhole, Zipper, and Blindstitch – along with a slide-on extension table and the Free-Hand System, are there to help you unleash your creativity.
Plus, it comes with a carrying bag, and an accessories box that fits everything from extra bobbins, spool caps, and needles to the seam ripper and seam guide.
You’ll also get a screwdriver, a cleaning brush, and lubrication oil for cleaning and maintenance of your Bernina 530.
Your options don’t end there, though, as you can always get optional accessories to enhance your user experience even further. One such feature is the Bernina Stitch Regulator that ensures maximum precision and accuracy for free-motion quilting and sewing.
Here’s what it looks like:
Bernina 530: Weighing The Good & The Bad
- Wide range of built-in stitch patterns
- Features a fully automatic needle threader
- The presser foot pressure is adjustable
- Powerful, yet quiet operation
- Three built-in manual thread cutters
- Option to alter the machine’s short- and long-term memory
- Includes 11 different needle positions
- Easy-to-use design with user-oriented features
- The Bernina Stitch Regulator (BSR) has to be purchased separately
- No automatic thread cutter
- The price tag isn’t exactly budget-friendly
You can learn more about the optional BSR here:
Final Thoughts & Recommendations
I’d say that, no matter how experienced you are, the Bernina 530 is worth giving a shot.
Sure, it’s somewhat pricey, and I know from personal experience that’s something a lot of beginners struggle with accepting. But it’s worth every penny!
It’s a state-of-the-art sewing machine – and one that can grow with you as your skills and experience continue to improve. Regardless of your current skill level, it will allow you to pour all your creativity into your projects without sweating the small stuff. That’s what the Bernina 530 is here to do.
It’s only as advanced as you need it to be – and that’s what makes the Bernina 530 Sewing and Quilting Machine worth recommending to anyone, beginner or expert.