Question about Bernina Artista 180

1 Answer

Feed dogs don't want to feed.

I have a Bernina 180, a lemon I might add, and my newest problem is the feed dogs don't push thin fabrics through without puckering them and hanging up completely on seams.
By thin fabric I mean rayon or cotton. I have adjusted the pressure on the presser foot to have more contact with the feed dogs but I still have to pull the fabric from behind to prevent it from bunching behind the pressure foot.
I had it timed and tuned only a year ago and do not use it for weeks at a time. I am a seasonal sewer .Do you have any suggestions besides another tune up.

Posted by Judy McDougall Hiam on

  • smso Sep 01, 2008

    Continue to have the same problem? can I fix it myself?

  • Anonymous May 11, 2010

    Was the person that gave you a tune-up Bernina certified? With the machines today you simply can't take it to a general technician. They don't have service manuals available for all makes and models out there and parts would be an arm and a leg. Puckering may be caused by tension, feed dog height (0.9mm), presser foot height (7.5mm), timing, zig-zag stitch without stabilizer, etc. Bernina is not in the business of making lemons, their track record is second to none. You bought the Lexus of sewing machines, why not take it to a Lexus dealer if possible? There is a number of checks you can do, but the timing on many of these machines requires pinning several gears. Feel like taking some measurements and confirming some details? You won't have the tools but perhaps we can confirm some measurements with a feeler guage if you might have?

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  • 8 Answers

Sounds like the feed dog height is not set correctly. You could fix it yourself but you would need a dealers service manual and there is a height gauge that should be used although I have set them by eye...and experience.
Bernina's are fantastic machines and I have yet to find even one that is a lemon. Just like finding a good auto mechanic, you need to find someone that actually knows more than how to blow off lint and apply oil.
Your problem should be a low cost quick fix/adjustment that can be accomplished by a knowledgeable and skilled technician.
Good luck finding one!! Bill

Posted on Sep 27, 2008

  • Mary Dunn
    Mary Dunn Nov 13, 2015

    Use a dime to set the height.

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Can I sew fine knits with my Bernina 830? What would I dial the machine to in order to avoid puckering?


Warning--leaving the presser foot up while sewing will not work because raising the presser foot releases the tension!!! You'll likely end up with a huge knot of thread to remove and possibly damaged fabric.

Fine fabrics present some issues for most machines but there are several things you can do to alleviate or even eliminate issues.

Be sure to use lightweight needles for knits (ball point). Use a good quality fine thread. Loosening the tension will help alleviate some of the puckering. In addition, using a wash-away stabilizer to add body to the fabric will help with puckering. (Even using paper under the fabric will be enough to remove puckering--however, it tends to dull the needle faster than usual--but a new needle is an inexpensive solution to an age-old problem. Also, using a roller foot, teflon foot, or walking foot may be beneficial in feeding the fabric. Some people will starch the fabric to add body.

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The presser foot doesn't sit all the way down in order to sew correctly. Can I adjust it myself? How?


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If it hasn't been used before, check that it is the correct foot for the machine. Is it perhaps a darning foot or free motion foot? If so, those particular feet are made to Not rest on the feed dogs so that the fabric can be manually moved without the use of the feed dogs.

If none of the presser feet work with the machine, then the needlebar has probably shifted. It may be best to take it for service as it may require specific tools and gauges to adjust it properly.

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https://www.bernina.com/en-US/Support-US/Machines/BERNINA-artista/BERNINA-artista-180




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