Alexandra's Quick Notes
The Bernina 330 is an excellent computerised machine. It is well built, has outstanding stitch quality, and is relatively easy to get started with.
As with most Bernina's though, it is an expensive machine.
Bernina 330 Overview
The Bernina 330 is one of the three computerised sewing machines in Bernina's 3 Series range, which also includes the Bernina 350 PE and 380 models.
It is a high quality machine, and has 97 stitches (including an alphabet), which is more than I am ever likely to need! It also has a bunch of nice features which make sewing with it a pleasure - things like the needle threader, needle up/down functionality, and a start/stop button. And of course, most important of all, the stitch quality on the machine is excellent!
Let's take a closer look at the design and features of this great machine...
The 3 Series machines are described by Bernina as "stylish compact" machines. This is actually a fairly good description of the 330.
I certainly find it to be stylish and well designed. It has a much more appealing look than the Classic 1008 and 215 machines, with its attractive metallic casing and black LCD screen.
The machine does have a lot of buttons though, which may be alarming at first if you're not used to computerised machines. To give you an idea of what each of the buttons does, I have annotated them in the image below.
The buttons are all easy to access, and the black and white LCD screen is clear. Raising and lowering the feed dogs is a breeze as you just have to reach to the side of the machine, below the hand wheel.
The 330 is very compact. It has a tiny free arm which you can get even the smallest cuffs around!
The 330 is a computerised machine, and as such can offer a very complete selection of stitches. It has a total of 97 stitches, including 15 utility stitches, 1 buttonhole, 23 decorative stitches, 3 quilting stitches and an alphabet.
Despite this large number of stitches and the LCD screen, the 330 is still relatively easy to use, and beginners will be able to get started fairly quickly. This isn't necessarily the case with the 5 Series and 7 Series machines, and so if you're just getting to grips with sewing, but have a fairly large budget, this machine could be the one for you!
The maximum stitch length is 5.0 mm and the maximum stitch width is 5.5 mm.
Stitch quality with this machine is very close to perfection, as is so often the case with Berninas. I doubt you will have any issues here!
It has a DC motor which should allow you to maintain a good amount of power even when dealing with relatively heavy fabrics.
The 330 can manage up to 900 stitches per minute, which isn't super fast, and in fact is slower than the 1008 model, but is still a good speed.
As you would expect, you can use the foot pedal to control your sewing speed. But one of the things I love about the 330 is that it has a stop/start button which allows you to sew without using the foot pedal. There is also a slider on the front of the machine for adjusting the sewing speed. This is a great addition and I love having the option of being able to use the button and slider rather than the foot pedal! It can be handy if you share your machine with your children as well, as they can sometimes find the foot pedal difficult to reach.
The foot pedal is shown in the image below. It is a surprisingly good quality pedal - I find it is often the case that even on high end machines the quality of the foot pedal is poor, but not with Berninas!
Foot Pressure Control
Unfortunately one of the things missing from the 330 is the ability to adjust presser foot pressure. This means that you will have slightly less control when sewing very heavy or very light fabrics, as it is with these types of materials you are likely to want to adjust the foot pressure. I must say I was surprised to discover that this option wasn't available on the 330.
Like the 1008 model, the 330 comes with a snap-on shank, and 5 different soles which can easily snap-on to the provided shank. This is great for switching between feet quickly, but it means you miss out on Bernina's famous full shank feet.
The following soles are provided:
- All-purpose reverse pattern sole
- Zipper sole
- Overlock sole
- Buttonhole sole
- Blind hem sole
The overlock sole won't replace having an overlocker, but it is still great to have.
Needle Plate and Threader
The needle plate is shown in the photo below. It has clear markings in both millimetres and inches, and includes diagonal markings which are handy for quilting.
The needle threader is a little bit flimsy, and let's the rest of the machine down a little. Still, it is easy enough to use once you get the hang of it!
The 330 is a computerised machine, and has a small amount of long term memory which you can use to store up to 30 stitch combinations. This could be a series of decorative stitches or combinations of alphabet letters. Great for storing your favourite go-to combinations!
The 330 normally comes with an extension table, which really is a blessing because the free arm and sewing area are quite small.
You also get a nice accessories bag, a Height Compensator Tool (it sounds fancy but is basically a piece of plastic which will come in handy when you are working with bulky materials and your presser foot is struggling), and a bunch of other standard accessories like bobbins, a seam ripper etc...
One of the optional accessories you can get for the 330 is the Free Hand System. It is a bar which attaches to the front of your machine and allows you to lift and drop the presser foot using your knee, so that you can keep both hands on your project. It is a great tool which makes some projects that much easier to execute, but is definitely not essential.
As with all purchases, and with Bernina sewing machines in particular, pricing is a big factor when choosing a machine. There is no escaping the fact that this is an expensive sewing machine, and you may be able to get a similar range of features from a different brand for a lower price.