Sewing Machine Review: First Impressions of the BERNINA 735

Close up shot of a BERNINA B735 sewing machine with colorful floral fabric under the needle.
My current sewing space is small and cozy, with the focus all on this beautiful new machine.


The BERNINA 735 sewing machine is one of the newest models available from BERNINA. I am thrilled to be sewing on the B 735 as a brand Ambassador. Today I am sharing my review of this machine after using it for several months.

My name is Martha and I’ve been sewing since childhood. My sewing life changed in 2001, when I took a sewing class at a BERNINA dealership. Before long, I had a BERNINA Virtuoso 153 QE of my own, and I have never looked back. My beloved 153QE machine has seen me through design school, all kinds of fashion and textile related jobs, and two international moves. That machine is an extension of me!

I had my eye on the B 735 well before I became a BERNINA Ambassador last fall, so I knew it was the machine I wanted to try. This past January, we had an Ambassador retreat at the BERNINA Creative Center in Chicago, and it was love at first sight. I primarily sew garments, and the B 735 checked all the boxes for my needs, and then some!

Martha has long dark hair and is wearing a leopard print dress. She is sitting on a desk next to her BERNINA sewing machine, with her feet on a red chair.
The B 735 makes me smile! This machine is powerful and beautiful.

Appearance and Ease of Use

The B 735 is beautifully proportioned. I knew that some newer machines were larger than my trusty B 153 QE, but it wasn’t until I saw them for myself that I understood. The 7” (18cm) touchscreen is dazzling. Images are clear and the variety of adjustments at your fingertips is unbelievable. The machine has plenty of well-lit harp space, ensuring even larger projects can pass through without bunching. The 5.5mm feet allow you to maneuver into those tight spaces you sometimes encounter when constructing garments. Personally, I love the free arm, which lets you hem sleeves and narrow areas with ease. 

After 22 years on my B 153 QE, I was nervous I’d feel intimidated by the many options available on the B 735, but quickly realized that the organization of both machines – of all BERNINA machines – is consistent. When I change the needle plate, thread my needle, or drop the feed dogs, I rely on muscle memory. While those features may have changed over the years, they are located in similar places or follow the same logic you are used to. If you are new to BERNINA, all components are sturdy, finely milled and solid metal. Everything fits together beautifully, and the user experience has been streamlined to ensure you can always find the feature you need.

A sketchbook is open with many swatches of sewing stitches and buttonholes.
To get to know my machine, I made myself a swatch book using every foot I own, every buttonhole stitch, and various decorative stitches I may want to use in the future.


When selecting a new foot or stitch, the on screen visuals make the process simple. If you select a foot that requires you to move your needle position to prevent breaking a needle, for example, Zipper Foot #4, the screen will highlight this incompatibility. The thread line will turn red until you’ve made the required change. As you move your needle across the eleven (yes, eleven!) possible positions, the screen will let you know when you have selected a position that is safe to sew. 

Adjustments to stitches seem infinite: length, width, needle position, stitch density – you name it, and you can tweak it. I don’t use a lot of decorative stitches in my sewing, but when I do, I want it to look perfect. You can program a stitch to stop after completing a full repeat, meaning no half formed flowers or letters. You can also combine multiple stitch motifs to create a custom design. It’s the level of precision we should expect from BERNINA, but it’s still a pleasure to experience.

A had holds up a jumbo size black plastic bobbin. In the background is a case full of bobbins and a spool of sewing thread.
BERNINA 7 series machines have a Jumbo size bobbin. An entire small spool of thread fits on this bobbin! If you’re sewing garments, you can count on the bobbin not running out mid-project.

BERNINA Hook & Jumbo Bobbins:

When you first sit down at a new machine, of course you want to open it up and have a peek inside. You’re in for a treat! The famous BERNINA hook sews up to 1,000 stitches per minute (you may want to turn the speed down as you get started). The front loading 7 Series bobbin holds 70% more thread than a standard bobbin. Simply put, if you are sewing a garment, you are not going to run out of bobbin thread. It’s awesome.

Once again, I found features to be familiar yet updated: I understood how to take out the bobbin case and clean it. The layout is similar to my older machine, but the components are all bigger and super sturdy. Those jumbo 7 Series bobbins will only go inside the bobbin case if you position them correctly. This removes user error and gives you confidence to get back to sewing.

Close up of a BERNINA buttonhole foot sewing a buttonhole in black thread on white fabric.
Sewing buttonholes on any BERNINA machine is a pleasure. Try using your start/stop button on the front of the machine for an even easier, hands free method.
A grid of 13 buttonholes and 2 eyelets sewn with purple thread on white fabric.
What a beautiful variety! Here are all 13 of the buttonholes and the 2 eyelets available on the B 735.


If you wish to elevate your garments from looking homemade to professional quality, buttonholes make that difference. The B 735 comes with 15 buttonhole options (that includes 2 eyelets). They can be customized with length, width, and space between the left and right legs of the buttonhole. I could not wait to test out every option, and I was not disappointed! I highly recommend making yourself a little swatch book with one of each buttonhole in it. Watching the machine sew the buttonholes is fascinating. Each option has a slightly different formation, providing strength, structure, and beauty. 

When choosing the size of your buttonhole, the B 735 has the automatic buttonhole length measuring system. How delightful to hold your button up to the screen, turn a dial, and have the correct size buttonhole selected! I like to use the start/stop button on the front of the machine to sew buttonholes. With just one press of your finger, the machine will sew a complete buttonhole.

A close up of black and white fabric with a small, machine sewn rolled hem.
This silk fabric is delicate, and Hemmer Foot #64 provided the perfect rolled hem to keep the edges light.

Feeling the Power

I add rolled hems to many of the garments I sew, because I love ruffles. One of my first projects on the B735 was hemming a square of beautiful, precious silk fabric to create a scarf. I have a lot of experience with hemmer feet and didn’t have any scraps of my fabric to make tests. So I dove into my project without any practice – not for the faint of heart!

My first thought was, “I can’t believe these are the same feet I’ve been using on my B 153 QE!”. I could feel such power coming from the B 735! I turned down my sewing speed so I could focus on feeding the fabric accurately into Hemmer Foot #64. The feed dogs gripped and fed the delicate silk beautifully. I knew it would be a quick project, but didn’t anticipate the ease and fun I would have! I’m already deciding which Hemmer Feet I need to add to my collection.

Detail shot of purple wool coating fabric, featuring top stitching and a large brown button.
The B 735 sewed four layers of dense wool coating with ease. Here you can see my heavy weight top stitching thread.

Heavy Fabric and the Free Hand System

With a lightweight project under my belt, I decided to sew something heavy: a wool coat. After stitching that silk scarf, I was not surprised by how wonderfully the machine handled my slippery lining fabric. But the power of the machine really shone when my dense wool coating was under the needle. I used my walking foot to ensure all layers of fabric fed evenly. It sewed like a hot knife through butter! 

I used a top stitch needle and heavy duty thread for my top stitching, and the machine never once stalling or skipped a stitch. This is where the large harp space and Free Hand System (FHS) were indispensable; I used both hands to maneuver my bulky project without ever having to pause and clumsily reorganize myself.

A red chair set up in front of a BERNINA sewing machine.
To maximize my sewing experience, I sit with my body centered in front of the needle. This allows my right leg to use the Free Hand System more easily.

My friends at BERNINA suggested I sew with my left foot on the foot control pedal. This allows my right leg to operate the Free Hand System (FHS) unencumbered. I have found it to be ergonomically superior to sewing with the right side of my body managing the foot pedal, FHS, making selections on the touch screen and holding onto my fabric. After a couple of projects, you’ll forget there was another way to do things.


An array of sewing machine accessories, including a small box of bobbins, a case full of sewing machine feet, two pincushions, and scissors.
I was thrilled to finally have a “Barbie” style accessories box of my own! I swapped out the racks it came with for 5.5mm racks, to display my collection of feet.


I’ve had the B 735 since February. I’ve sewn silk, cotton, linen, wool, rayon, and polyester, in every weight from georgette to coating. It has been a pleasure, and I know there is much more for me to learn. When I sit down to chat with my dealer, she provides me with tips and tricks. This blog contains a wealth of knowledge!  I’m looking forward to creating and growing with the B735 for years to come. 

And don’t worry, I keep my beloved B 153 QE clean and oiled. She’s ready to go if I ever need a backup, or if I entice a friend to come sew with me for the weekend. 

Let me know in the comments if you have questions about the B 735. I highly recommend testing one out at your local dealership – I’m confident you’ll fall in love. You can see and read about many of my sewing projects as well as fabric shopping guides on my blog, Buried Diamond, or on my Instagram, where I share a lot of my design and sewing process. 

Wishing you happy sewing, Martha

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8 comments on “Sewing Machine Review: First Impressions of the BERNINA 735”

  • A moment for this rolled hem!!

    You have convinced me to give sewing with my left foot a more dedicated try-it’s been hard to feel like a beginner in the muscle memory!

    • It might feel a little clumsy for the first few projects, but before long, your body will know to use your left foot. It is especially helpful for anything where you are pivoting your fabric often, or need to use both hands to arrange things, because it frees up your right leg to use the Free Hand System. It has improved my workflow and I love using the FHS more!

  • I am still sewing on my 153QE but have also been keeping an eye open for my next machine. I feel it’s inevitable that I’ll need a new machine one day. This one sounds perfect! I checked out the throat size because I’m a quilter. 10″ will feel huge! This sounds like a great machine!

    • I have such affection for the 153QE! Great machine. Overall the B735 is bigger and feels more powerful. Yes, lots of throat space and great lighting around the needle, too. I think you’d love this machine.

  • I just purchased the Bernina 535! I was never comfortable with the 9 mm capability of my 750 and intimidated. I guess I expected to “grow” in to it. But that didn’t happen. I don’t sew a lot, but when I do I want a beautifully constructed machine that will support me and highlight my efforts. My 535 does just that and has many of the same features as your bigger machine, but is “just right” for me.

    • Congrats on your new machine! Sounds like the B535 is the perfect fit for you. I tell everyone to take a test drive with a dealer. There are so many options available for every preference! So you may end up purchasing a slightly different model than you thought you would.

  • I still use the 153 QE, but had to have a repair to the bobbin area. Still waiting on it and sure miss it. Hope No one else has had this problem. Hope to get it back soon.
    Your description of the B735 sounds good. I will check with my dealer.

    • I’m glad you’re getting your 153QE repaired and I hope you are reunited soon so you can get back to sewing. A little maintenance can keep a machine going for years to come, so I’m glad you took in. If your dealer has a B735 available for a test drive, you might fall in love with it!

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