Introducing the BERNINA L 860: An Air Threading Overlocker

I think I am going to expose a few shameful sewing secrets in this post.  But it’s all in the name of proclaiming the virtues of a great machine.  So don’t judge me too hard. 

How I Started with the BERNINA L 860 

I will admit that I was one of those sewers that shy’d away from knits! I was a woven person through and through because I could do it on my sewing machine alone! When I got my first serger, though intimidated, I learned to thread it and get working. Sadly I did not learn much more than that for a long time. My serger would be how I finished my seams ONLY! Even knits, I would sew them first with a zig-zag on my sewing machine then move over to finish the edges on the serger. Even as I got more proficient that would be how I operated in my sewing room.  I avoided rethreading my machine, so everything was finished in a basic neutral color (a habit that is hard to break).  I would only stick with the basic stitches worried I wouldn’t be able to achieve the stitch quality I like again. Well, I am happy to say all that has now changed due to the BERNINA L 860!

Creating with the BERNINA L 860

Before getting the L 860, I had the wonderful opportunity to test out the BERNINA L 890 and once I plugged it in and turned it on, I knew I was entering into a whole new sewing world! The same can be said of the L 860.  This serger was truly love at first stitch for me and has totally changed how I approach knits.  Before, I always saw sewing knits as a chore, worried about wavy stitching or figuring out where I needed to place the fabric to hit my desired seam allowance. Many of those worries went out the window with the L 860 and I want to share a few of my favorite features with you.  

One-step Bernina Air Threader

  • I can’t tell you how much the air threader has changed my life!!! I now have fun with the thread I use because switching threads takes a minute or two instead of five to six. Threading my L 860 is almost as fast as threading my B 830 with its automatic needle threader! Now I spend more time choosing the thread I want for creative purposes, instead of only changing the thread if I absolutely have to.  

Built-in Sewing Modes

  • When I first started using a serger I knew It could probably do more than what I was using it for, but without seeing the step-by-step process, I always stayed away from exploring out of fear of messing up the stitch I use the most.  With the built-in Guided mode, I took time to explore. No need to worry about getting lost or confused, it tells you what to do step by step. I never knew I could love instructional animations more. From how to set up particular stitches to correspond with a fabric, to trying all the stitches on a machine, it’s like you have a teacher at your fingertips, I feel it truly has made me a better sewist.  

Ease of Use

  • Not necessarily a feature but a luxury I couldn’t forget.  The L 860 is such a smooth-running machine!.  Previously I always had my serger sitting on blocks of cork to make sure it doesn’t walk across my table. That worry never crossed my mind with the L 860. Its heft and smoothness are indicative of that BERNINA quality we have come to know and love. It is already a well-loved addition to my sewing room.  

Quick and Easy Wardrobe Builder

The L 860 has in many ways changed how I sew as well to fit more of my life today. I still work from home so my work wardrobe requires things to be comfy and preferably stretchy (dang doughnuts). I find myself sewing up more sweaters, T-shirts, and polos to wear every day rather than the woven button-ups I have preferred for years.  In this instance, I was able to use this great rainbow stripe fabric from So Sew English with a unisex Simplicity pattern to make a great T-shirt that I know I will make more of in fun, bold knits! I quickly changed my thread to variegated rainbow thread to coordinate and had this shirt made in about an hour and a half. I could focus on matching stripes rather than worry about whether I have a good stitch with the right seam allowance. It is as if this machine has ignited my creativity in new and inventive ways.

For all those sewists who are a little scared or intimidated by sergers/overlockers, this might be the machine for you! With the air threader, color touch display, and easy-to-use Guided and Expert modes, anyone could quickly learn how to use this machine to make their own well-crafted creations. I can’t wait to share more of my creations with you soon.

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2 comments on “Introducing the BERNINA L 860: An Air Threading Overlocker”

  • Great article! I enjoyed the reading about your “in the box” use of the serger, I was the same way. The screen guide is a huge stress reliever, and I now don’t hesitate switching up stitches. My life has taken a similar path of sewing/serging more knits! Tho I sew mostly for my grandkids now who prefer the comfort of knit fabrics over wovens. Hope to see more articles from this author.
    Thank you!

  • Love the article! I too am afraid of my serger! I am glad your aren’t anymore! I may have to add this serger to my wish list! Thanks again for the good article and information! 🙂

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