This Bernina isn’t a new machine as it is pushing 25 years old, perhaps dated a little because it does not have a big computer screen but as far as modern machines go, the electric- mechanical Berninas are pretty wonderful, and less glitchy than their computerized counterparts.
Bernina owners can be a little fanatical and it is not hard to see why, these machines are very user friendly and as an example, when you select a stitch the machine sets the length and width, and tells you what foot to use for the specific work. The needle up / down is a wonderful feature and is controlled by the pedal, requiring a heel tap
My Husqvarna 1090 is a little newer and would have to say I prefer the cleaner lines and like the Bernina, all the buttons might seem intimidating but the machine is very good at pre-setting and also lets you know what foot to use.
The 1090 is a little smoother than the Bernina, (being a rotary machine) and it’s stitching is also superb, it is also very easy to use if you have ever used a sewing machine.
I have long been a fan of Kenmore machines, particularly the Maruzen made machines of the early to mid seventies as their build quality and performance really were on par with, and often exceeded that of their European competition. When Singer’s quality started to decline in the late 60’s and 70’s Sears really upped their game and came to produce some of the best machines on the market.
One of the gems in their series were the portable 158.10xx machines which ranged from the simplest 158.1020 to the 158.1060 which had the most features, stitch range, and a free arm.
The thing that made these machines great was the fact that they were compact, just as powerful as their full sized stable mates, extremely well made, and once packed in their lovely little cases, the carry weight is about the same as a Singer Featherweight.
After acquiring the European Jaguarmate model (pictured) we decided to sell our 158.1030 and 158.1045 and upon offering them up they only lasted minutes as they are an extremely desirable and sought after machine, with the 158.1045 probably being the rarest in the series as it was only made in 1976.
The Maruzen Jaguarmate F3 is a dual voltage model and aside from this and aesthetic changes, it is the same as the Kenmore 158.1060. My belief is that Sears designed these machines and then Maruzen got licensing to sell and distribute these machines in Europe under a number of different badges / brands.
They were also sold as a Frister and Rossman Cub in the UK, as “Privileg” in Germany, while the Jaguar was made for the European Asian market.. Jaguar is the market name for Maruzen made machines.
There might be other contenders for the greatest portable machine ever (Elna Lotus ?) but to me the features, build quality, and performance of these little Japanese machines is nearly impossible to beat.
Here is a great blog article on the series that I found to be very well written and informative.