Bernina Bernette 334D Serger Review

Bernina Bernette 334D Serger Review
Bernina Bernette 334D Serger Review
Author
Users
  • Stitch quality
  • Speed
  • Ease of use
  • Maintenance
Beginner
Intermediate
Competent – can make different clothing items without assistance or guidance, but not good enough to sew intricate projects or to sew without a pattern.
Expert
Expert – can sew anything without instruction or assistance; possesses an expansive knowledge of sewing techniques and terminology.

Introduction

When people know you sew, they give you all sorts of things. This reviewer has received fabric, elastic, spools and cones of thread and boxes full of zippers, bias tape, hem tape and trims.

Someone even gave us a bag full of buttons of all shapes and sizes. Don’t laugh. That bag of buttons has saved many a blouse, handmade stuffed animal and suit jacket. You’d be surprised how often I’ve been able to find the perfect accent button in that grab bag.

Recently, someone gave us a Bernina Bernette 334D serger. It wasn’t brand new, but it was in great condition.

Bernina Bernette 334D Serger

Bernina Bernette 334D Serger

Incredible as it may seem, after sewing since elementary school, we had never touched a serger before. Needless to say, it was quite an experience.

For years, we trimmed seams and added overcast or overlock stitches on our sewing machines. With the addition of a serger to our sewing room, we had a machine that did the work for us while simultaneously sewing a perfect seam.

Pros

  • 3 or 4 thread operation
  • Two different stitch lengths
  • Good for beginner sergers
  • Adjustable presser foot pressure to accommodate different fabric thicknesses

Cons

  • Significant learning curve for people new to sergers

At A Glance

The Bernina Bernette 334D has a built in molded carrying handle that is part of the body. A telescoping rod that can be raised to facilitate threading and operation lowered for storage and easy moving about.

Each of the four tension dials has a graphic at the center which displays the way finished stitches should look when the tension is set properly.

Bernette 334d Tension Dials

Bernette 334d Tension Dials

Dials on the right side regulate the differential feed and stitch length and width. The color coded threading guide is clearly marked.

Features

The Bernina Bernette 334D comes with the following standard features:

  • Color coded thread guide
  • Ability to sew with 2, 3 or 4 threads and 1 or 2 needles
  • Adjustable stitch length and width
  • Seam guide
  • Differential feed
  • Adjustable presser foot pressure

Working on the Bernina Bernette 334D Serger

The first step in setting up the Bernina Bernette 334D is to raise the telescoping thread rod to its highest level. Our first real challenge in setting up this Bernina serger was learning how to thread this brand new toy.

After all, we are quite adept at threading sewing machines with only one needle and one bobbin. Occasionally, we even use a double needle, but FOUR different threads??? For some strange reason, this intimidated us.

Color Coded Chart on the Bernina 334d serger

Color Coded Chart on the Bernina 334d

Thankfully the Bernette 334D serger has a color coded chart stamped behind the looper cover door to help make simplify the threading process. It took a little while for us to figure out how to open the panel, but we attribute that to unexplained temerity.

The instruction manual we downloaded clearly tells the user to slide the looper cover opening knob to the right to open the drop down door. Once that hurdle was cleared, we settled our nerves and got down to business.

The first time we treaded the Bernina Bernette 334D, we were able to begin to understand how sergers work. The simple step by step instructions in the owner’s manual, coupled with the color chart inside the looper cover make what appears to be an extremely complicated task as easy as possible.

Anytime you work with four threads for the very first time, the process can’t be overly simple, but the manual and chart were very helpful in demystifying the whole thing.

The Bernina 334D serger comes with extra needles, tweezers, a lint brush and a threading wire, which make it quite helpful when trying to get through the complicated threading process.

Unfortunately, the threading wire was missing from this particular machine, but we substituted it with a conventional needle threader which did the job rather nicely.

The swing out presser foot makes threading the needles a lot less complicated than if it were stationary. By being able to move the presser foot out of the way, treading the needles went from being a challenging task to being a piece of cake.

Simply because we had never taken on a serger before and wanted to get a clear understanding of its workings before attempting to use our new toy, we chose to practice threading our Bernina 334D with four different colors of thread.

Doing this was not only helpful in helping us learn how to thread the machine, it was also helpful for us to understand how the whole serging process takes place.

We found this video on Youtube that gives you a quick look at how the Bernina 334d works:

After threading the Bernette 334D several times, we decided to play with several different thicknesses of fabric and different types of threads in order to get the hang of adjusting the presser foot and tension on a serger.

The presser foot adjustment screw rests on top of the Bernina Bernette 334D serger. Turning the dial left or right increases or decreases the amount of pressure that is applied through the presser foot. This feature is ideal for working with extra thick or very fine fabrics.

We didn’t think adjusting the tension on a serger would be much different from setting the tension on a sewing machine, but four tension dials meant making adjustments in the way we never looked at tension adjustment before.

One of the perks of starting with the Bernina Bernette 334D serger is that each tension knob has an illustration of the thread it controls and how that particular thread should look when the tension is set properly. In addition, the owner’s manual devotes an entire section to teaching users how to set the tension dials for all sorts for fabrics and threads.

Bernette 334d Needle Thread

Bernette 334d Needle Thread

However, we need to try everything for ourselves in order to understand how things work on the very basic levels. For starters, we tried a knit fabric and cotton, serger thread.

Just for the sake of experimentation, we set all of the tension dials at 9, the highest setting. As expected, the needle threads broke.

Quite honestly, we were a bit surprised the lower looper threads didn’t break as well. After re-threading yet again, we were able to find the perfect tension adjustment with just a little bit of maneuvering and things went smoothly.

As we changed threads and fabrics, we realized that adjusting the tension on the Bernina Bernette 334D was actually quite easily – even without referring to the table in the owner’s manual.

The next step was to actually sew something on the Bernina Bernette 334D. To our pleasant surprise, we were able to finish all of the seams in a simple knit dress and matching jacket in less than fifteen minutes.

Working on the seams of a simple knit dress

Working on the seams of a simple knit dress

We chose to do the finishing work on our conventional sewing machine and by hand, but if we had decided to finish our new ensemble on the Bernette 334D, we certainly could have.

The owner’s manual clearly shows the user how to hem on this machine. Optional components include a roll hem attachment that can be purchased separately from the manufacturer.

The easy to read seam guide is conveniently situated on the very front of the Bernette 334D, making it as simple as possible to get a perfect seam every single time.

The Bernina Bernette 334D serger also has an adjustable stitch length feature that is preset at 2.5 millimeters. If necessary, the stitch length can be changed to suit the requirements of your particular project from one millimeter to five millimeters.

The only thing that really didn’t excite us about working on this Bernina serger was the mess from all of the fabric clippings falling onto the floor. We learned from reading the owner’s manual that the Bernina Bernette 334D originally came with a waste receptacle bag, but that particular item didn’t make it to our house.

We are certainly not looking a gift horse in the mouth, but if you have white ceramic tile floors like we do, you must be prepared to sweep and mop your floor every single time you use the Bernette 334D.

We really like this machine, so setting it aside and not using it is not an option. This is the reason we came up with the idea to make a device using Velcro to attach it to our Bernette 334D.

This way we will be able to catch all of the clippings that fall off as we’re sewing. The only other option is to constantly stop to clear away the clippings while I’m working.

Replacing the light bulb is as simple as turning off the power, unscrewing the light bulb from its housing and replacing it with a 15 watt bulb.

The owner’s manual has detailed instructions for replacing the upper and lower knives, complete with schematic drawings. The knives, however, are made from cemented carbide and do not need to be replaced under normal use. If a blade should be chipped, however, a replacement can be purchased from a local Bernina dealer.

Fabrics

  • Natural fibers/cotton-linen-wool
  • Fine fabrics/silk-satin-taffeta/velvet
  • Knits
  • Synthetic fabrics/blends-rayon-polyester
  • Upholstery
  • Leather/suede
  • Fur
  • Canvas/Twill
  • Extra thick fabrics or multiple layers

Accessories

Although the owner’s manual was not included with this gift, we were able to download one at the Bernina website.

According to the owner’s manual, the accessories that were included with the original Bernina Bernette 334D included a molded plastic waste receptacle, a lower knife, and a vinyl cover with a pocket which contained two screwdrivers, an oil feeder, four spool retainers.

Bernina Bernette 334d Accessories

Bernina Bernette 334d Accessories

Also included were extra needles, a lint brush, tweezers and a needle threader which were stored in specially designed compartments inside the lower looper cover.

When we received our gift, the spool retainers were already in place. However, the original vinyl cover, oil feeder, needle threader, waste receptacle and screwdrivers were not included.

Not to fear. This small inconvenience is easily remedied. We used this very serger to make our own cover and a cloth waste receptacle which can be attached to the machine with Velcro.

Our cover is much different however. This customized cover is made of a colorfully durable quilted fabric that allows our personality to shine through and sport a fancy trim.

Unlike the plain vinyl cover that originally came with our Bernina Bernette 334D, our cover also includes an opening for the carrying handle – which, according to the drawing in the owner’s manual, was not a feature of the original cover.

Since we already have an oil feeder and a complete set of sewing machine screw drivers, the pocket is not really necessary, but we might added one anyway… just in case we find a need for one sometime in the future.

Besides, we could use the pocket to store the waste bag when we are not using our Bernina 334D serger.

Maintenance







After each useMonthly*Once Each Year**As Needed
Clean loopers and feed dogs
Wipe head with soft dry cloth
Wipe head with soft damp cloth
Lubricate
Service by sewing machine repair professional

* more often if the machine is used for extended periods of time or if used frequently/Typically after 100 hours of use

**more often if the machine is used heavily or if it is not operating properly

Conclusion

The Bernina Bernette 334D serger is one of the best gifts we ever received. Although our sewing buddies had advised us to purchase a serger many years ago, we resisted, believing we could accomplish the same results with our zigzag sewing machines.

Unbeknownst to us, having a serger in our sewing room makes all the difference in the world. There are so many things we can do with our Bernina Bernette 334D that we couldn’t do at all; and the things that we could do with the sewing machine would have meant spending hours doing what can now be done in just a few minutes.

The fact that we don’t have a waste bag is a small inconvenience. The vinyl cover was lost long before this Bernina Bernette 334D ever came into our possession.

The cover that was included with our gift is quite literally falling apart. Now that we are hooked on serging, and planning numerous serger projects that will keep us and our Bernina 334D busy for several weeks.

The news about our recent awakening to the world of serging is a big joke with all of our sewing buddies. After all, they have been trying to get us to serge for years and now here we are… happily serging away, whipping up clothes and accessories at a whirlwind pace.

That’s OK with us. Let them laugh. Better late than never, right?

34 Comments

  1. I just bought this serger on Saturday and LOVE it! I have never even touched a serger before and got the hang of it pretty quickly. I can’t wait to start my first project!

    • Vernelle, love your site. May I join in. Thanks.
      Jan Scott in Wetumpka, AL.

      • Hello, Jan –

        Welcome to Sewing Insight.

        I am delighted that you want to ‘join in’. Please feel free to do so at any time and invite your friends as well.

        Happy Stitching!

        • Hi, I am new to this machine as I just bought it off eBay. This evening I had my first trial. After threading it up I sewed a sample which seemed fine. Getting used to the tension adjusters will I’m sure give me the perfect stitch… eventually. However, I noticed that the two stitch conversion attachment (little screw three top) was missing. Is this crucial? Do you know where can I buy one from? The seller says she hasn’t got it

  2. I too received this machine as a gift but did not come with manual. Purchased one through download but never received it. Can’t get a hold of anyone at company so i lost my money. Where did you buy the manual?

    • Stacey and Maria – If you have still not yet received manuals for your 334D, you may want to go to the Bernina site. For some reason, the manual for the 334D isn’t available, but you can download a manual for the 234D. http://www.bernina.com/en-US/Support-5/Out-of-Print-Manuals-us/Sergers-Overlockers-us It is very close to the 334D. In fact, the only real difference I noticed is the fact that the 334D has adjustable stitch length and width controls on the right side.

      • I have an original manual for the Bernina Bernette 334D/334DS if you’d like it. I always scan them in to have a back-up in case I lose it, and so I’ve got it as a PDF. I just realized the biggest difference between the D and DS is that with the D, which I have, you can’t do any of the 2 thread stitches and I’m so bummed. I may have to upgrade machines. :(

        • I just purchased this serger, but it didn’t have a manual. Would it be possible to get the pdf. that you made of the manual from you? I am so excited to learn all about it!
          Thank you.

        • I’ve just been given a 334DS with no manual. If
          I could have a copy of your pdf I would be most
          grateful.

          Hope you can help me!
          Thanks, Val

        • I just got the Bernette 334D from my mother, but she lost the manual. Can you please send me the pdf that you made?
          Thank you. Christel

        • This is to update my previous comment:
          I have the manual for a 334DS/S. I’m in search of the original 334D Manual if anyone has it. And, for those needing the manual for the Bernette 334DS / S I’ve uploaded it here in 2 parts because it’s huge…
          Part 1: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxiTJH6ZnyhxS2FMUGh1RzBrR0k/edit?usp=sharing
          Part 2:
          https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxiTJH6ZnyhxczlFam5tSDVVZzg/edit?usp=sharing

        • Really need a manual if you can send it. You were smart to scan it. Thanks so much. Lafcmoss@comcast.net

          Christie

  3. I’ve had one of these exact sergers for years and still LOVE it! Just wanted to let you know that the roll hem option is built in rather than some special attachment one must buy. There’s a sliding lever by the cutting blade- I can see it in your photos. Slide it forward to get the usual overlock stitch to rollhem along with a few other adjustments that I’d be happy to tell you just as soon as I find my manual :D That’s why I’m online… looking for the settings so I can finish this dang skirt with a rollhem. Unless, of course, there’s some kind of additional device that rollhems as well in which case I need to find one. Thanks, great article!

  4. Maria, if you want to send my an email, I will send you a scanned copy of my manual (sagrantz@yahoo.com).

    • Hello Stacey, I have just buied a bernette 334D but the owner didn’t have the manual, I will send you an e-mail to ask you for a copy of your pdf! Thank you in advance!!

    • Hej Stacy, jeg har lige fået en go men brugt maskine, men manualen manglede, så hvis du har tid, vil jeg også gerne have en kopi af dig. Min mail adr er : mjpsommerhus@live.dk , go weekend, kh fra Marianne

  5. Bonnie – Thanks a million for the tips. I really appreciate them. I’ve been doing a lot more on the serger since I first wrote that review. I’m loving it more and more each day.

    As for the manual… Stacey, if you are willing do share, you can upload it at manualsonline.com, a service that enables us to share manuals free of charge.

    Thanks to all of you for visiting Sewing Insight. I look forward to sharing much more with you in the days to come.

    Happy Stitching.

  6. I am looking at buying one of these and wondering if it has a retractable knife? Do you know? Thank you!

  7. Emily –

    Thank you for visiting Sewing Insight.

    I have been working on this machine for well over a year now. Although I am not yet what I would call and ‘expert’ serger, I am certain that the knife on this one is not retractable. Another review of the owner’s manual confirms this fact.

    I will say that the more I use this serger, the happier I am with it. Having a knife that isn’t retractable might be a slight drawback, but if the price is right, I wouldn’t let that little detail stop me.

    Happy serging!

  8. Does anyone know how to set the timing on the Bernette 334D? Is it worth spending $130.00 at a shop to get this done? And lastly what is the value of this machine? Not sure what direction to take at the moment!!!! Thanks for any ideas!

  9. Jean –

    Thank you for visiting Sewing Insight.

    Setting the timing on a sewing machine or serger is a very precise task.I often advise people to do a lot of minor repairs on their own. However, if you are not adept at things like re-setting timing or have a friend who has completed training as a certified sewing machine repair professional, my recommendation is that you pay to have it done the right way. Otherwise, you will continue to have problems with your serger.

    I actually have the same situation with one of my machines… and I DO have a friend who completed a sewing machine repair course. I had her take a look at it. She diagnosed the problem and we agreed that I should have it repaired by a professional.

    As for resale value… I saw one on e-bay for less than $50. The decision is yours… repair your Bernette 334D and continue to use it or practically give it away because it needs a repair. Two things are certain: 1-You can’t buy a new one for $130; and 2- Selling it will not bring in enough money to cover the price of a brand new serger.

  10. just got mine from a garage sale. It is a tough learning curve. Would love to get a manual as well…mine did not come with one and I think I damaged my blades by hitting it with some pins…yiks. HOw do you know if you knicked the blade??

  11. Lorna –

    Thank you for visiting Sewing Insight. If you hit pins it’s a pretty safe assumption that you have damaged at least one of your blades.

    You will most definitely have to take your 334D in for servicing. I suggest you contact your local sewing machine repair professional or possibly an authorized Bernina/Bernette dealer or repair facility. There is a difference. The personnel at most sewing machine repair shops are qualified to work on all brands. Some, however, are authorized by specific manufacturers. You can find them on the website of the company that made your machine.

    When I got mine, I took it to the same place where I have my sewing machines serviced. The staff checked it out, cleaned it and was very helpful in showing me how to thread my new acquisition as well as how to use and care for my 334D. It was well worth the investment of time and money.

    Most Bernina/Bernette dealers have sewing clubs. If you really want to master all that your 334D can do, you may want to look into joining one in your area.

    Happy Stitching.

    • Thanks for the fast reply. Is there a way you can tell if you damaged your blades other than the obvious…not cutting fabric. If I get the manual do you think I can try and do it myself??

  12. I have had one of these for years and although I don’t do a lot of sewing its great to have handy. Makes finishing off seams etc so much easier.
    I remember when I got mine, back in the dark ages, we were shown how to make ruffles. my manual says I need a gathering attachment but there’s no picture so don’t know if I’ve got one or not. Does anyone know what this looks like, or if I can gather with the standard foot?

  13. Dear Helen –

    Thank you for visiting Sewing Insight.

    I didn’t receive any of the presser feet with my Bernette 334D. However, the Bernina website not only shows pictures of the different server/overlocker presser feet, it also has video tutorials on how to use them.

    I hope this link is helpful. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pnTd-StUZ6Q&list=PL94245165A393DA5E&index=54

    Happy Stitching.

  14. I’ve owned this serger when Zuba pants were in! I sewed many a t-shirt, as well as tank tops, scarves, etc….my friend did the same on this machine. It’s worked well. My only problem is threading it….I really hate that! It’s a great machine!!!It’s gotten lots of use and required very little work.

  15. I am very sad. I just took my 334D in for repair and it can’t be fixed. There’s a plastic disc inside and once it is cracked and broken–due to the age of the machine–they don’t get very many parts for them.

    In the meantime, I loved mine. I had a costume design business and for constructing leotards and unitards, this machine was a Godsend.

    Keep working with it…you’ll get it in no time.

  16. I have the 334DS and the book says the presser foot swings out. How????? I have tried pulling, pushing to the side and it doesn’t move.

    Would appreciate advise
    Thanks

    • Lift the presser foot like normal. Then, lift it just a bit more with your left hand, and with your right hand you can push the presser foot out to the left a bit. You’ve got to click it back in place before you begin to serge again.

  17. I have the 334D, also a gift from a friend. It’s been working beautifully but when I attempted to open the looper cover, it will not budge. It was working fine last time I used it; it’s been covered and no one else has touched it so I’m at a loss to understand what has happened. Does anyone have any ideas about what may be wrong?

  18. I found this review helpful. Just need some clarification under the Fabrics segment. The fabrics with “x” means it is not suitable for use with this machine?

    Thanks.

  19. There is no real instruction to use same quality thread on all four cones, makes for confusion if using cotton and acryl cones together. The four threading “knobs”have the sewn seam upside down printed on them, the cut side faces left on tge knobs, but right on the actual sewn seam, it took me ages to realise that one. I was advised by the seller to thread first the “blue” and then the “red” coloured thread, makes a lot of easier threading. Lastly, turn by hand the “sewing” knob till the threads are at least 5 inches behind and pressed down by the [ressure foot.

  20. My 334DS was given to me by my husband as a total surprise Christmas gift when he left for Desert Storm a few weeks before the birth of our daughter. I made 18-20 zuba. pants for our sons & many nieces & nephews that winter, & cosmetic bags, camo zipper bags, a bow case, & lots more while learning. I have put a drop of oil as shown on this machine every time I used it for over 23 years. It had its first servicing a few years ago because the thread rack was damaged when a hurricane damaged our home. I duct-taped it for a season but finally took it in. The Bernina shop owner said not to trade it for anything; he said it is still running perfectly due to the daily dose of oil. This week the
    tensions became internally off. #1 is like #9, very tight. We took apart the tension dial and reset the worst one and it kept serging. But it is producing a
    wavy lower looper thread and a non perfect looking rolled hem. I took it in for its 2nd service today.

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