Saturday, March 19, 2011

Berny is a beauty!

Berny is still a beauty, more than 
30 years on ...
This morning, I cleaned up my recently acquired vintage Bernina 830. It has been sitting in storage for sometime, so it needed a little sponge bath and some gentle brushing around the bobbin. I was thrilled when I eased it out of its fire engine red hard case. You see, we had met once before long ago.
I loved this machine when it came out when I was in high school -- quite a while ago. I couldn't afford it then.
I remember watching a demo of the built-in stitches at the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) in Toronto and being transfixed. I even got to try it, and when I did, it actually hummed happily along. Amazing!
A few months before that 1977 demo, I had been given a Singer 514 Stylist for my 16th birthday. It amazed me because it could do a zigzag stitch.
To acquire this zigzag wonder, my parents traded in my grandmother's 1935 classic black Singer. I learned to sew on that machine. My grandfather had purchased the kit to motorize it from its previous incarnation as a treadle machine. It was a beautiful machine, but threading the bobbin was something of a nightmare, and changing it meant that you had to almost crawl under it. The light bulb cover got really hot (it was an after-market addition as well). I once sustained a mega burn on my wrist while making a pair of pants. 
The 514 was a workhorse and never burned me. It gave up the ghost about seven years ago, I have it still, but I need to get it in to a technician.
The Christmas the year my machine died, my mom gave me a new Brother machine. It is the one I use now. I like it. It does lots of things, has built in stitches, and it has all the quilting features, including a large quilting bed that snaps into the side. It is light and easily portable in its pink wheelie case. It is also largely made of plastic.

Trying out all those patterns!
But now I have Berny. It hums the way I remember the model did during my demo experience long ago. It does all those cool patterns, and it is completely made of metal. It is heavy.
However, it doesn't bounce all around like my Brother machine. Did I mention the humming?
We are still getting to know each other, but I think we will get along just fine -- as soon as I learn what all nine of those feet do.


  1. I'm so glad that you will give Berny a good home... and hope he gives you many many years of sewing joy! The Bernina '30s are the bomb!

  2. What a beauty! I hope that Berny is more well behaved than my Stitch B***h. Cant' wait to see what you make with her.


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