Friday, November 14, 2014

Bye Bye Bernina

I sold my first Bernina Record 730, almost as traumatic as selling the Singer Featherweight. There are some sewing machines that you really like and can appreciate why they are valuable and even collectible. The Singer 221, know at the Featherweight, was just such an experience for me: it was a smooth run, lightweight, adorable sewing machine, and had the fun-factor, too. I understand why people like to use them and, partly due to their small size, are collectible. Now to the Bernina Record series: I've only have the 730 and 817, the Minimatic, but they produce such fine stitches! They also have a kinda cool look with their two-tone green finish, specialized feet, and those accessory containers that have their own drawer system.

Bernina 730 with storage drawers on right
But (and there's always a but) they sound a bit "off" to me. It's not just the one I'm selling but I've had two of the 730's plus the 817 it is the same: a bit of a growl to my ears. This spoils the experience, the process of making something, on this sewing machine. Then I look at the outcome and I just have to close my complaining mouth when I see what it can produce. It reminds me that sometimes you might wonder if your sewing skills would be even better with an upgrade in tools, like a higher end sewing machine, and with Bernina I think this might be so. Here's the stitch sample (again):

Bernina Record 730: so fine!
What is not to like about this? It is perfection! Even when I've stitched with one color on top and another for the bobbin, the tension adjustment is near perfect with all of the color on each side and I didn't have to experiment with adjusting the tension. Yes, this does improve the grade on your sewing.

So my first Bernina went on Craigslist on Sunday and I got a text in a few hours. In less than 48 hours it was packed into another car to live at someone else's home. Denise said she grew up on a Bernina Record 730, had two of them, and desired for her daughter to start sewing on such a fine sewing machine. I think even if her daughter didn't take up sewing Denise would be happy to have a third at her house. It was fun to discuss all their features with someone who had used one all of her life and that it was almost $500 when it was bought new. Mine is dated 1970 on the manual and I know $500 was a whole lot of money at the time, way more than it is today. I was glad this sewing machine was going to someone who really knew what she was getting and glad to be connected with one.

Leaving already?

Before you start to feel too sorry for me, I have to say that I was willing to sell this one because I still have the other Bernina Record 730, even if it currently has a few problems. The light switch is broken so there is no built-in light but you can easily add your own LED light for better illumination. I have already replaced one of the belts and now it persists in smoking when run at regular, not low, speed. The armature in the motor has already been cleaned but it still puts out a small plume of white smoke. Would it go away if I kept running it? Possibly. I think I should try making a few items with it to keep testing and working out the problems. This model has a walking foot so I can try this out with my quilting projects I'm trying to get done for the next craft fair.Or maybe my mother-in-law needs a new winter outfit? I have a lovely piece of green and cream wool plaid that would make a nice jumper for her along with a piece of cream knit for a top.

Green plaid jumper and cream for top with patterns

I could use one of my sergers for the top and the Bernina with the walking foot for the matching of the plaid. Where there's a will there is a way!


Michelle said...

I picked up a Viking one time, probably about the same age of your Bernina. I was playing with it one night, and white smoke came pouring out of it. It didn't smell like burning though. It was a thick, heavy white smoke, I unplugged it and it kept pouring out, but I still couldn't smell anything. I took it out the back door and left it there until it quit smoking. The next day I took it to a Viking dealer. I dropped it off and he told me to come back in a half hour or so. I did. When I came back, he gave it back, and said it was fine. He had put something heavy on the foot control and let it run for the entire time I was gone. No smoke. It was fine. Remember when we were growing up? Remember when we were supposed to turn off the TV when vacuuming because it made the tv all fuzzy and when mixers and sewing machines affected the tv too? Well, Viking put some kind of thing in the sewing machines to eliminate the 'interference'. I wonder if Bernina did too? Maybe you should contact a Bernina dealer and ask. Maybe your 'interference' part is dying like mine did. I ended up selling my Viking and never heard from them again, it must still be ok.

Karen said...

Great story, Michelle, and you are right, there were capacitors that do go bad and I have seen them pop in Vikings, too. A certified Bernina technician was the one who cleaned the armature and said it was fine now so I'm still going to give it a workout and see if it stops smoking!

Sue MacLeod said...

Anyone know anything about the vintage bernina 610