Dot and her ol' Bernina

Old 01-24-2020, 05:09 PM
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Default Dot and her ol' Bernina

I hope this isn't too self-indulgent, but anyway...
Some may have noticed my plaintive pleas of help regarding my Bernina KL117 and Bernina 540. My recent enthusiasm occurred when after about 35 years I re-discovered the dusty old 117 in the 'barn'. My brother had used this machine to make upholstery when he lived here in Australia back in the 70's.
The Bernina tugged my heartstrings because it immediately brought to mind the image of my dear departed ol' mum, Dot, at her Bernina with reading glasses perched on the end of her nose, turning out sewn masterpieces. (Perhaps with a G&T close at hand!)

Dot taught at Croydon Art College, England, in the Fashion Design department, and for some years made the Vogue England cover photo 'star' garments. Bernard Cassel was head of department at Croydon at the time, and was a distinguished fashion designer who ran his own Couture establishment in London for some time. A great, outrageous, hilarious character!

We used to say that Dot could just look at a person, and cut a perfect pattern for their dress without even measuring.
Back in the day, (we're talking 1960's 'Swinging London'), I was swanning around Chelsea and Carnaby street, heavily into the blossoming design/fashion scene. At one stage I did (under Dot's firm guidance), manage to make a pair of trousers, though I remember having all sorts of trouble with the fly/zipper area!

Dot's machine of choice was of course, the Bernina. Here's one of hers (anyone identify what model this is?) I seem to remember another industrial machine in the workroom too. Brother Daz has recently got this thing out and got it running. How nice that Dot's machine is warm and lives again. And after 50 years or so, my enthusiasm is re-kindled, though I must confess more now, from a mechanical fascination, than the sewing.






Attached Thumbnails dotsberninaopt.jpg  
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Old 01-24-2020, 06:16 PM
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I don't know about Berninas, but thank you for sharing about your mom and her seeing expertise. What a treasure!
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Old 01-25-2020, 05:00 AM
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I've followed your posts about the Bernina with interest and both my husband and I were great Benny Hill fans back in the day.
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Old 01-25-2020, 05:36 AM
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I love the story about this machine. You told it well. I can't help with the sewing machine model but this machine has a beautiful history.
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Old 01-25-2020, 05:59 AM
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What a delightful memory. I loved your story. I also dearly love my Bernita!😁
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Old 01-25-2020, 07:04 AM
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It may be an 840, (842?) made from ca 1970 and probably a year or two into the 80s. It's probably close to an 840 at least, but it's missing the stitch pattern selection on top. There should be a model number some where, on the inside of the column where the stitch length/width knobs are, maybe on the side under the hand wheel.

Last edited by Mickey2; 01-25-2020 at 07:10 AM.
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Old 01-25-2020, 02:20 PM
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Mickey, you mentioned the missing stitch pattern selector on the top when referring to Dot's Bernina.
On my 540 that selector lever is stuck in the normal stitch position, it won't move to the 1-12 positions. Yes I know the lever is pushed to the right to move it. I've moved the other lever and tried various things to no avail. Any ideas? The 540 is now hotwired (don't try this at home!), and purrs like a kitten and sews very nicely now. Quite fast too. Very satisfying.
Cheers, Jools.

(Thanks for the kind words everyone).

Last edited by joolstacho; 01-25-2020 at 02:21 PM. Reason: Addition
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Old 01-25-2020, 05:20 PM
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I would keep on oiling and wiggeling parts involved, inspecting carefully, maby even use a hair dryer for a bit of heat. Be careful with the plastic gear that turns the cam stack. I think that's the only plastic parts on the 540. That's all I can think of at the moment.
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