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  • What's So Special About the Old Berninas?

    Old 06-20-2018, 11:27 AM
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    SusieQOH's Avatar
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    I don't have an old Bernina but I have one made in Switzerland and my snob is coming out- I feel they are simply the best machines made. I wouldn't have anything else.
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    Old 06-20-2018, 02:22 PM
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    I have a Pfaff 262 I bought brand new in 1968 and it still purrs. When it comes to oiling, there is nothing I have to remove. There are red dots designating oil holes. It of course was made in Germany. I think that all of our all metal vintage machines made in Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, etc were the best ever. Also goes for the USA made Singers. Guess I will be the made in Germany snob, although I think all three of these European countries made the best machines.
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    Old 06-20-2018, 06:15 PM
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    Cloudsrest, your green Bernina sure is pretty!
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    Old 06-20-2018, 08:58 PM
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    Years ago when I put the test stitching pieces of fabric from my 201-2, My tan Brother Flairmatic, and my Pfaff 92(? I think that was the model) side by side there was no difference, they all made fantastic stitches. Like I said, it's all about perception. What we know, the machines we're familiar with, maybe grew up with, what we're used to, things we've heard or read, all play a part in our perception of different machines. Maybe I'm just a reverse snob because I'm not a fan of the expensive machines. But I'm not a fan of Morse machines either, so there you go.

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    Old 06-21-2018, 03:27 AM
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    When I had the rug business, I had 6 Berninas. Most of them were 1020 that had the needle up option which is what we used in production to sew the fabric together onto a 5 yard long, 3 inch wide strip to weave. I loved them because they would sew even sick. I was under a lot of pressure to get the rugs out and the little sewing machine was just one part of the whole process. When I sold the business, I kept one 1020.
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    Old 06-21-2018, 06:13 AM
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    No one mentioned the pricey attachments. To me that's an important consideration since I have had zero complaints about my Janome.
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    Old 06-21-2018, 06:56 AM
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    For the old Berninas the odd bargain accessory turns up now and then. I have only bought an extra wide feller foot for my Bernina, they tend to be well equipped to start with. I want the black latch CB bobbin case, and yes it's on the expensive side.

    For the stitch quality I know the issue is a real one and not one of perception. I agree the argument comes off as out of proportion and relation some times, but when it comes down to actually sewing it's very specific.

    One common issue is a bit finiky, but some of us insist on having each stitch perfectly arrow straight; which means it has something to do with getting the thread to interlock exactly in the layers of fabric, or it can look like they are slighly on an angle. It's generally more fine tuning regarding tension on light weight fabrics. It can have something to do with finding the right thread weight and needle for the job, as well as good quality. Some machines are easier to get right than others.

    All machines behave well with sew-all-weight thread, but as soon as you up the tread weight to top stitch, or fine thread, many start to misbehave. The difficult thing is often to get bobbin tension correct. All good machine will adjust, but some just don't do well what ever you do. I have to say, the vintage models do well in general when it comes to various thred weights, particularly the old straight stitchers.

    I know three different cases were a 28, a 128 and a 27 are fixed up for regular use, and they have turned out to be favorites for top sititching on heavier fabrics. I was surpised, since the bobbins doesn't hold much top stitch thread; but apparently they had an advantage for end result. The owners all have more than one or two capable machines on hand.

    Some models are easier for stitching in finer fabrics, not only straight stitchers with their small presser foot and single hole throat plate. Some models are much easier to get the neat zigzag, I have noticed this going from one machine to another; it has been cases were a particular fabric or seam has been a bit more challenging than usual. Some models are easier on the user than others; my 730 has generally been very forgiving regardless of what I do. My favorite 201 has been more fuzzy to get tension right (I guess I need a proper tension gauge for the bobbin case).
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    Old 06-22-2018, 05:37 PM
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    Don't like Berninas ,
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    Old 06-24-2018, 09:39 AM
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    Berninas are my favorite to work with. All of the servicable parts are easily accessible. And when I'm done servicing it, I know that it will serve it's owner very well for a long time to come. I feel confident that when the owner gets her machine home, she is going to LOVE sewing on her Bernina. If she damages the hook, I can pull it out of the machine and polish it. If she throws out the timing, I can put it back, and know that it will hold the timing setting better than most, because the metal is a very good quality. You'll know what I mean if you've ever tried to service a new Singer serger. We tell them up front, "we can re-set the timing, but it will just go out again, because the metal is poor quality, and can't hold a timing setting." I have one in the shop right now. It took 1 day for the timing to go out.

    It's true that the "Nylon Alloy" gears can crack. But they can be replaced. I think a machine that need a gear replaced once in 30 - 40 years of service, is pretty good.

    When we service a rotary hook machine, we don't expect to get a balanced zig-zag stitch. With an oscillating machine, like Bernina"s, we can always count on getting a quality stitch. You can see what I mean if you do a zig-zag stitch on an old Viking with a "floating rotary hook," or a middle aged Pfaff with a rotary hook. No matter what you do, it will look bad on the back of the fabric. Not so, with an oscillating hook. Even the Bernina rotary hooks, we don't expect a quality zig-zag stitch.

    Another plus with Bernina is the feed dog system. The feed dogs are made to come up fully level. Other machines come up at an angle -- low in the front and high in the back. So a Bernina feeds the fabric more efficiently than many machines.

    We have 30 year old Berninas that come into the shop that have NEVER been serviced. And the owner is an avid sew-er. It's been sewing just fine all these years, and all she needs to do is clean the bobbin area and put a little oil on it occasionally.

    I own 4 Bernina machines, and I love and depend on them, every day.
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    Old 06-24-2018, 12:38 PM
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    On my old 730 there's a speed switch on the motor, it's handy some times.
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