Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Bernina Meme

It's sewing machine month at Sew Mama Sew, and they are asking for reflections on your machine. Here's my meme:

What brand and model do you have?
A vintage Bernina 830

How long have you had it?
A few years

How much does that machine cost (approximately)?
One is listed on eBay for $400

What types of things do you sew (i.e. quilting, clothing, handbags, home dec projects, etc.)? Mostly clothes, some home decor and stuffies

How much do you sew? How much wear and tear does the machine get?
I'm sure this machine has seen much wear and tear over the years. I sew in spurts, since I can't keep the machine out all of the time, but I've sewn a lot lately.

Do you like/love/hate your machine? Are you ambivalent? Passionate? Does she have a name?
No name, but I do love my machine. Bernina says their machines are built to run for a hundred years, and I believe it. It is a workhorse - nothing fancy, but runs and runs.

What features does your machine have that work well for you?
I rarely use anything other than a straight and zig zag stitch, but I do appreciate that it can pretty much sew through anything. It's all metal, all power.

Is there anything that drives you nuts about your machine?
It weighs A LOT, so hauling it in and out of the closet is kind of a pain, but that's the only complaint I have.

Do you have a great story to share about your machine (i.e., Found it under the Christmas tree? Dropped it on the kitchen floor? Sewed your fingernail to your zipper?, Got it from your Great Grandma?, etc.!)? We want to hear it!
My mother picked it up second hand for me, because her machine is even older and still going strong. I love the fact that the machine is the same age as me:)

Would you recommend the machine to others? Why?
Definitely. You can't go wrong with a Bernina, and you can get the vintage ones for the price of a new Singer, and it's a much better machine.

What factors do you think are important to consider when looking for a new machine?
The computerized models are very cool, but how many of those features will you really use? If you are primarily sewing clothes and pillows/curtains, you need reliability and power over fancy.

Do you have a dream machine?
A new Bernina would be lovely, but honestly, this machine fits me just fine.


  1. Thanks for sharing, found you at the Sew Mama Sew blog. My mom has that same machine! Cheers!

  2. I have the Bernina 830, I purchased it new March 13, 1973. I sewed for my six daughters and a son when they were kids, now I am sewing quilts for all soon to be 16 grandkids. We are expecting three new babies in 2011, what a blessing! I try and make three quilts every year for Christmas. After all the grandkids have a quilt I will start making one for our seven children. I love my Bernina and will keep it forever. The Bernina shop wanted me to sell it to them, they said they had customers that were looking for this machine. Needless to say they didn't get it. This machine is a true work horse, I love it.

  3. Tanya Quilts in COJuly 8, 2011 at 8:47 PM

    I have had my Bernina 830 for 16 years now...My grandma bought it in June 1972 when I was born--she rarely used it. My husband built her a fence and made her pay him with the machine. I have replaced the motor twice, the brushes once, and the pedal once. They are no longer making the motors for it and I am thinking it is time to replace it...I am leaning toward a Pfaff with the built in walking foot and I can have it worked on locally. But I intend to semi-retire the 830 and use it as a back up!

  4. I bought my Bernina 830 second-hand off of eBay in 1998. I love, love, love it! My mother-in-law has the same machine so it is easy to trade feet/accessories/tips. I won't ever give it up for a newer one. :)

  5. Bought mine new in 1979. I made the kids clothes, ruffly dresses, suits, quilts, upholstered car seats, drapes and lots of clothes for me. I went to work so sewing became less often but would not trade my Bernina 830. Best advice: Before you take it to the shop..put in a new needle. A dull needle will cause lots of problems and much frustration. Also clean dust out of bobbin. Just retired and cut out upholstery material for couch cushion covers and new drapes for my girly room.I have lots of plans for my machine and am looking for a Bernina serger just for fun, used of course.

  6. I bought mine new in 1978. I LOVE this machine. I made clothes for my four children plus piecing quilts, heirloom sewing and whatever else the trend was . The tension never gave me any problems. So easy to oil and clean and take care of. I could sew on knits, denim, cotton, canvas, tricot and it always had a beautiful stitch. I could never depart with her. We have had a lot of late nights and early mornings together and she was always very helpful and dependable with all my Christmas sewing.
    I bought a Bernina embroidery machine about 8 years ago (artista 730) and love it almost as much.
    But still love my 830.

    1. I recently bought a Bernina 830 vintage off eBay and had it shipped to Mexico. The red accessory box with all the feet were stolen, the bobbin holder and even the light bulb making the machine useless. Am very interested in buying another accessory box intact and willing to pay $100. Please contact me at strangjessica@yahoo.com if you can help me.

  7. Bought my Vintage 830 in 1981. Still sews like a dream. It replaced a Singer Featherweight which my grandmother bought in 1938 and gave me in the 60's. Still have that one, too. The newer electronic machines with all the bells and whistles have never caught my eye.