I Kidnapped a Bernina

So I kidnapped my mother's 35 year old Bernina 807 Minimatic. It had been sitting in a cupboard at her place for over ten years. It seemed a sacrilege not to.
The back story to the kidnapping is a bit convoluted, but it goes like this: my sewing space in this place is in a loft built into the roof of our house. I love my sewing space - it's light, has great views of the garden and countryside around here, is out of the way, so I never feel like I have to tidy up if we have company. The one big drawback is that in summer it gets hot up there. If we are having a day above about 30C (an we've had lot of those this year), I have to be up there and out by about 11am, otherwise forget it. It becomes a sauna. Which of course, severely limits my sewing time, as I do most of my sewing after midday.
My solution has been to decamp to the dining room downstairs in summer. This is adequate but not ideal. I rather be up in the loft - everything is up there, so I find myself traipsing up and down to get odd things I need. It gets a bit tiring.
So thinking my way around this I thought a second machine downstairs would do the trick. My loft would still be sewing central, but a second machine would mean I could sew at night. I have my old Husqvarna, but honestly, I'd rather not go there again. Talk about frustration. Then I thought about the Bernina. Problem solved. I could use my bobbins from my 2 year old Bernina in the old Bernina.
So that's how I came to kidnap the Bernina 807.
This Bernina is an old friend to me. It came into the house when I was in Year 5, and made just about everything I wore up to and including my wedding dress in 1991. Hundreds of miles of seams have been racked up under that presser foot, I tell you. And although I didn't sew for myself when I lived at home, I did faff about on this machine, so it's been interesting reacquainting myself with it.
Some observations:
It may be small and compact - but my goodness, is it HEAVY! Everything is made of metal. It's a bulldog of a machine, absolutely solid.
There is a sign on it - Made in Switzerland. No such proud claims on my current Bernina (I seem to remember being told it was made in Thailand).
It's a mechanical machine obviously, with 7 stitches. That's it and that's all.

Stitch width chosen on the knob above. Stitch length below. I can't remember what the "knob within the top knob" is for, but it could have something to do with buttonholes. I really must investigate finding an instruction manual for this machine on the net.
I really miss the automatic threader on this one.
But lastly, it might look a bit agricultural, and the chassis on this one has a few dings, but when you get down to what matters, the stitching...aaahhh, a thing of beauty!
So why did my dear mother have this languishing in a cupboard? Well details are a bit vague, but it seems to have something to do with the fact the bobbin winder is cactus, and at the same time her interest in quilting grew, which had her buying a bigger machine.
So I've been sewing with this machine, winding bobbins on the "new" Bernina, and contemplating whether I should invest some money in the 807, and get the bobbin winder fixed. Does anyone out there have any experience with this sort of repair? Is it straightforward, cheap and easy, or is it the sewing machine equivalent of a money pit?
Anyone have any thoughts on this? I'd appreciate advice!
(By the way, Mum was totally fine with the kidnapping.)


  1. I don't have a Bernina, but I do have two mechanical machines (my first had two stitches - straight and zigzag, and that was it). That machine was also handed down from my mother, who hadn't used it in 20 years, and before that had barely used it. When she gave it to me, it refused to zig. Or zag. So I took it in and had it serviced and they fixed the problem and it cost me about $60 US. In my mind, the mechanical metal machines are worth it to fix up because the parts are great quality and there is only so much that can fail on a mechanical (vs. computerized machine). All this is to say, though, that yeah, it's worth it to fix and I doubt it will be very expensive! Sounds like you got yourself a great machine!

  2. Thanks for that Itinerant Seamstress. Some food for thought there. There's no big rush to fix it, but one day my main machine will need a service, and it would really be nice to sew on this one, with the bobbin winder working nicely!

  3. I also think it is worth fixing, it sounds like a good machine.

  4. That is one fantastic looking machine. If its not too expensive i would definitely get it fixed. How nice to sew on a machine with so many memories!

    1. Sewing on this machine has reminded me of all the clothes mum made for me on this. I wish I still had some of them- I've only kept the wedding dress.

  5. What a brilliant old machine! well worth taking it in to get the bobbin winder fixed :)

    1. It is a great little workhorse. It definitely deserves a bit of TLC.


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