by Susie Bright, sex writer and sewing columnist for CRAFT magazine
(the picture above shows her partner and her daughter at the latter's Bernina 1008)
Love it, hate it, or something in between? My sewing machine is the last mechanical Bernina that Bernina makes... the one that isn't a computer.
My sewing teacher swears it's the only mechanical machine worth owning, and that Bernina is practically the only manufacturer not currently producing swill. She would recommend people buy used machines from twenty years ago rather than most of the new ones today. She told horror stories of the cheapies for sale at Costco that cannot even reliably sew forwards, backwards, and zigzag.
Nothing is more discouraging to a new sewer than a machine that backfires, it makes you feel so incompetent. So I was excited to get this machine. It did indeed make me feel like a pro, simply because it handles fabric so well, and with such intuitive design.
When and where did you buy this sewing machine, and how much did you pay for it? It cost me about $600 ten years ago, from a local dealer who, ironically, just closed their door and filed bankrupcy yesterday. They run a repair shop and there's about a thousand angry women ready to storm the doors and get their machines and scissors out of the back room.
I also have my mother's Singer Featherlite from 1955, the first item she ever bought on a loan. Her first credit line was to buy that machine! It still sews straighter and stronger than anything you could buy today on the consumer level.
How many projects have you done on this machine? I've sewed every week on this machine since I got it, I have no idea how many projects that is. My daughter sewed custom pillowcases and bought one for herself, which is now side by side with mine, since it's handy to have two machines set up at any given time.
Describe the kind of work you've done with it. I like to sew clothes; so does my daughter. We're slaves to our own peculiar fashions. I made a ballgown out of a sleeping bag flannel one time.
My husband uses it to make marine rescue supplies, scuba gear belts, all kinds of stuff for the lifeguard service. I have no idea, but it's rugged. I've done knits, chiffon (don't forget to run a roll of adding machine paper underneath it!), wool, plastic, leather, everything. This machine can do it all.
What do you like and what do you hate about it? I love everything about it. It should come with the walking foot, which is IMPERATIVE for working with textured fabrics and knits.
I have no plans to replace it. I got a serger, the basic Babylock. If there is such a thing as an easy, fast, coverstitch machine, I'd like one of those. Otherwise, I'm done!