Sunday, November 12, 2017

The Collection: Bernina Feet

This post is full of first world problems. I bought too many overpriced things and I have come onto an internet platform to complain about them. I get it. Nobody made me do any of this stuff, I paid for them with my own damn money, I  have a lot of them and I don't know what they all do anymore and I think some of them do the same damn thing and the manufacturer just repeated them for obscure but potentially monetary reasons.

As I understand it, if I had taken the classes that came with the purchase of the Beast, I would have been introduced to new presser feet that would enhance my sewing experience (lower my bank account by additional discount purchases). I was in dire need of a machine to finish the black out curtains for the screaming baby's room. I didn't do much shopping (or I would have bought another Elna) and I didn't take the classes.

The baby now sleeps through the night just fine. And I still have the machine.

The Number One. It does precisely what it should, given it's pole position.

It has a wide enough opening for a zig zag stitch, but short enough to not let the fabric get too sucked into the bobbin. Mostly not sucked in.
Unless you're sewing chiffon.
In all and every event, you grab the threads from the back as you start a seam, because they will make a nice nest on the bottom if you don't.
The thread slash is at just the right angle to grab pins as you sew over them, and break them or bend them or shred the seam.

 I know, you don't sew over pins. 

Number Four (two and three? If I don't have one, it's not for lack of trying) is the zipper foot, which announces "HEY, this machine can move it's needle position! Like several places!" Because of the close position of the notch holes for the needle, I can use this instead of an invisible foot and be very happy with the results.

My Elna had a wider stitch width....oh shaddup.

Though that doesn't mean I didn't buy one anyway.  Number 14, the invisible zipper foot, does not really improve the invisible zipper experience. The 'outriggers' kinda push stuff that sticks up to the side, which has a 'bushwacking' kind of satisfaction to it. Also get snagged in loose threads and cross seams, which stops everything in it's tracks. I kinda forgot I had this one; I had pulled out the Kenmore to use the plastic snap on feet to put in the invisible zip recently. They don't snag stuff.

Number Five is a blind hem foot. Also doubles as an edgestitch foot, which I seem to have sold off. The fence in the center should be paid attention to if you're edgestitching, as you can hit it and bend your needle or break it. Either one is a less than compelling afternoon of resolution. 
This also applies to the zipper feet.

I had to look up Number 37. I am not sure why a foot with a 1/8 - 1/4th variable width gap made sense to me. It likes to catch thread with it's sled runner prongs. It would have been perfect for sewing the quilt last winter, if I hadn't done all of that heirloom sewing by hand.

It would make an excellent sled. And like the zipper foot, misjudging the compatibility of the foot and stitch can have less than optimal results.

Number 20 is an open embroidery foot. So you can see what you're doing in front of the needle. Tends to make things pucker unless it's one of those ornamental stitches Bernina is so fond of; I confess I do enjoy them when I'm mending.
I call #15 the Sound of Music stitch.
You'll note there is no stretch stitch. Stay tuned for the second edition of this story, in about two weeks or when the New Beast comes back from the shop (if it comes back).

Stitch 19, for your amusement.
I do love the throttle up ability of the Beast, thus it's nickname.

Clearly, it has its charms, but it's been superseded by #56

Number 56 was the Teflon foot I could afford (it was onsale at SewExpo, unlike the other Teflon feet).

I could not part with the large stack of cash for a walking foot (the Holy Grail of the Bernina - I see several listings on Amazon for new models for over $200, which is INSANE and I assume a cash grab on someone's part. I paid $20 for mine at Value Village and cried real tears of happiness that day. I also bought a Viking model walking foot and sold it for half the usual asking price for $20 on Ebay, to thank the thrift store god of Karma, and felt all warm and fuzzy inside. If I have any religion, it's that one. Leave something for the next person. Am I violating that trust by telling you this story? If so, pretend we didn't discuss this)

I have clearly worn it down, but it was worth it. One of the features of the Beast is that it still has variable pressure on the presser foot. I back off a couple of ticks, use this foot, and I'm sliding along. I am about one project short of putting 'magic'* tape on the bottom.
Number 29 is a spring loaded quilting foot, and this is the second time I've put it on the machine. It came with the machine (to be precise, the Beast is the Activa 140 'Patchwork') as a part of the deal. It seems it should be for mending, but it's not and it doesn't. It gets stuck.

Oh wait, I do have number 3. This is a buttonhole foot.

The grooves are for holding thin cord in place as you stitch over with the automatic buttonhole setting.. 

I can actually do a corded buttonhole by hand. And only by hand. The buttonhole on the Beast is not reliable,  it won't do anything the same way twice. It's about.....20 years old, so I understand how the all over timing of this machine and it's computerized settings might not match the timing of the feed dogs. But there is nothing automatic about the buttonhole anymore. I just do the foursided one with a satin stitch and call it a day.

As weird as this is going to seem, the enormous groove of Number  64 is easier for me to use for basting piping. It is a rolled hem foot (they sell several sizes of these, none of which i have ever gotten the knack of) 

What is does have is the small round stitch hole, which is very good for teeny hems in flimsy fabric. So even if my rolling skills stink (I can get about three inches right and then I lose it), it's still handy enough.

This group photo gives you an idea of the open space for the needle. Also the thread slot angle. Why are all the slots open to the right, when the harp space opens to the left?  The threading action is counterintuitive to my brain (remembering that I'm holding the threads to the back when I'm starting the stitching. 
Number Three grabs pins less often than the others, which seems wrong to me, but it skips more (less metal to hold the fabric down while the needle pulls up). 

yes, I know, you don't sew over pins.
I do. 
Very very carefully.

I have more feet. I have a walking foot in the drawer under the manuals. I have used it a couple of times. I will use it again. 
I have to go hang my head in shame for the rest of the week. As often as I mock the Bernina, I am a slave to the Bernina. 
Because vroooooooooom.

I am in the process of cleaning up the sewing room and maybe we have a new Beast in the laboratory. One with a stretch stitch.

It took a lickin' getting here, so we'll see.
It slipped in the case and the bobbin spindle took a whack; it's not broken, but it sure isn't aligned. It's at the shop getting attended to. Hopefully any parts they need are still available. Because that is how they sold me a Bernina instead of tuning up the Elna. And maybe I've just bought a organ donor for the future.

*it's not magic or scottish. it's trademarked by 3M.


  1. I hear you. I finally put all my feet in a box together, each one in its own labeled plastic bag. So, now when I'm drooling over some specialized foot, I can check the 'feet box' and not buy a duplicate of one I already have. (Like I almost did last week.)
    :-) Chris

  2. I've never had a fancy machine, ever, so I've not been tempted to succumb to many pretties. However, my vintage buttonholer is absolutely the dog's nadgers, and I have two rufflers which only worked briefly.
    Love the video, but I see no camels! [If that's what you said lol]

    1. Hey, thanks. The Ruffler always sounds like a Batman C-level villain. I would be the Ruffler.


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