About 50 years ago my grandfather gave me a Bernina sewing machine…in a roundabout way. I think he bought it from some friends returning to Finland. They couldn’t take it with them and he helped them out by buying it.
He gave it to my mother, but she already had a machine she liked, so I got it. I remember the first thing I sewed on it when I was about 13. My mother took me to the fabric shop to buy a pattern and some fabric. It was yellow and orange check (it was the 60s). The pattern was for an empire line dress with puff sleeves.
My mother set me up and told me to just do it. I got stuck on the zip and she helped me with that.
I was off and sewing. I made most of my clothes as a teenager. I would make something on Saturday morning to wear that night. I made clothes for my friends.
Later on I made all my son’s clothes until he went to school and it wasn’t cool to have clothes your mother made. He did relent when he was older and left home and had to buy his own clothes.
Later still I made all the garments I sold in my shop in the Brisbane Arcade. When I closed the shop I returned to just making things for myself and friends.
Just recently I put my retail toe back in the water with my Pop Up shop and the Bernina fired up again.
A couple of weeks ago my sewing machine stopped working. I took it to the repair shop with trepidation. I felt as though I was taking a sick pet to the vet, terrified I was going to be told it would have to be put down. I left it behind with the feeling I had lost my right arm. My Bernina has been with me for most of my life, longer than my youngest brother.
I am happy to report that the Bernina is alive and kicking. The repair man told me that the carbon brushes had disintegrated. He said “That ‘s when I knew the machine had worked hard”. He assured me that it would outlast me and sews better than most of the new machines on the market. He also said that the only thing my machine and some others have in common is that they are called sewing machines and that in some cases I might as well use a staple gun…obviously a tried and true Bernina man…just what you want to fix an old friend.
I think my grandfather would have been delighted to know how treasured his gift has been.
You can see that it has been well used. It has a few battle scars.