A few months ago, I started to think I wanted to try out a Bernina. Not a brand new one though, a more attainable model (man oh man do Berninas ever hold their value well!).
I’ve been cruising craigslist and ebay, and anytime a machine that appeared to be in half-decent condition was listed, I inquired (or bid). Those machines get bid up pretty fast on eBay, and I lost out on 2 by one bid. I was starting to think that each ad I responded to on craigslist was phony, since I never heard back from anyone, even if I responded mere minutes after the ad was posted.
On Friday afternoon an ad was posted on Craigslist for a Bernina 801 Sport. The ad said it came with a case and manual, and there was a picture of the machine that looked to be taken from about 10 feet away and in the dark (I didn’t have very high hopes, but I thought I’d give it a shot). I emailed about it, figuring it was worth a try. Friday passed, Saturday passed, and I figured I’d emailed too late (it was literally 15 minutes after the ad went up, but these babies go fast). Sunday morning I woke up to an email in my inbox saying ‘it’s still available’.
I went to see it late Sunday, and when hubby and I pulled up, I honestly thought I was going to view a piece of junk that I’d likely turn down and have to continue my hunt for my Bernina.
I could not have fluked into a better machine! I found my Bernina!
This machine is from the 1980′s (I’ve heard you add 60 to the first 2 digits of the serial number, which would make it a 1985).
This is a machine that spent much of the last 25 years in someone’s closet (with the cover on, mind you). It was minorly dusty, and needed some oil, but those were it’s biggest problems (and you know when being dusty is one of a machine’s biggest problems, it’s a good machine!).
The woman who owned it, bought it when here kids were little, thinking she’d sew, but never really got into it, and used to pull it out to hem a pant leg once in a while, but for a long time has been opting to have the drycleaner/tailor do that for her.
This machine likely has between 5-15 hours of sewing on it in total. It’s practically brand new. There are a few surface dings in the finish, but mechanically it’s great!
We brought it home and oiled every spot we could with a precision oiler, and it’s running smoothly. In fact, it’s a real pleasure to sew on.
It came with the machine, soft cover, power cord, foot pedal, accessory box, caddy that fits around the bed of the machine to carry the accessory box/pedal/cord, 6 feet in total, the little tool to unscrew the needle knobby thing, the manual, and a bunch of bobbins.
I got a great deal at the $100 the previous owner was asking. In fact, I think that she would have been well within reason to ask $250 for this machine, since they don’t come up for sale very often, and are RARELY in this condition. It seems that Bernina 801 Sport owners hang on to their machines, many of them still in use today. It really speaks to the quality of Bernina’s and this model as well.
So, if you’re anything like I was last week, you really don’t know anything about the 801 Sport. Here are a few facts -
- There is an 801 and and 801 Sport, with the Sport being smaller, lighter weight (this thing still weighs a ton – more than any of my other machines), and has a handle.
- Conflicting information out there on manufacture dates – I’ve heard 1979-1982 and I’ve also heard 1983-1986 – the latter would make more sense with the serial number dating.
- The Sport has 5 different needle positions, and 7 different stitches (controlled by built in cams – they look like bike gears).
- Stitch length and width are adjustable.
- It’s able do do a straight stitch, zig zag stitch, blind stitch, scallop stitch, universal stitch, stretch stitch, vari-overlock stitch, and a running stitch.
- Feed dogs can be lowered.
- There is an optional extension table.
So, there you have it! I think my sewing machine collection is full up for now.
The Imperial I picked up for free on Friday and only briefly mentioned has been dropped off at the Salvation Army, since it had some big problems (the presser foot needed a new rod and bearings), and I didn’t think they would be worth fixing (not for me anyway, but there is no shortage of sewing machines in my house). I’m sure someone will snap it up and give it a good home.