Sewing (Machines) With Soul…Bernina 1230

A few weeks ago I found a great deal on a Bernina 1230 listed on craigslist. I jumped on it! I actually begged and pleaded with Stu to lend me the money and promised to sell my 2nd Bernina 730 and my 731 to cover the cost. I don’t think he believed I was going to sell either of them, and if I did, he didn’t think I’d have enough to pay him back for the new machine, but I proved him wrong, sold them both and paid him back.

Bernina 1230

The 1230 is in pretty good condition – actually, I’d say great condition. It runs well, has all the accessories and feet it came with originally and physically looks fabu. The only thing it needs is the little pins to attach the extension table (the pins that fit on the table, not the machine – those ones are there). I know this makes no sense unless you have one in front of you – anyway, it’s a $4 part and I’ve already ordered it. So there you go, a complete machine in great condition. It’s computerized and a Bernina and even has 2 different alphabets!

Bernina 1230

The biggest issue was that someone managed to unload almost a full spool of coral colored thread into the hand wheel area (thread shouldn’t have been anywhere near here anyways!), and ran the machine like that, so the movement of the hand hand wheel melted the thread to the machine. We spent an evening pulling this thread out and unsticking it from the machine, and it’s good as new. But I must say, WTF?!?

Coral Thread Nightmare

I should be on top of the world right? Well, I’m not. I just don’t love it. When I sew with it, it works great, makes beautiful stitches and purrs as it should, but I just don’t feel anything.

Bernina 1230

I was trying to describe this to Stu last night, and told him I wish I’d kept the 730 and 731, and he told me he wasn’t surprised. He said that the one thing he’s noticed about me is I like my sewing machines to have ‘souls’. Does this sound completely nuts yet? I like the old machines, the ones with history, the ones that hum as they should when you coax them with a little oil, the ones that you talk nicely to and appreciate every minute and every stitch. The ones that someone’s grandmother used to make clothes for the family, the ones with a were made before everything became disposable. Mostly though, I like them to be mechanical.

Bernina 1230

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge technology lover, but in a sewing machine, I’ll stick to my mechanical machines. For now anyways…

I don’t think the Bernina 1230 will be going anywhere in the near future either. Perhaps we just need a little more time together to bond. For now, my Bernina 801 Sport will remain my go-to machine though (wonderfully mechanical). If only I could find an extension table for this one…

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16 thoughts on “Sewing (Machines) With Soul…Bernina 1230

  1. Oh, it looks awesome and I am envious!!! Next time you’re looking to unload a Bernina, let me know! ;) But the thread wound around the hand wheel. What the heck???

    Have you give the basting spray a try yet?

    • Will do! I think it might be a while though. I tried it! I still have to blog my pillow covers – it did the trick :)

  2. I adore my 1230, I wanted one when they were new in the market, but couldn’t afford one until years later. If you find 930, you would love that, big strong workhorse and mechanical too!

    • I’m keeping my eye out for the 930. Do you still have your 1230? I’m trying to bond with mine…

      • Hello, I hope by now you are bonding to your Bernina 1230. I was really unsure when I purchased mine summer of 2009, but it was such a bargain – and I couldn’t locate a 930 (that’s what I’d been looking for). I thought I’d just keep the 1230 till I found a decent and affordable 930, but haven’t found one yet, and in the meantime I’m slowly beginning to “hear” and bond with my 1230. Hey, she can’t help it if Bernina decided to experiment with computerization when she was born! Actually, I do have a specific question for you. My machine was totally complete – except the foot that comes right before the #1 foot is missing. I was told this was a #0, but can’t find a picture, or locate one to purchase. You said yours came with all feet – was the one before the #1 (to the left of it) a #0, indeed? It would help me so much if you could answer – that would help my search. BTW, I have heard of 3 other people who have had slow wheels, and found thread jammed – as you had with the coral thread. Happy sewing, and if you could let me know about that foot, I’d appreciate it! Deb

      • Deb, I have had my 1230 for 20 years and just love it. You don’t really need the 0 foot. You can sew straight and zigzag with the 1 foot.

  3. Pingback: 1972 Bernina 830 Record – All Ready To Sew! | snappy stitches

  4. I recently purchased a Bernina 1130 which came with all ten feet #0-#9 and can tell you that #0 is the ZigZag Foot for forward feed stitches and #1 is the Reverse Pattern Foot for forward feed or reverse feed stitches.

    Refer to

  5. Deb, I’m so envious!! I have a real soft spot for the 1130 and 1230. I used to work for Bernina some twenty years ago as a traveling demonstrator. ( I think I have sold just about every brand ) However I never had the opportunity to own my as I had brought a top line Husqvarna a few years earlier. Well, my trusty Husky finally died three years ago and I have been unable to find my favourite old Bernina secondhand in New Zealand. I have a feeling that everyone can’t bare to part with them!!!! As Lauri said, You don’t need the #0 pressure foot. Happy sewing , Jane

  6. All of my quilts have been sewn and quilted on my Bernina 1230. You will never regret this purchase!
    BTW – The thread winding around the hand wheel can happen when you wind a bobbin. If you have two spools of thread on your machine while winding a bobbin, the thread from the one that isn’t going onto the bobbin can somehow get over to the hand wheel and it starts to wind around it on its own…and you don’t see it because it is under the cap of the hand wheel. This happened to me and I had no idea until I took my machine to be serviced.

  7. I have a bad effect on computers–weird, inexplicable things happen and they stop working. Therefore, I love my mechanical Pfaff, serger, and 61yo Singer. They run, and run well! I may not have to-the-milimeter control over their distance from the presser foot, but isn’t that why magnetic seam guides were created? My machines allow me to sew, on silk chiffon and multiple layers of denim, and are incredibly reliable. Computerized machines are great but will never replace mechanical models for me.

  8. I am sorry to hear that you don’t like this machine. I bought mine when it was Bernina’s flagship model, so I have had it a long time! I have absolutely no interest in the current sewing machines that do embroidery and are mostly plastic. The 1230 is heavy duty, metal, and precise. Although it is electronic, I do not find the little red glowing lights offensive like I do the computer display screens on current models. Rather, to me, they reflect its “soul” to me, and its instant responsiveness to what I want it to do! I am sure I would like the older mechanical models as well, but the 1230 was my first sewing machine and will probably be my last so yeah, I guess you could say we definitely have “bonded”!

  9. Sorry to be so late joining in the 1230 conversation, but I adore my Bernina 1230. My sewing sister in law told me donkeys years ago to buy a Bernina, but we just couldn’t afford one and we bought a cheap machine which I cursed every time I used it. My husband and I came into a little money and spent every penny of it on a new 1230 in 1991 (?) and I have loved it since. It does speak to me when it’s thirsty and sews beautifully in thanks when I oil it has been my trusty workhorse ever since. I have had to have it serviced once in 22 years and replaced only one bulb, even though I very often forget to turn it off for days.

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