BERNINA Stitch Regulator, Everything You Need to Know

This post is part eight in a series celebrating 125 years of the BERNINA Company. Each post will bring you a little more of the history of BERNINA, along with modern inspiration.


aurora 440 QE

In 2004, the Aurora 440 QE with the BERNINA Stitch Regulator (BSR), was launched. The BERNINA Stitch Regulator, an exclusive free motion tool, provides for free motion sewing with consistent stitch lengths at variable sewing speeds. This technology earned BERNINA the “Best Innovator” award from A.T. Kearney.  It was originally intended for quilters, but today it can easily be used as an artist’s tool, using either a straight stitch or a zigzag stitch, to create thread painting, landscape quilting and so much more!

The BERNINA Stitch Regulator (BSR) is compatible with many BERNINA sewing machines today. Using the BSR will save you many hours of practice trying to get your free motion stitches even. All you have to do is think about the design you wish to create. The attached BSR foot will take care of the consistent stitch length for you.

BERNINA Stitch Regulator

The BSR has three interchangeable soles for all types of free motion quilting. The closed toe sole is similar to a daring foot with the needle in the center and visible. The open sole is much like a free motion embroidery foot with even more visibility. The third and very useful sole is a large transparent circle that will help you glide over bulky seams or high loft battings. These three soles will allow you to create endless projects from quilting to thread painting.

Attach the BSR foot and plug the jack into the port provided on the machine.

When you plug in the BSR, the machine screen will prompt you to drop the feed dog. However, if you are working with the BERNINA 880 PLUS, the feed dog will automatically lower when the BSR is plugged into the machine.

drop feed dog

To make the zippered tote, I used my BERNINA 770 QE to quilt the two sides of the bag. After the fabric was pieced, it was sandwiched with the backing and batting. I used cotton fabric for both the piecing and the backing, and used 100% cotton batting. You could spray baste or pin baste the layers together.

quilt sandwich

I used BSR Mode 2 to complete this project because I was quilting with soft curves and running lines. If I had chosen to quilt with a design that had points or corners in the design, such as leaves or flowers, I would have used BSR 1 because the needle moves all the time and that would allow me to get the extra stitch in each point.

My machine setup for free motion with BERNINA Stitch Regulator.

  • BERNINA Stitch Regulator #42
  • BSR Mode 2
  • Straight stitch

mode BSR2

Place the first bag side under the foot with Needle Stop Down engaged and begin to move the fabric as you quilt.


I quilted with a medium size stipple or meander on the white background fabric.

stitch close up

When I finished that first section, I started quilting on the red background fabric portion using a wavy line. This will be the bottom of the bag.

bottom panel

The stitch even looks great from the back.

bobbin side

After completing the quilting on the one bag side, I then completed the quilting on the other side of the bag in the same way.

Use your favorite bag pattern to trim bag sides and then insert the zipper.

set zipper

I then folded the bag in half and stitched the sides and bottom. I also boxed the bottom corners. And that was it – my bag was complete!

General Tips for the BERNINA Stitch Regulator

  • Practice, practice, practice.
  • LED light means active. When the red light on foot is on, the BSR will stitch when the fabric is moved.
  • If working on lofty batting or thick seams you may want to reduce the presser foot pressure.
  • Use the Foot Control or the Start/Stop button to start stitching.
  • Three interchangeable soles can be used.
  • BSR has 2 modes. Mode 1 is used for designs with points and corners. Mode 2 is used for curvy designs and ruler work.
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35 comments on “BERNINA Stitch Regulator, Everything You Need to Know”

    • Yes I will be happy too. The same BSR is used in the BERNINA Longarm and the BSRs are built in and can be used with any foot available for the Q Series. In the statement I made above I should have added when using the BERNINA Longarm you use BSR 2 for ruler work. I apologize for any confusion on my statement.

      • I love my BSR. It has given me the confidence to tackle FMQ…..but I am disappointed that I cannot do ruler work while using the BSR. Unless I am mistaken I don’t think rulers can be utilized when using my BSR on my Bernina 770. Some of the designs using rulers are fabulous and I wish I could give them a try.

  • I love my 440 and the BSR. Wondering it the same one I have fits other machines? I am thinking of upgrading but no decisions made…which is too bad knowing the specials that are running but I am not quite there. As I said, love the BSR and the 440 – I just want a bigger throat space!

    • Hi Kathleen,
      I am so glad you are enjoying your 440. I do believe that the BSR that came with your 440 will work with other machines that are BSR compatible. I know you would really enjoy the larger throat space. Good luck with your decision.

    • I purchased my BSR for my Bernina 640 and when I upgraded to my Bernina 830 it fit. It was just like the BSU that came with the 830. I had many enjoyable hours of FMQ with that little 640 and my BSR!!! Enjoy whatever you decide to do!!!
      Quilting is a “sanity saver” for me!

  • I just ordered a B535! I’m thrilled and cannot wait to learn how to use the regulator. I plan on free quilting with it. Woohoo. Happy Anniversary and thanks for having a sale.

  • Hello. I just purchased B770 Quilters Edition. And will be using the BSR for the first time. I will be watching lots of tutorials when I return from vacation. This is my 3rd Bernina purchase!

      • I purchased the 770 QE about 2 weeks ago I used the BSR once and now when I plug in the BSR the screen does not change to the BSR screen. Any thoughts? I plan to take the machine and the BSR back to the dealer tomorrow…I’m really disappointed!

  • Im a brand new quilter and have used the BSR to get started. It is easy and fun and i cant wait to get started each day and see what can be created

  • I have a classic Artista 180. How can I know if a BSR will work on my machine? And are all the BSR #42’s the same through the years? I’ve seen some used ones for sale, but it’s hard to tell if it would work with my machine. I really don’t want to buy a whole new Bernina right now, just the Bernina Stitch Regulator.
    Thank You

    • The BERNINA Stitch Regulator foot is only capable with later model machines. There is a port to plug in the foot on the later models that your Artista 180 does not have. As for are they all the same, yes they are. The foot has had an update or two in the past but it has been a long time ago. You should check it out at your local dealer and see how much fun the BSR is and how easy it is to get your stitch even when doing freemotion stitching.

      Thanks so much for checking and happy quilting,

  • I have completed several collage quilts which requires a great deal of thread painting. I love my BSR for this technique. I am beginning to have problems with the BSR working correctly. Is there a time frame (hours used) when my BSR should be serviced?

  • When I plug my BSR into my 440QE it does not come up on my screen. I haven’ t used it in a good while. Any help would be appreciated.

    • Hello @quiltinggheeghee, if you are bringing your B 440 QE in for regular servicing this spring, be sure to bring in your BSR foot as well. Your BERNINA Technician may need to check to see if both the machine and the BSR accessory have been updated with the latest firmware to work correctly.

  • I had a 1008 and a compatible walking foot. I recently bought the 770qe which came with a bsr. Do I use the bsr instead of a walking foot or do I need a compatible walking foot?

    • Dear srraymond,

      Due to the distance between the needle and presser foot bar of the 1008 and the 770, Walking foot compatible with the BERNINA 1008 cannot be used with newer machines that are equipped with a needle threader.
      We recommend to see your BERNINA store for a recommendation of BERNINA presser feet and accessories that are compatible with your new machine.

      Happy sewing!

      Your WeAllSew team

  • Art180
    I understand not wanting a new machine. I was comfortable with my Bernette 92C. But when I seen all the updates n 12″ throat space of the 880, I was sold. I have to make payments, but it’s worth it.

    • Unfortunately the BSR is not compatible with the 350. I would suggest a quick visit to your local BERNINA dealer and they will show you all machine that are compatible.
      Thanks for checking,

  • Hello,
    With my BSR, I am noticing that it goes to pretty tiny stitches and they are not regulated like I would like to see. On curves, it goes large and straight paths are pretty tiny. Do I need to adjust any settings once I plug it in?
    Any thoughts? Thanks.

    • Good Afternoon,
      The stitch length can always be set to your liking. The default is 2mm and that is 12 to 13 stitches per inch. Most quilters like the stitch length a little longer. I would suggest you try 3.0 to 3.5 which is more like 8-10 stitches per inch. now for the regulation, there is still a need for a smooth and consistent movement. There are two modes and maybe you could try the other one. With BSR 1 the needle starts moving right away and if the fabric is not moved the machine will take shorter stitches. In BSR 2 the machine will not stitch until the fabric is moved so if you move fast then slow down there might be so differences in the stitch length. BSRs like any accessory may need to be serviced form time to time. Contact your dealer and see if they can service it for you.
      I hope this has helped you and please let us know if you have more questions.
      Thank you,

  • I have the 770 with the BSR. I am finding it difficult to create free motion swirls. Another tutorial suggested to turn off the BSR when creating this design. If I do that can I simply unplug the BSR and use the same foot? Or should I be purchasing another foot for this design? OR do you have some suggestions on how to create flowing swirls using the BSR foot?
    Thank you

    • Hi Debbie,
      Yes you can unplug the BSR and use it like a regular free motion foot. You can also use any free motion foot to do your practicing with. There are lots of them that will work. Foot #9, #24, #29 are just a few. Practice is the whole key to the free motion stitching. Just hang in there don’t forget to draw the shapes first to help get them in your muscle memory. It really does help to draw first.

  • Also, I have just found out that I will need a new BSR foot. When I went to plug it in to continue quilting on my project, I noticed that the machine didn’t register that it was plugged in. No message about putting feed dogs down, or showing the two modes…no acknowledgment at all that the foot was plugged in. I have now had the machine serviced and I need a new foot. The machine is coming up to 2 years in May. Wondering if I have done something to “break” it? Are their tips available for careful use of how to prolong it’s life that perhaps I am missing? Appreciate your comments.


    • I am sorry to hear that you need a new foot. I few things you may want to try with your new foot is to always unplug when not using it and to use the plug to pull it out of the machine not the cord. The other thing would be to put it back in the original package or tin that it came in with the form inserts. They are made to protect your foot when not in use. I hope some of this helps.

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