BERNINA’s 125 Years Anniversary Celebration

We hope you’re having a Happy New Year! We’re very excited to welcome 2018 which marks the 125th Golden Anniversary of the BERNINA company. This momentous occasion calls for a year-long party!


125 Year Anniversary Logo

Above all, we want to celebrate you and your creativity on this occasion. “Celebrate Your Creativity” is our motto for 2018, and we look forward to rejoicing in the past, present and future with you! We will be sharing our entire sewing community’s creativity throughout the year with all things “Golden!” We will launch sewing machines with special Golden Anniversary designs, there will be gilded presser feet, “Golden” giveaways, and many tutorials featuring golden sewing projects here at WeAllSew. Keep an eye open for other Golden Anniversary celebrations on our social media channels and in our BERNINA Dealer stores. We look forward to sharing a look back at what we’ve accomplished along with sharing stories as well as interviews with BERNINA staff from the US and Switzerland.

Karl Friedrich Gegauf, founder of BERNINA

BERNINA has seen many changes since Johann Georg Gegauf founded the company in 1893; the World’s Fair Columbian Exposition in Chicago, the Theory of Relativity, the first automobiles, the space race, the rise and fall of the Berlin Wall, the Internet, social media and smartphones. Not to mention BERNINA innovations; the world’s first portable freearm with zigzag machine, the Free Hand System, the world’s first sewing and embroidery computer, the BERNINA Stitch Regulator and the BERNINA Hook. Our Golden Anniversary is just the beginning. Where will the next 125 years take us?

In celebration of 125 years BERNINA we created beautiful golden projects that include paisley embroidery designs that were specifically designed for our anniversary. You can download the Paisley Embrodery Designs here.

125-years-dress-detail with paisley design

BERNINA 125 years paisley embroidery designs

Click for more details on how we kicked off BERNINA’s 125 years celebration.

BERNINA Reverse Pattern foot #1 Anniversary Edition in gold

BERNINA Anniversary tinBERNINA is also celebrating with a gilded Reverse pattern foot #1 Golden Anniversary Edition! A limited number of these golden Reverse pattern foot #1 Anniversary Edition feet including the anniversary collectors tin will be arriving at BERNINA stores in March, be sure to ask at your local store about ordering one of your own.

The Beauty of Hemstitch, History and Techniques


Historically, hemstitching is, as its name would imply, a stitch for finishing hems. Traditionally, hemstitching was done by hand as threads were removed from the fabric. Then a hand stitch pulled the threads apart creating a decorative hole in the fabric. As you can imagine, this was a tedious and time consuming task. There must have been a lot of excitement when Karl Friedrich Gegauf, founder of our company, invented the first hemstitching machine in 1893!

Get some hemstitching techniques from BERNINA Educator, Nina McVeigh in this post.

Adding Lace to a T-shirt

Adding lace to a t-shirt

This post is part two 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. For the first post in this series about hemstitching, click here. As part of the celebration, we have a giveaway for you! Scroll down the post to see how you can enter for a chance to win!

Originally known by the founder’s name of Gegauf, BERNINA got its current name after Fritz Gegauf who took over the company from his father in 1928. The name BERNINA comes from Piz Bernina, the highest summit in the eastern Alps. The first household sewing machine, the BERNINA 105, was created by Fritz Gegauf in 1932. This machine was a great success, but Mr. Gegauf further developed the machine into the first zigzag machine, the BERNINA 117, in 1938. In 1945, the first portable electric zigzag free arm sewing machine hit the market and by 1963, BERNINA had produced one million zigzag sewing machines.

Adding lace to a t-shirt

These two innovations – the free-arm and zig-zag stitch – are still vital to sewing today, and were the inspiration for this project.

Adding lace to a t-shirt


BERNINA Presser Feet

In 1954, BERNINA marketed the first sewing machine with a patented clip-on presser foot, invented by Fritz Gegauf to make sewing easier. Without fiddling and screwdrivers, the presser foot is simply loosened with a lever and can be easily changed with one hand. The clip-on presser feet are a patented feature and the original mechanism design is still used today.

BERNINA Presser Foot History

The semi-automatic buttonhole function was also available at this time, on Model 530. Eventually, in 1986 with the first computerized sewing machine, Model 1130, the fully automatic buttonhole and stitch pattern memory options were available.

The first BERNINA 530

Today, the BERNINA accessory line includes over 60 presser feet, not included coded and dual feed versions of certain feet in our line. No matter the project you tackle, there is a BERNINA accessory designed for whatever task you need to accomplish. Being equipped with the right tools will instantly improve the quality of your handmade projects!

Click here to learn about sewers’ favorites.

The First BERNINA Free Hand System Plus Appliqué Technique Tip

In 1963, under the direction of Odette Ueltschi-Gegauf, BERNINA introduced the Model 730 which was the first machine with a patented, knee-activated presser foot lifter. Now known as the Free Hand System (FHS), it raises the presser foot, lowers the feed dog and opens the thread tension disks all simultaneously. Another first was the introduction of the Needle Up/Down feature that is activated by tapping the back of the electronic foot control. This allows the sewist to take one-half stitch at a time. The FHS and electronic foot control continue to be a staple for BERNINA machines and is among the favorite features of all BERNINA owners.

Original BERNINA 730

One popular technique where the FHS and electronic foot control work hand in hand is appliqué. Appliqué is a technique where a fabric shape is stitched to a background fabric. When stitching an appliqué design, the sewist pivots and stitches curves numerous times. Exact control for sewing these curves and corners is possible because there is no need to take your hands off your project. When at a corner, simply tap the back of the foot control to lower the needle, raise the presser foot with the FHS and pivot the fabric. Using the FHS will speed up your sewing by 20% or more.

Learn a clever appliqué technique while using the the BERNINA Free Hand System.