My First & Still My Favorite Bernina – “the boat”


My parents bought me a cheap sewing machine in junior high so I could learn how to sew.  The machine constantly jammed and I decided sewing was not for me.  When my daughter was a baby, my grandma gave me my Aunt’s old machine (with the stitching cams).  I trepidly started to sew some clothes for my daughter.  One day, on a whim, I went into a local quilt shop and saw a cool teddy bear.  I signed up for the class intent on making it for my daughter.  That led to quilt classes and heirloom sewing and I even joined an evening quilt guild, but I still struggled with my aunt’s old sewing machine.  When I dropped it off for service, I tested a new Bernina and fell in love.  I went home and told my husband how I  would love a new Bernina that would make nice button holes and  produce a nice stitch but with a baby and a mortgage- spending $2500 on a sewing machine at that time was a luxury we could not afford.  A month later we went to grandma’s for a mini vacation.  I got called to work on an emergency and feeling sorry for myself, left the family and drove home.  When I returned the next day, I walked in to find a brand new Bernina 150 sitting on the dining room table with a bow.  My husband went out and bought it as a surprise, stating he thought it was important I have a quality sewing machine and that sewing was good for me and it was cheaper than a psychologist.  In shock, I asked him where he got the money.  He said he used his boat money.  He had been saving up from his overtime for the last few years to buy a boat, so he decided his boat could wait in lieu of my machine.  That is one of the best presents he ever gave me.  Since then I have sewn on my Bernina 150 intensely for over 20 years, even wearing out the metal bobbin case.  It has been extremely reliable and has helped me grow to be a proficient quilter.  It has provided me numerous opportunities to meet wonderful quilters from across the country, create wonderful friendships,  allow me to grow artistically, and has been a wonderful stress reliever!   I purchased a Bernina 770 a couple years ago to use for embroidery and quilting.   I was asked if I was going to get rid of my 150.  NO WAY!  I could never get rid of the machine my husband sacrificed his boat money for. I sewed my daughter’s first teddy bear on it and planning on doing a wedding quilt for her on it some day.   It is still my favorite go to machine and my trusty standby.  Way more reliable than any boat would be!

6 comments on “My First & Still My Favorite Bernina – “the boat””

    • Love your story — so similar to mine. Basic Kenmore for many, many years and I decided, upon retiring, to make one big purchase with a Bernina 155. Such a well engineered product — actually better in some ways than my B580 which a bought upon my second retirement to learn machine embroidery. Love both and they each have their own room!!

      Ann H.
      Plymouth, MI

    • My first Bernina was also a 150 and I bought her on the payment plan. I too struggled with a machine with cams and a Kenmore that really didn’t understand to obey me about a quarter inch seam. I will never get rid of my 150. Now I also have a 430, completely troublefree and a Primadona 830le. Love my Bernina’s!!!

  • I also bought the 150 20 years ago. Love it but it has been showing it’s age. Just got the 770 and am looking forward to having as much fun (once I figure it out!)

  • My first Bernina was also a 150. I could tell the same story of struggles with inferior machines. I kept it when I upgraded to a 430 and an 830. I took it with me on retreat and to class. It has never had one problem. My good friend had to move to Singapore for 3 years for her husbands work. Her machine would not work on the current there. My 150 would so I let her take it. Now it’s 7 years later and my 150 is on her way home to Texas in a crate on a boat. My friend is very grateful and told me never to sell it as it is one great machine. I agree.

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