Free-Motion Stitching with BERNINA Stitch Regulator

Are you a free-motion stitcher? Or, is it something you’ve shied away from because of the learning curve? The BERNINA Stitch Regulator (BSR) makes it easy to sew regular and consistent free-motion stitching with little or no experience. You select the desired stitch length and the BSR works with the electronics of the machine to consistently deliver it, no matter how expert or inexperienced you are.

stitching with the BSR

Free-Motion Techniques

Free-motion stitching can be used in a variety of applications: stipple quilting, thread painting, bobbin play, and more. The good news is, once you master one of these techniques, you’ll have the skill to do any or all of them.


Three Soles

The BERNINA Stitch Regulator comes with three interchangeable soles. Simple to change, these soles make it easy to sew a wide range of free-motion techniques.

  • Closed Metal Sole: Use it for detailed free-motion stitching techniques such as stippling, darning, bobbin play, and thread painting.
  • Open Metal Sole: This small, round sole is open in the front for improved visibility of the needle and stitching area and is an excellent choice for following printed or marked design lines.
  • Clear Sole: This large, round sole has engraved cross-hairs and concentric circles that make useful guides for stitching-in-the-ditch, echo and outline quilting, and sewing medium- to large-scale free-motion stitching techniques.

BSR with three soles

Lower the Feed Dog

When you lower the feed dog of the machine, you have to move the fabric to form the stitched design or pattern that the needle will make. You have the freedom to stitch in any direction, following any pattern you choose. Most BERNINA machines have a button on the right side of the machine; push it in to lower the feed dog. If you sew on an 8 Series model, the feed dog will be lowered when you attach the BSR to the machine or when you select the foot on the Foot Recognition screen.

lowering the feed dog

Attaching the BERNINA Stitch Regulator

The BSR attaches to the machine the same way other presser feet do, but it has a cable that attaches to the machine so the foot and the machine can communicate with each other as you stitch. Some early models have the connect up under the machine in the area behind the presser foot.

attaching the BSR

BSR Settings

When the BSR is attached, a special screen appears. While the appearance of the screen may vary from one model to another, the functions on the screen are the same. All BSR functions are selected from this screen.

  • Select Straight or Zigzag stitch
  • Your choice of Mode 1 or 2
  • Beeper On/Off – If the beeper is on, you’ll hear the beep when the fabric is moved more quickly than the BSR’s optical sensor can track it. This is a reminder to move the fabric more slowly.
  • Stitch length (1-4 mm, only activated for straight stitch BSR)
  • Stitch width (0.4-4 mm, only activated for zigzag stitch BSR)
  • Needle Stop Up/Down – set as desired

BSR settings screen

Mode 1 or 2?

The BERNINA Stitch Regulator has two operating modes. You chose the one that works best for your project and for your comfort level.

  • BERNINA Stitch Regulator Mode 1: When BSR Mode 1 is selected, the needle immediately starts to move up and down when the motor is engaged with the foot pedal or the Slide Speed Control, with or without fabric under it. When stitching in Mode 1, secure thread tails by selecting a short stitch length and  moving the fabric under the needle along the design pattern line. If you are quilting designs that have points or corners, BSR 1 is a good choice because the needle moves all the time and allows you to stitch the points with ease.
  • BERNINA Stitch Regulator Mode 2: When working in BSR Mode 2, the motor is engaged only when the fabric is moved under the foot, giving the stitcher time to stop and think about the path the needle is taking. Note: If there is no movement for over 7 seconds, the BSR automatically deactivates. Selecting Mode 2 enables the use of the Security Function for locking stitches. Set the desired stitch length and then press the Securing function. The needle takes four stitches, securing the thread tails to the fabric. When the needle stops, move the fabric to begin stitching. Press the Securing function again at the end of the stitched design to secure the stitching, and clip the thread ends.

BSR Project

Click here for a simple zippered bag project that is quilted with the BERNINA Stitch Regulator.

Quilted bag made with the BSR

For more information on the BERNINA Stitch Regulator, see The Big Book of Feet at your local BERNINA Store.

The Big Book of Feet


Print this page

What you might also like

10 comments on “Free-Motion Stitching with BERNINA Stitch Regulator”

  • Hi, I find that when I have the BSR connected, I cannot control the speed of the machine, so I can stitch slower. I find the speed very fast. I have a 440QE and love my Bernina but never use the BSR as I find I dont have control over the speed. Thanks.

  • Moyra you control the speed by sliding a knob from fast to slow. I also have the 440QE, for 10 years now, and love the BSR function. You are missing a great feature! I wish I could insert a photo to show you, check your user manual.

  • Keep trying. I had the same issue, at first. I was tense and seemed to just Smash the foot control. I learned to get the fabric moving just a bit and be less aggressive with my foot. It took a while, but by the time I finished my first attempt (a wall quilt), I was fine. Since I don’t quilt freehand a lot, I have to pay practice 20 minutes, or so, before starting my project.

    You’ll get it.

  • I have a Bernina QE 770 and just recently tried the stitch regulator. I have never been able to free motion quilt on a regular machine before. I rent a longarm to do my quilts. I recently had three panels I did on a longarm that needed torn out and redone on my Bernina. So pulled out the stitch regulator and started practicing. Wow was able to do it in no time and could even do stippling which I have never been able to do on a reg machine or a longarm before. Wasn’t perfect yet but good enough to pass inspection! Love that thing and can’t wait to use it again!

  • With the high cost of Bernina machines and their accessories, including feet, it would be nice to see a discount on The “Big Book of Feet”. Or better yet, produce a free PDF copy for Bernina customers.

Leave a Reply