The BERNINA Journey: An Ambassador’s Love Story

Blessings and BERNINA: SEW much to be grateful for. We all know 2020 was filled with A LOT of challenges. And, 2021 has continued to be difficult for so many. Both have brought blessings as well, and we’ve decided to count ours.  Some of these blessings came despite the pandemic. Some as a result of it. Two new grandbabies? Definitely NOT related to the pandemic.  Puppy? Well, let’s just say he’s our little quarantine cutie. At one year looking back, he was definitely a challenge, but I think we’ll keep him.

Last, but certainly not least: I’d like to think my BERNINA journey was meant to be part of my story either way. However, the extra time at home last year allowed me to put more time and energy into sewing, as well as taking steps toward becoming a BERNINA Ambassador.

Planning the project (at my local sewing center)

Pandemic Trend

Here on a scouting trip for my Wedding Dress to Christening Gown tutorial, my signature look for the year was showing: Pink mask and gray roots!

These are some of the most popular tutorials from the WeAllSew blog in 2020. Little wonder, but it helped many of us spark some creative juices during a trying time.

My First BERNINA Experience: “Made to Create”

Aside from admiring from afar the amazing sewing machines at Gina’s Bernina here in Knoxville, prior to 2020, I only had one brief, but lovely experience sewing with a BERNINA machine. A trusting friend offered her beloved BERNINA 1530 when I was in a moment of desperation.  My “differently-branded” machine had failed me on a time-sensitive buttonhole task, and I can now personally attest to the quality and reliability so many BERNINA owners speak of. Gratefully, I took advantage of my friend’s generous offer to use her BERNINA as long as needed. After several additional completed projects, I was relieved to have returned her machine before she had to ask me for it! My first BERNINA Blessing!

Once repaired, I was glad to have my own machine back in service but was keenly aware of the difference. Kind of like when your friends loan you their Lexus because your daughter is borrowing your Ford (ask me how I thought of this comparison). All is well, and I am thoroughly enjoying the B 435 I have the opportunity to use as part of the BERNINA Ambassador program.

I am grateful to experience a machine that was “made to create” instead of “bound to frustrate.”  I wonder if Lexus has an ambassador program . . . ? 😉

1990s BERNINA B1530

BERNINA 1530 (circa 1990’s)

My BERNINA Photo Journal

Pictured here is my friend’s machine–an oldie, but goodie. It worked like a charm and got me out of a bind. Little did I know, in December of 2018, I would have the opportunity of a sewist’s lifetime present itself just over a year later!

The day my machine arrived at our local BERNINA store, I almost could not contain my excitement. I’m not kidding when I say I actually organized my sewing room and stopped to get my car washed before picking it up (I know it sounds crazy, but I love fresh starts and this one was just SEW fun).

Below are a few pics of my unboxing and the beginning of my new role as a BERNINA Ambassador!

 

Unboxing of my new B435  Unboxing of my new B435

But, What to Sew FIRST?

I got started right away, first making a slipcover for the B 435’s fancy instruction manual! I carried that thing everywhere and read it from cover to cover on car trips when I had to be away from my new best friend, next to my puppy of course! Actually, my B 435 is much quieter than the puppy and I don’t have to feed it as often! I digress.

My first project: Slipcover for the User Manual

My first project: Slipcover for the User Manual

After several more projects with buttonholes, I decided to record a short video to demonstrate just how great it is! Pardon the “unplanned video” surroundings. I was just too excited to share this favorite feature with the world. Sewing is my thing. Videos are not, but I’m trying! (Featured in video: Buttonhole Foot with Slide #3A)

I think it turned out great and my anxiety level is no longer through the roof when creating buttonholes on my sweet garments! What do you think? Comment below if you have any tales to tell!

P.S. In the video, I demonstrated with wooden flower buttons. In the end, the intended recipient of this little linen dress changed her mind and opted for PINK buttons. Good choice, Charlie!

Dress Buttonholes closeup

Here is an official BERNINA Buttonhole Video Tutorial highlighting several methods–just one example of the endless support found at BERNINA.com.

And how about that decorative stitching on the collar? I love this feature for adding that special touch to a project. Click HERE for more details from BERNINA.

The BERNINA Family: “Friends I Hadn’t Yet Met”

Ambassador Welcome

Even if I had not been selected as a Brand Ambassador for BERNINA, I would have still told you the application process was overwhelmingly positive. In each step along the way, I was introduced to those whom I now consider as “friends I hadn’t yet met.” Each has been so kind, and the welcome I have received has been amazing. The fellow ambassadors who reached out to me in friendship and encouragement have been heartwarming in a time when encouragement was sorely needed.

BEST of the BEST: Support and Learning Opportunities

Believe me when I say it: There is an incredible support system and endless learning opportunities throughout the BERNINA network. From the WeAllSew blog with its creative tutorials and sew along, to the endless resources on the BERNINA website (literally endless, people)! This company is not just selling machines. They have created a community for beginners to experts where ALL ARE WELCOME. “Sew” grateful for these extra BERNINA Blessings!

Teaching & Learning

As a former teacher, the idea of lifelong learning is deeply ingrained in me. While I taught beginner sewing (and will continue creating tutorials here for the beginners among us), I enjoy learning new techniques and improving my skills as a sewist through the many resources offered by BERNINA.

These are just a few of the great tutorials I’ve used over the past year:

And, check out these great resources on the Learn & Create section of the website:

Home Sweet Home: BERNINA

The folks at my local BERNINA store, Gina’s BERNINA Sewing Center in Knoxville, Tennessee, have been so welcoming to this new to Tennessee, new to BERNINA girl. They’ve all be so helpful, answering (possibly silly) questions, and helping me choose fabrics for a tummy-time quilt when I had no idea where to start. Thanks again, Jaime! Gina’s offers a wide variety of classes at all skill levels, and I bet your local BERNINA shop does too! (The heirloom classes at Gina’s are my personal favorite!) With a new machine came lots of support: an individual lesson to overview the machine and a free group mastery class to learn everything I needed to know PLUS great online resources (which come in handy during a 2 AM sewing session- ask me how I know this.)

Introductory class at Gina’s BERNINA   Gina’s BERNINA Sign  Gina’s BERNINA Sew and Tell- my first BERNINA Quilt

What’s Next?

As we head into the fall season, I encourage you to check out all of the BERNINA blessings available to you. Me? I am thrilled to be invited back for a second year as a BERNINA Brand Ambassador for 2021-22 and to try new things! Some of my upcoming beginner-level tutorials will focus on upcycling, sustainability, and special care items for the sweet young and not-so-young members of our families. I’m excited to get started and can’t wait to share them with you!

Now, if you don’t mind, I’ll sign off for now…My BERNINA is calling and I must SEW! ❤️

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