Just picked up this lovely old girl on eBay. No, she wasn’t a bargain – the seller knew what she was worth – but I’m happy to pay for quality. She’s built like a tank and purrs like a kitten. Feels so incredibly solid to use.
Back in the early 1980’s, the textiles rooms at high school had Bernina 830s, so my mother bought an 830 too. She figured that if they were good enough for a textiles room, it would be a good investment. It’s still her favourite machine to this day. And this machine is what I learned to sew on. No fancy electronics here – this is simply a machine that does exactly as she’s told. Every time.
I do have one of those fancy electronic machines – a Bernina Virtuosa 155. Don’t get me wrong, she’s a beatiful machine too. But can be a little too fussy if I’m trying to make her do things which she probably shouldn’t do. Like sewing through tacky bits. And the auto buttonhole feature isn’t working so well (don’t know if it’s the machine or the user) and I can’t figure out how to set the machine for a fully manual buttonhole. Which leads me back to wanting a fully manual machine.
Sadly, I couldn’t justify the cost of a vintage 830. But after some research, I decided that I couldn’t go wrong with an 801 model. Same solid construction, same controls, same brand, same era, cheaper price. Yep, that’s good enough for me.
My 15yo daughter is delighted with the old lady. As it turns out, the controls on it are exactly the same as the more recent model she’s now using in her textiles room at school. It seems the Dep’t of Education have continued their good choice making with their machines. .