Exhale, readers, I have good news: the Bernina works great.
Did I mention that I had to purchase the power cord separately? That's why I couldn't test it yesterday; I only received the cord today. I was nervous when I plugged it in and turned it on. Given the rotten packing job the seller had done. I didn't know what to expect. But it seems mechanically superb.
Strong as Samson.
All the functions seem to work.
Eight feet included seem adequate to my needs; easy to change.
Manual downloadable for free, easy to understand.
Easy to thread -- I didn't even have to look at the manual.
Takes regular Class 15 bobbins and doesn't seem to mind if they're not Bernina originals.
Excellent thread tension, easy to balance.
Very cool super-long basting stitch.
Strong feed dog action.
Heavy (though not as heavy as Michael's mother's Kenmore) and solidly constructed
Table extension fits great, comfortable to use.
Relatively intuitive (haven't mastered all the controls).
Many needle position possibilities.
Great speed control.
Strong light (At first I thought the bulb was blown but it just needed tightening)
Light can be turned off while machine is still on, if you don't want/need it.
Easy to place in hard plastic storage box.
Knee bar to control raise and lower presser foot not included with machine.
No accessories box (though many accessories)
Needle plate is marked but markings aren't numbered.
Small crack in plastic near pedal plug; doesn't affect anything mechanically.
No "needle down" feature on pedal -- when you stop sewing the needle is up (apparently this is true of the first generation of 930's)
Handwheel small (and stiff) compared to vintage Singers; you don't have the same close connection with the wheel that you have on the old mechanicals.
That small crack will be easy to reinforce. Did the seller mention it? No. Do I feel like making a big stink about it? Not really. (He'll claim ignorance and blame USPS.) I will never think about it again once I start using the machine. I considered letting the seller know I was annoyed at the way the machine was packed, but what's the point? Would you?
If I had to make one criticism of this machine -- and this goes for most zigzaggers, not just the Bernina -- it's that even the designated straight stitch foot doesn't provide the visibility that the old Singer straight stitch foot does. (Even on my Kenmore zigzagger, I use a Singer straight stitch foot.)
The feel of this machine is different from that of all the other mechanical machines I've ever stitched on. Maybe it's the electronic foot. It feels extremely precise and you don't have to worry about the foot racing. I am truly looking forward to getting to know my 930. Oh, and I found a Bernina service specialist in the Garment District should I need anything:
I'll be making a video of the machine sometime soon so you can see (and hear) it in action.
Meanwhile, the silk project. Today I hand-washed the charmeuse (testing a small piece first) and experimented using silk organza strips (cut on the bias and stretched wet under the iron) to stay seams. I used this fancy soap I'd bought a long time ago that's supposed to keep moths off wool; it's mild and smells good. Very little dye in the water I'm happy to say.
I rolled the wet silk in a towel and then hung it over the tub to dry.
Meanwhile I cut 1 1/4" bias strips of silk organza.
I soaked them and dried them under my iron, pulling the bias strips taut.
When dry, they look like tight, sheer ribbon. They won't fray since they're cut on the bias and they will prevent stretching when sewn onto my seams. They're super strong and as thin as silk (duh) so no bulk.
|With the organza stay tape, bias edge doesn't stretch.|
My sewing strategy is to cut the silk between two layers of tissue paper, pin in the seam allowance to prevent stretching (actually, my silk pins do not leave marks in my charmeuse regardless of where I pin), and as I stitch my seams, add the organza strips on top. I may do this on all the important seams, not just the bias ones, since I have the strips ready and they add no bulk.
I even experimented using this old Singer foot which keeps the organza strip in place while I sew. (What's that foot called again?)
So I feel cautiously optimistic about all this and hope to start cutting and sewing tomorrow.
As far as the Bernina goes, I feel relieved and lucky. Since we have no secrets here at MPB, if you're interested in seeing the eBay listing (and what I paid) you can find it here. I'd be curious to know what you make of the seller's language. Would you have risked it?
Happy Wednesday, everybody!