When I decided to invest in a vintage Bernina sewing machine I did a bit of research and found out that a machine kept in good nick is quite sort after. To ensure she’s kept stitching and sewing well into the future it’s essential to clean and maintain the internals regularly.
My new-old Bernina has been part of my crafty arsenal for over a year now and it’s certainly true they just don’t make ’em like they used to.
To remind myself of the inner workings I thumbed through the manual, it’s actually the manual for the Bernina 600 series with a 700 series insert to guide the user.
You can download a copy of both manuals below, don’t forget to save a copy to your computer for future reference!
This time last year I got stuck as the manual doesn’t actually say how to open the top. On some forums there was talk of a button inside the face plate (the face plate is the hinged bit where the light bulb lives), so I was carefully prodding about afraid to force it open and rip out some crucial piece of machinery.
The solution came with a trip to Tony’s Sewing Centre in Tufnel Park, North London. Tony was such a gem, he showed me on a similar model how to open it up, all it needed was a bit of muscle power, a jiggle from side to side, back to front, and it lifted right off, easy when you know how!
There are 2, what I would describe as, flexing pegs that hold the top in place. One on the right near the handwheel and one 3/4 of the way over near the tension. These pegs are one of the many places that require oiling. So if your machine has not been oiled in a while it may require some encouragement to open the top.
Locations for oiling your machine are numerous, and there are a couple of places like around the light and wire bits in the faceplate.
A few tips I gleaned from youtube, the manual, and from giving it a go myself:
* Use the right oil, check your manual for what type, I bought the Singer brand from Tony
* Lay down a rag, cloth or towel to pick up any drops
* Oil before you sew, not after
* Oil the bits with metal that touch each other and require movement (carefully rotate the handwheel to see these in action)
* Be careful to avoid getting oil on any electrics (in the face plate are some hard to reach oiling spots right next to the light cable)
* Oil regularly, but in small quantities, some people suggest oiling for every 8 hours of use but this can vary depending on your machine.
I found this youtube vid very useful for the cleaning and oiling around the stitch plate and hook
I also found this one interesting for oiling vintage machines, watching a few videos can help to get your confidence up.