I've always been very curious about old Bernina machines, like Record 830 or even 730. Their going market price kept me from
Stumbled upon this CUTIE!!!! (Note: this is her "Before" photo. No spa treatment has been given yet.)
There was no price on it. I asked the store clerk, and she said, "TWO NINETY NINE". Right. I didn't think she was asking for two hundred ninety-nine dollars, as you might see on ebay as a real bargain. But just in case, I double check. "Two DOLLARS and ninety-nine CENTS?" She nods.
It was cosmetically in a bit rough shape. Had ding here and there (probably got bruised getting thrown in from one place to another), the hand wheel had what looks like some teeth marks or maybe it got badly scraped against something hard while being moved.
Love at first sight. I was already dreaming about taking her on a trip, maybe a week in Hawaii, or a weekend getaway to Orcas Island, and get really inspired to sew something on vacation. <3
Anyway, I couldn't wait. As soon as I got home, I borrowed the bobbin case and the bobbin from my other Bernina (she's a 1230), and test sewed. She sewed fine! I tested straight and zigzag for just a bit. She was a dusty little thing. I cleaned her inside and out.
Ooo, look at those metal cams. And the fuzz to be cleaned.
Her hand wheel was a little sticky. So, I opened her up and jiggled the hand wheel a bit more.
She was finally all cleaned up and oiled. The moment I've been waiting for! I want to test all her stitches!
Her tension was perfect, I didn't have to adjust a thing for the straight stitch. Beautiful, and I love the sound of the motor. It hums and purrs very sweetly.
Now let's test other stitches! --- This is when the tragedy happened. With this type of strong, reliable, metal, and Bernina sewing machine, I wasn't expecting much trouble. BUUUUUUUUUT! I encountered a few issues. (dang. super sad)
1) While the straight stitch is beautiful, cannot zig-zag with stitch width wider than 2. The needle hits something in the bobbin case/shuttle area.
2) All other stitches, #3 ~ #7, it sews for the first 2 minutes or so, then WHAM! The same thing happens as above. The needle hits bobbin case/shuttle.
3) Needle position -- is supposed to be set to the middle, but if I do that, for zig-zag, the needle will hit the needle plate on the right. I had to set the needle to the far left position to get it to sew zig-zag up to the width 2.
4) Furthermore, the extension table that was with this machine actually didn't fit. A little research resulted that the table actually is for 801, not for Sport 801. How in the world this machine ended up with a wrong table??
Well, what do I do now. I can clean, oil, and make minor adjustments, replace broken parts if it's visible, easy to get to and easy to disassemble/assemble. But that's all. I'm not a sewing machine mechanic. I can't repair a machine : (
a) Take it to my neighborhood Bernina shop, and have them fix it, no matter how much it costs, now that I've fallen in love with it? Um, that sounds just too crazy. Can't do 'love is blind'.
b) No, silly. The repair will cost at least $200. (My wild guess. For just plain maintenance servicing, they charge $165 per machine) If I really, really want, look for a good working condition one which I can probably get for around $300? Sell the foot control (omg, these are going for over $100 on ebay. Really?!) and the table so I can fund my good machine PURCHASE. Give or keep this machine as parts machine.
b) Continue to fiddle with it, seek help in the various sewing machine related Yahoo groups I belong to, maybe I will figure out what to do to make it work right ?? After all, I only paid $3. Take it apart, there is not much to lose here.
c) Give up on the idea that $3 will give me a completely functional vintage Bernina. Work with what I've got. Enjoy the straight stitch, and narrow zig-zag stitches, be satisfied with these, expect nothing more from this one.
What should I do?!
Also, one funky thing. The speed of this sewing machine. As soon as I step on the foot control (even with the slower setting -- I found a switch on the foot controller for faster and slower), it takes off! No first gear, second gear, just turbo at once. I can't start slow. Is this a normal behavior of Bernina Sport 801? After all, the name, "Sport"..... Anyone out there, Bernina Sport 801 users?
What do I do now. I want this machine to work. Currently, she sits cute under my sewing desk, waiting for her treatment plans to be determined. So sad : ( She sure is cute and strong.