For this Winters Project I thought to try something ‘different’! Always been aware of Bernina by reputation, but never laid hands on one before last month. 

First arrival was a Minimatic 807 on 14th September. (Today is 8th November)

Was always aware of Bernina being precision made, expensive to buy new, & ‘interesting’ nowadays. Never thought I could afford to dabble…

Then I came across the 807 on my favourite Online Charity site.

Minimatic 807 in front of the shy 707. The 830 Record speaks for itself.

Eldest is the Minimatic 707 made in 1970, which needed the camstack gear replacing but looked good else. I only bought it for the foot control to use on my 807 that came without one, but this machine was very nice as well. So the 707 gets its controller back & I buy a modern, clamshell, Electronic controller for the 807.

This machine has a badge on the front which says ILEA on it.  The Auction described the machine as a ‘Minimatic 707 Ilea model… It actually stands for the Inner London Education Authority, so it belonged to a school/college from new. It has been well maintained & it shows in the stitch quality now it has its new gear fitted. It’s quiet & slick already: )

The second eldest is the 830 Record from 1971, the first year of production I believe.

I came across it by chance online & the honest description indicated that it likely needed a replacement camstack gear: ) (£20 & 1 hours fitting) It also came with pretty much all its original kit, 10 feet in the accessories box, in a good case. All in good condition. A few very minor paint chips, yellowing to the plastic exterior panels the only slight negatives I saw. I paid £146 shipped & was very happy when I saw it. It had been stitching until relatively recently & was therefore smooth & good, no frozen controls, just needs a proper service, some minor adjustments & it’ll be good for another 53 years.

I replaced the cam gear yesterday & it sewed well from the off: ) Subsequent use indicates it needs the cam stack selector adjusting & the button holer is dry & a little stiff. It’s very hard to get to it to lubricate: ) But that’s a small problem for a Winters night!

Just one negative I have found up to now… Cheap & nasty plastic rear cover. Retractable spool pins built into it that are so cheap & flimsy when you look inside. No wonder they break. On their top of the range machine at the time.

I had to remove it yesterday in order to fit the new gear. It is a nice machine though: )

Been working on a fix for it & here’s the latest state, not yet complete but you’ll get the idea.

The pins are positively located up & down & side to side here. Next step is to fix/enclose them front to back. It’ll look neater when it’s finished but it’s invisible anyway: )

Youngest is the Minimatic 807 from 1974. First one I bought & although it looked good & came with its case, spare feet etc. It turned out to be almost solid… And no controller. Paid £57 shipped & its hard plastic case got trashed during its trip here!

But 2 weeks later I have freed up most of the machine, (except for one awkward little detent button & the combined top knob) & it was stitching sweetly last night: ) It’s just limited currently to a narrower ZZ width in use: )

So, coming up to a month in, efforts made, with £309 spent I have the three, very nice stitching Berninas above.

Couple of weeks ago I came across a very neat early 707 from 1967: ) In a lovely case & lots of paperwork. Including its original Bill of Sale, Manual & bills, 5 feet etc! Very nice for a 56 year old.

All controls are free, motor is excellent. (Capacitor is good & so are the brushes: ) Almost immaculate cosmetically! Mechanically it needs a new Cam-stack drive unit. No surprises there…

Easily fixed now I’ve done 2 before; ) It does stitch very nicely now, but it needs the fix ASAP. Another little job for a dark Winters night. It’s the best of my current 4 Berninas, & I’m really, really pleased with it: )

The Bill of Sale is very nice to have.

£84 in 1968 = £1,740 in 2023! Makes you think? I paid £134 shipped. Arrived in perfect order. Thanks to Katie: )

So now I got 4 Berninas & they are all cool in their different ways. In less than 3 months. And under £500.