Thursday, November 02, 2006

Now what?

I was recently blessed to acquire a sewing machine. I have been without one for...oh, ten years at least. Maybe more. I've never had one during the time we've been in Poland. In the past few years, the conviction that I wanted one has been growing upon me, and in due time...

A missionary family in Slovakia was leaving Europe to work in the western hemisphere. There was no need for them to take appliances that run on 220 current with them, and they needed money for the move, so they sold as much as they could. I was happy to purchase the sewing machine and looked forward to it for weeks. I have plans and projects! I even have fabric!

The machine is a Bernette 680 made by Bernina. That's a good label, although it is one of the bottom-end machines. Which is fine. I don't need fancy or electronic. I'm strictly mediocre in my sewing ability, and my thoughts tend toward cushions, curtains and maybe a simple skirt on a good day. Electronic embroidery, computerized patterns, and programmed sewing don't even enter on the horizon. So I was more than happy to acquire a simple, basic machine.

However, even a simple, basic machine needs instructions. Okay, I need instructions. Winding a bobbin and threading a machine are not things I can figure out without help. Remember, I haven't had a sewing machine for ten years, and each one is unique, anyway. The good news is, my machine came with instructions. The bad news is, the instructions are in German, Italian, French, and Slovakian.

I went to the Bernina website and found pdf versions of the manuals for the higher model machines just above mine, and for a couple of lower ones. But no manual for my Bernette 680. I wrote to the company a month ago, but they didn't answer. I wrote another company which deals in out-of-print manuals, and they informed me bluntly that this one is not available.

So now what?

Many of the parts for this machine are identical to the parts for the higher models. I downloaded the pdf file for those machines and printed the pages dealing with threading the machine. I considered myself fortunate that a loaded bobbin was already in my machine, so I got to skip that part (for now). Reading the instructions (for a different, but similar machine) in English, I tried to follow the diagrams in my Slovakian manual. Miracles really do happen, because I managed to thread the machine correctly enough to sew a seam.

Next time maybe I'll be brave enough to remove the bobbin and attempt to thread it with a color that will match the sewing thread.

I'm sure I'll get it figured out before another ten years elapse.


At 11:27 AM , Blogger Calamity Jane said...

Would you like me to translate some of the instructions from French? If you can type them in, or somehow get a scan to me, I'll be glad to give it a go. If you think that would help, and it's not going to be an enormous pain to get the text to me, do let me know. My e-mail is

At 6:51 PM , Blogger Phyllis said...

Hee hee. I recently inherited a sewing machine, too. It's VERY basic. . . hand-cranked. :-) I'm quite familiar with modern machines, and I'd love to help you with yours, if there was any way I could. It's this old-fashioned one that is throwing me for a loop! I've finally figured out the bobbin. My sweet husband helped me put that off by buying me an extra used one that still had thread on it. :-) I am having so much fun sewing again, after years away from it!

At 5:14 PM , Blogger Firefly said...

I had a similar situation with a sewing machine that I had for several years before my husband finally told me to get rid of it and bought me a new one. I don't know if this will help or not, but here is a site with basic threading instructions:

And here is a site that offers free threading instructions for several Bernina machines. You might find one that is similar enough to yours.

I'll keep looking around and see if I can find anything. God bless!


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