Examining the Bernina Record 730 in the seller's garage, and watching him test it out. I had initially been interested in the other machine just out of the frame, a Bernina Minimatic 807, but he quickly convinced me that this was in far better condition and a better deal overall.
I have been using this almost daily since I brought it home almost two months ago, and it has lived up to its billing. Made in Switzerland circa 1969, the Record 730 was the top-of-the-line Bernina sewing machine and came with lots of fancy features - 20 embroidery stitches, automatic buttonholes, option of dropping feed dogs - that I have yet to use.
The free-arm is supplemented by a removable extension table for sewing larger surfaces - I use it like this most of the time. Not pictured are the foot pedal, original manual, and lots of presser feet and extra bobbins that came with the machine.
Aesthetically, I find it really quite nice to look at. A bit intimidating at first, of course, until you figure out what all the different knobs do and get used to it. Now we are good friends. The rounded curves remind me of the design aesthetic of typewriters from the same period (think curvy Hermes 3000) and in fact this is in sharp contrast to its boxier successors, the Bernina Record 830 or Bernina Record 930.
This machine has spoilt me for any others, really. It has worked so wonderfully well "out of the box" that I thought surely others must be the same and have tried my luck on a few more vintage machines, with mediocre results.
Part of it is surely that I bought it from a seller who has lots of experience with sewing machines and made sure this was in fantastic form - he was so confident, in fact, that he emailed me thirty days after the sale asking if I wanted to return it and get my money back. Not a chance!
A look under the hood - there is a lot of impressive engineering to see here, and the nice part is that virtually all of it is solid, durable metal. The red dots mark the oiling holes, and the stack of cams in the middle are for the different embroidery stitches.
I gave them a try when I first brought the machine home - an advanced typing sample, if you will. Works beautifully. Haven't had a chance to use them in an actual project yet, but perhaps one day.
And here you may be asking yourself - why the recent obsession with sewing machines, Adwoa? Are you actually making anything? Well, yes. There was that couch cover, of course, and the matching skirt. But, this weekend, when I headed off to Zurich for a wedding, I had the perfect opportunity to debut a dress I had recently completed using wax print fabric I brought back from Accra in April and working from a sewing pattern designed by a young Canadian lady:
Voila! Sewed entirely on my fabulous Bernina Record 730.
(Typecast courtesy of Scheidegger Princess-Matic)