Welcome back to another installment of Sewing Machine Adultery!
My sewing machine, a Bernina Activa 130, was given to me as a gift from my parents while I was in college studying Fiber Arts. It was a very big gift that I was crazy for and very top of the line in its time. At the time I was obsessed with creating garments and fashion, this was the perfect machine in every way. I recall my Professor raising her eyebrows when she saw it for the first time. I also had a wedding dress designer ask to borrow it for awhile during my internship. It was quite the luxury sewing machine back in its day!
As I said in my previous post, until recently I didn't think I was missing anything in my sewing machine. Which, for a machine that has been owned for 12+ years, is really saying something! I am still not convinced that I necessarily need a new machine. As someone who emailed with me after my last post, we agreed that it can be hard to explain that while there isn't anything WRONG with my machine it is just that there are some things that I now know are MISSING...
Before I jump ahead to that let me just list some pros and cons of my Bernina Activa 130.
- solid construction
- I've never had a problem with her that hasn't been resolved with a cleaning (knock on wood)
- metal bobbins
- computerized but not overly so
- basic stitches (straight stitch, zig zag, overlock, button hole, triple straight stitch, double overlock)
- I own most of the accessories (feet, plates, screwdriver, cover, etc.)
- she's simple and you don't get lost in the options
- option to have the free hand system (knee lift thingamabob)
In fact I recently uncovered her Instruction Manual and refreshed my memory on exactly how useful/versatile a machine my Activa 130 is!
- approximate 7" throat space is no longer sufficient when it comes to quilting. for garments this was fine but for quilting it has begun to bother me
- no start/stop button
- loud like a jet engine while sewing!
- FHS was never installed because I didn't need it as a garment sewer
- no automatic thread cutting
- no automatic buttonholes let alone multiple kinds of buttonholes!
- no alphabet
- many of the things that are basics in most machines today are just not included in her repertoire because of her age
There is nothing wrong with my machine, I just want more.
Which leads me to the the title of this whole series...Sewing Machine Adultery. I feel guilty for even thinking of betraying my sewing machine. She has been there for me, loyal, useful, a constant in my life, for over a decade. She hasn't done anything wrong but stayed the same while technology and new sewing machines armed with that technology developed around her.
Only other people who sew could understand the sentiment that exists between a sewer and their machine. I have successfully explained it to other people by making an analogy to their car.
The real question is...
How much more do I need?
Do I need a machine with 270 stitches most of which I probably won't use? 11 buttonholes - who in the hell knew there were 11 different kinds of buttonholes? The 3 alphabets which...admittedly I have ideas for so I probably would use? Do I really want to invest so much money in a top of the line computerized machine? Or, do I stay loyal to my Bernina Activa 130 and supplement her with something like a *non-computerized* straight stitch machine just for quilting?
Without a doubt, at a minimum, what I want is:
- more throat space for quilting
- a machine I can really cut my teeth on to improve my FMQ skills
- yes, I want the damn automatic thread cutting thingy
The debate continues! This weekend I am off to a sewing shop that sells Janome. I am dying to try out the Horizon MC8900. Not convinced I need a 4K sewing machine that could basically do it all and apparently fold my laundry too...but I won't know until I try it now will I?
All of last week's comments were so awesome! Nothing like a sewing machine chat amongst friends! Please do let me know if I am missing something crucial in my "minimum needs" and don't forget to tell me what kind of machine you use - I've been researching them all online with every new comment I receive!
- rebecca lynne