Supermarket Snobbery, a New Obsession with Sewing… and Vintage Bernina Love

This June I bought my first sewing machine. It was an impulse purchase at Lidl. For those of you who don’t live in Europe, Lidl is a German discount supermarket chain. In Sweden (and the UK) some people are embarrassed to shop at Lidl. It’s not very glamorous. Selection is very limited and the staff always seem to be incredibly stressed out, but Lidl is CHEAP!

I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I was a bit of a supermarket snob when I first got to Sweden. The more expensive grocery stores, like Konsum are just so cute and friendly and what I imagined Sweden to be like: organised, super-clean, typically Scandinavian design on all the house brand labels. And yes…expensive. Scott tried to convince me to try Lidl. Keep in mind this was during the long dark Swedish winter. The conversation went something like this:

-But Lidl is really cheap.

-I’m not shopping there. It’s depressing.

-They have great sausages.

-That’s not helping your case.

-They have this ever-changing mystery aisle in the middle of the store with all sorts of crazy cheap things, like power tools or art supplies or women’s shapewear!

-ARE YOU SAYING I NEED A GIRDLE!

I had to admit, the mystery aisle intrigued me. Weirdly incongruous cheap things had greater pull than winter-induced snobbery.

A few weeks later I had a sewing machine. A Singer 2250 with a three year warranty for about $115 plus tax.

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Not bad huh?

I sewed a couple of things on the Singer.  Mostly too embarrassing to show here. It’s pretty basic and a bit plasticky, but it did the trick…meaning it fueled a new obsession with sewing.

And it wasn’t long before I started dreaming of a sexier machine.  Little did I know that an older man was soon coming into my life. A sexy European…

I found him in Myrorna thrift store near Hötorget in Stockholm. He was sitting all forlorn and lonely in his original case. My heart started beating faster as soon as I spied him:

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Yup. A 1965 Bernina 730 Record. Original foot pedal, accessory box with drawers and 7 presser feet. For 170 Swedish Kronor. Thats $28.

I dragged him out of the store as fast as I could. And I mean dragged. This mofo is heavy. A nice Swedish man helped me carry him to the station.

He smelled a bit like cigarette smoke when I got him home and out of the case, but man. He’s a beaut. A little oil and a new grounded plug and he was purring along like he’d just come off the assembly line.

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Check out that Swiss engineering. The red dots are the oiling points. those discs in the middle are the 21 built in decorative stitches.

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How cute is the swing-out accessory case?

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The removeable table extension is cool too. I’m in love.

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3 thoughts on “Supermarket Snobbery, a New Obsession with Sewing… and Vintage Bernina Love

  1. Hello! I just found your blog because I was googling Bernina 730’s. Ive just bought one (going to pick it up today -squeeee!). I cannot believe that you bought one for $28… I paid a lot more than that here in Melbourne, oz but still, I’m happy. I’ve been looking for one for ages and I love old machines. I also have a Singer 201K treadle that I found in a thrift shop. Happy sewing!

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    1. I love my 730. I found another Bernina at a vintage fair in stockholm recently. I really just wanted to buy the accessory case and presser feet but I ended up buying the machine. It’s a 530 and although it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles that my 730 does, it is in mint condition and purrs when it sews. I’m really pleased to finally have a free motion quilting foot too. I have lots of extra presser feet now! I know you’ll love your Bernie. I’m going to do a post soon about how I cleaned and tuned up my old machines. Thanks for your comment!

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