Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Bernina Spa Day

Kurt E. cleans and conditions my Bernina
August 2016
Marilyn usually has her sewing machine cleaned at quilt shop in her area, and since I was in Denver last week, I asked if the technician was scheduled to be at the quilt shop. Unfortunately, he wasn't going to be at the shop until September, so Marilyn asked if he made "house calls." I was thrilled to sit in her kitchen and watch him clean and condition my two Berninas.

Last year, I had my oldest machine (purchased in 2004) "cleaned" at a dealer in Casper, WY.  At Marilyn's kitchen table, Kurt, a certified Bernina technician, discovered they hadn't done a very good job: the gear controlling the bobbin was clogged with gunk. He surmised the "cleaning" was only cosmetic and that they hadn't taken the cover off of the machine.

My newer machine was purchased in September 2015 and just needed a bit of a tune-up and oiling.

I sat and watched Kurt take the machines down their chassis, which was interesting in itself, but he also explained a lot about the workings and how to properly oil the bobbin area. I asked to take some photos so I wouldn't forget the areas that I need to oil in the future.

While the photos are specific to Bernina machines, it applies to nearly all sewing machines.

First, remove the bobbin and expose the bobbin shuttle.

Oil the groove around the area that holds the bobbin shuttle with a small line of oil.

Make sure to oil both sides.

Then, clean the bobbin shuttle with a soft cloth and place a small line of oil along the grove on the top side.

Turn the bobbin shuttle over and oil the ledge there, too.

The Bernina has a plastic part that holds the bobbin shuttle into place. That also needs to be oiled where it touches the metal of the shuttle. 

Make sure the bobbin shuttle is back into position and that the plastic ring is also snapped into place. Insert a bobbin and sew on a piece of scrap cloth until the oil is no longer visible in the stitching. 

Kurt spent about an hour on each machine and had both purring when he was finished.

I was very pleased with the cleaning and conditioning that Kurt did on my machine. If you are in the Denver area, I highly recommend his work.

(photos and contact information shared with Kurt's permission.


  1. Great photos of the process and helpful information for maintaining all sewing machines.

  2. Great photos. Always amazing how I think my machine is running fine and then after I get it cleaned I think...what was I thinking a week ago? So nice that he makes house calls!

  3. Oh yea -- this is great information. I always get my machine cleaned at a Bernina dealer but I'm sure some repair people are better than others. I keep mine cleaned up especially every time I empty a bobbin. But I wasn't oiling anywhere near as much as he did. Plus, the Bernina oiler isn't a nice pin point bottle which allows such precision oiling. (I have had them for the long arm but the ones I've had age and one broke in my hand with oil in it. ARGH. Thanks for the great info. I'm sorry Denver is such a distance from me! (Well, not in the winter!)

  4. How fortunate for you! My Sears machine from 1974 has never been cleaned but then I hardly ever use it :)

  5. People have skills I never even knew existeD!

  6. I love your title!!!... I took 3 machines back to Alberta for their spa days....they were in great need:))

  7. What a great useful post. My machine is a Sears Kenmore that my Hubby bought for me 38 years ago. Of course I don't sew nearly as much as you do either. I've only cleaned mine once and it probably needs it again now.

  8. I wonder if he'll make a house call to New Mexico if I promise him pie! :)

  9. What an interesting post! I own a 20+ year old Bernina 1230 and I wasn't oiling near as much either! and sometimes have wondered about my local shop's 'service'. Wish he made house calls to SC too!! :)

  10. Awe, you have a Bernina too. I have two and just love them.


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