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Bernina stitch problems, help

Flax | Posted in General Discussion on

I have a Bernina Virtuosa 153 and sometimes, not always, when I start sewing my needle thread gets caught up underneath as if the take-up lever is off or something.

I called and called my dealer and we went over every possible problem and so I finally drove to her store (1 1/2 hours away) to show her what exactly it does. She has not been very easy to work with since the day after I bought this machine nor was she any easier to talk to now. She is one of those “I am woman hear me roar” business scary women. Well at least thats what I call them. She intimidated me, really. But I wasn’t about to be miss know it all and think that I was right, if I was truly doing something wrong, I wanted to know. And so my stinkin’ machine wouldn’t bunch-up while she was watching. It did it once when she left the room. Go figure…

She said maybe it is the thread I use, see how fuzzy it is…I use all Guttermann thread and it was fuzzy because it was in my pocket.

It is probably the foot you are using this is for your embroidery stitches…..well I just started using this foot the other day and this problem has been going on for probably over a year.

I know 8 other people that own this machine and some of them experience this same problem.

I love this machine for everything else about it and I wouldn’t give it up but I wish it wouldn’t do this.

Does anyone else own a 153 and experience this?


  1. User avater
    VKStitcher | | #1

    I don't have a Bernina, but I did have a similar problem with my old machine until I got in the habit of holding both thread ends while I took the first couple of stitches.  This will keep your needle thread from going down under the plate and bunching up.  My sister-in-law also had the bunchy problem, and said that when she holds the threads, it doesn't bunch.  Maybe this will fix your problem.  I hope your machine isn't sick!  :-)

    1. User avater
      Flax | | #3

      VKStitcher,That's what my grandma always told me and so thats what I tried, but it would still bunch up even if I held my threads. I hope it's not sick too.Flax

  2. sewelegant | | #2

    I have an older Bernina so this may not apply, but I had a problem somewhat like yours at one time and it had to do with a "gizmo" in the bobbin case.  It may be a tension disc or what ever, but it was removable and had come loose and was not doing what it was supposed to.  I merely used a small tool like an awl or something not so sharp! and settled it back into the bobbin case like it was supposed to be.  It doesn't fall out because it fits in there and has a little ridge to hold it.  Mine had come loose somehow and was falling out.  I have never had any problems since then.  It may have come loose when I cleaned the bobbin case with a brush.  It's a very light weight thin disc that just fits into the bottom of the bobbin case.  It does not look like a solid disk, more like a flat spiral.

    1. User avater
      Flax | | #4

      sewelegant,This is such a goofy thing because my dealer said that she checked everything over throughly and found absolutely nothing wrong she even told me that I keep a clean machine. Either that's flattery or something because I sew all the time with it. I have considered taking it to another dealer to have it looked at.Flax

      1. Betakin | | #5

        Bernina has the famous CB hook that is an oscillating hook where the bobbin goes back and forth instead of full circle like machines with the rotary hooks. Oscillating hooks sometimes need to have the thread held before sewing otherwise they can jam in the machine. Rotary hooks, where the bobbins go round full circle are usually less likely to jam and many companies advertise these as jam free. One can sew off the fabric and there are no thread jams.

        Bernina is now making some of their newer models with the full rotary hook. Viking has had rotary hooks in the past but according to their big teaser promotion about their new Diamond model, it is said to have an oscillating hook.  

      2. sewelegant | | #7

        my machine has the oscillating hook so I know what Betakin is saying, but look in your bobbin case and see if any lint has gotten caught.  When I have problems it's usually from something simple and lint is one of them.  I have had tangles when starting out and will go back and redo my bobbin insertion a couple times before things get resolved.  It doesn't always want to stay put, it seems, or I will have left the door open.  Do you have this problem right after changing the bobbin?  Or is it happening after you've started sewing?  I have never experienced what you describe after my bobbin is in and I have been sewing just fine.  I read over my first response and it seems a bit too technical, maybe,  but even though you keep a clean machine lint can still get caught in there and cause a problem and it doesn't take much.  I would not hesitate to take your machine in to another dealer or place that fixes sewing machines if you can't resolve this issue.  Most repairmen I have encountered work on several different makes of machines.

        Edited 5/15/2008 6:25 am by sewelegant

  3. meg | | #6

    I'm not a Bernina owner, but have you tried using a scrap of fabric to stitch onto and off the seam you've sewn? I cut a piece of cotton about 2" x 4" (or so) and fold it in half lengthwise. When you finish a seam, sew right on to that scrap of fabric, and leave it under the presser foot. Then clip off your project from the scrap. The next seam you stitch will follow the scrap which you left under the presser foot - just keep sewing onto the next seam; this technique is sort of like chain piecing.

  4. TJSEWS | | #8

    I have a Bernina Activa 240 and found that the bobbin thread would bunch up or create a "nest" at the beginning of a seam.  I now hold down the threads when I begin a seam and that has solved the problem.  I hope this works for you as well.  Good luck!

  5. User avater
    ThreadKoe | | #9

    Holding your threads to start will help, but also check to see that your bobbin is unwinding in the proper direction. Check your manual to see which way it should unwind, most should unwind clockwise facing you in the bobbin case. This does make a difference in how your stitches form and how well the threads take up at the start.

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