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Half stitch foot control for Bernina 220

KBTsewer | Posted in Equipment and Supplies on

Am about to buy,as a second machine, a Bernina 220 so I can sew in places other than my sewing space at home.Thinking of including the half stitch foot control(an optional extra), with this purchase so I can control the needle up/down facility with my foot.My main machine is a Designer 1 which has this facility. The Designer 1 presser foot also lifts slightly, in the needle down position, to allow fabric manipulation.
What do other Bernina owners think of this half stitch foot pedal?? I know it comes as standard with more expensive Bernina’s Worth the extra cost, easy to use, or not??
Thought I’d ask before fully committing my hard earned money.


  1. jjgg | | #1

    I have both a Designer 1 and a Bernina 1530. I could not live without the foot control you talk about (it came with my machine). I actually find the Bernina foot pedal much more comfortable than the Viking one, it seems more ergonomically made, and easier to use! I can also set my Bernina to stop with the needle up or down. I don't know if the machine you are looking at has this feature.

    I haven't really figured out why, but I just think the Bernina does this better than the D1. It may have to do with the automatic presser foot lift/drop on the D1. I kind of like the knee lift on the Bernina better. - though I do love the pivot feature on the D1.

    ARRRRGGGGHHHHHH! why can't we get all the unique features from different companies rolled into one machine. The Dual feed of the Pfaff, the knee lift of the Bernina with its foot pedal, the pivot of the Viking.....

    1. KBTsewer | | #3

      I've asked around and almost everyone who has this foot pedal says they wouldn't be without it. Well, I'm not surprised as I think it's a 'must have' item.I'll definitely include it with my order.
      Yes, pity we can't have all the different 'must haves' on one machine but then we wouldn't have anything to wish for.
      It'll be interesting to see whether I find the Bernina foot easier to use than the D1 foot
      Thanks for your help.Happy sewing

    2. sewslow67 | | #6

      >>>>>ARRRRGGGGHHHHHH! why can't we get all the unique features from different companies rolled into one machine. The Dual feed of the Pfaff, the knee lift of the Bernina with its foot pedal, the pivot of the Viking.....<<<<<

      I have the Pfaff 2170 and it has the build-in dual feed, the knee lift, and needle control with foot pedal.   It also does 4-way stitching which, I'm not sure if that is what you meant when you said: "pivot of the Viking".   Would you (or someone else) please explain what the "pivot" does or how it works?  That sounds intriguing.  Thanks.

      1. KBTsewer | | #7

        The pivot on the Designer 1 is connected to the needle up/down facility.If you want the needle to stay down slight pressure is put on the foot pedal.At the same time as the needle is in the down position the presser foot raises itself automatically so you can pivot the fabric, or not, as the case may be.The amount it rises is connected to the 'sewing advisor'.The 'sewing advisor' is set for the type of fabric being sewn ( light/medium/heavy---woven/knit etc)before sewing starts.When you continue sewing the presser foot lowers automatically.There is no manual lever to lower the presser foot, it's all done with the foot pedal.It's really really good and I use this facility all the time.
        Hope that explains it.

        1. sewslow67 | | #8

          Thanks, Parrot; I appreciate you explaining that - and you made it easy to understand, too. 

          Actually, my machine kind of has that feature too, although I don't entirely activate it with the foot control.  With mine, you set whatever height you want the foot to raise with the 'sewing advisor', and then ...when you stop or pause the machine, the foot will rise exactly the amount you set in the 'sewing advisor' so you can pivot the fabric.  Thanks again for taking time to clarify.

          1. KBTsewer | | #11

            No problem.Glad you followed all that.Spent my entire working life in the education business so I'd be worried my mind was beginning to go if it didn't make sense!!!

      2. jjgg | | #9

        Well, that sounds wonderful, but it just wont' happen for me!

        1. sewslow67 | | #10

          You never know, jjgg; if you save a lifetime, and live long enough ...you too will have your perfect dream machine.  Unfortunately though, many of us who realize this dream are so bloody old we may not have too many years to enjoy them.    I am already trying to figure out who to will mine to, since no one in my family wants it and the young friends I have don't sew.

          The fact is, if the mother board in my Bernina 1130 hadn't burned out, I would never have replaced it, because it was a real honey.  The dealer that I bought the Bernina from felt so bad that he gave me the Pfaff for half price.

  2. sewelegant | | #2

    I have the Bernina with a foot pedal that you tap to change the up or down feature.  I am wondering... how do you control this without a foot pedal?  The only other way I could do it with my machine is by manipulaing the cursor to the up/down site and turning it off and to me this would be terrifically annoying!  I guess the easy way is to just turn the handwheel (duh) now that I think of it.  (see how easily we adapt to the conveniences? and forget about how we used to do it?)

    It would seem to me that you need to evaluate the ease you would have with the foot pedal and how easy it is to turn the handwheel each time you need to get the needle out of the fabric when you stop.  Sometimes that is an awful lot!

    1. KBTsewer | | #4

      Well, that's the conclusion I came to.If I don't include this foot pedal in with my order I'll be back to square one turning the hand wheel---which comes into the boring/irritating category of sewing.
      We do so get used to having all these mechanical aids and forget what sewing was like in the 'bad old days. I learnt to sew on a treadle with a bullet shuttle and a needle that could have been mistaken for a fence post!!I don't recall have any spare needles either.
      YES I will be buying this foot.
      Thanks for your comments.Happy sewing.

      1. sewelegant | | #5

        I do not think you will be sorry, but it is amazing how much all those "add ons" add up!  Even the feet flyers have a small fee attached.  You would think they would want you to know how to use the thing and include it with the purchase.

        I do not go to the shop as much any more and have finally realized a well stocked sewing room does not a garment make!  I had a piping foot for my old 930 Bernina that I loved, but it did not fit my new 1630 10 years later so it went with my 930 to my daughter and I didn't realize I had not purchased a new one until a few months ago when I was making a pillow and the foot I was using to attach the piping didn't seem to work so well.  In checking my old list I discovered I never did get the new foot.  Now, I have to go back to the store and hope they still make one that will fit my 1630.  I just have to make myself ignore all the new machines... they would just mean more things to buy and it's still up to me to make that garment; my machine is perfectly fine it just needs a little guidance.

        Happy sewing to you, too.

    2. gailete | | #12

      >>I have the Bernina with a foot pedal that you tap to change the up or down feature.  I am wondering... how do you control this without a foot pedal?<<

      On my Janome, you just press a button before or during your sewing and it will then leave the needle down (or up depending on how you have it set) automatically each time you stop sewing. Is this what you are talking about? I can't imagine having another foot peddle or one you have to tap a certain way to get the machine to do it. When you are coming to the spot where you want to pivot, just slow down until you are at the spot and pull your foot off the peddle and the needle stays in the fabric. Or are you talking about something else? I get curious about the differences on machines.

      I can't use the knee presser foot lifter that came with my machine as I learned to sew on a machine that the knee thing was the foot peddle so to speak. So I would have a tendency when I was trying to use the knee lifter on the Janome to make the machine speed up and what I was  doing was lifting the presser foot in mid sewing--not a good idea. I also have numb spots on the outside of my knees due to surgery so I can't feel the knee lifter either so that is a wasted part for me.

      It is strange some of the differences in machines and what we 'can't live without'!


      1. jjgg | | #13

        My mothers old Singer that I learned to sew with had a knee press for the motor! I wish I still had that machine. I am going to chime in on your question about the foot pedal.On the Berninas, (all but the bottom of the line) you can set the needle in the up or down position, so when you take your foot off the pedal it stops where you set it. Then, with the foot pedal if you want it in the opposite direction for some reason, you tap the foot pedal with your heel and it changes the position of the needle. It is VERY comfortable, easy and intuitive after just a few minutes.On the Viking's, (at least on the Designer 1 and the Designer SE - I have both) you set the needle for up or down as with other machines, you can also change this with the foot pedal as with the Bernina's, BUT the Vikings have another feature - the pivot. What this does (when set) is this. With the needle set for the down position, when you take your foot off the gas, the needle stops down in the fabric, but the presser foot raises up just about 1/16 or maybe as much as 1/8 inch. this allows you to 'pivot' the fabric. It is VERY handy when doing curves and you want to just re-arrange the fabric under the presser foot every so often. What drives me nuts with this is; OK, so I stop sewing, and the needle is down as usual, and the presser foot is up a tiny bit, but I want the needle up and the presser foot up. If I tap the pedal, it will raise the needle AND drop the presser foot. It drives me bonkers on occasion. but for the most part I love the Viking machines, My Bernina's are older models (1130 & 1530)BTW, on the 2 Vikings, there is no lever to raise the presser foot at the back of the machine. When you start to sew it automatically drops the presser foot. I get so used to this (there is no knee lift either) that when I go back to my older machines I have been known to start sewing with the presser foot up - and we know that doesn't' work!!! my newest and most favorite machine though is a plain Jane straight stitch industrial machine.Judy

      2. sewelegant | | #14

        I agree it is hard to adjust to the way different machines work, but after you "catch on" you wonder why you had so much trouble.

        My machine is one of the early computer versions and is set for the needle to remain in the up position. If I prefer for it to be in the down position I have to press a button.  It stays that way until you either turn off the machine or press the button to change it back.  The tap I refer to is just this:  for regular sewing I press the pedal with the ball of my foot in the regular manner and if I need to lift the needle out of the fabric I tap the foot with my heel on the heel end of the foot.  It is quite easy and mindless.

        I too learned on machines where you pressed with your knee to make it go and I still have to think about it when I use the knee lift or I will be lifting the foot while I am sewing without even knowing it.

        1. gailete | | #15

          Thank you ladies for your replies on how these different machines work. When I got my first machine with 'bells and whistles' I thought it was great being able to do things like leave the needle in the fabric. Much of my sewing has been quilts so you know how handy that is. Plus as I try to do more garment sewing the correct way and with minimal pinning as well, that needle down position is as good as a third hand! I think if my foot raised also, I would be in the doghouse with a bunch of bird's nests!

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