Creative articles about sewing

125 years of helping your creativity blossom

Dear Readers,

I hope you have all had a good start to 2018. I would like to take this opportunity to again wish you all the best for this new year. I wish you a lot of health, happiness and creativeness!

125 Years – Celebrating your Creativity

A very special year for BERNINA began on the first day of January, because in 2018 we are celebrating the company’s 125th anniversary. However, it is above all our customers that we want to celebrate at this time. This explains the motto for our anniversary campaign: Celebrating your Creativity.

In this anniversary year, we will be presenting you with a series of glittering surprises. We will be launching sewing machines with special gold designs, there will be gilded presser feet, and we will publish numerous tutorials for golden sewing projects on our social media channels – including here on the blog. The annual plans drawn up by our blog authors already include 20 articles with associated instructions, ranging from a golden pillow to a fairytale quilt, embroidery designs and a goddess dress. In addition, we will also provide detailed instructions for the projects accompanying our 125-year campaign.

A first impression of the campaign can be seen in this video, which we uploaded on YouTube yesterday:

Here are some pictures of the sewing, embroidery and quilting projects that have been created as part of the campaign:

Download paisley embroidery pattern

The golden paisley embroidery shown on the black party dress has been created exclusively for the anniversary. You can download the design now. The download is available on our anniversary page:

The instructions and pattern for the party dress are available in issue 70 of our customer magazine “Inspiration”. The magazine has been available online and at BERNINA dealers since January 4th:

We will be providing instructions and patterns here on the blog from February. Instructions and downloads will also be made available for the other projects.

125 years of helping your creativity blossom

What happened 125 years ago and what has happened since then? Let’s take a little look back at this point.

The father of our company founder was Johann Georg Gegauf, a radical liberal German country doctor who supported the establishment of a republic in the wake of the Baden revolution in 1849. A warrant was issued for his arrest following the suppression of the democratic uprising and he therefore fled to Switzerland.

His technically gifted son was also committed to change. But Karl Friedrich Gegauf did not want to change the political situation, as there was less reason to do this in Switzerland than in the southern German duchy. Instead, he wanted to open up new opportunities in the textile industry. He had heard what a laborious task it was to sew hemstitching. This was still done by hand. He experimented for months, working on monogram embroidery machines in the factory during the days while refining the new machine in the evenings. In 1893, he finally succeeded in building a machine that made industrial production of the decorative borders that were so popular at that time possible:

His hemstitch sewing machine was a real commercial hit. The success of the machine allowed him to live a comfortable life with expensive hobbies. He bought a high-wheel bicycle, which the residents of Steckborn found amusing. His progressive attitude is also demonstrated by the picture below.

Our company founder was the first owner of a car in the canton of Thurgau. Groaning and wheezing, this drove through the small town at speeds of up to thirty kilometers per hour, spreading fright among the residents. It sometimes also conked out, especially when the whole family sat in it ready for a Sunday outing.

After the death of Karl Friedrich, his son Fritz Gegauf took over the running of the company. During the tough years that came with the decline of the Swiss textile industry and the Great Depression, he reoriented the company and in 1932, he developed the company’s first household sewing machine, which he gave the model name BERNINA Class 105. The model was so successful that the company Gegauf was soon commonly called BERNINA.

The eponymous Piz Bernina is shown on the BERNINA 105 as a mountain silhouette on the emblem below the Swiss crossbow:


Odette Gegauf-Ueltschi took over management of the company in 1965, as a member of the third generation. It is striking that this occurred six years before women even got the right to vote in Switzerland. Under her leadership, the company launched legendary models such as the BERNINA 730 and 830 Record. The launch of the patented knee-activated presser foot lifter, which is still a popular convenience feature of BERNINA machines today, also dates back to the time of Odette. As does the first sewing machine model with electrical foot control.

Hanspeter Ueltschi, the founder’s great-grandson, remains faithful to the inventive spirit of his ancestors, and at the same time sticks to tried and tested approaches, such as the company’s uncompromising commitment to quality and the manufacturing location of Steckborn. The Swiss headquarters houses BERNINA’s entire development and testing department, as well as parts manufacturing and modern assembly facilities, in which the company produces its top-of-the-line products and long-arm quilting machines. The machines in the lower and medium price segments are produced in our modern production plant in Thailand, which was established in 1990 and has been continuously developed ever since.

BERNINA is still a family business and intends to remain so in the future. The fifth generation of the family, in the form of Hanspeter Ueltschi’s children Katharina and Philipp, has now also joined the business.   While Philipp Ueltschi is establishing a new brand aimed at young sewers in the USA, Katharina Ueltschi recently took over responsibility for the distribution of BERNINA products in Singapore. This paves the way for an internal family succession.

Golden year 2018

We will report all the news relating to our anniversary year on the blog, as it comes in. So, stay tuned and check back here regularly. You are sure to find plenty of gold sprinkled around throughout the year!

Best regards,

Tamara & Caro

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  • Becky Richard EditEditing comments on the BERNINA blog is only possible after logging in with a blog user account. Sign up now or create a user account if you do not have one yet.

    Is the USA development Philipp Ueltschi is working on the Ever Sewn Sparrow sewing machines?

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