Creative articles about sewing

Stitch Chart for the BERNINA 590 – a Free Printable Guide for Practical Stitches

 Hi, this is Heather at Manitoulin Threads and I am excited to be sewing and writing for BERNINA International. I hope you join me as I get to know my new BERNINA 590 sewing machine.  I am primarily a garment sewist, but I also sew a variety of bags and home decor items. My sewing specialty is activewear and stretchy fabrics.  My first project on my new machine is a stitch chart to sew as a quick reference for the common stitches in garment sewing.

Image of BERNINA 590.


Computerized machine for Sewing, Quilting, and Embroidering ✓ Sew longer with the Jumbo bobbin ✓ Handle all kinds of material with ease ✓

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I was so happy to pick up my new BERNINA at my local sewing shop, Dominion Sewing Studio, located in Sudbury, Ontario, CANADA. The owner, Mylaine, is wonderful to work with and to chat about all things sewing!   I strongly suggest you purchase your BERNINA at a local dealer. They are an excellent source of knowledge and assistance and can offer service and repairs. 

Woman standing outside of Dominion Sewing store holding a large cardboard box that says BERNINA

My new BERNINA 590 Sewing Machine!

 In this tutorial, I will guide you through setting up your sewing machine and creating a stitch chart.  This will be a handy reference for your most-used stitches on your BERNINA 590. Since my area of specialty is activewear and stretch fabrics, many of the stitches I have included in the guide are for stretch/knit fabrics. I have included a printable blank chart so that you can add your own favourite BERNINA stitches. Let’s dive in!

Materials Needed for Stitch Chart:

  • BERNINA 590 Sewing Machine
  • Machine Needles 
  • Variety of woven and knit fabric scraps for samples
  • Contrasting thread for samples
  • Free PDF Download BERNINA 590 Stitch Chart by @ManitoulinThreads
    • When printing, please open the stitch chart PDF in Adobe Acrobat and select “Fit to Page” to fit your paper size.
  • Stapler/Tape/Glue for fastening stitch samples

Unboxing Your BERNINA 590:

Inspect the Box and Remove the Sewing Machine.

  • Carefully open the shipping box and inspect all contents.
  • Remove the Machine:
    Lift out your BERNINA 590 sewing machine and place it on a sturdy surface. I always ensure my sewing table is solid and level to minimize vibrations when using the machine. Plug in your machine.  I always plug my sewing machines into a power bar with surge protection to protect them from any power surges.     

BERNINA 590 Sewing Machine newly unboxed and placed on a sewing table.

Accessories and Documentation:

  • Locate the accessories box containing:
    • Accessories storage box
    • Bobbins
    • Needles
    • Seam ripper
    • Screwdriver
    • Cleaning brush
    • Spool caps

 Keep the user manual and warranty information handy.

Front cover of spiral bound BERNINA 590 Sewing machine manual

The spiral-bound manual sits flat for easy reference as you are sewing.

Here is my unboxing video of my new machine if you want to look at all the BERNINA goodness!


Machine Setup:

The BERNINA user guide is so helpful in getting started with your new machine. It has everything you need and the spiral binding lets it sit flat next to the machine for quick reference. The Sewing Preparation section begins on Page 29 of the manual.

Needle Selection:

  • Begin by ensuring the needle is correctly inserted and not bent or dull.
  • Select a needle that is appropriate for the fabric type; universal needles are good for woven fabrics and stretch or jersey needles are for stretch fabrics. I used several knit fabrics for my stitch chart samples and you may want to test out different needle types to match your samples. For more information, visit the BERNINA Blog article on how to select the right needle for your project. Tighten the needle clamp securely.


  • Check the threading of the machine:
    Ensure the thread passes through the tension discs and the needle eye properly.  The threading section of the manual begins on page 41. The presser foot must be in the raised position to properly seat the thread in the tension discs.  This is the first sewing machine that I have owned without a manual presser foot lift to the rear of the machine.  There is a button on the front to raise and lower the presser foot. Now I just have to retrain my muscle memory for this!

Winding the bobbin:

  • See page 45 of the manual for threading and bobbin winding.  The jumbo bobbin on the BERNINA 590 means you can sew for a long time without having to stop and wind it again – this is a real bonus for those bigger sewing projects like coats and button-up shirts.
  • Thread the needle with the semi-automatic needle threader.  Here is a great how-to video:

Sewing Stitch Chart Samples:

Print the Free PDF Download Stitch Chart by @ManitoulinThreads.

  • When printing, remember to open the file in Adobe Acrobat and select “Fit to Page” so that it fits your paper size.

Open your BERNINA 590 Manual to pages 87-89 for Practical Stitches # 1 to #40. Information on Buttonhole Stitches can be found on pages 111-112.

BERNINA 590 manual is opened to pages which list the practical stitches in a stitch chart.

Stitch descriptions in the BERNINA 590 Manual are helpful.

  • Choose fabric samples of woven and stretch fabrics similar to what you sew with the most.  I tend to use a lot of activewear and swim fabrics, as well as stretch wovens, so I will use a lot of those for sewing my samples to give me a good idea of how the stitches will look on my sewing projects.
  • Choose a thread that contrasts in colour to your fabric samples so that you can easily see the stitch appearance.
  • Sew the stitches on the fabric and attach the sample to the printable BERNINA stitch chart.  I sewed several samples onto larger fabric scraps and then cut them to fit onto the printed stitch chart. You may want to do more than one sample using different stitch lengths and/or widths.  It will be helpful if you record these details with your samples for quick stitch selections while working on your sewing projects.
    printed stitch chart with fabric samples on blue fabric background with assorted sewing notions.

    Free Printable PDF BERNINA 590 Stitch Chart Page 1 with attached stitch samples.

    BERNINA 590 Stitch Chart Page 1

    BERNINA 590 Stitch Chart Page 2

    BERNINA 590 Stitch Chart Page 3

    BERNINA 590 Stitch Chart Page 4 Blank Template


Additional Tips:

  • When testing your stitches on future sewing projects, you may want to add additional samples and setting notes to your BERNINA 590 Stitches PRINTABLE SEWING Stitch Chart to refer to again, especially when using different fabric types.
  • Storing your stitch charts in clear page projectors will protect them from dust and damage and allow you to store them in a binder.

    BERNINA stitch chart stored in a plastic page protector sleeve and is hanging from a foldback click on a white pegboarf.

    I use page protectors and a fold-back clip to attach my BERNINA 590 Stitch Chart to the pegboard beside my sewing machine for quick reference.

I love the great variety of stitches that my BERNINA 590 has and I am looking forward to sharing many sewing projects with you.

Happy stitching! 

Heather @ManitoulinThreads

Difficulty level: Beginner
Time to Complete: Evening
Used Material: fabric scraps, Free Downloadable Pattern, Glue, machine needles, scissors, sewing machine, stapler, thread
Used Products:

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