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Bernina 730


1967 Free arm with inbuilt decorative stitches.

Oooops, I did it again, saw a machine in a Horn cabinet (just like my Bernina 117L), so I bid and won. No idea what I was going to get in the way of accessories or even the condition of the sewing machine. All I could see was that it looked like a 730.

I had no idea if it had any attachments or the table extension, it’s part of the fun of rescuing old machines. Sometimes you get lucky and sometimes you don’t. I’d already found a Bernina 121, Bernina 117L and a Bernina 700, so this was my fourth Bernina find in a short period of time and they are all completely different.

The 121 is a small free arm similar to some of the early free arm portables. The 117L is in the semi-industrial class, with its shiny green gloss paint, gold decals and silver metal parts. The 700 is also surprisingly small and compact and looks like the 730 in photos, but it’s not until you see the 730 next to the 700 and even next to the 117L that it looks massive.

I collected the machine from the auction rooms and was pleasantly surprised to find the cabinets draws full of sewing items. The first thing I did look for was the extension table and it was not there, oh well, never mind. There were plenty of feet and bobbins, so that was at least one positive. The cabinet also contained many patterns, buttons, scissors, tape measures, pincushions, booklets and two instruction books. One for the 730 as well as an instruction book to a Bernina 530, I can only guess the previous owner had at one time owned that machine as well.

The machine itself is a Bernina 730 Record, I was shocked to see how it towers over my Bernina 117L. The machine itself looks wonderful, hardly a mark on it, complete with original foot pedal. Perfect from the outside, however a slow turn of the hand wheel and I could feel in one spot there was some resistance. It took me some time to get the lid open as it hinges backwards and was firmly stuck, eventually got it open to discover the dreaded vertical shaft gear is cracked. According to the Bernina Face book group, this is very common with machines of this age. The good news is that replacements can be purchased, the bad news is that it is a labour intensive process to change the gear. The FB group has a wonderful link and video on how to change the gear. Even though I usually try to fix these machines myself, I also know when something is beyond my scope. More than likely this machine will be going to the Mike the sewing machine technician in Hawthorn, Victoria, who I know can replace this gear. Anne bonny’s locker and Mike and the Mechanicals in Hawthorn.

Another machine I have not used in my Bernina collection, as I would like the vertical gear to be repaired before I try to sew with it. By all accounts it is a wonderful machine and worth preserving. The Record 830 which came out after this one, is a more modern squarer shape and is the top of the range machine for this era and commands a higher price, even today. The 830 does look modern and I am glad I have the 730 as it is one of the last ones with the rounder lines to its build. The 730 and 530 have good reputations and their own fans within the Bernina enthusiast group, just a pity most of these machines have some plastic gears. To be brutally honest, I never really sought out this machine, it just does not fall into the group of machines that normally take my fancy. It is rather boring to look at and I must admit I am drawn to the retro looking machines, like the Bernina 117L..

There were 7 Bernina booklets amongst the patterns, these are A4 size and most are 16 pages. It appears these are quite uncommon, so I have scanned them and uploaded them to my google drive. Check out my Bernina Vintage Booklets page, where you can find the links to download each for free.

The instruction book for this machine can be found here.

The parts book for the 730 can be found here.

The settings book for the 730 can be found here.

These are the photos at the auction house, it was pot luck, as I did not have a chance to inspect the machine prior to bidding on it.

Update March 2023

The machine has been repaired by Mike at Anne bonny’s locker and I have sourced a parts machine, that has the extension table, accessories compartment and a beaten up case. The case will never be very good but I have attempted to repair it somewhat.

The Bernina 730 runs as smooth as butter and her stitches are lovely. I big machine I would not want to move around too much, now I know why it was in that table. Hardly a convenient portable machine, but a beauty none the less.

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