Bernina – History, Questions and Everything you want to know about the Bernina Brand

Bernina has been operated by the same family for generations and is today they largest privately-held sewing machine company in the world. It was founded in Steckborn, Switzerland 1893 by inventor Fritz Gegauf and was named after Piz Bernina, a mountain in Switzerland. The company is today making all types of items for the textile and sewing market but primarily focusing on home sewing products such as embroidery machines, quilting machines and of course sewing machines.

The Bernina Brand Overview

BERNINA is the one of the world’s most premium sewing machine manufacturer with a history of producing state-of-the-art sewing, embroidery and quilting systems, sergers, and embroidery software. Their slogan is “Stepping into the future with the quality of the past” and has been owned by the family since the company was founded. Bernina products are sold worldwide and in the US they have over 400 independent dealers that are educated and trained on the Bernina machines. The company is located in Steckborn, Switzerland which is a small town of roughly 5000 people which of many work for Bernina. All the Bernina sewing machines are initially developed, designed and tested at the manufacturing plant in Steckborn, however not all of their products are produced at this plant as some are produced in Thailand. Total the company employs more than 1200 employees around the world and around 300 of these work in Steckborn in R&D, product development and corporate functions.

The Bernina Brand History

Bernina was founded in Switzerland in 1893 by Karl Friedrich Gegau when he created a hemstitch sewing machine. By 1932 the machine had been fully developed and started to be manufactured in small numbers and sold under the trade name Bernina. By the year 1900, Bernina was employing over 70 people and had converted their workshop into a small factory. Karl Friedrich Gegauf served as the technical director while his brother Georg was in leading the business interests. Karl Friedrich Gegauf’s two sons took over the company after their father’s death and continued driving the company. In 1938 they launched their first  zigzag sewing machine and in 1945 the first portable zigzag sewing machine was launched. In 1989 the new sewing machine launched is called Bernette, which lives on today and is highly successful. By mid 1990 the company launches their first computerized sewing machine with the artista 180. The full history and all their accomplishments can be read on their own homepage.

Bernina History Video

Bernette Sewing Machines – Are they the same as Bernina

Bernette is a very popular range of sewing machines, they are a standalone brand but is a subsidiary of Bernina. bernette was created in 1989 when the Odette line of sewing machines are renamed into Bernette. It was a combination of Odette Ueltschi-Gegauf first name and the Bernina brand name. We have a more in depth post of the bernette sewing machines that you can read here:

Where are Bernina sewing machines made today

Bernina used to only produced their machines in Switzerland however after 1990 they also opened a manufacturing plant in Thailand and are today making their lower level machines there.

Bernina Switzerland

Today on the top-of-the-line sewing machines are made in their plant in Switzerland. These are the series 7 and 8 Bernina sewing machines as well as the longarm quilting machines. They also produce spare parts for series product in this plant.

Bernina Thailand

All the lower range of Bernina sewing machines are made in their plant in Thailand, this is entry machines up to 7 Series, in addition the Q Series models are also produced at his plant. The manufacturing plant in Thailand was founded in 1990 and as been expanded 3 times since. The lastest was a new factory opened on 12 January 2015 in order to be able to produce larger numbers and more advanced sewing machines.

Bernina Thailand Factory Video

List of Bernina Sewing Machines

Here is the full list of Sewing Machines that Bernina manufacturers today and the link to our review if we have covered it on our site. The different models have a few letters attached that means that the machine come with different functions.

  • E – The e stands for Embroidery and indicate that the machines comes with a Embroidery Module and larger embroidery area.
  • QE – Means quilters edition so this machine comes with improved quilting features and functions.
  • QE E – is the quilters edition with an additional embroidery module.
  • Kaffe Edition – This is a special edition that is design by Kaffe Fassett and comes in vibrant designs and colors, inspired by the Millefiore fabric print.
  • Plus – Machines that come with additional features such as large sewing and embroidery areas or extra large bobbin.
  • Crystal Edition – This is the absolute top of the range version that comes with a Crystal Suitcase with Real Swarovski Crystals inside to sew on your creations.

Bernina Sewing Machine Series and Models

  • Bernina 2 Series Sewing Machines
    • Bernina 215 Simply Red
  • Bernina 5 Series Sewing Machines
    • Bernina 535
    • Bernina 535 E
    • Bernina 500
    • Bernina 570 QE
    • Bernina 570 QE E
    • Bernina 590
    • Bernina 590 E
    • Bernina 590 Crystal Edition
  • Bernina 7 Series Sewing Machines
    • Bernina 700 E
    • Bernina 740
    • Bernina 770 QE
    • Bernina 770 QE E
    • Bernina 770 QE PLUS
    • Bernina 770 QE PLUS Kaffe Edition
    • Bernina 790 PLUS
    • Bernina 790 PLUS SE
    • Bernina 790 PLUS Crystal Edition

Bernina Overlock Machines

  • Overlock/Coverstitch Combo
    • Bernina L 890

Bernina Multi Needle Embroidery Machines

  • Bernina E 16 PLUS Embroidery Machine

Frequently asked questions about Bernina Sewing Machines

Where are bernette sewing machines made?

Bernina sewing machines, from the entry level up to series 7 are manufactured in Thailand. The top of the range models (series 7 and 8) are still made in their factory in Steckborn, Switzerland.

Are Bernette and Bernina the same brand?

Bernette is a subsidiary of Bernina, they are two brands but technically the same company.

Is bernette made by Bernina?

Yes, bernette is a range of sewing machines, overlockers and coverstitch machines made by Bernina.

Is bernina better than janome?

If you are looking for a regular sewing machine Bernina would be a good choice, if you are looking for a serger/overlocker, Janome could be a good choice.

When was Bernina founded?

Bernina was founded in 1893 by Fritz Gegauf in Switzerland.

Is Bernina the best sewing machine brand?

Bernina is one of the very top sewing brands today. Other quality sewing machine brands are Pfaff, Brother, Janome and Singer

Is Bernina the most reliable brand of sewing machine?

Bernina makes some good quality machines, especially their top range models that are produced in their factory in Switzerland.

What is the best bernina sewing machine to buy?

Depending on what your main sewing type would be

What is the cheapest bernina sewing machine?

Bernina has a very basic entry sewing machine called Bernina 215 Simply Red, which would be their cheapest sewing machine.

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