125 years

Celebrating your Creativity

For 125 years, BERNINA has been passionate about creating and developing sewing, embroidery and quilting machines for creative people everywhere. And Swiss precision is standard for every single product. "We focus on the creative ideas of our customers," says Hanspeter Ueltschi, owner of the company and the great-grandson of the company's founder. "Our aim is to expand the creative scope for textile design with user-friendly products and new functions." BERNINA has therefore chosen the motto "Celebrating your Creativity" for its anniversary year. There are lots of golden opportunities to get involved, so come and celebrate with us - it will be great!

  • 1893

    The world's first hemstitch sewing machine

    In 1893, Karl Friedrich Gegauf invents the hemstitch sewing machine. This machine can sew 100 stitches per minute. It was the world's first machine of this type, and also caused a major sensation abroad. The mechanical production of hemstitching was subsequently known simply as "gegaufing".

  • 1928

    The Fritz Gegauf era begins

    After the death of Karl Friedrich Gegauf in 1928, his two sons Fritz and Gustav Gegauf took over their father's factory. Gustav Gegauf left the company in 1947. Fritz Gegauf was a creative person whose character defined the company for many decades and whose inventions are still in use today.

  • 1932

    The sewing machine for use at home

    The household sewing machine with the BERNINA brand name leaves the factory in Steckborn. The logo contains a rounded "A" and is set off by a background of shiny black lacquer. The company's namesake is the Piz Bernina, the highest summit in the eastern Alps.

  • 1945

    Zigzag with free arm

    The first portable zigzag sewing machine appears in 1945. As demand grew, production numbers rose steadily upward. By 1963, BERNINA had produced one million zigzag sewing machines.

  • 1954

    The semi-automatic arrives

    The world keeps on sewing - and BERNINA continues to develop its machines. In 1954, the company markets the first machine with a patented clip-on presser foot and a semi-automatic buttonhole sewing function.

  • 1963

    Committed to Swiss quality

    BERNINA produces a string of innovations under the direction of Odette Ueltschi-Gegauf. In 1963, BERNINA introduces the first machine with a patented, knee-activated presser foot lifter. The Free Hand System FHS, which not only raises the presser foot, but also lowers the feed dog, is still an important feature of almost every BERNINA.

  • 1971

    BERNINA steps on the pedal

    A sewing machine with electric foot control - the BERNINA 830 - follows in 1971. This machine establishes itself as a top model in the 70s, remaining the best seller for eleven years and still enjoying legendary status today.

  • 1988

    Hanspeter Ueltschi takes the reins

    Hanspeter Ueltschi, great-grandson of the company’s founder, takes over the helm of Fritz Gegauf AG in 1988 from his mother Odette, and from now on leads the company with considerable skill and flair. Under his leadership, BERNINA develops into an iconic brand among quilters in the United States.

  • 2002

    One innovation after another

    Since 2002, BERNINA's sewing computers have been equipped with a Microsoft Windows operating system. This was followed by the "Best Innovator" award for the BERNINA Stitch Regulator (BSR). Four years later, the artista 730 was launched with an innovative touchscreen and integrated embroidery software.

  • 2012

    New technologies and innovation

    The patented BERNINA Hook was introduced in 2012 - a great development by our Swiss engineers. The Hook combines all the advantages of the world's best technologies and is currently part of the new 5 and 7 Series.

  • 2015

    BERNINA's first Longarm Quilting machine

    In 2015, a dream came true for many quilters when BERNINA went into a new line of business by launching two newly developed Longarm Quilting machines including frames.

  • 2016

    BERNINA's first embroidery-only machine

    With the BERNINA 700, BERNINA's first embroidery-only machine is born. It enchants embroidery enthusiasts with its extra-large embroidery area, the precise positioning of motifs and many other innovative features.

  • 2018

    125 years of Fritz Gegauf AG and the future is already rolling off the production line

    In 2017, new embroidery functions from BERNINA were launched with the new BERNINA 5 Series, the B 790 PLUS and the B 880 PLUS. And BERNINA will continue to be a family-run business in the future - the 5th generation is already in the starting blocks.

    Much has happened in 125 years and we are far from finished.

Picture: 125 years BERNINA

125 years - that deserves a Limited Edition in Gold

In our anniversary year, we have created a gold-plated edition of Presser Foot #1 just for you. Coated with real gold, it comes as an optional accessory in a beautiful golden box. Whether for collecting or sewing, it always leaves a brilliant impression. To enable you to get started right away on a gold sewing project, we have added a golden Mettler thread to the box.

Coming soon to a BERNINA store near you!


Celebrate by decorating your dresses with golden embroidery!

Elegant and simply beautiful: Download the golden paisley designs created exclusively for our anniversary for free and add golden embroidery to your dresses. We hope you enjoy them!


Want to sew the black party dress?

Download the party dress pattern including instructions for free. You can also ask your BERNINA dealer for the BERNINA magazine "inspiration" - the pattern is integrated in issue #70. If you would like to buy the magazine online, you can order inspiration #70 here.