What’s That Smell?

I’m real big on everything and everyone smelling good.  My favorite perfume is Cabotine.  Ever smelled that?  Yum!  I’ve been wearing it for years and I still love it.  There was a time when I wore different perfumes every day.  This was probably 20 years ago and some of these scents gross me out now but, back then,  I loved Cinnabar, Royal Secret, White Linen, Halston, Giorgio, 273 — and that’s just a few of the ones I wore.  But one day in the early-90’s, my Dillard’s bill arrived and in it was a sample of Cabotine.  WOW!  I loved it and began wearing it and it’s almost the only perfume I own now.

When Vince and I met online, my screen name was Cabotine.  That’s because I’m so uncreative, I looked around the room and the first interesting thing I saw was a bottle of Cabotine . . thus my screen name.  He noticed the name, thought I might be Italian and struck up a conversation with me.  How wrong he was but look where it got us! 🙂  We should both love that perfume!

That’s really not where this blog post was going.  Except I like things to smell good!

The other day I was sewing and I kept smelling something that really didn’t smell nice at all.  I had fixed tuna salad for lunch so I thought it was me.  I went and took another shower and never got back to sewing that day.  Last night I was sewing and oh, the smell was awful.  We don’t eat downstairs so I didn’t think it was food.  It smelled like a nasty bathroom.  I went and checked Chad’s bathroom.  Nope, it was fairly decent.  Came back and tried to sew more.   Speck walked back to where I was sewing and I could tell he smelled it. He began sniffing around things on the floor.  I decided we must have a mouse and he must’ve peed on the floor somewhere.  I was down on my hands and knees sniffing every nook and cranny I could find and nothing.  I didn’t smell anything weird down there.

Started sewing again and figured it out.  This is what stinks!

It’s my trusty Bernina 1230; the machine that I have loved almost more than life for at least 18 years; the machine I have never taken to the shop once; the machine that has made hundreds of quilts through the years.  What the heck is that smell though?  I’m afraid it’s some kind of plastic part in there that’s melting. The smell is coming from right where I stuck that daisy.  I turned the light off to see if it’s the light getting hot and causing the smell but, I can’t tell that it’s made much difference.

I probably should put it away and get out another machine to use but this is my very favorite of all the sewing machines in the whole world (not that I’ve tried every sewing machine in the whole world but I still know this is my favorite!).  What I really want is a brand new 1230 — exactly like this one but without the stink!  I’ll bet if I could talk to Mr. Bernina, he could search around the warehouse and in some dark corner, find me a brand new 1230 from the early 90’s.  But, I’ll bet that’s not going to happen.

When Chad was little (2 or 3), he put stickers on everything.  That’s a space ship of some kind that he stuck on there way back then and it’s still there.  My 930 has Ursula on it and there’s a cowboy on my serger.  I’m really sad about my sewing machine though.


  1. 1

    Annie says

    Judy, did you open that area that smells to see what is in there? Could be just fuzz, dust or even rancid oil.

    Sounds like it needs a good cleaning, then will be good as new.

    Good luck on finding the problem!

    : )

  2. 2


    It might be time to take her to the shop. It’s probably something minor. But, boy, they sure don’t make them like they used to!

  3. 3


    I agree with Vicky, it’s time for a professional cleaning. I was very surprised how much better my bernina sounded and sewed after I got a long over-due service done.

    Anne (Also on Quiltnet)

  4. 4


    I agree with Vickie. Find a good sewing machine repair person and give your machine a good servicing. I have a Bernina 1530 and LOVE it. I have no desire to upgrade to another Bernina. As a last resort, try Ebay. I purchased an older mechanical Bernina to take to class/sew-ins. I did a lot of research. I asked the seller lots and lots of questions. He told me he had never had a buyer ask so many questions. I knew what I was getting. I’ve been very happy with my Bernina 811 (I think that’s the number)

  5. 5


    I feel your pain. I retired my 1977 Singer Golden Touch n Sew just this past year!!! It was very sad and very hard for me to be “open” to another machine….I ended up with a used Pfaff, and I have to say, some of the new options (needle up/needle down), self-threading, etc. have really been a joy to get accustomed to! (So, it really ended up being a good thing in the long run!)

  6. 6

    Toni says

    Had a similar problem with a fan/light combo in the guest room. When the light was on it smelled like a dead mouse. Hubby replaced the light socket and the smell was gone. He said to turn on the machine without the light on to see if you still have the smell. Whatever, sounds like Bernie needs a trip to the shop.

  7. 7


    Hi Judy, enjoy your site very much! I have a Bernina 1130 that I love as much as you love your 1230. I have heard that they are no longer making parts for the 1130. Never had mine in for service but am thinking it might be a good time. I have a Brother 1500 that I also enjoy for piecing and quilting. However, I have never used or known a machine as well as the 1130. Keep up the great blogging! Sue

  8. 9

    mjinmichigan says

    I’ve had a Bernina 1230 since they came out and love it. Three years ago I decided to replace it with the 440 so I would have the stitch regulator. I used the 440 a couple times and went back to my 1230. I sure hope it never dies!

  9. 10

    Norece says

    Judy – This is also my favorite machine. I took mine to two different service places and they both agreed that it was dead. I kept it but sold off all the parts on ebay. A new Bernina dealer moved to my area and I took the machine to him and he had it fixed and running like new within one week. He also told me he had two more in the back and if I wanted them he would fix them for me. I took one as a back up and he still has one left.
    615-373-1600 Brentwood, TN
    I can’t remember his name but he is fantastic when it comes to fixing older machines. His dad had a repair shop in FL and this guy grew up around machines and can fix anything. Give him a call and maybe he can tell you want is going on with your machine.

  10. 11


    Oh, I hope you favorite machine doesn’t die! I’m allergic to all fragrances. This particular week at work has been bad because I have been in 2 meetings with perfume wearers and had 2 migraines to show for it. There isn’t one fragranced thing in my house. The funny thing is that I really don’t have a sense of smell either. I guess the allergies and allergy meds killed that. You would think that I would not be allergic if I can’t smell it but that’s not the case. I just don’t know I am around someone wearing perfume until it’s too late. The up side is that I also can’t smell bad smells either. When we had the septic tank pumped I could not smell it. When the garbage goes bad I can’t tell and my sewing machine could burn up and I would not know until it was way too late!

  11. 12


    You have one of the best machines ever made; you need to do whatever you can to salvage her. I’ve had two 1130’s that I bought on eBay and both were great. But I finally found new homes for them when I got my 630 and realized I wasn’t ever using the dear things. I do love my 630!

  12. 13


    OH NO!! First the economic crisis and now a possibly failing 1230! How could it get any worse! Just shoot me if my 1230 dies, can’t live without it.

  13. 14

    mckie2 says

    I’m sure your machine only needs a cleaning but there is a Bernina 1230 on eBay right now – you know, just in case.

  14. 15

    berna says

    ? love royal secret but it has changed so much over the years, ? wish that the first version be made rather than this new one

  15. 16


    I know what you mean about your machine…I have the Bernina 1260, which I purchased at a huge savings when the new line of Berninas came out. It does everything I require, works with all threads, no tension problems. I do get mine serviced at least every other year at the Bernina shop. Hope yours will be good as new.