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I've got a Bernina Activa 145, which I mainly use for bike luggage and outdoor gear. That means a fair bit of bar tacking webbing straps etc. If I keep exactly the same pressure on the pedal, and press the reverse stitch button, the machine runs slower, release the button and it runs faster again. A nice easy speed for working forwards translates to minimum speed in reverse. I can speed it up again by pressing the pedal more firmly, so it's not just that it runs at minimum speed in reverse. If I'm doing a lot I do synchronise foot pressure and reverse mode but this takes a bit of getting used to each session

Is this slow-motion reverse inherent to all machines? A feature of mine? Changeable?

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I asked Bernina themselves, and this is what I got in reply to my email:

Thank you for contacting us regarding quick reverse on your Activa 145.

I think your machine sews slower in reverse to aid accuracy.

It is not possible to alter the speed of this function.

I guess for short reverse stitching (locking) it's not a big deal to go slowly and you want to start going forwards again at the right stitch. The machine is really meant for finer, more decorative, work than I use it for, but it's what I've got, and very nice too.

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The manual (download link with language selection and direct download of the english manual) indicates that there are buttons for:

  • Reverse sewing and
  • Half motor speed

I would experiment with those 2 settings. They are explained on page 22 of the manual:

detail of operation manual

  • Press the "Reverse sewing" button twice quickly to activate the permanent reverse stitching mode.
  • Test the speed on a scrap piece of fabric
  • Press the "1/2 motor speed" button
  • Test the speed again
  • Press the "Reverse sewing" button once to deactivate the permanent reverse stitching mode.
  • Try the speed in forward and reverse mode (by holding down the "reverse sewing" button)
  • If the speed is still halved, press the "1/2 motor speed" button while holding down the "reverse sewing" button.
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  • That all seemed so logical, but if I press the 1/2 speed button while holding down the reverse button, it speeds up and starts going forwards. I couldn't get the permanent reverse mode to work at all, either on a straight or zigzag stitch - it sewed once stitch backwards then started going forwards again, or 2 stitches back if I double-clicked more slowly
    – Chris H
    Jul 15 at 17:11
  • @ChrisH That's strange. Unfortunately the manual is all the information I have and all I can give you. There are stitch patterns that are supposed to automatically revert, but only after 3 stitches. The other option is to hold down the reverse sewing button and clicking the 1/2 speed button. Watch the display to see if any 1/2 speed icon is activated or deactivated while sewing backwards. There's also the possibility that this reduced speed is a feature, but I haven't found any information about it in the manual.
    – Elmy
    Jul 16 at 4:27
  • I found the manual to skip over a few things before, but put it down to them being obvious except to this novice. I've just tested and what it doesn't say is that to get into continuous reverse you have to stop, engage it, then restart, making judging foot pressure hard. The half speed slows reverse stitching still further. The only thing that changes the icon is the button.
    – Chris H
    Jul 16 at 4:59
  • @ChrisH Then it seems like this is indeed intended as a feature. Don't ask me why anyone would decide that reverse stitching is so hard you need to do it at half speed. Both of the machines I have access to (both are mechanical, one is 3 years old, the other more than 40) stitch backwards just as fast as forwards.
    – Elmy
    Jul 16 at 5:04
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    I have indeed asked them - their contact page said "if you have a question about using..." and I do.
    – Chris H
    Jul 16 at 15:03

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