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Saturday in My Sewing Machine Shop

I still get a thrill from a Saturday in my Sewing Machine Shop, here in Manchester. Even though I’m forty four years in, the Saturday thrill is still real. It begins at home – showered and shaved and all that, it’s time for breakfast. A toasted bacon sandwich has few competitors, aside from the king of breakfast sandwiches – the sausage variety, of course. Even the drive in to work is different – less volume, less agro. I open up and enjoy the twenty or thirty minutes of peace and calm and quiet. Then the doorbell rings. We have a sewing class running today. Alison, from The Ministry of Craft, holds a sewing workshop here almost every Saturday. And soon enough the doorbell rings again, as more and more of the sewing students gather up to come in.

Sewing Machine Repairs

I put in a quick turn of the workshop, just to see what’s cooking. We’ve finally reduced the turnaround time on sewing machine repairs down to three weeks. So many people bring their sewing machines to Bambers for repair and service. Especially during late summer, early autumn. Holiday sewing projects completed, time to service my sewing machine. At least I think that’s how the thinking goes. A quick glance at the Repair Board reveals thirty machines are booked in and waiting their turn. There are sewing machines, overlockers and embroidery machines, all sat quiet, just waiting.

Brother PR1000 Service Repair

Brother PR1000 Service Repair

janome memorycraft 500e service repair

janome memorycraft 500e service repair

Janome Memorycraft 500e Service Repair

Janome Memorycraft 500e Service Repair


Brother PR1000 Service Repair

In one of the photos is a Brother PR1000 service repair job. Stripped of its covers, the mechanism is revealed. We take in many of the multi needle embroidery machines for repair and service. In fact, every Wednesday Steve and I travel the length and breadth of the country to pick them up. This week Steve and I were in South Shields and Morecambe. Next week it’s Pwllheli. We’re collected a Brother PR680W six needle embroidery machine for service. The following Wednesday we’ll return it. 

Bernina 1008 Service Repair

In another photo is the back of a Bernina. It’s a Bernina 1008 service repair job. The Bernina user is often loathe to bring their machine in for service. However, your Bernina will sew better, run quieter and, most of all, thank you for a service.

Bernina Refurbishment

One of the photos shows an old Bernina. It’s about fifty years old and it came to us a few years back. It’s become a Bernina refurbishment project. We stripped it of it’s parts so we could soak them in cleaning fluids. Then we sent the body away to be sand blasted. The next stage was for our old Bernina to be powder coated in the colours you see. We then began to replace all the internal parts. We reset and retimed the various mechanisms, and checked them all over. There is still some work to do, but we’ve almost finished the job.

bernina refurbishment

Bernina Refurbishment

janome hd9 in the workshop

Janome HD9 service repair

Janome HD9 Service Repair

You will also see a Janome HD9 service repair job. This one came in for a full service. Some attention was also required to the thread scissors, and the cutting mechanism inside. Although we carry thousands of sewing machine parts, for all our service & repair work. This HD9 required a part that we didn’t have in stock. So, we’ve sent off an order to Janome UK for the parts. It should be with us in just a few days. This will enable us to continue with the repair work, and complete the job.

Which Sewing Machine Should I Buy

Someone, somewhere, flips a switch and the shop fills up with customers. Which sewing machine should I buy, is a question I hear time and time again. I meet a nice couple and we begin to chit chat. The lady tells me how her mother bought her a Jones many years ago. But all these years later, she just wanted to treat herself. And – she wanted to buy a Bernina, as a treat to her self. I asked a few questions to find out what I needed to know.

Bernina 570 QE sewing machine

Bernina 570 QE

Bernina 570 QE

I showed her a few models, and I recommended the Bernina 570 QE. The lady pulls out her phone and shows me the photo on our website of – the Bernina 570 QE. This is the one I’ve been looking at, says our lady. I set it down and demonstrate the 570. I show her the speed control, push-button reverse, needle up/down button, presser foot up/down button etc. etc. etc. But most of all I want her to feel the power of the 570, and feel how it sews. No point to the buying if the lady and the sewing machine don’t get along. Another customer appears so I excuse myself for a moment. But in the background, I hear the lady fly on a top speed sew. A good sign.

Reconditioned Bernina 790e

But then the lady spies our reconditioned Bernina 790e. It’s a beauty and in excellent condition. Sold by us, some years ago, to a nice lady who recently traded it in for the new Bernina 790 Pro.
And so for a little while there is a dilemma as our lady ponders over which is best to buy. I talk about the differences and try to help her choose. That’s what I do. Then, another couple appears, so I excuse myself again and give the lady space to think.

Reconditioned Brother PR655 Embroidery Machine.

I introduce myself to the new couple just as more customers appear. They go straight upstairs to our haberdashery department. Jenny and Rebecca are upstairs already dealing with a clutch of customers buying fabrics and embroidery threads etc. Alisons sewing class has also filled up by now, so we’ve got a shop full of people. I ask the new couple if I can help. We’re interested in embroidery machines, says the chap. His wife takes a seat and offers advice to help guide her husband. He already has a small, single needle embroidery machine. But he’s beginning to outgrow it, so he’s come along – to see, to try, to chat. So, he sees, and we chat. He shows me some examples of the embroidery designs he is creating. It’s good work, some of it on tricky fabrics. I show the chap the Brother PR680W six needle embroidery machine. Perfect for the work he produces. Bit too pricey, reports our chap. In that case, I might have just the thing you’re looking for, I reply. 

I show our man a reconditioned Brother PR655 embroidery machine. A previous model to the PR680W. Again, it’s a machine originally sold by us to a lovely lady up in Morecambe. We’d collected it from her on the Wednesday – she’s retiring. I excuse myself again, and let the chap ponder and return to my Bernina lady. I’d like to buy the Bernina 570 QE, she announces, having had the time to think things through. I hand her over to Jenny to sort out payment and delivery details. I return to our chap and his good lady wife. I’d like to buy the Brother PR655, he says…

Brother F420 Sewing Machine for Bagmaking

brother innovis f420 sewing machine

Another lady appears. This lady has a peculiar request. She wanted to make bags by sewing lengths of cord together. She tried it and it seemed to work – of a fashion. I pointed out she could buy a less sophisticated machine to do the same job. But, she’d seen he Brother F420 on our website, and she wanted the machine for other sewing projects. We chatted. She asked questions. I answered them. She tried the machine again. Then she took a break and I suggested she went upstairs to look at all the fabrics and threads and accessories. Sometimes people walk in, or phone up, and say – I want that one. Done. Dusted. And all in 20 seconds. Other times people need space. Time to think and give it a chew.

Pfaff 1197 Service

I booked in an old Pfaff 1197 for service. My daughter’s bought it from a charity shop, says the dad. I’m just bringing it in. I take his details and tell him how my dad sold hundreds of Pfaff sewing machines back in the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s. I remember the old Pfaff 260’s he sold. Set in a banana table with bluey-green formica. And I remember the time when Dad sent Steve and I to the Pfaff factory in Germany for training. It was – Intense! I give the chap a ticket for his daughters machine and off he went. He had a nice smile. Our lady and her daughter descend the stairs. The lady fixes me with her gaze, I want to buy the Brother F420, she says. It’s back up the stairs to sort it all out. When she returns back down, I ask her if she will bring in one of the bags she hopes to make. They both laugh and say they will as they step through the doorway. They both look happy.

Time to go Home

It’s quiet in the shop, now. Jenny and Rebecca have left for home. Alison and her sewing school students have all left. Everyone was happy, they always are. Alison knows her stuff – an excellent teacher. And she knows how to make her charges smile and enjoy themselves. I like that and we’re lucky to have her. I lock up the shop and snap all the bolts home. Soon I’ll be driving myself home and thinking about the day that’s done and all the customers I’ve seen. I hope they all feel they’ve been well served. I ask no more than that.