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Aug 17, 2018

The Adventures of My Bernina, Part 1

Readers, I have owned my Eighties-era Bernina 930 for more than five years now and have never had it serviced.

I know there are people who get their sewing machines serviced every year but I never have, especially because the only thing most of my vintage sewing machines need is a little de-linting and regular oiling.  Come to think of it, I've never paid to have a sewing machine serviced.  (My friend Rain Noe did once do a complete rehab of my Singer 15-91 but that was a (much appreciated) gift.)

Anyway, this week I decided I would take my Bernina in for servicing.  Over the past few months the hand wheel has started to feel increasingly tight and slightly squeaky -- a sound I had not been familiar with.  There were also a few minor problems which this Bernina (which I purchased rather impulsively in May 2013 on eBay) has had since I got it.  The bobbin winding mechanism can't wind a well-balanced bobbin, so I always wind bobbins on other machines.  The buttonhole mechanism gets three sides of the buttonhole perfect but can't manage to complete the fourth side.  This has never really mattered to me because I have never needed to use this machine to make buttonholes.  Everything else works fine.  Occasional application of sewing machine oil is the only form of maintenance I've ever performed on it.

A sewing machine dealership called Sew Right, in Bayside, Queens, which both sells and services Berninas, had been recommended to me by many people, including Kenneth King.  I was all set to go there when another Bernina-owning sewing friend suggested I go to a place called Crown Services on the Upper West Side on Broadway (between 107th & 108th Streets), which is just a short(ish) subway ride from home.  To get to Bayside, Queens, I would have had to take a long subway ride plus a long bus ride -- twice, since I would have to pick the machine up when it was done.  (I called yesterday and they said there were thirty machines before mine and it would take about three weeks.) 

So this morning I packed up my Bernina (wait till you see what I'd been storing in its huge plastic case -- so that's where all those were!), put the machine on a cart, and rolled it to the subway. 

The only hard part was getting it through the turnstile and up (and down) the stairs -- the thing must weigh close to 40 lbs.  Crown Services, which, according to my friend, is licensed to service Berninas, is the epitome of old school -- you just don't see many shops like this anymore.  They asked for a cash deposit (roughly $35) which I can apply toward the servicing.  The whole interaction took about five minutes after which I grabbed a Citibike and rode home. 

One more cool thing about Crown Services: they sell vintage sewing machines.  New and old machines are on display everywhere -- as well as a lot of vacuum cleaners!

I should be able to pick the machine up early next week.  Hopefully it will be in good shape.  Cross your fingers!

How often do you have your sewing machines serviced--and where?  Do you do it on a regular schedule or wait until the machine has problems?

Have a great day, everybody! 

Aug 12, 2018

MPB DAY 2018 -- Wet, Wild, and Wonderful!

Friends, I won't lie: when I saw that the forecast for yesterday's MPB Day festivities called for scattered thundershowers, I was worried.

Aug 10, 2018

MPB DAY PREP + Could it rain on MPB Day?

Friends, my staff has been working round the clock and I'm happy to say that on MPB Day tomorrow I am going to look my glamorous best. 

Aug 8, 2018

Drafting a Men's Shirt Pattern From Scratch

Readers, it is time I drafted a shirt for myself entirely from scratch.

Aug 4, 2018

Listen to My (Free) THREADS Podcast!

I think you already know that I currently contribute online content to Threads Magazine as their first "Digital Ambassador."

Aug 2, 2018

The Finished Double Gauze Shirt!

My shirt is done! (and I think I know what I'll be wearing on MPB Day)

Jul 31, 2018

Sewing With Double Gauze


It's beautiful.  It's lightweight.  But it can be a PITA to work with.

Jul 25, 2018

Cathy's Comeback Dress?

Big news, readers!

My identical cousin Cathy, who hasn't been seen on this blog since 2014, is planning her return, tentatively scheduled for mid-August.

Jul 22, 2018

INSIDE OUT? My New Reverse-print Hawaiian-style Shirt!

Friends, I'd had roughly three yards of a super-saturated Alexander Henry hibiscus print (quilting cotton) in my stash for a while now.

Jul 19, 2018

Ladies African Wax Print Tailored Jacket!

This week I finished a client project I'd been working on for the last couple of months: a lined, notch-collar tailored jacket made from an African wax print from AKN Fabrics and Textiles, a store just south of the Garment District that specializes in them.

Jul 11, 2018

Michael Models His Octopus-print Shirt

Friends, Michael's octopus-print shirt is finished!

Jul 7, 2018

How Do You Like My Octopus (Fabric)?

Did I mention that, in addition to my mermaid-print fabric, I also purchased an octopus-print fabric to make a shirt for Michael?

Jul 4, 2018

A Mermaid-Print Summer Shirt!

Last week Michael and I were on vacation in Sanibel Island, Florida, and naturally I insisted on visiting the only fabric store on the island, Three Crafty Ladies.

May 14, 2018


Friends, its official!

Saturday, August 11, we'll be holding our eighth annual MPB Day celebration!

Apr 13, 2018

So What Else Have I Been Up To?

One (of many) of the frustrating things about social media is that there are simply too many platforms and it's extremely time-consuming to participate in more than a few.

I find Instagram (where I'm @peterlappin) to be much more spontaneous (i.e, faster and easier) than a blog, which is why I'm most active there these days.
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