I know Covid really did a number on all of us, and we're all still going through it. To be honest with you, Sewing Doc could never have predicted what 2020 would look like... or even 2021 at this point. The industry as a whole is still trying to recover, and I suspect it will take years before we hit some form of normal. The thing about 2020 is that it really shone a spotlight on what we had already suspected - there are NOT ENOUGH technicians in this country to accommodate the number of sewing machines that need service and repair, pandemic or not.
In late 2017, I had already known that there was a huge need for a new generation of sewing machine technicians. How did I know? Because my humble shop that had been operating for 7 years at that point desperately needed help and we could not find a technician to save our lives. They are either retired or aren't technicians yet!
I tested the waters in 2018 and found that plenty of people were interested in learning the skill (which is NOT a fast process or a quick weekend course), but there were very few avenues of learning. My mission was clear - to pass on my passion and knowledge for the art and skill of sewing machine service, repair, and restoration. I made an entire video which you can find here about things related to becoming a sewing machine technician.
Even if you don't want to become a technician, the majority of folks want to at least be able to maintain and fix their own machines, and we are here for it!!
So knowing that the demand was there, we used 2019 to build up our online Featherweight Service Workshop as a starting point, which would be an alternative option to our in-person class for those that couldn't travel to be with us in Georgia. The plan was to launch and have a full-scale program for all of machine service by the end of 2020, but once the mask-making started, we were working 12 hour days, 7 days a week to try and keep sewing machines going in the pandemic. Sadly, the Academy was pushed aside just for survival mode.
Y'all, you'll never know how much I wish we did have the full-scale Academy ready for the pandemic, because so many want and need to care for their machines themselves. No one wants to wait 8-12 weeks just for service and repair. This is an issue people in rural communities are already facing! And here we are again, in mid-2021, facing the potential for another version of quarantine or shutdowns, and now there are even less technicians because of burn out and shops having to close. That being said, we are moving our existing course, How to USE your Featherweight (FREE class) and The Featherweight Service Workshop to a new platform so that we can start building all of the new programs in our new home. Why? Because operating in the pandemic has changed the way the world will work forever:
Travel is difficult if not impossible, expensive, and limits those that can attend our in-person workshops, so we need remote options to teach you these skills
Learning the skill of sewing machine service in person would pretty much require us to be within inches of each other's faces, and that's not an option right now
The issue with an in-person class is that you have to absorb everything in a short amount of time, then hope and pray that you'll remember it and be able to use it when you go home, sometimes months or years down the road
The issue with an online class is that you typically don't have the hand of an instructor on your shoulder to answer questions and guide you in real-time
Introducing Our Hybrid Method!
All or most of our workshops will now offer the hybrid method - you'll have lifetime access to the pre-recorded learning videos that walk you through every single detail of each workshop. That way you can work at your own pace and at a time that works for you. BUT... each month, we'll schedule a LIVE, online class for those that would like real-time instruction. We'll also host a LIVE Q&A session each week so that your questions can be answered and we can help you clear any hurdles or odd situations with your machine. Learning isn't a one-time event, it's an ongoing process and we are working hard to support you every step of the way. Other features we are adding:
Private communities for each workshop (not on Facebook) so that you can interact with the instructor and fellow enthusiasts and alumni
Opportunities for 1-on-1 learning and consultation
Discounts on parts and service materials from Sewing Doc
The option to become a certified Sewing Doc technician in your field of expertise for side business income or to open your own shop
Case studies so you can watch us pull real machines from our shop's service queue and restore or fix them, so you have real-life situations to witness and learn from
Various learning tools such as videos, workbooks, cheat sheets, full manuals, interviews, and added bonus mini-classes
We're just skimming the surface on the details here, but we wanted to give you an insider view of what we're working on. A series of videos and webinars are on the way so that we can get you in the classes you want and need, so use the form below to sign up for Sew Savvy, our newsletter that announces new workshops and important details!