You've seen pictures of machines people have fixed up and brought back to life... but how did they do that?!
Introducing the Vintage Machine Workshop Experience, a course for vintage machine enthusiasts who want to learn to properly
clean, lubricate, and restore machines
Let's face it...
...there are fewer and fewer service shops that can and will handle working on vintage and antique machines, even if it's just for routine cleaning service. You are better off doing it yourself.
You may have been told:
"It's not worth it, just upgrade to a new computerized machine!"
"That machine can't be fixed, we can't even get parts for it."
Even more disturbing are the service shops that will take in your beloved workhorse machine and it comes back worse than it went in!
The thing about the sewing machine service industry is that you've been led to believe that only highly-skilled technicians can properly work on your machine… am I right?
I know, you've probably seen the free Youtube videos and posts in various Facebook groups, some of them are from experts that have been working in the field for years. You may have even taken a class at a show or with a guild that skims the surface of fixing up machines. Maybe you've made an attempt to get an old machine working, on you inherited or found in the attic... and it was too overwhelming
The truth is that there just aren't options that cater to our learning needs. When I started learning this trade over 10 years ago, I noticed that the market is against those that want to learn.
Most of the old "sewing machine guys", the really good ones that have all the knowledge on how to service, repair, and restore old machines, are not likely to give up their information for fear that you will steal their business out from under them. TRUTH BOMB: The demand for machine service, especially vintage machines, far outweighs the availability of competent technicians.
There is no official "school" to learn the trade - no colleges, trade schools, vocational programs, community colleges, certification programs… nothing.
The way to learn machine service at this time is to work for a dealer and attend the training of one of the major brands. TRUTH BOMB: Those programs do not teach you the basic mechanics and concepts of machine service, they teach you how to use cheater tools and run computer diagnostics on complex modern machines (I know because I am factory-trained in 3 major brands).
I discovered a few (less than 5) independent programs that host weekend classes/retreats to teach you the basics… but they require travel, hotel, a large tuition ($2500+), and you have to cram all the knowledge and skill into 2-3 days with the instructor. What happens when you get home and 3 months later are stuck with an issue on a sewing machine? Dead end.
I started as a hobbyist 10 years ago, and my hobby turned into a business overnight because people were still using their old machines, but few service shops would accept them or put the care into them that they would an expensive, modern machine. I did house calls for treadle machines, and people would literally leave their machines on my doorstep, begging me to take a look to see if it could still be used.
I started EXACTLY where you are… with a love in my heart for these old girls, and a driving, demanding desire to figure out how to work on them. The internet offered some advice, but most of it was terrible and I spent hours and hours each day trying to separate solid advice from advice that would ruin a machine. In 2021, there are even more resources, more groups - that means even more available information… mixed in with even more terrible information.
I absolutely love sewing on my vintage machines, but learning to clean them inside and out, replace broken or damaged parts, and polishing them to a sheen took my appreciation to a whole new level.
Are you excited to learn how to clean, lubricate and make minor repairs to your vintage and antique sewing machines? Fabulous! Because I am excited to invite you so the Vintage Machine Workshop!
Join the Vintage Machine
Workshop Wait List
Here's the big secret: with some guidance and direction, YOU can clean and lubricate your machine yourself… and for most vintage machines, even the ones that have been neglected and stored in the attic for 30 years, that's all they need!
Working on your own machines saves you money (the starting rate in our shop for a mechanical machine is $82 and $125 for restoration, just for reference). If you are a collector, those bills really add up!
Knowing how to maintain your machines saves you time - for the last year, the turnaround time in our shop stayed at 8 weeks, and that was just for ROUTINE service!
Cleaning and lubricating your own machine means you'll never have to trust it with another unknown repair person and you know that it will be treated with loving care
Having proper knowledge and a guide will save you from the pitfalls of terribly WRONG information on the internet - free information is great, but not when most of it is bad
Having the knowledge to SAVE a machine that's frozen or seized up, or $15 yard sale find, is extremely empowering and rewarding!
If you are looking for a side gig, retirement income, or a passion that can turn into a career, this is your first step!
The best part - taking a machine from grimy to glowing is SATISFYING and delightful!
The Sewing Doc Academy Vintage Machine Workshop is the first course of its kind that:
Allows you to learn the SAME PROCEDURES used in or professional service shop from the comfort of your home
We are still in the midst of a viral pandemic, and travel isn't easy, affordable, or safe in many cases. You can setup a workshop or workspace in your home and work your way through the lessons and stay set up without having to pack up and leave.
Is ready when YOU are, regardless of geography or time zone, with ON-DEMAND, pre-recorded video lessons
Whether you live from around the globe from me, have a day job, work nights, have kids at home that make your schedule irregular, or anything else, the meat of this course is pre-recorded, so you can watch it whenever you want! Plus, once you purchase, you have access forever, to watch and rewatch as often as you want or need.
Offers you ongoing access to the instructor so that you never feel alone or stuck and you can get near-real-time help during live streamed Q&A sessions and monthly LIVEstream classes
While the lessons are pre-recorded, I also believe real-time or nearly real time feedback is important. Each month I will host an on-going introductory live (virtual) workshop session that will cover the basics of the course, so it'll be like a real classroom. I will also host a weekly live Q&A session so that I can help you overcome any hurdles each step of the way.
Connects you to other vintage machine enthusiasts around the world so you can help and encourage each other
I'm a big believer that there is great, great value in learning within a community. Our private group will allow you to get to know and share your work with the Sewing Doc Academy alumni and fellow students so you never feel alone as you learn. We want to see your progress and shiny machines!
Encourages you to start with what you have, keeping tools and supplies minimal and affordable
Everything about the Sewing Doc Academy is designed to bring the DIY element to life, so that everyone can afford to learn this valuable skill and keep this knowledge alive. You probably have all the tools you'll need to get started, and while you may need to purchase a few cleaners and lubricants, we teach you to keep your costs reasonable.
Teaches you to clean, lubricate, and restore ALL vintage machines, not just one type or model
Kenmore, Bernina, Pfaff, Viking, Singer, White, New Home, Brother, Japanese Repro, treadle, motorized, handcrank... you name it! You'll learn how to maintain them all.
We'll teach you the SDOCS method, the EXACT same procedures we use in the Sewing Doc professional service shop located in Cumming, Georgia. Here's how it all breaks down:
This might sound heavy, like a high school math class, but it's not! Here you'll start learning about the different types of machines, how to identify machine models, understanding the Singer serial number system, the anatomy of a machine to identify missing parts, and learn how to start grouping similar machines together.
We'll start talking about tools, both the bare minimum and tools to daydream about, setting up your workspace, removing a machine from a cabinet or base, and we'll start removing the covers and key parts of the machine.
Overall Clean & Lube
Now the fun begins! This module teaches you good/bad cleaning materials, how to fully clean the inside of your machine, how to unfreeze it if it's seized, how to lubricate the machine, and how to handle motor brushes and lubricating ports where applicable. You'll spend more time in this area than any other.
Covers & External
We'll get the covers and parts back on the machine, we'll cover maintaining the upper tension assembly, inspect all the electrical wiring, replace the lead cord if needed, and clean and wax the exterior.
Sew & Adjust
Here you'll learn about inserting the needle properly (this can really be a problem!), how and what to test sew, adjust the bobbin tension, and balance the upper thread and bobbin tension.
This is real gold! You learn the basics and procedures in the modules, but what about REAL LIFE situations? We add 1-2 case studies to the workshop each month. In these case studies, you'll see me pull a machine from our service queue and video the entire process from beginning to end. This will not only help you understand different machines (specific models even), but what situations arise in the real world rather than just a controlled environment. This will be an ever-evolving library you have access to for life!
The bonus modules will be packed with so much value - and you have access to the updated, new modules for life! Examples of what you'll find in the bonus section includes, education on the many types of bobbins, shuttle bobbins, replacement parts and sources, collecting and purchasing high-value machines, installing a treadle belt, direct drive motors, converting a machine to a hand crank, advanced polishing techniques, handling aluminum rot… and on and on!
Imagine what it would be like, just a short time from now, to have all your machines up and running… and potentially that of your friends as well!
No more waiting for a service shop
No more driving hours each way if you don't have a trustworthy technician in your area
No worry while your machine is away
No handing your machine over to a technician that doesn't typically work on older machines!
Instead, you will be able to clean, lubricate, and make minor repairs to machines to get them running and keep them running with legitimate skill, confidence, and PURE JOY!
Who is behind the Sewing Doc brand?
I'm Andi Barney of Sewing Doc machine service and repair, and Sewing Doc Academy. I'm a master technician and I've owned and operated my own service shop, located in Cumming, Georgia, for over 10 years now. A large part of our service shop focuses on vintage and antique machines and restoration, but we are also an authorized shop for Brother, Viking, and Janome. I started just like you, curious and a little intimidated, but now I couldn't imagine my life without sewing machines!
Paul Barney (left) is our electrical, motor, and restoration specialist. Todd Barney (right) is a restoration specialist, focusing on Singer Touch & Sew machines and the Viking 6000 series and all around complex repairs. Both will be teaching workshops within the Sewing Doc Academy.
You have Questions, We have Answers....
Q: Do I have to pay a fee every month?
A: NO! You pay the class fee ONE time, and you have the on-demand videos and allllll the live participation opportunities depending on your needs. There are no additional fees related to the class. Keep in mind that the class fee will increase as we add value, so the current class fee is the lowest it will ever be!
Q: When does the workshop end?
A: This is the best: it doesn't! It lasts forever… or as long as you need it to! There is no end or timeline for this course, so you jump in any time and come back to it any time you need to.
Q: Who is this course for? Can just anyone take it?
A: Yes! This course is for anyone interested in learning to clean, lubricate, and restore machines. Young, old, retired, people that work full-time, people that are just curious, hobbyists, people with lots of machines, people that only have one machine, people wanting side/retirement/full-time income. Everyone is welcome!
Q: I'm not good with tools, will I be okay taking this class?
A: YES! If you don't feel confident using tools, I promise, you're going to be okay in this course. I wouldn't have considered myself "mechanically inclined" when I first started working with machines, either. Many of us are, and we just don't know it yet. There is actually very little done with tools in the class. This workshop will be a source of empowerment and confidence for you, I can promise you that! In my live classes, I've had ladies insist that they bring their husband because they were too afraid of the tools, but I encourage EVERYONE to give it a try, because I promise you, you can do it.
Q: What machines are covered in this course?
A: This workshop covers almost all vintage and antique machines. It does NOT cover any computerized or modern machines. There are a few exceptions to suitable vintage machines - we will not cover any Touch & Sew, Futura, Touchtronic or ANY machine Singer machine where the bobbin is wound inside the machine. We also won't cover the Viking 6000 series. We will have workshops that specifically address these machines, as they are much more complex and have common issues. That's not to say that you still couldn't gain the knowledge to address these machines in this workshop, but we will not cover the common issues or solutions to those machines in this workshop. We also will not specifically cover industrial machines, but what you learn here will help you clean and restore industrial machines.
Q: What does "hybrid" workshop mean?
A: It means this class is both on-demand (where you work at your own pace using the videos and tools available to you at any time), and scheduled livestream classes. My opinion has always been that attending a live class is great because you have guidance form your instructor, but then it's too easy to forget everything when you leave. When you do just an on-demand class, you can refer back to it anytime you want, but you don't have the guidance of a live instruction. Sewing Doc has committed to bringing its participants the best of both worlds to ensure that your journey into sewing machine cleaning, repair, service, and restoration is successful and enjoyable.
Q: If I have an issue with a machine, can I contact you for help?
A: Yes, the instructor is available during regular hours. Each week there is a livestream Q&A session, and even if you can't watch live, your question can be addressed and you can review the information in the replay at your convenience. A monthly livestream class will also be hosted each month, and this is a good time to ask questions to get you over the hump. The point of the hybrid workshop is offer you guidance throughout.
Q: Do I need any special programs or equipment to participate in the livestream parts or any part of the workshop?
A: The short answer is no. All you really need is a cell phone, tablet, or computer to view the on-demand classes and work your way through the workshop. For the livestream, you would need the same, nothing fancy. You may want to use a cell phone or tablet with a camera on it when you attend a livestream class, as you can show the instructor exactly what you're looking at on your machine.
Q: I know I'll want to attend a livestream class, but is it complicated?
A: I know most of us have had to adapt to new technology as a result of the pandemic, but many are still hesitant. We will guide you each step of the way in getting set up to work with us, and you will see that participating once or twice will put you at ease. And if you have any issues getting set up, we will be there to help you. We like to do an introductory session for anyone new to streaming or other webinar programs.
Q: Will this course teach me to service other people's machines?
A: No, technically, you are not learning "service" skills in this workshop, but it is the starting point to learning service. Service includes timing adjustments and complex repairs. This workshop covers the cleaning and lubrication part, both vital to service of a machine, but will not teach you the timing adjustments and complex repairs, that will be in workshop we are working on as we speak. Remember that you will be learning to clean, lubricate, and restore vintage machines, and that's all most of them need, so you are able to offer those services to your friends and local community.
Q: I don't live in the United States, can I sign up for this course?
A: Sewing Doc is working on getting set up to open this course up for participants in other countries, so this is coming soon!