Roy Miers: I’m Co- owner of SEW BERNINA, INC with my wife Susan and I’m the in house technician for SEW BERNINA. I have attended BERNINA of America for my training, and I am BERNINA certified. I retired from the 187 FW Air National Guard in 2007 after serving for 29 years in the guard and 22 Yrs as a full time technician. My interests are yard work, fishing, playing golf, and I just enjoy helping people. I guess that is why I enjoy my work at SEW BERNINA. I get fulfillment when I feel I have helped someone with their machine. The only sewing I’m capable of is the little test sewing strips of fabric I leave under your presser foot with sample stitches. But it is also nice to work with all the ladies at SEW BERNINA. They are the ones with all the knowledge about sewing and they keep me straight
Susan Miers, besides being one of the owners and managers of SEW BERNINA, Susan teaches the machine guide classes. She always has at least one beautiful garment underway for one or more of her five grandchildren. You may see a few of them hanging in the shop sometimes before they make their way to the lucky wearer. Additionally she makes sure the shop is well-stocked with all the various and sundry items that we must have when we need them: needles, threads, stabilizers and the like.
Susan: Even though I have always sewn, my inspiration came when my daughter arrived thirty three years ago. I am fortunate to have been mentored by my mother, mother-in-law, grandmothers, aunts and many special friends. Today I enjoy sewing for my three granddaughters and occasionally I find the time for a quilt. When I purchased my first BERNINA 930 in 1984, I never would have believed that twenty five years later, Roy and I would be proud BERNINA dealers. BERNINA sewing/embroidery machines, software and sergers make creating fun and easy. I entered the world of machine embroidery with the 180E, but now I sew and embroidery on the 830E. One of the best things about having a BERNINA dealership is having so many resources at my disposal. Whenever I need a faster, better way of completing a sewing task, I can usually find an accessory to do the job well, and I am always happy to share what I have learned with others. I am proud of our staff and how well we all work together and feel blessed to work with my husband at this time in our lives. BERNINA makes a product about which I’m passionate and in which I believe. Even though some of the administrative tasks can be challenging, I am glad to provide such a great product to our customers.
Pat Bryan teaches the 8 series guides classes and coordinates the All About Me Virtual Club. If you are lucky you might find her in the shop hard at work on a club project. She is always about something interesting and beautiful. I love Pat’s beautifully written submission to our staff page, but I beg to differ with her insistence that she lacks talent. Anyone who knows her know better than that!
Pat: I recollect that I began sewing about the age of five. As a birthday present I received a Singer hand cranked machine. I wasn’t very successful because I kept sewing up the armholes of my doll’s dresses. But I was hooked. I often sat at my mother’s side and watched her sew my clothes and my dolls’. I began sewing my own clothes at the age of ten and continued throughout my college days and my early working days until time just wasn’t there.
Next I moved into home dec and started making draperies, etc., but as I’m not particularly talented my interest drifted to making children’s clothes and smocking. I was blessed with four nieces about the same age; so I had a great group to sew for.
I’ve owned a number of different machines over the years, but in 1986 I decided that with the amount of sewing I was doing, I deserved the best and bought a BERNINA 1230, which I still own and use. In 1999 I bought my first embroidery machine, a 180E, and have concentrated mainly on embroidery since then.
When our dealership shared a space with a quilt shop, an interest in quilting was both inevitable and requisite. To say I caught the fever is an understatement; so now I am the very proud owner of an 820 for quilting and an 830E for embroidery. I also purchased the Quilt Motion Software and frame. (I failed free motion quilting so I have to use a computer for my quilting.) I love quilting with this machine but I just can’t seem to produce quilts fast enough. Embroidery is still my first love.
Working at SEW BERNINA is one of the joys of my life. It’s really hard to call it work. I get to teach the lessons on the 8 Series on an individual basis and have made many great friends. The software that BERNINA has is top of the line. I’ve added cutwork to my embroidery and quilting software, and this has opened up a whole range of new possibilities for me. One of my greatest enjoyments is the webinars and virtual clubs. They are full of great ideas, tips, new and different ways to use the accessories—they’re a treasure trove and great for people like me who are lacking in talent, but are great emulators.
Suzie Macker works in the shop a few days a week. She also assists Susan with the machine guide classes and coordinates the BERNINA virtual club. I have known Suzie since our children were toddlers, and now we have toddler grandchildren. It seems she always has a needle in her hand and a project, sometimes several, well underway. She is one of the most efficient workers that I know. SNAP and it’s done!
Suzie: I began sewing seriously thirty years or so ago when my first child came along in 1983. I have done garment sewing for myself, friends, children, friend’s children and now grandchildren. In recent years I have worked as a costumer for the ballets. I have explored many types of sewing including heirloom sewing/French hand-sewing, home dec, quilting and craft sewing. I recently purchased an 830E that I just love, but I also have a 140. Among my favorites are the BSR because it shortens the learning curve for free-motion quilting; the way too cool punch tool; the #54 zipper foot with guide because perfect zippers are no fail; and the #34 clear foot because it’s great to see what I’m doing and where I am going. The type of sewing that gives me the most satisfaction is French hand-sewing/smocking. I love combining the serenity that handwork provides me with the speed and productivity that a great sewing machine enables. A truly smart machine, exquisite laces, the most beautiful fabrics in the world and the peace it all brings me makes the process profoundly fulfilling.
Leanne Peacock works in the shop a few days a week and teaches the software guide classes. Her present project is getting this website up and running.
Leanne: As I think about it, I really can’t remember not sewing. I appreciate, especially as I grow older, that my mother took the time to share her gifts with me. I enjoy all manner of needlework. Most of it I learned from her and have polished my craft with years of practice. I began machine sewing when I was six or seven. By the time I was in high school, I made many of my own clothes. When my children came along sewing for them was a natural step for me to take. Soon after my daughter was born, we moved to the Montgomery area, where I took up heirloom sewing and smocking. This is how I met Susan and Susan. Later we worked together for many years at the local BERNINA dealership. When those dealers retired we all were thrilled that Roy and Susan Miers were compelled to step up to the challenge of beginning a new dealership. Before we knew it, we were back together again.
I have a 1630 which I remember thinking when I was lucky enough to get it, that it was magical. I still love to sew on it. I bought a 180E in 2000 and caught the embroidery bug. I just thought the 1630 was magical; the 180 could actually sew by itself. They just keep getting better, even though we think that could not possibly be.
Now I quilt. Yes, that is part of the natural progression. I still sew for that same daughter who is now twenty three. My granddaughter gets that special garment here and there also. My best advice to customers is--buy the best machine you can afford. Consider one that is fitted with embroidery even if your interest lies elsewhere for now. All of our embroidery/sewing combos are fabulous for whatever your sewing application is, and be mindful that your sewing life evolves and progresses. For those who already use machine embroidery, nothing enhances your system more than software. The BERNINA software is intuitive and powerful. It opens up a world of possibilities. Come in and let us show you all the magical things you can do with the latest BERNINA technology.
Susan Tompkins is experienced at heirloom sewing and smocking but in recent years has become a longarm quilter and brings her meticulous eye for detail to everything she does. She is still filling in for us when we need her, but she is quilting out of her home full-time now. If you need a quilt machine quilted, we highly recommend her. She also does custom T-shirt quilts. Contact her at email@example.com or 334-546-0163.
Susan T: I started sewing at around the age of nine. I made my first dress - a sleeveless jumper for myself that my mom kept along with pictures of me in the process of sewing it. I’ve been sewing ever since - mostly clothes and home dec- until my girls came along. I made all their clothes - lots of smocking and heirloom sewing. Then came my two granddaughters - more smocking and heirloom sewing. Even though I still sew some for my granddaughters, I am now in love with quilting. I have a 630E that is a real workhorse and I love the temporary memory on my machine. My favorite BERNINA feet are the walking foot and the #10 edgestitch foot. In recent years, I have purchased a longarm machine and do a lot of machine quilting. I have discovered that the Isacord thread works great for machine quilting both with my 630E and my longarm. The color selection is great and the weight is beautifully visible on the surface of the quilt without being too heavy.
Rick Pitts works in the shop a few Saturdays a month. He is a talented quilter, enjoys embroidering and is great on the software.
Rick: Hi, I am Rick. I am the "other" man at SEW BERNINA. You will find me hanging around the store a couple of Saturdays each month. Before using a sewing machine, I dabbled in counted cross stitch. I was introduced to the world of sewing when Kudzu Blossom Quilt shop was located across town. My wife and my oldest daughter wanted to do the "First Saturday" quilt so I agreed to do one also. It looked like fun. Little did I know that it would grow into what it is today. Clothes sewing isn't my cup of tea but I enjoy making quilts and doing embroidery. My favorite quilts are those done in the "quilt as you go" method. Paula introduced it to me in a Divide and Conquer class. I also like to do embroidery on different items. A customer came in one day and mentioned to me that he was in 5 years earlier and remembered I was working on a patchwork/embroidered Christmas tree skirt. I guess I left a lasting impression on him. My favorite machines in the BERNINA line are the 7 Series machines. They can do so many things and is easy to operate. Next time you are in on a Saturday, venture past SEW BERNINA's cash register and you might find me stitching out a design on just about anything or playing with a design on the computer. Stop by and say "HI" next time you are in;, feel free to ask me any question, and show you how easy it is to do. If I can do it, anyone can. If you need help, hopefully I will be able to answer your question, I might not know the answer right then, but I will find out. Have a great day!
Paula Munkachy astounds us all with her productivity, initiative and know-how. She is also constantly in search of a better way to do something and embraces any new tools, gadgets and technologies. We are so glad that she had joined our team. Come in and let her help you plan a quilt, or better yet take a class from her. You will always be glad you did.
Paula: My email address speaks volumes -- constantquilter, that's saying it lightly. I have been quilting since 1995, and I love every aspect of quilting, whether by machine or hand. I sew on a BERNINA 440 QE and a BERNINA 820. The BSR is wonderful and offers me the capacity to do just what I want to do. Cotton is my favorite color. I have been teaching for fifteen years and love it, because I learn from every student.
Chrissy Weaver recently attended BERNINA technical training in Chicago and can be found in “Roy’s Workshop” on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays as the shop’s assistant machine technician. She is also the shop’s serger expert and has attended five Martha Pullen Licensing Programs in Huntsville, Al. , including two serger licensings. Several of her serger projects can be found throughout the shop. Chrissy teaches a quarterly General Sergery class, and on occasion a quilt or children’s’ garment class, in addition to other project specific classes. She can also be found quilting on the shop’s long arm quilting machine. In fact, we have yet to find anything Chrissy can't do. She is always ready for a challenge and seems to magically be able to solve any problem.
Chrissy: After retiring from 20 years in the US Air Force, I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, but I knew it involved fabric. SEW BERNINA is the perfect place for me to get my “fabric fix” and it’s a great place to get inspiration and encouragement. Working as a machine technician is an awesome experience. It gives me a great deal of satisfaction to have the ability to get a machine up and running again. I know the bond a quilter has with her machine and how important it is to know it’s in good hands when it needs a little attention.
Bios on Katherine Shaw and Sandy Huovinen to come.