Featured Shop: Bernina Sewing Centre

“People walk in, decompress, and then their heads go up and their mouths drop open.”

Customers also appreciate the good lighting and excellent customer service. “We’re super-friendly in our shop,” says Melody. She and her “super-knowledgeable” staff of ten make sure to engage customers, giving them time to wander but also making sure they’re finding what they need.

So says Melody Hicks, who with her husband Steve has owned the Bernina Sewing Centre in Lake Mary, Florida, for the past 21 years. “Our shop’s narrower at the front, so people are surprised when they walk in at how big we are—6,800 square feet—and at all the beautiful samples hanging from our tall ceilings.”

Those customers come from nearby Orlando and farther afield. The shop sits midway between Disney World and Daytona Beach, right off the interstate 4, so it’s a natural stop for travelers.

Melody defines her shop as “not a modern shop, but a more current quilt shop.” Moda fabrics are favorites and she says customers love lines from Basic Grey (including all the Grunge), Sandy Gervais,  Sweetwater, and more. Moda reps Tom and Amy Matheny are two of Melody’s “favorite people in the world,” in part because they’re from Michigan—the same state that Steve is from— but also because they call frequently to make sure she knows the latest on fabric and Moda happenings.

Classes at Bernina Sewing Centre include those related to machines, but also Kid’s Kamps and Block of the Month gatherings. One of the biggest successes is the Stash Buster group, which meets monthly. Techniques and patterns for using up stash fabrics are gleaned from tools (including a Moda Cake Mix) and books, which have included Moda All-Star titles. “Some people bring their sewing machines and some people just bring their finished quilts for show-and-tell,” says Melody.

As the name suggests, the Bernina Sewing Centre carries Bernina machines of all types. Steve is a Bernina tech and Melody swears that people stop by just to see what he’s up to next. “He’s quite a character,” she says, and gives the example of the attire he planned for their week at Bernina University—last year it was shirts in neon pinks and greens and this year his clothing featured a paisley motif. “His shirts speak volumes,” she says.

In addition to Steve and the staff, customers come in in the hopes of being greeted by golden retrievers Sadie and Louis. The well-behaved pair are popular with visitors are disappointed if they’re not in the shop. “They’re well-behaved because they’re around people all day,” says Melody.

Even after 21 years in business, Melody feels lucky that she and Steve, both veterans of the US Navy, made the choice to open Bernina Sewing Centre.

“It’s the people I love—the customers, the fabric reps—really every aspect of the business,” says Melody. She knows that life can be challenging and is grateful when people stop by for a break from whatever’s bothering them. “When I hear people say they come in and leave their junk at the door, I think it’s the most important thing. We work hard to have this be a zone of fun and inspiration.”

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47 thoughts on “Featured Shop: Bernina Sewing Centre

  1. Lovely shop! It’s a delight for the eyes and provides lots of inspiration for quilters.Thanks for sharing.

  2. I might have to drive up and check it out as I live about 2 hours from Orlando. I like these little shop tours, Linzee!

    1. So glad you do, Marianne. I always enjoy talking to shop owners—a friendly bunch of folks who are passionate about their work. We quilters are so lucky they are!

  3. Great shop, everyone is very friendly and helpful.
    Best place for fabric between Orlando and Lake Mary Florida

  4. Lovely shop! I’m wondering what the inspirational quilt is hanging on the wall behind the Woodstock poster. Very nice!

    1. It is called Dear Daughter. Super fun quilt to make and it will help you use up your stash! We can ship if you would like to purchase it from us!

  5. Beau magasin rempli de tentations. Bien sûr beaucoup trop loin pour moi mais le rêve est toujours possible.
    Amicalement

  6. imagine this! it’s MY local shop. yeah, i always find more than i need in this shop. congrats to all. patti in florida

  7. Love your “one wild and precious life quilt”. Is a pattern to make it available for sale?
    Jane

      1. Can you give me the size of the finish quilt (I would like to make it to hang above my sewing table) and the pattern price?
        Jane

        1. Hi Jane: Your best bet to get this information is to call the shop directly. The link to their web site and contact information is in the third paragraph of the post. Happy stitching!

  8. Do you have the quilt pattern for the plaid quilt on the first picture of your shop? Would love to buy it

    1. Hi Susan,
      That pattern was a freebie from Freespirit called Cut Loose. We used Tina Givens fabric for our sample. If you like the kit, we do have those available with the pattern included!

      1. Could you please let me know the sizes of the quilt(foot loose) and how much is the kit? Thank you Susan Austin

      2. I’m not sure if you got my message,I’m not good with computers just wanted to know the price of the Cut Loose quilt kit.. thank you (and where to order from) Susan Austin

        1. Hi Susan: The best way to get this information is to contact the store directly. Their phone number is in the link at the beginning of the story (third paragraph).

  9. Awesome place. Everyone is so friendly and helpful. Always bringing us something new to keep our creative juices flowing. My fave quilt shop.

  10. It’s all true- the shop is a great place to learn, enjoy the great fabrics, and most of all the people who work there!

  11. When I have company and they are sewers your store is always the place to visit and the I hear how lucky I am, I know I am.

  12. This is a great article and true description of the great store and their staff. If you haven’t visited you have missed a great shop.

  13. Bernina Sewing Centre is my happy place. If I was having a tough day at work I would stop by the store on my lunch hour for respite and to visit with the wonderful staff. The many wonderful classes they offer are a chance to better your skills and socialize with others that enjoy my same passions.

  14. I love this shop. Have just started attending some of the many classes they have, and really love it. The staff is beyond wonderful. They are what has made me keep coming back. I’ve only been quilting a couple years, but a lot of my stash comes from here. Make sure you check it out.

  15. Professional, Kind, Caring, Honest, Knowledgeable, love and Supporting are just a few words that come to mind when I think of Bernina Sewing Center. From the moment you walk into this quilt shop to the moment you leave, you are treated with the utmost respect and kindness. Steve, Mel, Cheryl ,and the staff are kind, professional, helpful, honest and supporting. The level of knowledge and support is beyond any words on a review that I could post. The love in that shop is felt. They never rush you out the door. They always give you their time and energy. The products they carry are the best in the industry. I can assure you that you will not be disappointed making this drive to this shop. Steve and Mel as owners exemplify excellence in every way. When you go to this shop, be sure to give Louie and Sadie a pet and hug.

  16. It takes an hour to get to this shop, but so worth it. Mel, Steve and the staff all go above and beyond to greet every customer like they’re family. The classes are aplenty and the teachers all make sure you understand what you are doing before going further with the sections of the projects. The best thing is when you have a problem with a project or your machine at home, they seem to know just how to fix it. I always recommend this shop to everyone I know that is interested in sewing. I’m also good for advertising at different events with my bag lady bag. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

  17. This is also my shop (which I don’t get to visit often enough) and it is the best place to come to for help and ideas!

  18. This is the BEST shop! I have been going there since before the doors opened to the public. I used to live 10 mins. away, now I’m an 1 1/2 hrs. away and it’s worth every minute of the drive. Mel, Steve, and their staff are the best!

  19. I cannot say enough good things about Bernina Sewing Center, Lake Mary, FL! It’s always a great day when I get to go there. Mel, Steve, and their staff are the best and treat their customers like family. Awesome shop in every way!

  20. I shop Berlin’s Sewing Center and it is all true. Mel and Steve are just downright good people who love what they do and are always ready to help just like the wonderful staff. They also are community minded and have tremendous compassion in their hearts. I have followed them through 3 locations over the last 19 years and I am so glad I did. Blessings to you Mel and Steve!

  21. Congrats to Mel and Steve. I love shopping, taking classes, and just stopping by. It’s a place where “everybody knows your name and they’re always glad you came”. Cheers!!!

  22. Many many years ago I taught Stretch and Sew at a beautiful shop in Baton Rouge….I never thought I would find a shop that was as colorful and well displayed, but I have at this Lake Mary store. Well worth anyone’s trip to see. So many fabric stores are cluttered and look “old timey” – this one is modern and bright which adds to the ambiance. Add to that the two top brands of machines and you have a winner.

  23. I LOVE this store!!
    This is where I bought my most recent Bernina machine, but it’s much more than that. The photos are great but don’t do justice to the beauty of this store. So inspiring, and you can stay all day if you want. I am one of those people who take hours to decide what I want while I’m there, because there’s so much gorgeous fabric to choose from, everywhere you look. No one ever tries to move you along, take your time, and they’ll be there if you need them.
    The staff and owners are sweet, helpful and welcoming. Just the cherry on the sundae.
    Thanks Mel and Steve!

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