Exeter Sewing Machines sell sewing machines, embroidery machines, and overlockers. They also run a wide variety of sewing classes throughout the year. There are two classrooms here at the shop, and most of the classes are run by the in-house staff.
Exeter Sewing Machine Company is the only independent sewing machine shop in Exeter (and further afield!) Because they are independent they are able to supply all brands of sewing machine, and they pride themselves on their knowledge of the products they sell. They provide the full back up and support you expect from a local traditional family run business. They offer honest advice and guidance in choosing the right machine for you, and after-care support.
“Our customer service motto is — If you’ve bought your machine from us, you’ve bought us”
- Repairs: Servicing and repair of machines (sewing, embroidery & overlockers) take place in the workshop on the premises
- Fabrics: a constantly growing selection of fabrics in the fabric cellar. In particular, a wide variety of dressmaking and quilting fabrics, as well as interfacings and waddings. They also supply several bridal and special occasion fabric brands
- Patterns: A wide variety of stock patterns
- Haberdashery: including ribbons, buttons, zips, threads, scissors, craft materials, trimmings, quilting and patchwork accessories, workboxes…. if they don’t have what you want in stock, they are happy to order!
- Millinery: Janet Williams is an expert milliner with over 25 years experience. She makes bespoke hats to order, and runs unique millinery classes. Millinery supplies are also for sale.
The shop is something of an Aladdin’s cave, covering 5 floors! The staff and owners genuine love of sewing means they can provide advice and tips on so many different aspects of sewing.
They are not unknown to the rich and famous, either! Jennifer Saunders bought her sewing machine from us and Janet has made a hat for Chris Martin’s mum!
“Our familiarity with the different brands of machine also comes across in the classes we teach. We aim to make our knowledge of sewing machines second-to-none, and if you come to one of our classes you will be taught very specifically about your machine – because they are not all the same!
Most of our classes are run by ourselves and we genuinely love to sew. Between us we cover years of experience and many different areas of sewing. Our variety of classes means we can cater to everyone’s needs. Our team of staff includes technicians as well as teachers so our knowledge of machines is vast – we really do know and understand them!”
The business has been in Exeter since it was founded in the late 1940s, just after the war. It was then called Arcade Sewing Machines, and located in the Fore Street Arcade. The next owner changed the name to the present one, and operated from Paris Street.
Peter Guggenheim, who is still remembered by many customers, then owned it for 20 years before the current owners, (David and Janet Williams) bought it in April 1996. Luckily 7 Heavitree Road was for sale at the same time, and the shop moved to the location it’s in now.
Janet was formerly a theatre arts teacher, and David a civil engineer. Before buying the business they were in Ethiopia, where David was working with UNICEF whilst Janet ran a sewing and millinery school from home. They wanted to come back to the UK, and David grew up near Exeter, so that’s where they came.
David had hankered after owning his own business and they met Peter – the then current owner of the shop – through getting their sewing machines fixed by him. In conversation, Peter mentioned that he was looking to retire, and just waiting for the right people to come along to buy the business – and the rest, as they say, is history!
17 fantastic years later Janet and David are still here, and are extremely proud of their shop’s long-standing history as part of Exeter. In fact it won’t be long until they are celebrating the shop’s 70th anniversary!
Events – we attend Creative Stitches, the big craft show at Westpoint, every September. Next year we’ll also be at the Spring Quilt Festival for the first time. We also hold events at the shop throughout the year with reps from the machine brands.
- Mon9am - 5.30pm
- Tues9am - 5.30pm
- Wed9am - 5.30pm
- Tues9am - 5.30pm
- Fri9am - 5.30pm
- Sat9am - 5.30pm
- By Christopher
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org