UNION COUNTY — Do you know how to repair a sewing machine? Would you like to learn how?
Two contractors with the US Department of Defense wanted to learn how to repair sewing machines and so they enrolled in a class on sewing machine repair taught by Mark Lancaster at the Union County Advanced Technology Center.
“They needed some knowledge of how to repair sewing machines,” Lancaster said. “They have a facility that repairs classified components and they want to fix their sewing machines in-house without having to bring in an outside contractor.”
The contractors, Chong Whitfield and Vebiana Chavarria, took the five-day course which Lancaster described as a pilot program which he hopes to see grow to include larger numbers of students. He said the response from the two contractors to the course was positive and he thinks this could be a great opportunity for both the Advanced Technology Center and Union County.
“I think it is going to be a great opportunity for the Union County Advanced Technology Center, Spartanburg Community College, and Union County,” Lancaster said. “The two attendees loved the environment here. I think they learned a great deal. They rebuilt 14 machines. When they got those machines they were non-functional and they made them functional again.”
Lancaster said he feels the ability to repair sewing machines has become something of a lost art that people like the contractors he taught are looking to rediscover. He pointed out that back during the textile plant era of Union County’s history there were many people who could repair sewing machines. That pool of experience has been lost somewhat over the years, but Lancaster said he still feels there is a resource out there that can be utilized.
The fabric used in the class was provided by Cone Mills and Lancaster thanked them for their support of the program. He also thanked Union County and Spartanburg Community College for their support of the UCATC and the class.
Since Whitfield and Chavarria completed the course, Lancaster said they have been in contact with him, telling him that they were able to repair some of their sewing machines. He said that their superiors have expressed an interest in having more DOD personnel to undergo the training offered at the UCATC.
“We’re looking at doing a class with four people very quickly,” Lancaster said. “We are interested in getting in contact with people with sewing machine repair experience to play a role as instructors if they can.”
Lancaster said that his goal is to, initially, teach as many 30-35 people in groups of two-four in the near future.
Persons interested in taking the course or serving as instructors should call the Union County Advanced Technology Center at 864-466-1060.
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090 or firstname.lastname@example.org.