The Repair Shop guest in tears as antique sewing machine restored Absolutely wonderful

The Repair Shop: Woman gets emotional over sewing machine

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During an episode of The Repair Shop, host Jay Blades welcomed guest Kathleen Lewis to the BBC show where she explained she was desperate to have her dressmaker grandmother’s sewing machine restored. Metalwork expert Dominic Chinea took on the challenge but was faced with a huge problem from the very beginning.

It was an emotional episode of the hit BBC show as Kathleen explained to Jay and Dominic that she hoped the sewing machine could be restored to feel a sense of her grandmother, who sadly she never met.

Dominic was amazed at the sight of the machine the moment he saw it, exclaiming: “That looks beautiful!”

Katheen explained: “It belonged to my nan. She was born in 1893 and she started to work for the dressmakers’ shop and this was the machine she used in the shop and then when she reached 21, they gave it to her.”

“She must have been good, was she really good?” Jay asked, and Katheleen promptly replied: “She was absolutely fantastic, sadly I didn’t know her, she died before I was born, but I know she also made my mums wedding dress on this.”


“No, never been able to. Whether it could sew again I don’t know I just want to be able to use it,” she explained seemingly with a heavy heart.

Dominic was shocked by this and exclaimed: “Never been able to, wow!”

“When was the last time this was used then?” Jay asked sounding surprised.

“To be honest, I couldn’t tell you. Whether it would actually sew again I don’t know” Kathleen explained.

Jay asked Kathleen what kind of memories the machine brought to her, and she explained: “As I say my childhood with it being in the front room and my mum, she’s not with me anymore”

Seeing Kathleen starting to get choked up, Jay consoled her and added: “Sorry to hear that.”

Taking the attention away from her lost family members, Jay asked: “Well, how do you want it to look?”

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“(I) just want the woodwork so that it’s not falling to pieces anymore. But I mean, where it’s worn is obviously my nan’s been using it, that’s her part of it,” she explained.

Dominic had a big task ahead of him as upon inspection of the machine, there was a broken piece which was a very important one – the bobbin holder.

Luckily, being the expert, he managed to get a replacement for the part that was broken. He explained that it was a “fiddly job” with a lot of “tiny screws and springs”.

He also went on to explain that everything had to go back in exactly the right place and couldn’t get “a width of cotton wrong,” otherwise it wouldn’t be able to sew.

Kathleen came back to collect her sewing machine and explained: “I’m feeling really excited, a bit nervous as well. Because the most important thing to me was that I’d be able to use the sewing machine again.”


Not being able to contain his excitement, Dominic went straight in to reveal the sewing machine to Kathleen.

Kathleen was taken away with how brand new the sewing machine looked and exclaimed: “Oh it’s beautiful, oh my word it’s absolutely gorgeous!”

 “It’s just like when I was about five years old. It’s got that colour back and the drawers, it’s amazing. Thank you so much,” she added, still in shock with how familiar this item had become.

However, there was still one important question that needed to be answered.

“Does it work?” Kathleen asked with a coy expression.

Dominic asked her to take a seat and take some fabric out of the top draw. Kathleen began sewing on the machine that her grandmother once sewed on for the first time in her life.

“Oh, goodness me. It’s touching things that she had and that my mum used.

“Now neither of them are here anymore it brings them to me. It’s lovely, it’s a lovely feeling.

The Repair Shop is available to watch on BBC iPlayer.

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