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Editorial

Tribute to Dave Phillips


10/01/2016 - Meet Dave Phillips. Quietly he is making a difference in our city, state, and beyond - one customer at a time. Dave repairs sewing machines and sergers of all makes and models made by Singer, Bernina, Pfaff, Brother, Viking, and Janome as well as ones from less familiar companies such as Juki, Remington, Adler, Nechhi, Winchester, Franklin, and Wilcox. It does not matter if it is electric or treadle powered, Dave finds a way to turn it into an invaluable piece of machinery for home or commercial use.

In 1986, thirty years ago, Dave began learning how to work on sewing machines. A gentleman who was going out of business began teaching him. Being mechanically-inclined and ready to find employment that did not involve being out in the cold weather, he took a liking to it. It suited him more than working construction or driving a fuel truck.

Dave continued to gain valuable experience as he worked for a gentleman in Great Falls, Montana for a year and for Mr. Brooks in Casper for 8 1/2 years. After gaining enough experience, he set out on his own and started "Sew Fix It".

"I enjoy helping the folks keeping the old ones (machines) going," said Phillips in a recent interview.

For years Dave has helped auctioneer and real estate agent Milt Green with his old sewing machines. "I met Dave when we were in Lander, and he was doing machine work. I had this treadle-boot-patch machine that I had no clue how to make it run. It was given to me by my mother-in-law. Dave rebuilt it, cleaned it, timed it, and showed me how to run it. Dave has always been willing to keep these rattle-trap sewing machines running," said Green who makes chaps, bridles, cinch straps, belts, billfolds, and such.

Dave helps keep Cathy Corbin's Bernina 830 (home sewing machine), Bernina serger, and her big heavy Juki commercial sewing machine running - even when she has sewn one of them "into the ground". "Dave is an all-around genuine, good Christian. He is one of the neatest human beings I have ever met," said Corbin. "Dave keeps my machines running so I can do what I do to help dog rescue. Without him, I don't know what I would do."

Dave has helped quilter Pam Bartosh keep her Viking Husqvarna running. "When I was beginning to quilt, I would jumble up the machine and have a crisis. Dave would come and fix it and teach me how to unjumble it. He helped me diagnose simple problems. I see him less and less because he has taught me so much! He has such a place in this community," said Bartosh.

Dave has also helped quilter Kay West, one who has been faithfully sewing for the past twenty-two years. "Dave has always been good to me. He has cleaned my Bernina (primary machine) several times and even found a reverse button for it. He also has cleaned and serviced my Elna (portable sewing machine for she takes it to class with her). Without a machine, it's almost like being without your legs!"

Sarah Schaff, mother of three, started sewing three years ago when she wanted to make a "felt tent to go over the dining room table so it could be a hospital clinic" for her kids. Dave helped her find a durable Janome that could sew thick layers of fabric. He also came up with a hand-crank sewing machine for her young daughter (six at the time, seven now) to use so she could safely make sleeping bags and pillows for her Barbie dolls and a quilt for herself. "I am grateful for Dave," said Schaff. "He is great with his business and is a great person. We are lucky to have him."

Ann Seeley, quilter in Riverton and longtime friend, appreciates the way Dave is gentle and likes what he does. "Dave found the right bobbin for my antique Singer treadle machine so I can use it," said Seeley. "He is the horse whisper of sewing machines."

Bill Hackney, the "Mule Man", has an old Lexus leather machine (early 1900s model) that needed to be cleaned and overhauled. "Dave cleaned it at a car wash, fixed it so it sews perfectly, and delivered this extremely heavy thing to my house," said Hackney. "The number one thing about Dave is that he is as honest as he can be. He never wants to take advantage of others. He makes parts for peoples' machines that cannot be found and keeps extra parts so they can be of use. I can't say enough good about him. He's a real cowboy. He lives that life."

Dave, you are deeply loved and appreciated - you and your sweet wife Cathy. Thank you for being the kind of man that you are. You not only fix sewing machines and sergers, you are a fine role model to us. Sincerely, thank you..

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