I accidentally came across a post by Bernina India on my Facebook timeline a couple of weeks ago and was planning a visit ever since. Its across town in Andheri West, which is the other side of town for me. But, who misses a chance to visit a new craft store eh! So last weekend, armed with my list of sewing accessories I've been meaning to buy, I reach this small store. Its housed in a commercial complex, so its hard to spot, but ask around and you'll get there.
The store isn't much of a craft supplies store as it is an agency for Bernina and Bernette sewing machines and accessories. They have a fairly large creative center where they conduct classes and workshops. I was hoping to meet the teacher, but she wasn't in that day. The entrance of the store is lined with a wall of quilting accessories like rotary cutters, blades, markers, pins, rulers, mats etc. They do have a wide range of Prym quilting accessories, Prym is the parent company to Drtiz, a name all us crafters are familiar with. Quilting supplies can be very expensive and are an indeed an investment. I needed to stock up on my rotary blades of various sizes and marking pens of which I found just what I was looking for. The blades costed me 400 rupees to 600 rupees a piece. That's pricey yes, considering, they rust in 6 months owing to the high moisture content in Bombay. There is a wide range of batting, interfacing and transfer papers available here but again the base price starts from 700 rupees a meter. That's really expensive since you can easily use a yard of batting or interfacing to make a medium sized bag. Over the years, I've learnt to use local materials and interfacing available in the local markets. A - they're easily available and B - very cost effective. People aren't open to spending a fortune on handmade products just yet. If you're a serious quilt maker, then investing in good batting is wise. I at the moment substitute batting with flannel that is easily available at any fabric store in the city. Flat quilting pins and markers are what I picked up too. I've had terrible experiences with markers available at Craftgully, Craftadda and Itsybitsy. I've had to redo projects that took hours just because the markers would leave huge blots on the fabric. They all say they're water soluble, but they are anything but that. I found an excellent mark and erase pen by Prym that costed me 320 rupees, but works wonderfully on fabric. Rulers and mats are available here too.
Stay away from these fabric markers available locally!
I bought my Olfa and Omnigrid rulers and mats from Joann 6 years ago and they have lasted me well, so I didn't quite look carefully at that section. I recently picked up a large sized cutting mat from the online Pony craft store and I must say its behaving well :)
The gentleman Mr. Gupta, the owner of the franchise, was very helpful and took pains to show me all the various kinds of Vliseline battings, stabilisers and Decovil interfacing available.It was nice to actually feel all these materials since the crafting community across the world uses these products all the time. I walked out with the cheapest of the line batting which costed me 700 rupees a meter.
Bernette - the economical range of sewing machines
Bernina Presser feet and machine accessories
The assortment of sewing machines both Bernina and Bernette are fascinating to look at and beautifully designed. They range from 80,000 rupees to 3 lakh rupees. These range from the mechanical to the digital range. I am too in love with my sweet Usha - Janome to think of a replacement. If you already have a Bernina, then this is the one stop shop for you. This store is definitely worth a visit if you love sewing and crafting. Expensive it is for sure, but looking around is free :) Quilting in India can be a very expensive hobby since all the good quality accessories are imported from the UK and America. I was wise enough to buy my cutters online 6 years ago in one of the Black Friday sales and I did get quite a bargain, shipping included. Now I just order them from Amazon or Joanns and get them delivered to a local address, saves the shipping and friends and family strut it along for me when they're visiting Bombay. I was pleasantly surprised with how well informed the gentleman running the store was. The other craft store in town - The Hab has a bunch of sweet girls and staff, but they're clueless about most of the stuff available at the store. They haven't been able to refresh their stocks for 2 years now, so I was told by one of the girls working there, no wonder I'd find the same 5 things on the shelves every time I'd drop in. If you're in Andheri sometime go have a look at the store, you might be surprised, though remember to ask for a receipt for your purchase, I wasn't given one and realised when I opened the bag at home :)
My loot that costed me 5000 Rupees
If you do make a visit here, write in to let me know how it went. If you're planning to attend their classes and workshops or have attended any, I'd love to know how it went. If you have any favourite online stores or craft stores you've been to, do share the love :) This post is purely based on my personal experience at the Bernina Creative Center Bombay and I have in no way been compensated monetarily or otherwise for my views of the store. Thankyou so much for reading.