With the help of The Quilt Shop Navigator, we negotiated a labyrinth of traffic circles to find the Bernina Sewing Center in Billings MT.
The first thing you notice when you walk into the Bernina Sewing Center is how bright and spacious the store is, followed by an incredible collection of beautiful fabric and the multitude of intriguing sample quilts. Eye candy everywhere!
And then you are greeted by owner Doris and her cheerful, friendly staff. This is Doris:
We also met Phyllis, who climbed a ladder (!) to pose with one of the sample quilts she’d made for the shop.
And Myrt, who seemed to know everything from long-arming to smart phones to where to find a particular bolt of fabric. Here she’s standing by a sample quilt she made (but not on a ladder).
Doris and I sat in the Bernina machine showroom for a chat about her store, which she bought with her husband thirty years ago. At first they focused on general and garment sewing, but as quilting grew in popularity, quilting fabrics took over the store. Bernina Sewing Center now carries a wide variety of quilting cottons and flannels, as well as minky. Doris is particularly proud of their extensive stock of Stonehenge fabrics. They also carry Stof fabrics, a unique line from Denmark. Isn’t this one beautiful?
In fact, they’ll be having a Stof trunk show in June. It’s only one of the exciting things happening at Bernina Sewing Center. They offer a wide variety of classes in their commodious classroom.
One of the most popular is a Block of the Month class using Judy Niemeyer’s Mariner’s Compass pattern. “When you complete this class, you should be able to tackle any Judy Niemeyer pattern,” says Diana Simkins, the certified instructor.
The classroom is full of inspiration. Doris loves the Stonehenge fabrics and showed off three of her favorite quilts made from Bernina Sewing Center’s extensive Stonehenge collection:
She waxed eloquent about her favorites, Stonehenge’s warm earth tones.
Bernina Sewing Center offers some real bargains for quilters, too. The day we were there, all quilt kits were 20% off!
Doris is also justifiably proud of her Bernina service department and the friendly and attentive customer service she provides to everyone who walks through the door. Quilters come from miles around, confident that she’ll have exactly what they’re looking for.
Things to Know About Bernina Sewing Center and Billings MT
Facebook: Bernina Sewing Center
Local Quilt Guilds in Billings: Big Sky Quilt Association, really two guilds combined, Quilt by Association and Yellowstone Valley Quilter’s Guild
Things to see and do in Billings:
The Western Heritage Center is a regional museum whose collections, exhibits and programs tell the stories of life in the Yellowstone River Valley. Located in historic downtown Billings, the building that houses the Western Heritage Center is the former Parmly Billings Memorial Library, a Richardsonian Romanesque structure listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Accredited by the American Association of Museums and an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, the Western Heritage Center provides both long term and changing exhibits with interactive components, as well as educational programs for visitors of all ages. The museum cares for over 16,000 artifacts and an extensive collection that illustrates and documents the history of the Yellowstone River Valley. Guided tours are available for groups with reservations.
The Custer Battlefield Museum houses extensive new exhibits including hundreds of Custer Battlefield artifacts from the Battle of the Little Bighorn and the Plains Indian War period. Documentaries are shown hourly in the theatre adjacent to the museum and give logistical battle bearings to visitors before they begin the historical voyage through the Museum, then move on to the Little Bighorn Battlefield. Important Indian War period artifacts and manuscripts related to Custer, Crazy Horse, Sitting Bull, and the 7th Cavalry, as well as an acclaimed collection of highly historic photographs by D.F. Barry, are part of the exhibit.
Where to eat lunch: Doris recommended Juliano’s Restaurant (2912 7th Ave N) or The Granary (1500 Poly Drive), both elegant establishments with eclectic menus. For an unusual and delicious round sandwich, try The Staggering Ox (2829 King Ave W).
Our overnight stop was in Sheridan WY. After settling in to our hotel, we took a short stroll down Main Street to admire the many Western sculptures that adorn the sidewalks. My dad would have loved these pheasants.
Stay tuned for more exciting adventures on Day 2 of The Cross Country Quilt Shop Quest, coming soon!