"I've got a lot of guys coming in now," he said. "They know very little."
He's not the only one seeing the trend.
"I was working seven days a week for several weeks," concurred Jeff Bloemker, of Washington County, who repairs sewing machines for businesses, not individual consumers. "It was just insane."
Since he works on his own, he is comfortable having 12 to 15 machines to repair per week. His load soared to more than 30 a week at one point, although the pace has tapered slightly since then.
Gloria Horn, owner of Gloria Horn Sewing Studio in Mt. Lebanon, breathlessly reported that she and her nine employees have been working 14-hour days.
"It's wonderful to be this busy, but it's crazy," she said. "We are one business that has gone up" in the pandemic.
Revenues for her store would be higher if a shipment of 20 sewing machines had not been stranded in Los Angeles. Normally, such machines are in stock and take only four or five days to arrive. This time, her supplier was out of stock, and goods ordered in early April did not reach her until Aug. 8.
"Have you heard about my machine?" a customer standing nearby interjected.
Horn has 40 to 60 more machines on order than she normally would have, and the lower-priced machines at $800 or less are especially hard to come by.
"Everything under $3,000 is on back order," she said.