SUDBURY -- Over the past five months, there have been a lot of items cleared off the shelves, such as Lysol wipes and toilet paper, but there’s another product that’s been hard to find on the shelves because of COVID-19: sewing machines.

Dominion Sewing Centre, a local business in Sudbury, says the number of new customers showing interest in sewing has skyrocketed.

“It’s been super, super busy -- we are seeing a really big influx in new sewers, people just taking it up for the first time, experienced sewers that are upgrading their machines and looking to get into something more advanced,” said Mylaine Mageau-Whissell, owner of Dominion Sewing Centre. “Some sales have gone up between 50 and 200 per cent, sometimes more.”

With the number of people purchasing new sewing machines, it’s been hard for owners to replenish their stock.

“We’ve sold out of quite a bit of our machines that we have in store," said Mageau-Whissell. "Sewing across the country has grown so much over the past few months that our stock is just depleted right now because the manufacturers overseas were closed as well for four or five months, so there was no production. Everything was kind of put to a halt.”

Interest has soared

Another local sewing business, Sew Local Stitch Lounge, said since the pandemic started, interest in sewing and starting a new hobby has really soared.

“Most people have a lot more time on their hands, so sewing, cross stitch embroidery has really been a lot more popular,” said Marja Reimer, co-owner of Sew Local Stitch Lounge. “People are wanting to try out a new skill or try to do something that they used to do, digging up the sewing machine from the closet and mask making has been really popular, too.”

Reimer said the younger generation has shown a lot more interest nowadays compared to before. She has seen a lot more people in their 20s and 30s come through the door.

“There’s definitely been an increase in people wanting to do these kinds of … old-fashioned skills and old-fashioned things that you want to make," she said. "Sewing is definitely kind of for older people generally. That has changed a lot.”

With the large demand and renewed interest, both store owners will be opening a second studio, which will offer a variety of classes to the public.