Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sewing Machine

The first sewing machine I ever owned was this early 20th century Singer Treadle model. I still own it. It is out in the garage right now, waiting for my studio to be built, where it will resideIt looks exactly like this. I was 10 years old and a friend of my mother gave it to me. I sewed so many things on this machine, starting with doll clothes and then my own clothes. I remember making a red, black and white print dress, trimmed with white rick rack that won a blue ribbon at the Bannock County (Idaho) State Fair.

I can't imagine living without a sewing machine and I own several. My current model of choice is a Janome 6500 with a wide opening which makes it handy for quilting large pieces. It is the tool I use for the fabric art that I make. Today it was a tool for shortening sleeves and pants. Then I played around with an idea that has been floating around in my head for awhile. It is not a quilt, but a crafty sort of thing. Can you tell what I am trying to make?

Sometimes I hear people say that don't own a sewing machine and I am astounded. I can hardly imagine anyone living without one. Well, of course I know it's possible, but how do you hem your pants? It has been a rare occurrence in my life that I have purchased a pair of pants whose legs were exactly the right length. Men. I know when they purchase trousers they have far more pant length options than we women. Probably because they are less likely to own a sewing machine.

13 comments:

  1. I didn't own a sewing machine until about 1991. And when I took my first contemporary quilting class at OSAC (as it was then) the instructor paired me with another novice -- great artist, but never sewed either. The instructor came by once and stood by our table as I I was sewing something, thick part inside the harp (I even know what the harp is now). All she said was, "Well, that's an interesting way to work." It wasn't until years later I figured out what I was doing to cause the comment. My table partner was Adrienne Cruz, who was a phenomenal knitter and crocheter, but took to art quilts at that point. Knowing what she has done since then gives me courage -- neither one of us knew enough to turn the fabric around.

    But how do you measure where your hems should be? And isn't it forbidden to hem by machine, even on pants? I just let mine drag, although now that more of my upper body takes up more space, they drag less

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  2. As my working room is so small, I have to make my choice: Easle or sewing machine. My husband would have to carry one thing into the cellar and the other one upstairs. The sewing machine is a heavy 1920 treadle. First I thought I cannot do without. But I made the whole bird quilt by hand. Proves that it is not so urgent, after all.

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  3. One of the shocks of moving away from home was that I no longer had access to my mother's sewing machine. I hadn't thought about that and how I would make my clothes. But I found ladies who would share theirs for a couple hours here and there until my maternal aunt gave me her old Morse. It was a lovely machine with all metal parts that sewed a perfect seam. Eventually the bobbin housing became so worn that the bobbin wobbled to much to sew. By that time parts were no longer available. I sold it cheap to a sewing machine repairman who was going to scavage it for parts. Are there any of those guys around any more? Anyway, I agree - how can anyone live without a sewing machine? And a dozen pair of scissors and... and... and...!

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  4. I never mastered the treadle machine at school,could only ever get it to run backwards. But we have a "portable" Singer in a wooden case given second hand to my grandmother as a wedding present in 1911, keeping it in reserve against the day the electricity dies.
    Are you perhaps making a lampshade?

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  5. Are you making a little screen for a candle or lantern? I can see that fabric all lit from behind glowing.

    I was 7 when my aunt showed me how to use her factory model electric Singer. Also built into a piece of furniture, it seemed to have one speed SEW-YER-FINGERS-TOGETHER!!
    I learned to respect the machine and close my eyes and thread it, top and bobbin. Even the smell of oil and electricity is firm in my memory.

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  6. I think a lot of people don't own a sewing machine because they don't know how to sew. In our area sewing is not taught in school anymore,like when I attended. All the girls were required to attend Home Ec. I guess not anymore :-(

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  7. I have had a sewing machine since I can remember. Started with the treadle machine, too. My girls have them, of course. I am thinking that I should get an inexpensive machine for my son and daughter in law and teach them how to hem and mend!!

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  8. I can't tell how large your creation is. Perhaps it is a cover for your (seemingly) empty tissue box. Del

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  9. When I got married, my inlaws were going to buy us a sewing machine for a wedding gift. I asked my DH what in the world I would do with that? We got a recliner instead. A couple years later, my sister in law gave me her old machine when she got a new one and I learned to quilt. I now have somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 machines but i still wonder what I would have gotten if I hadn't taken that dumb recliner.....LOL

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  10. Anonymous7:02 PM

    When Ed and I were first married I toted my mother's sewing machine back and forth from Astoria to Eugene. I made Christmas gifts, curtains & clothes. On our first anniversary Ed gave me a beautiful turquoise, used Singer sewing machine! It was the best gift he ever gave me!!
    Beth

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  11. I think it's a luminary. Or a dressing room for fairies.

    There's always been a sewing machine in my life -- for as long as I can remember. One has so many more options that way.

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  12. My first machine was my grandmother’s portable (in the sense of you-could-conceivably-wheel-it-around -on a dolly), wooden-case Singer. I inherited it when I was in my early teens, somewhere between 12 and 15. She had a treadle, too, very similar to yours, but I don’t know what happened to it.

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  13. "I sewed so many things on this machine, starting with doll clothes and then my own clothes." And "I can't imaging living without a sewing machine an I own several." Those could have been written by me and I still have the treadle I learned on. It was my mother's and although I have not used it in a long time, I am sure it still works.

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