Its National Sewing Machine Day today so I thought you might like to hear some tales from my sewing machine over the last 40 odd years.....
Year: 1977 Sewing Machine: My mum’s Jones Domestic
Here she is again sewing another cotton three tiered skirt that are so fashionable at the moment; they must be, she’s made so many! It’s quite nice really to be sewing this lovely cotton, less stress than those wedding dresses and evening gowns that her mum makes on me. If I drop a bit of oil by accident she won’t see it on the finished garment! And I doubt her school friends will moan, they are just happy to have someone who can make one, they don’t even mind paying her – such entrepreneurial spirit in her this one. I used to get taken out and dusted off when there was a dinner and dance and a new dress was needed, but since her mum taught her to use me we have been merrily sewing away on all manner of clothes, I like the variety really, but I dare say she will trade me in for a modern machine soon....
Year: 1987 Sewing Machine: My first brand new Singer Domestic
There is always much anticipation when you are taken off the shelf and packed up to go to a new home. Wondering if you will sit and collect dust, as so many of my friends have, but I can tell with the enthusiasm this lady has, that I shall be well loved and well used!
The first thing she makes on me is a ladies blouse, I have a special button hole maker you see, that is why she chose me. She’s not doing a bad job actually, very neat. She doesn’t seem all that interested in the 26 other stitches I am capable of, but that’s fine with me.
After many a shirt and dress it's bridal gowns and bridesmaids outfits – the lovely silk and satin just flowed between my needle and foot plate. A joy to sew and to see those happy faces when they came to try on the finished garment, it makes the hard work worthwhile.
She’s been sewing on an industrial machine at work, so gets a bit frustrated with my slow, steady pace, but I’m not fazed by it – I feel confident that our relationship will be a long one.....
Year: 1991 Sewing Machine: My very own Singer Industrial circa 1976
Oh it is lovely to come to this lady’s house. I am in retirement really, a fact I don’t think she understands! Hang on, what’s this 10 silk jackets to make, and wedding dresses too.....I thought I’d be able to rest but no, she's putting me through my paces. I have even moved from New Zealand to Surrey and now I’m full time making the most amazing wedding dresses among other special occasion wear. I quite often drip oil – she swears very loudly when I do that, but I am old and creaky and really should be retired....
Year: 1997 Sewing Machine: A Brand new Brother Industrial
You can tell that she’s used to a clunky machine – I think I saw it going out the door when I came into this lovely wedding dress shop, old Singer, off to the retirement home I suspect. She is doing lots of cooing and saying how amazing I am, how much she loves me – hang on, we’ve only just met!
I am the envy of many a sewing machine spending my days sewing fine silk, organza and chiffon . We stayed together for the next 10 years, then she left me behind with the wedding dresses saying she didn’t want to have a sewing machine in the house again – off to a new life in Devon she said, something about opening a gift shop for an easy life.
Year 2009: Sewing Machine: My clunky vintage Brother Industrial circa 1990
Well, she seemed impressed when she tried me out, so the gentleman who had looked after me since I was new in the college where I had been all my life said he would deliver me along with an old industrial over locker that had been with me for years. We were old friends. The man wasn’t so impressed when he nearly trashed his clutch backing up the steep drive with two heavy machines in his boot! OH the smell of clutch fluid!
But it was lovely to be in a house, being used by just one person, not lots of students who don’t have any respect for me. It took some getting used to, I might be old, but I have got a lot of power and can be a brute if not handled right!
Hang on, what’s this? Waxed cotton, a dog coat? Well that’s a first for me. Still it’s quite nice to sew; she is burning the midnight oil though, putting me through my paces night after night, muttering something about not being ready for the Country Living Show – more and more dog coats, and jumpers too – from one extreme to another, but I take it all in my stride and sew them all to perfection! Proving myself to be a trusty old work horse.
After a few years she took me with her to Kent, to an old Barn, where I sewed daily alongside my old friend, the over locker, making many more dog coats, wool and fleece jumpers. At times during those dark days of winter she would have me working 9 – 10 hours a day getting orders out, even though she had help from a lovely team of experienced ladies, can't I slow down yet?
Finally in 2017 she decides to replace me when the man who came to service me and my friend, the over locker, made her an offer for two brand spanking new machines that she couldn’t refuse! So we went off to pastures new, hopefully to somewhere quiet to sit out our days in peace, with just the occasional use.
Year: 2017 Sewing Machine: My brand new Texi Industrial
You never quite know where you will end up when they pack you in the van. You hope you will be with someone who appreciates and cares for you, treats you with respect. Well, my dreams have come true. She loves me, and I love being here! It’s an old Barn where I work now, sitting next to my over locker mate, we came as a package you know!
This lady is in awe of my blue motion, smooth sewing, how quiet I am and because I never drip oil! She really loves me, and you can tell that she loves what she does, such pride in every stitch. She’s quick though and loves my sensitivity to speed, fast when required and slow as needed. I think she smiles every time she uses the button that lifts the needle out of the fabric at just the right length so as not to snap it – don’t think she’s ever had that before! Sometimes it's the simple things in life that give the most pleasure! I believe she has a vintage Brother at home, rescued from a skip! Well, can't begrudge her time with that old girl can I!
I hope to stay with this lady a long while, we are already best friends, well, when you spend as much time together as we do it is important to get along.....
So on this National Sewing Day I want to celebrate all the sewing machines I have owned, the many 1000’s of fabric miles I have sewn on each one of them and thank the sewing machine for providing me with a living doing the thing I love the most. For giving pleasure to the people and more recently, dogs, who I have sewn garments for over the years and for all the craft projects I will enjoy sewing when I eventually retire!!