Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Sewing Machine Day - Do you remember?

By Diane Forrest

June 13th is Sewing Machine Day, and I wanted to share with you some fond memories I have with sewing machines.  I remember as a young girl getting my first sewing machine.  It was a Betsy Ross model like the one pictured here.  It didn't have many functions, just sewing a basic stitch, but I felt so grown up.  Then I remember my mother getting a brand new sewing machine, paid for with S & H green stamps.

For those who don't remember these, they were stamps given at the grocery store with each purchase.  You would save them in books, and when your book or books were full, you could take them to the green stamp store and trade them for all kinds of things.  The Singer sewing machine, like the one pictured here, came in its own carrying case, and must have weighed a ton!  The machine tilted back revealing a hidden compartment used for storing the operating pedals, extra bobbins, needles and zippers or buttons.  This also served as the bottom of the case where the lid attached.  I still have this machine, however the handle broke some time ago, and since it still weighs a ton, and I hardly ever get it out any more.

When I was in the 5th or 6th grade, my mother enrolled me in a 4-H class to learn the fine art of sewing.  I made a sun dress, and was so proud.  I wore it often, even though it was pretty hideous.  Later, when I was in the 10th grade, we were (ordered? forced?) required to take home economics.  In addition to learning how to cook, we also had to complete a sewing project.  I pulled out my trusty old sun dress pattern and made another dress.  This time it turned out slightly less hideous.  The seams actually matched, and the hems were straight.  Do they even teach Home Ec. at schools anymore?

Later, when I moved into my first apartment I inherited my grandmother's old sewing machine.  It is like the table one shown here.  It is a very basic machine; however I did use it to recover an old couch that I also inherited.  I also still have it today, but now it is used for a table to hold my copier.

These days, sewing machines have moved into the high tech arena like many other appliances. The one pictured here operates on a computer.   Sewing has become a lost art, just like knitting, crocheting, needlepoint, or quilting.  These skills are being replaced by computers and video games.  I have to admit that even I barely break out my sewing machine, using it occasionally to hem a pair of pants, or make a quick throw pillow. 

When my son was younger, I used it often, especially every Halloween when I made his costume.   When he informed me that he was engaged, and was bringing his intended to meet the family, as a joke I got her the good wife book.   (To be fair I also got my son the how to be a good husband book)  We all got a big laugh about the "suggestions" that were included in this book, well the women laughed anyway.  But it made me realize how much things have changed.  Each generation things change, either improving or becoming obsolete.   So today, on Sewing machine day, dust off your old machine if you have one and whip up some new throw pillows.  Not only can you brighten up your living space, but you will have a feeling of satisfaction creating something with your own two hands.  It is also a good day to teach your children, grandchildren, or friend how to use a sewing machine and create things for themselves too.

Please share some of your sewing machine stories with us.

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