Monday, November 19, 2007

Sew what?

This is my sewing machine. It is well over 50 years old. I find it compellingly beautiful in its art deco simplicity.

My mother guilted (is too a word) her father into buying it for her right after my oldest brother was born. He had forgotten her birthday one year and she told him that she would feel much better if he bought her this fancy new sewing machine. It cost $100 dollars.

When i went off to college, i sort of appropriated the machine, because right about then my mother had bought herself a newer fancier Bernina sewing machine that could do things like zig-zag and embroider. The one above goes forward and backward, and that's it.

Over the years i have sewn some wonderful Halloween costumes. One year i made a dragon, including silver and gold lame wings. It still exists somewhere deep in the depths of chaos that is Em's closet. Perhaps i will mount an expedition sometime soon and try to find it.

Last year my mother asked me if i ever used this machine, because her fancier Bernina had bitten the dust. She was trying to get it back! HAH! As if. She was forced to go out and buy another machine to replace that cheap piece of junk.

Soon i will show you what i have been sewing on it. Because i know you care.

31 comments:

Lynn said...

They sure don't make quality things like they used to. I can't wait to see what you have been sewing.

flutter said...

I do care and it is GORGEOUS!

liv said...

I think I know what you've been up to, and I'm guessing you don't have holiday china to go with it!

Maddy said...

Yours may be older [difficult to say] but I can guarantee that mine is heavier, it's heavier than me for goodness sake.

So where are the piccies of production or did you just forget to post them?

cheers

lu said...

OMG! Meno, this is my sewing machine--I kid you not.
I made the mistake of leaving it out setting in the sun and now it's a bit crackled.

Watch the tension.

meno said...

lynn, it does seem like these machines last a good long time. Soon....

flutter, thanks. :)

liv, no, no holiday china. Guess i'll have to borrow yours.

maddy, the name of mine is "Singer Featherweight" so i am pretty sure yours is heavier. Production isn't ready yet.

lu, since they last so long, there are still lots of them around. I just had mine tuned up at the shop, so the tension is fine and i'm never going to touch it.

Mrs. Chili said...

It's electric, right? It doesn't have one of those rocker panels at the floor?

My MIL has a couple of WICKED old sewing machines - electric ones, certainly, but old nonetheless. Nechi, I think, is the brand name. The fact that she's married to an electrical engineer has served her well in her creative pursuits...

My Reflecting Pool said...

Wonderful. I have my mothers old 1970's machine and a new piece of junk one because I thought the reason I couldn't work the old was because it was complicated. Turns out I can't work the new one either because they use bobbins. Bobbins are the death of my sewing with a machine. I only hand sew when I have to now.

Maggie said...

Ah now that is a thing of beauty. I inherited mine from my mother also, but mine is one of those fancy ones with computerized stitches programmed in it. Guess what I do with it? I go forward and backward. Snicker.
It felt so good to get back to my textile addiction. I'm anxiously awaiting your pictures.
Liv, you going to show us your holiday china? I mean heck, what's the use of being girly if you don't spread the love?

capacious said...

I DO care. Deeply.

I got a secondhand machine from my sister-in-law. It came in a Singer box so I ordered instructions for the Singer on the box and then it turned out to be some weird Babylok thing. I got it repaired by an old man in a scary shack. He said it was a cheap machine and I should trade it in for a Singer. I did not. I have been using the weird Babylok and it's not too bad except the bobbin refuses to cooperate sometimes and I don't know why. But my sister's expensive Bernina does the same thing.

Cheeze, I had a lot more to say about this than I thought.

Show us.

deb said...

It's a beautiful old machine.

ms chica said...

Oh when did we cross that gaping chasm in which we forgot how to make tools and appliances to withstand the test of time. Ha! Bernnina my ass!

On an unrelated tangent, my mom has an old white Singer. The kind built into a cabinet, concealed when not in use, cute little spindle legs. Well, formerly cute spindle legs...One of her beloved four-legged deviants elected to turn a spindle leg into a scratching post. It looks like a matchstick. Cat-1, Sewing Machine Cabinet - 0.

Joan said...

Seeing the photo of your old Singer makes me so want to accept the offer my cousin made of giving me our grandmother's old Singer which sits in a beautiful wood cabinet. If only I had the room in our little house...

Stucco said...

Geeez, was that one made by Elias Howe himself? I like old machines.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Isn't that model called the Zephyr Weight? My mother had one, too.

Last year I decided to finally learn to sew and bought a Bernina Sewing Computer, they call it. Blue and white. With buttons all over it that do things. Expensive.

It's been sitting at the kitchen table like a guest all this time except when we have a human guest, and it still intimidates me.

I need to take a class because I have a great idea for a product I'd like to make as a home business, but it shouldn't look like it was made in Home Ec class.

QT said...

I absolutely, 100% cannot sew.

I am fascinated by the machines and yearn to use them, but trust me when I say it is scary what I produce.

So of course, I am quite keen on seeing what you have been making.

Marsha said...

Learning to sew is still on my to do list. I can't wait to see some of your accomplishments. I love the sewing machine, I would keep it even if it didn't work.

thailandchani said...

That one looks like mine, too. I prefer it to the newer ones which require a degree in engineering to operate. :)

Andrea said...

That is one beautiful piece of machinery!

I'm in the market for a new sewing machine, but only because I'm using an old Brother that pretty much just does forward and back, too. I figure I'll have to save up for it with any money I make from crafting (of course, first I have to start SELLING instead of GIVING!)...

Can't wait to see what you're sewing!

crazymumma said...

I'm jealous. I can only sew by hand.

Princess in Galoshes said...

You!...you sew?

Really? Wow. I am so (sew!) [drunk] impressed!

I inherited my mother's sewing machine, too. I use it as a dust collector.

amusing said...

I used to make clothes for my trolls from felt, but would use my mom's machine to run seams. I remember the sense of accomplishment and coolness when I learned how to thread it. And while sewing something recently, the Eldest watched me weave and wind the thread where it needed to go and was awed. I offered to teach him, cuz I figured he get that accomplishment feeling too!

I bought my own machine when I was living in NYC -- it's probably a piece of crap, but it goes and goes, even with its wobbly bobbin.

sari said...

I care! I want to see!

My mom long ago gave me a jade ring my father gave her while they were married. A few years ago she wanted it back "because I never wore it". I had to laugh (and no, I didn't give it back, it's mine!)

;-)

Irrelephant said...

Everyone says it-- "They don't build things like they used to." It's true. That is a beauty. I'm glad you use it.

meno said...

mrs. chili, yes, it's electric. No rocker panel. Those rocker machines really do rock.

my pool, i like to hand sew MUCH better than by machine. Hand sewing is soothing, and can be done in front of the TV.

maggie, i am too impatient to figure all that fancy stuff out.

capacious, yay! :) And Oh NO! about the instructions. I will show, soon.

deb, i agree. It's age is a large part of the beauty. Something for us to remember huh?

ms. chica, those old machines are the bomb. Perhaps you shouls appropriate it???

joan, you should go for it. Find a space, anywhere. You won't be sorry.

stucco, ha ha! No quite that old. But it does have that look.

hearts, it's called Featherweight. Too many buttons confuse me. Mine has just the right nember of buttons. Zero. You should take the class. i would love to see your idea in action.

qt, i am of an age when we were forced, as girls, to take home economics. We had to learn to sew. Sexist pigs.

marsha, if you were my age, you would know how to sew. Be glad you are younger.

chani, you have one too? I have a degree in Engineering, and i still can't figure the new machine out.

andrea, i agree, it is beautiful. What do you craft?

crazymumma, i only LIKE to sew by hand, but i realize that a machine can come in handy.

princess, I KNOW!!! Did you know that i was so awesome?

Amusing, Troll clothes, what a memory. We mostly made them for Kleenex. If your machine is still going, it must not be crap.

sari, be patiet. it is still in production. Remember how you didn't tell us that you had someone in production for a long time?

irrelephant, i swear, it's true. These machines are still selling on the internet for $400 and up.

Sober Briquette said...

Hmm. Much to think about. A sewing machine is the one thing on my Christmas List, although my mother has offered me hers. I demurred, as she said if she needed it again, she could just come on over.

AND YES! show us what you're working on. Whenever you are ready.

Andrea said...

To answer your question - Clothes, blankets, rag quilts, stuffed animals... or at least I used to when I had TIME! I also crochet and knit. I love crafting... I miss crafting...

Mother of Invention said...

My mom had the exact same one and made all our clothes and hers, plus doll clothes for us and our friends on that simple machine!It was a huge upgrade to zig-zagging!

I have never sewn much but have an old treadle "New Williams" (not Singer..I never knew there was any other!) machine because that was my maiden name.

sari said...

ah meno, you're funny. i'll be patient!

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Featherweight, zephyrweight, welterweight, whatever. It's the same one my mother had. In fact she had two, exactly alike. I have no idea why.

I intend to take a class in January, the perfect time for a new beginning.

I was the girl in 8th grade Home Ec who sewed the bottom of my flannel nightgown project closed and had to sneak it home at night so my mother could fix it and add a second arm, as I had somehow miscounted.

Mama P said...

I LOOOOVE that. I am in awe of anyone who can sew. I'd just buy something like that at an estate sale and let it is it in my living room for the cozy factor. I can't wait to see what you made!