Monday, April 26, 2010

Sewing Machine

While I am concentrating on completing the jacket and bootees for a new arrival I have, waiting in the wings, three pieces of fabric that are screaming out to be transposed into cushions and a table runner, using the tube quilting method which I find fascinating, and more importantly, I can do it. As I sit knitting my mind wanders [only on the return purl rows ... I need to keep tabs on where I am in the pattern!] to my waiting sewing.

I remember my first sewing effort. It happened at primary school when the class was instructed to bring a sugar bag and an assortment of wool, though any student who couldn't access wool was not to worry ... there was a box in the storeroom that held a mixture of colours. We pulled threads and X-stitched across the row, using several colours on the article, which when finished we proudly took home and insisted our Mother used it as an oven cloth. Some of the more eager stitchers made a second oven cloth ... I think I must have been eager.

A year later we made huckaback cloths; this time using a small selection of 'fancy work cottons'. I loved the stitching, but have to confess that I never hemmed that cloth until I was getting my 'box' ready for marriage. That cloth became a scone cloth, and was used regularly.

I remember sewing a dirndl skirt, red with elastic through the waist, and this was my first 'real sewing', as I used my Mother's sewing machine after tacking the seams at school.

This sewing machine was a vintage machine even then. It was a Singer treadle, folding up from a table that had wrought iron legs and treadle. Mum wasn't keen on sewing, but bought clothes were expensive, so home-made garments were the order of the day. Then I became the proud possessor of a doll ... several years after my favourite doll with a cloth body, arms and legs, but with a porcelain head, hands and feet, was fatally tipped from a pushchair. Daphne did not survive; my brother was unpopular for a long, long time! I was given the opportunity of receiving a 'walkie talkie' doll, but after closely looking at all the dolls on offer in the toy shop I chose a different doll; for one important reason. This doll, which was never named, had clothing patterns, and hair setting materials. She had long blonde hair, her eyes closed when laid down, and I spent endless hours altering her hair style, until, one day I decided to give her a hair cut. Dolls hair does not grow back!

The patterns were wonderful. I nagged my Mother to buy some fabric for an evening dress. I chose a blue taffeta for the full-length underskirt and bodice, and a pale blue net for the three layers of overskirt. That doll was one of the best dressed! I made dresses, panties which were a bug-bear with such tiny seams around the legs. Dolls clothes were easier to hand sew.

Once I began working I sewed my own clothes, suits, skirts, and summer dresses.

I left the parental home, and bought my first machine; another Singer, though this one was an either/or; either treadle or electric at the flick of a switch, and was housed in a cabinet that I painted to match the decor of the room I kept it in. Marriage and babies meant pyjamas with two pairs of pants to one top for littlies, dresses and fashion outfits for our daughter who started a trend for knickerbockers and matching jackets. Sadly that sewing machine developed a fault and by that time the local sewing machine salesman had opted out of repairs. An elderly aunt donated her electric sewing, a very ordinary Toyota [I think], that did not handle 'tough' sewing, nor delicate sewing. Slowly sewing lost its charm. I gave it away to a young friend when I moved to Australia.

Living where I am now meant I had time on my hands. The bundle of craft magazines grew monthly ... until I had to purchase plastic containers just for them. I decided to buy a new machine, and after reading up of several makes, decided; purchased a Janome, and have never looked back. How wonderful it is to have a decent machine that does more than what I want! Just contemplating sewing these days has me hurrying through housework and chores ... but at the moment I am knitting.


Debs said...

I too hurry through my chores to get to my sewing. I don't feel so quilty then!!!! I see you have 4 Followers now. That's great and I knew it wouldn't take long to get more :)

clare's craftroom said...

What a lovely story ! I have a Janome too ,30 years old and still going strong .