I would love to win some of her fabric, but that is not why I entered. She asked, “What was your first sewing project?” Usually, I am a little vague on when things happened (or where, with whom, etc) and I consult my ‘life-ipedia’, Dearest Sister, for confirmation.
But the answer to Heather’s question came immediately to mind! This was my first sewing project!
The year was 1965, I believe, and DS was busy sewing up a storm in the kitchen/sewing room. (My mother always felt that sewing was an equal priority to eating!) The 4-H fair, style show, etc was coming up and DS went on to win a purple ribbon for her efforts. (You can read that story here). I believe Mama may have been the 4-H sewing leader. My memory is of lots of people sewing up a storm in our house.
But not me. I was not old enough to be in 4-H. I was a bit bent (chapped, frustrated, left out, resentful, etc.) about it, so I went upstairs to the attic. My mother had a treadle sewing machine that was in the attic and I decided that I would use it to make a patch-work apron. (Why an apron? I guess I sat through enough 4-H meetings to know that everybody made aprons when they started sewing.)
I don’t recall where I found the fabric but there were always sewing scraps in the house. Some of the fabrics I recognize as leftovers from clothes that I wore, others were probably from things Mama made for herself or others. So, until the bobbin ran out, (winding a bobbin was a skill that came later!) I sewed up a storm by myself on the Singer Treadle.
How do I know it was a Singer? All my mother’s sewing machines were Singers! Growing up, I really didn’t think there was any other brand of sewing machine.
To our delight, the buying public had stayed home, for the most part, and there were treasures and they were bargains! As I recall, we found mid-century melamine dinner wear with glass tumblers to match and beautiful handmade quilts. And this machine. It was marked $120, but everything was a third off. I admired it, but passed, thinking that The Mister would surely ask, "Where are you going to put that?" and I really couldn't think of an answer. After we had paid for our purchases and loaded them in the car, I went back and offered $60 and bought the machine.
For a long time, it lived in the garage and when we moved to the desert, it came with us and took up a position in the new garage, covered with a tarp from dust and elements.
I have had a couple of sewing machines over the years. They were hand-me-downs from my sisters who were upgrading. The last one was a machine that Deeply Missed Sister traded S&H green stamps for. It never kept the tension without lots of intervention and when we moved, it was donated to charity.
Two years ago, I told The Mister that I would like a sewing machine for Christmas. Since he always takes me at my word, there was a new machine under the tree. It was a Brother and before I opened it, I did a little research on-line and found consumer satisfaction with it was mixed. I decided to see if the treadle machine might suit my rudimentary sewing needs and I returned the new one.
I emailed the serial number to the good folks at Singer, and found that it was made March 31, 1891 in Kilbowie Scotland.
I purchased additional bobbins and a spare shuttle on ebay and made an ‘oiler’ from some wool felt. I bought a reproduction manual from the Singer Company, but found another resource in this book that I already had.
It was printed in 1922...
... but there hadn't been many changes in the previous 31 years, so it was very helpful!
A straight stitch is really all I need. And this machine makes a lovely straight stitch!