And "Sew" It Goes

@Raelove (15074)
Saco, Maine
June 2, 2016 1:16pm CST
One of my more powerful memories of my growing-up years was the old Singer sewing machine that my mother kept in the small room off the kitchen. I remember her using it a lot when we were small. But as time went on and she went out into the world to work, it was pretty much just a dust collector. In those early days, though, it was used a lot, and my mother even kept different things in the four drawers located on either side of the machine. One drawer was pretty special to my sister and me, as it contained all the stray buttons my mother saved when she discarded clothes or made it into other things. She tried teaching me how to sew on it, and I did pretty well despite the fact that the bobbin never seemed to work right for me. When I got to high school, however, and tried sewing on the electric machines in the Home Ec class, I failed dismally. No matter what I did, the thread would come blossoming out of the bobbin compartment, and I was lucky to get anything done. That old Singer is now long gone. I think my mother sold it to a flea market dealer who was going door-to-door at the time. And I haven't seen a machine like it since, nor have I ever tried to sew on any other machine since. I have hand-sewed things, as I find it relaxing. And I keep telling myself that, in the days before sewing machines came along, women made every single item of clothing by hand. I'm not sure how many people even make their own clothes anymore. Perhaps, like so many other things, it is a lost art. (Public Domain Image)
16 people like this
16 responses
@JohnRoberts (38704)
• Los Angeles, California
2 Jun 16
Much like you, my grandmother had one of those old sewing machines and being a little kid I was fascinated by the "rocker" making everything spin.
2 people like this
@Raelove (15074)
• Saco, Maine
2 Jun 16
I can still even hear the sound it made when my mother pedalled it. She'd manually turn the wheel when she was making adjustments, then she'd start going again. I will never forget it.
1 person likes this
@JohnRoberts (38704)
• Los Angeles, California
2 Jun 16
@Raelove I would pedal it with my little hand and make it go faster and faster. Kids!
1 person likes this
@Raelove (15074)
• Saco, Maine
2 Jun 16
@JohnRoberts Oh, I did that, too, and of course, got hollared at to STOP THAT!
• United States
3 Jun 16
how sad that'cher momma sold that machine. so filled with memories...i've several here, jest can't seem to pass'em 'p when i find'em. 'course, most're out'n the barn, which aint a good thingy. perhaps i'll've the room to bring'em all indoors? there's still some folks who still sew solely by hand. i used to love doin' such myself. most relaxin'. 's fer that home ec class? i failed mine :D not due to the sewin' machine itself, but the pattern i was forced to make. i'd not wear the skirt. jest call me stubborn! 'twas a horrid style :)
2 people like this
@Raelove (15074)
• Saco, Maine
3 Jun 16
I didn't get a good grade. The only part of the class I liked was cooking, and we only had one short section of that.
1 person likes this
• United States
3 Jun 16
@Raelove i'd an "a" with home ec 'til the skirt episode. seems such was 90% 'f ones grade. since i refused to wear the disgustin' thingy ('twas a mini skirt) all day's required, i got a zero :D
1 person likes this
@CRK109 (14365)
• United States
2 Jun 16
For some reason that I just never understand, I've seen old machines like that in many of the laundromats around our city. They just sit up there on top of washers and dryers, gathering dust. I don't know why but I often sit there staring at them for long periods of time. lol
1 person likes this
@Raelove (15074)
• Saco, Maine
3 Jun 16
Are they used as a conversation piece? I'm thinking that, back in the day, maybe sewing machines were in the same room as the washing machine? Who knows how people think nowadays!
1 person likes this
@CRK109 (14365)
• United States
3 Jun 16
@Raelove Mostly people ignore them. I never even see people glance at them, but maybe everyone else is used to them. I find them beautiful but so very odd in that setting! And I can't take my eyes off them! lol
1 person likes this
@Raelove (15074)
• Saco, Maine
3 Jun 16
@CRK109 Does sound rather odd. Have you ever thought of asking a laundramat owner why they do it?
1 person likes this
@boiboing (12524)
• Northampton, England
2 Jun 16
It's popular here in the UK to remove the top and the sewing machine and put an all weather top on and then put them out in the garden. We have two. My husband bought the most recent one for £20 at the recycling shop.
1 person likes this
@Raelove (15074)
• Saco, Maine
3 Jun 16
You mean as an ornament?
@boiboing (12524)
• Northampton, England
3 Jun 16
@Raelove We use them as tables in the garden.
1 person likes this
@Raelove (15074)
• Saco, Maine
3 Jun 16
@boiboing Ah, I see. That's a nice idea. I love their vintage look.
@msiduri (5841)
• United States
2 Jun 16
My grandmother had one very much like the image you've selected. She used it less as she aged, of course. I remember her making me an outfit for a Barbie doll in an afternoon. She also had a round washing machine with a wringer in the basement. She used it. It wasn't a conversation piece. This was in the 60s and there were certainly newer machines available by then.
1 person likes this
@Raelove (15074)
• Saco, Maine
2 Jun 16
My mother had a wringer washer, and so did I in the early 70's when I was first married. I miss it terribly. You could have a washer anywhere as long as you had a sink to fill it from and drain it in. No fancy hook-ups needed.
1 person likes this
@msiduri (5841)
• United States
2 Jun 16
@Raelove I think that might have been at least in part why she kept it. She was a dear woman, a wonderful grandmother. I wish my younger sisters and their kids could have known her.
1 person likes this
@responsiveme (14361)
• India
22 Jun 16
Thank you for sharing your memories. I liked reading this post. I too am not good with the machine. My husband laughs and says my stitches go zig zag without using the zig zag contraption. My mother has her sewing machine still...Singer. She got it from here mother and I remember the excitement of it coming by lorry from another city and the unloading and my father fixing it up. Ma still uses it though not as much. Her latest was making dolls clothes for my niece....yes she does wonderful things like that.: I took the easier way out and went to the tailor and got them to make a couple of dresses for her doll.
1 person likes this
@Raelove (15074)
• Saco, Maine
22 Jun 16
You're welcome. It was the only machine I was even remotely good at sewing on.
• Aberdeen, Scotland
3 Jun 16
My sister has just bought a sewing machine. I'd like to learn how to use one
1 person likes this
@Raelove (15074)
• Saco, Maine
3 Jun 16
I hope you do. I'm sure it's fun to make your own things.
1 person likes this
@hereandthere (22985)
• Philippines
3 Jun 16
we have one like that and my mother uses it now and then.
1 person likes this
@Raelove (15074)
• Saco, Maine
3 Jun 16
Good to know they still exist and are still in use. They rarely broke down, as I recall, as their were no motorized parts.
1 person likes this
@valmnz (12573)
• New Zealand
2 Jun 16
I think many of us stopped sewing when we discovered it was cheaper to buy our clothes ready made!
1 person likes this
@Raelove (15074)
• Saco, Maine
2 Jun 16
I suspected that was the reason.
1 person likes this
@divalounger (2276)
• United States
2 Jun 16
We also had an old Singer! I still recall my mother teaching me how to sew a straight line! It is wonderful to have those memories!
1 person likes this
@Raelove (15074)
• Saco, Maine
3 Jun 16
Yes, I was pretty proud of myself when I could get the thing to work!
1 person likes this
@sol_cee (13157)
• Japan
2 Jun 16
I guess the new generation won't recognize what that machine is for.
1 person likes this
@Raelove (15074)
• Saco, Maine
3 Jun 16
They will if they read the post.
@GardenGerty (90133)
• Marion, Kansas
2 Jun 16
I would like to get back to sewing. I never sewed on one of those. Your teacher should have helped you with that bobbin.
1 person likes this
@Raelove (15074)
• Saco, Maine
3 Jun 16
I'm sure she tried. But there was a lot of elitism in that school, and I was an underdog. So she devoted more of her time to her favorite students who knew what they were doing.
@marlina (60679)
• Canada
2 Jun 16
My Mom has a Singer sewing machine similar to the one in the picture. One of my nieces ended up with it when my Mom passed away as it meant a lot to her. I think my Mom got that Singer in 1939 if I am not mistaken. She did almost all her clothes on it.
1 person likes this
@Raelove (15074)
• Saco, Maine
3 Jun 16
I wish my mother hadn't given hers away. But when I think about it, I would not have wanted to drag it around with me either. Of me and my sister, I'm the only one who ever wanted any of her things.
• United States
2 Jun 16
That is a nice machine. I tried, but could never get the hang of it.
1 person likes this
@Raelove (15074)
• Saco, Maine
2 Jun 16
That's an image I got off the internet, but my mother's machine looked a lot like it. I couldn't get it either.
1 person likes this
@gr8nana6 (2251)
• United States
4 Jun 16
I remember using one of those sewing machines when I was growing up, my Mom sewed almost all of my clothes and taught me how to use it.
1 person likes this
@amadeo (46045)
• United States
2 Jun 16
Interesting.The only singer that I know is Carly Simon.Oh!okay what do I know about this.
@Raelove (15074)
• Saco, Maine
3 Jun 16
So how long have you lived under a rock, Fredo? Singer still makes sewing machines.