sewing machines

People sometimes email me to ask what kind of sewing machine I use, thinking that because I have a business I must have some fancy schmantzy machine. And I do have a Bernette that I bought that first year. But, you know what? The machine I use the most is my mom's Singer Featherweight that she received as a going-away-to-college gift in 1950.

It does nothing special—no fancy stitches and I can't even get the buttonhole attachment to work right. But for straight sewing it works like a dream. And it's all metal. Unlike the Bernette which I sometimes think will break if I look at it wrong.

My Mom (that's her on the right in what I think is a dress that she made herself on that same sewing machine) was officially a home-economics major in college but, as many young women of the time were doing, was actually pursuing her MRS degree. In her case she succeeded :)

1950s dresses

Actually, she did teach for a while, too. But, when I came along (and then my brother and sister) she opted to stay home. And she put those home-ec skills to good use. We didn't have much money but she was so good at stretching every dollar that I don't think we really noticed. Except for some of the weird casseroles (with Spam and canned salmon) she sometimes served for dinner. She made a lot of our clothes on that sewing machine, too. I wish I could find pictures of some of them.


Martha said...

What a great photo -- were they just hanging out in those fabulous dresses or was this an event? My mom also taught me to sew and made most of the clothes for me and my sisters, but she didn't leave me a cool Featherweight machine. I still make her salmon croquettes from canned salmon -- even though it's no longer a cheap dinner.

janet said...

I suspect it was something more formal, maybe sorority-related (no info on back of the photo). This was in Florida and I can't imagine that they dressed up like this all the time, especially in suits like the other two girls.

arkie said...

Love your blog! My mother has her high school home economics sample book. I would have loved to have been taught some of the sewing lessons she had in school; french pleats, smocking, etc. By the time I took the class ( same high school!) it was a rushed class and we barely completed one garment.

Malissa said...

I've heard so much about the featherweights. I've got a Husqvarna Viking that has only like 4 stitches on it. I sometimes need to zigzag and do a buttonhole but other than that, I am a straight-stitcher! I wish more things were made durably and of metal! But so glad to hear you are still using it. Love the photo... holy cow that is an awesome b&w.

makeworkproject said...

People keep saying I should get my self a new sewing machine to replace the one I inherited from my mum, but I've been putting it off. I won't say it 'works like a dream', and I think it weighs as much as I do, but I draw comfort from the sturdiness and simplicity.

tammyCA said...

It's so neat that you have your mom's vintage sewing machine to sew on today. The photo of her looks like a cool magazine ad. :)