Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sewing Machines

Sewing machine still life
Alf Caruana
     I am very passionate about sewing. It has been in my soul for over 40 years. It has seen me through happy times and very depressed times. It has taken me on wild adventures and soft wanderings. It has brought me peace and tranquility in very stressful times. I think if I had to give up everything but one, I would keep a sewing machine. (Or at least a needle and thread).
     I love the modern improvements to our present sewing machines. Sewing has become so much easier. The machine will sew buttonholes at a press of a button. They will sew the button on as well. Home sewers now can do their own embroidery by machine, lovely monograms, whole scenes with just a press of a button. The machines even thread their own needles and cut the threads. I could go on and on, it really is amazing. And then there are all the gadgets you can get to make your life as a seamstress easier. I have to keep telling myself to embrace those new gadgets and stop trying to make my life so difficult. There are pleaters, bias makers, bias cutters, gadgets to go over jean seams smoothly, rufflers just to name a very few.
Picture via Anjou Clothing
    But, I also love the antique machines. They were really works of art, beautifully trimmed in gold painted scroll work. Some were adorned with brass fittings and filigree. There were small ones and large ones and they all made items the woman needed in her life.
Winselmann Titan Saxony sewing machine

     The tables these machines sat on were beautiful as well, scrolled iron, heavy and strong. Sure they were slow, but they were methodical. The first being foot powered, a gentle rocking becoming a soft rhythm. Then came motors, still slow and steady, providing a low hum. The woman watching her beautiful fabric become a work of art. And the fabrics then were gorgeous. I had a friend that made her whole square dancing outfit on an antique treadle sewing machine. It was wonderful.
     Each improvement meant the woman could see results quicker. She could experiment more. And that has continued right up to today. I am amazed at how wonderful old world crafts have been taken into the modern world. Quilting comes to mind. Yes, we can still appreciate a well stitched quilt, all hand done in tiny even stitches. Those are priceless to me. But, I have seen some gorgeous creations at quilt shows done with computers and sewing machines. These are just as much quilts as the hand done ones. I am slow to come into the new world of machinery and gadgets. It isn't because I don't find them wonderful, it is because I haven't taken the time to try them. Perhaps one day, in my spare time (grin). But one thing is for sure, as long as we have a needle and some thread and a piece of material whether new or old rags; we can create. And with that creation we can find pride and solace.
     So whether it is with your hands, or a machine or a computer, or all three; keep creating. I promise to try new gadgets if you will and together we can hold onto our craft, the skill of sewing. And be sure to pass the treasure of sewing on.

Happy Sewing

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