Thursday, March 12, 2009

How do you sew?

Do you know how to sew? Do you sew by hand, machine or not at all?

Like many of you, I started sewing at a young age, by hand, alongside my grandmother. It's a talent that I stopped using for many years until I was required to make something in Home Economics class. To the best of my recollection I stitched a bear. It was one of those pre-patterned fabric things where you cut along the dotted line and stitch around the seam.

I enjoyed this immensely and took to making small clothes for the bear for several months. Finally, I gave up the sewing in favor of boys. What was I thinking????

Periodically, I picked up thread for various mending chores, but rarely for complete projects. All projects have been completed by hand so long that I have forgotten how to use a sewing machine. This past summer, I even started my first quilt by hand!

Two years ago I made an investment in one of those small machines that remind me of my sister's old toy sewing machine. Supposedly you can sew through 4 layers of denim with this thing, but I wouldn't know as I could never get the tension right. It now only sews through one side and won't pick up the bobbin thread. Frustrated with it, I put it up and temporarily put aside my machine stitching interest. (Notice I said temporarily! It's still on my list and inching it's way ever closer to the top, especially since I have recently conquered the basics of knitting and crochet.)

The treadle on our new craft table still works and my son was amusing himself with the pedal the other day. He started describing a way to hook up the pedal and make the base useful once again. I couldn't believe that he'd never seen a treadle machine in action! Silly, really, because I am the proud recipient of my great-grandmothers' machine. It sits it the corner of our living room and is mostly used to hold knick-knacks now. But, I vividly remember receiving my first machine sewing lessons by it's side!

My sons furious pedaling action brought all of those memories back. I ushered him straight to the living room to show him how the base worked the machine. Unfortunately, this is the moment that I realized that my machine has rusted so badly at the connections that it no longer moves properly.

This is now my next big project around the house! I will refinish the base so we can use it again. Ideally, my son will be the 5th generation to sew on this machine. You see, this machine was used by my great-grandmother to teach my grandmother, my grandmother taught my mother and myself, and now I shall pass the gauntlet to my son. Now this was a wonderful investment!

Even better - it uses no electricity, so I can sew off the grid! Geez, I should have thought of this sooner...

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