How many sewing machines does one need?
For my fellow sewists/seamsters, I’m sure you understand my fascination with sewing machines. For many years I only owned a single sewing machine and it seemed to meet my sewing needs quite well.
I received my first sewing machine from my parents when I graduated from nursing school. I guess that’s a testimony to my parents’ perceived value and practicality of a sewing machine; for Depression-era parents, a gift would first and foremost need to be useful. That machine worked well and sewed through anything but didn’t have a free-arm.
Later in the 70’s
In the mid to late 1970’s as I began to sew for our daughter, the absence of a free-arm was enough to send me shopping for a new machine. This purchase was a Bernina 830 and I was sure that in my whole life I’d never need another machine. I think I paid about $750 for that machine and today they sell for nearly that much on Ebay. In fact, next to my husband and children, this machine might be the love of my life. It now sits in my daughter’s basement closet but last month, I used it to teach Mira to use a machine to sew. Such fun!
In the early 1990’s I’d never heard of a serger but my sister worked at a sewing store and convinced me that I couldn’t live without one, so on my birthday, Kevin surprised me. My sister was right – one can’t live without a serger. That original one has been upgraded and recently I purchased a Babylock Evolve combination serger-coverstitch machine.
After sewing the dresses for Angela’s wedding in 1998, I started hinting that I’d like a new machine with more features. Kevin went to my favorite Bernina store, sought advice from the owner and again surprised me with a new sewing machine. He did well – a Bernina Virtuosa 150. It is my current machine. Today I took it in for cleaning as it’s been working pretty hard lately. Usually that would mean no sewing for a few days.
Now I have several vintage machines which could act as a back-up. The oldest is a 1897 Wilson and Wheeler Treadle which doesn’t currently work. About 15 years ago, it was left at my brother-in-laws newly purchased house and he gave it to me. I really like this machine even if it doesn’t work. The woman who owned it was a dressmaker, so I can’t imagine how much it has been used. It has many original attachments in a beautiful carved box. There’s even a ruffling foot – am sure you needed it in 1897.
The most recent additions were from our local second-hand store. I paid $59 for the two and had them serviced for another $100 – they both work like a charm.
Now that’s sewing security – never again will I be without a machine.
But I am out of space, so one or two of the seven will need to go.
Wouldn’t you agree that Kevin has been by biggest supporter – so many sewing machines as a surprise gift. I feel so fortunate.