Old SingerI have forgotten birthdays, anniversaries, and tax bills. I have forgotten my phone, shoes, and hair appointments. I’ve forgotten to unplug the iron and I’ve forgotten where I’ve parked. I’ve completely forgotten people’s names, where I met them and why I’ve disliked them. Don’t even get me started on hours spent hunting car keys, lost earrings or important papers. I’ve picked up an exquisite Limoges milk pitcher from the sideboard in my own dining room and wondered where it came from. Thank goodness my old horse Bonnie had a real barn lust or there would have been many afternoons out trail riding that might have ended in hysterical phone calls because I forgot how the trail went. I accumulated almost fifteen pounds of brown sugar over time, because I could never remember – while at the grocery store – whether I had it in the pantry. I’ve walked into rooms, forgetting why I went in. I’ve forgotten to close gates in the pasture and doors on the barn, leading to many many domestic episodes. I’ve forgotten how to spell “predicament” and how much 35 minus 17 is.

In fact, while I was writing this, several times I have forgotten what I was doing and wandered off to do something else.

My point is … Dear Daughter-In-Law (DIL) Ripper brought an ancient Singer Sewing Machine in from the barn (don’t remember where we got it, how long it’s been there or why I brought it home in the first place) and said, plaintively and with much rolling of her doe like eyes, “I wish I knew how to use this.”

Old Singer

I have not touched a sewing machine in many, many years. My mother was and is a Seamstress Supreme, and sewing was an activity, much like reading or playing an instrument, that was a huge part of my childhood. She made all of our clothes, and going to the Fabric District in Philadelphia to pick out fabric for dancing school costumes or prom dresses was a very special occasion to be shared just between us. We would stand together in front of the pattern books, turning the large pages, and she would say – I can take that sleeve, and put it on that top, and we can match it with that skirt and make it out of this fabric – and outfits and evenings and girlish dreams would form, and out of the scraps, my Barbie and Chatty Cathy would have the best, most fashionable doll clothes In our neighborhood – sorry Gail, but I still think so!

She had a Necchi Sewing Machine that did zig zag stitches and scalloped and serged and ruffled. The arrival of this machine when I was little meant that my sisters and I got her old machine just for us to use. It went into the basement on its own table, next to the “toy” iron, which heated up enough to really iron clothes, and the “toy” oven, which got hot enough to bake cookies. We had real scissors, boxes of straight pins and needles, and all these appliances used electricity.

Rodeo Princess
9/4/2009 2:38:46 PM

Thanks to everyone who commented! Sewing machines sure bring back a lot of memories! This is how you get the bobbin back in: Slide the silver plate (called the shoe) that is directly under the sewing needle out and you will see a bobbin sized hole. Pop the bobbin into that hole - leaving a little thread (about six inches) hanging out the top. Slide the silver plate back into place, and holding the end of the thread through the needle, lower the needle into the hole and back out again -it should loop around the loose end of the thread from the bobbin. Pull the thread you are holding and it should pull the thread up and out of the hole under the needle. Voila!

9/4/2009 1:30:14 PM

I have an old singer that belonged to my mother which came from her brother-in-law's mother who lived to be 103. It still has the beautiful machine table that is bird's eye maple. I priced bird's eye veneer to replace a damaged top.I was absolutley shocked until I learned that bird's eye used to be a "throw away" lumber and is now prized. I also have 2 singer electric portables (one's case is in bad shape-the other is perfect. They all work and I learned to sew on the older portable. My Daddy made a case for it with a stool and a drop leaf on the back. I also have 3 other machines, a portable and 2 desk type Kenmores. I was amazed how quickly my 10 year old granddaughter learned to sew although she has such an aptitude for figuring out how things work, I guess I should not be. We put it in her room at my house in an old sewing machine cabinet I found at a junk store. Since I have so many I am taking it to her Christmas with a sewing kit and lots of extras. I have no doubt it will be put to good use. She likes to "Do things constructive" when she gets bored and is not a big TV or computer buff. I was making my own skirts by the time I was 14 and rebuilding the hand-me-downs I got from 4 older sisters who all sewed. My mother was an unbelievable seamstress even designing her and our clothes. My aunt used to buy nice material and gave the scraps (she always bought too much for one outfit) and a lot of her own store bought clothes style) for making dresses for her daughter because she was she was so tall and big for a girl. Mother could do amazing things with that material and scraps from other clothes for trim. I still have 4 outfits that she made me back in the 70's with bell bottom pants of stretchy polyester--They need to be in a museum. One looks like a jump suit, but is two pieces that fit together perfectly. Another has desert scenes that are all co-ordinated. I always loved the little tops and play suits

mary cooper
9/4/2009 9:29:54 AM

love the article and have a cabinent Singer in good shape and want to use---but how do you get the bobbin back in ?

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