Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Meet My Machines

A reader recently left a comment inquiring what type of sewing machine I had.
Unfortunately, there is no way to access an email address or blog to answer her question, so hopefully she will read this post.  All of you also get to meet my machines!

This is the Singer machine on which I learned to sew and my mother made many clothes for herself, my sister, me and a few fortunate dolls!  She also repaired many a knee and seam on my father's weekend work khakis!
In later years, Mother would upgrade twice to other Singer machines.  However, this is the one I especially remember from my childhood.
I do not use it much for sewing, but keep it for sentimental reasons.  I do believe that many of the older machines have the prettiest straight stitch, and I have used it to stitch very straight stitches on very fine fabrics.

During college, Mother gave me a very basic sewing machine. 
  I managed to mend many garments for myself and college roommates and whip up costumes and decorations for my sorority's rush parties.  A few years later, it would churn out simple home decor projects for my post-college apartments, and our first home.  I created a dust ruffle, bumper pads and special sheets and blankets for our son's nursery. 
Little rompers, pants and shorts, Halloween costumes and super hero capes came to life with the assistance of that machine.

Making costumes for Dallas Junior League's Ball, our major fundraiser, my machine and I stitched into the wee morning hours turning out an assortment of sea themed garments for Makin' Waves!  After stitching yards and yards of sequins, polyester and chiffon, I almost swore off ever taking another stitch.

Shortly afterwards, both Mother and Grandmother passed away only months apart.  I was determined the art of sewing within our family would not die with them.

So, I purchased my Pfaff 7550 in 1995.
I had fallen in love with smocking and heirloom sewing along the way.  I wanted a machine with the capability of heirloom stitches, such as Point de Paris and Entredeux.
This was the first computerized machine I had owned, and the learning curve was steep!  I took all the classes I could find.  I poured over pages of Sew Beautiful and Creative Needle, learning all that I could.  I began attending Martha Pullen's School of Art Fashion in Huntsville and local SAGA workshops.
I especially like the built-in walking foot of this machine.  It will always hold a special place in my heart, as the machine that introduced me to heirloom sewing.  I still use it quite often when stitching special little garments.

Of course, then I needed an embroidery machine!
I first purchased a Viking Rose, which I loved except for one thing.  It only accommodated the smaller embroidery hoop, and many designs and monogramming required larger hoops.
Approximately eight years ago, I traded up to the Viking Designer 1.
This is the machine I use for much of my sewing.  I truly love many of the features.  However, I must be honest and admit there are many features that I don't use, and probably never will!  I definitely do not use this machine to its fullest capability, and that is a shame.
It is the machine that has created all of the embroidered or appliqued items I have shared.  Like my Pfaff, it also has heirloom stitches that I use.


When I opened BessieMary approximately five years ago, I purchased this Viking Interlude 435. 
I wanted a smaller machine to keep at the store.  It has also come in handy when traveling for classes and sewing events.  I really enjoy the simplicity of sewing on it.  However, it does not have any heirloom stitches, which poses a problem if I wish to attach lace or Swiss embroideries with the Point de Paris or Entredeux stitch.

Those are my machines!
Well, there is a serger that is banished to the floor of my sewing room closet.  It and I do not seem to speak the same language!
Unless all of these machines suddenly quit, I do not foresee purchasing a new machine anytime soon.  While there are many wonderful new machines on the market, many offer features that I would simply never use.  So, I am quite content with my somewhat obsolete machines!

I do hope that the inquiring reader will stop by and let me know that she has received the answer to her question..  Hopefully, I did not bore the rest of you!


8 comments:

Eileen said...

I have my 7550 also! I traded in my Kenmore that I had in high school and bought this. Still love that machine. It was a surprise purchase, went looking and found a good deal but wasn't sure if I should buy it. As I took a couple of days to think about it, I kept thinking of my sewing teacher who had died a few years earlier. Finally I looked up to heaven and said OK Mrs. Degraff, if I should buy this then send me a sign. Not 10 minutes later my dh walked in with a check for half of the cost of the machine. He had just gotten paid for an extra job he had done and told me if that gave me enough to buy it then he thought I should. I won't give that machine up for anything!!

Brynwood Needleworks said...

Hi Jan:
Thanks for the machine tour. I like seeing what other seamstresses (I just can make myself say "sewer" or "sewist", sorry) use to create their wonderful things.

I learned on an Elna, have had Singers (used), a New Home and Janome. I finally settled on Brother and BabyLock and love them, except that my current machines don't have a straight blanket stitch. (It's slanted!)

The one thing I think I've noticed in all these years is that the free arm keeps getting bigger! I used to be able to slip my cuffs, sleeves, etc. right onto the free arm years ago, but can't do that anymore. Perhaps I need another small machine that has a small free arm and a straight blanket stitch? Or perhaps I need to lie down until the urge passes! lol

Thanks again for showing us your machines, my friend. I'll be back to visit again soon.
xoxo
Donna

Jan M said...

Donna, I can't say or write "sewist", either!

Eileen, I love the story about your Pfaff. I imagine Mrs. Degraff and my mother both are thrilled with our choices, and maybe there was a little heavenly help in both purchases!

Cynthia Gilbreth said...

Jan, thank you for such a nice sentimental post! I had an old Singer for over 20 years, and when I took up quilting I had to retire it as the "death rattle" from it was too much for me. I started with an inexpensive Husqvarna Viking machine, and eventually traded up to a Designer I, which is my main machine. Like you, I probably will never use all its capabilities. I also have an old Singer that my mother used for our school uniforms and eventually our prom dresses. Some day I will have both the machine and the cabinet refinished, and actually use it.

Elisabeth Rose said...

Jan, interesting post, showing us your machines. I also sew on a Designer 1, but I had my previous machine (an Elna) since I was 16 and it saw me through many, many projects. I hope your eyes are improving; praying for good health for you. I enjoy your blog; thanks for the inspiration!

Cheryl M. said...

I don't like "sewer or sewist" either. :) I do like meeting your lovely machines. What language does your serger speak? :)

Jan M said...

Cheryl, it speaks a language I have yet to translate! ;)
I am perfectly happy with tiny French seams, or the utility stitches of my Viking or Pfaff stitched on a neatly trimmed edge. I don't live in fear of slicing off my finger, fabric or lace when not intended. My sewing machines are much easier to thread and don't eat as much of that thread, either!

Mary Margaret Scott said...

As I am sure you are probably very aware, your original Viking Rose is DEFINITELY not being used to its fullest potential. I really wish I had a room in our house, or at least a small space, that could be a kid-free zone where I could work on my sewing. It's just so much trouble to get everything out and then put it all back out of reach again. There is so much I should be making or embroidering for Emma Jo!

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