Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Adventures in Sewing

I have owned 5 sewing machines. My first was a White machine. It did straight stitch, zigzag, and if you held your mouth right, a blind hem. It had a buttonholer, but I never really got along with it. I bought it with the proceeds of a summer working as a camp counsellor. The machine weighed a ton, and I lugged it with me, to university and on my coop job placements, unless I had to use the plane to get to my placement. I used it to sew my clothes, including numerous formals and bridesmaid dresses. We were very close.

When I was a woman of independent means, I bought a Beaumark machine. It was much lighter then the White, and it had electronic speed control. When you stepped on the foot pedal, it started to sew. I used it to make baby clothes, children's clothes, costumes for my kids Halloweens and theatrical endeavors. I actually wore it out.

I added a White serger to my collection, when knit fabrics were popular. I made track suits and t-shirts, as well as 1 hour shorts. It still lives in my sewing room and serves me well, though not as often as it used to,

I then made the big plunge and replaced the Beaumark with a computerized Husqavarna. I was assured that I would not wear it out as easily. I enjoy it thoroughly. It does everything I would want a sewing machine to do. It even has an alphabet.  The only thing it doesn't do well, is handling thick fabric. This is a bit of a problem when bag making.

A couple of years ago, I found this machine, filthy dirty, at the church jumble sale.

It was originally priced at $25. Then some volunteer looked at it, declared it was a featherweight and that it was very valuable, so they changed the price to $150. I realized it was not a featherweight (the thing weighs a ton), so I volunteered to research a price. It is a Singer 15-91. According to the historic singer websites it was built in 1939, and sadly, for the church, its value is $25-$50. Armed with this information, I went back and bought it for $50. They were willing to take the original $25, but it was for charity, I paid $50.  It is a direct drive machine, which should take heavy fabrics well.

Last winter, my husband took the motor apart and got it running much more smoothly. Today, I plan to take it for a test drive, quilting the tree skirt that got lost over Christmas, when things in life went wrong. I figure that quilting the skirt in February guarantees that it will be ready for next Christmas.

Meanwhile, I finished my first sample bag for the course I am teaching.

I think it turned out well.

It has a zipper in the top.

Pockets on the inside, including one for your name badge.

The lining is a piece of "What was I thinking?" out of my stash.

The pockets are cut from more patches from the scrap of Laurel Burch.


  1. Those older Singer machines are wonderful, they go on forever! Have you researched its age? Your latest bag is fun, and I don't even mind the lining fabric......I have something similar in different tonings.

  2. Good, old, solid machines last forever, or so it seems. I have had one Elna, when I was 21, that wore out, then a Bernina, then my Mum's Bernina, then a new Bernina, and finally a Bernina QE. I love it, but it is SO heavy. Your bag is beautiful, super lining, love those colours there, and a zip top, just what every girl needs.

  3. Great bag! Your Singer looks like the one I inherited from my mother, but I know yours is slightly older. They run so well! Lucky you to be able to have it serviced 'in house'. :)

  4. Love the bag! Cat inside and out. What more could anyone want?

    I sew so little and haven't used my machine in ages.

    Love the look of that old Singer. It's beautiful. Even though it can't do a lot of things that the new ones can, it'll probably be working long after they've given up.

  5. Glad you went with that darker blue for the bag. I think it sets the others off nicely. well done.

    Thanks for linking up with Needlework Tuesday.