Friday, June 4, 2010

Fiber Arts Friday: My Grandmother's Sewing Machine

This is my Grandmother's sewing machine.  It's a beautifully stout Singer that was built in 1951.  It still runs amazingly quiet and smooth.

I always wanted to use it as a kid.  I remember sitting in front of this machine, in my Grandmother's living room, pretending to make something wonderful.... until someone would ask what I was doing.  To which I always replied, "Nothing."

My Grandmother was a very good seamstress.  I would watch her make useful things like aprons and dresses.  I loved listening to the sound of the machine and watching her fingers move about the fabric.

She used to make the most wonderful Teddy Bears and gave one to me many years ago. 

She hand-wrote birth announcements to go with them...

Born June 1'1987

Bearthday:             May 22 to June 22
Influential Planet:  Mercury
Favorite Colors:    Yellow and Gold
Favorite Flower:   Lily of the Valley
Bearthstone:          Emerald or Pearl

Gemini bears are usually quite trustworthy, intelligent, entertaining and rather flexible.  They show no aversion to living amid clutter, disorganization, confusion, and routine lifestyles.  They never mind a sudden change in schedule, an impromptu party, a large convention, picnic, vacation or family reunion.  Gemini bears bring good luck and companionship to people whose careers are related to writing, radio, television, travel, or politics.

I remember she sold them at a craft store and my uncle thought she should charge more.  But for me, this bear is priceless.  He's the only thing I have that my Grandmother made.

When she passed, my mom insisted that I have her sewing machine.

I have made a few simple things with it.  But still, whenever I sit in front of this sewing machine, I imagine I am making something wonderful.

This post was inspired by Ally B who often writes about old sewing machines.  Please check out the wonderful things that she and the other artisans are doing today at Fiber Arts Friday.


Dutch Hollow said...

Your grandmother was so creative! That bear is so cute and I just love the birth announcement. I got a bunch of crochet toaster covers from my Babci :)

Loco Lindy said...

What a great story! I really wish I had my grandmother's treadle Singer, but am happy that my sister-in-law has it and has used it a lot. I'm going to try to find one. The bear is so precious, as is your memory of the maker.

Allison said...

I love old sewing machines. I have my mom's vintage Kenmore circa 1950. I made all of my roman blinds for my windows on it. It's a real workhorse. Thanks for sharing your wonderful story!

Hellchick said...

What a WONDERFUL sewing machine. I love old Singers -- there's just nothing like them anymore. They look beautiful, and they apparently sewed like a dream. I hear they still do so you should definitely give it a try. I know some expert seamstresses who have old Singers from this era and swear by them, saying that they were made far better than the machines of today and despite their lack of a huge number of stitch variations and such are the only ones that can sew through some thick fabrics.

Enjoy it!

Kathryn Ray said...

Can I say how much I love FAF? I honestly thought I was the only one that loved old machines and stuff... that's why I was intrigued with AllyB's apparently extensive collection. I'm so glad to know more people share this same love.

@DutchHollow - there were definately toaster and kleenex cosies, and lots of doilies. I just don't have any of those. ;-)

I remember opening the box with the bear inside. I couldn't believe she had made it... and then, made it just for me.

It was a very special moment and she was a very special lady. Suddenly, I'm missing her a little. :-)

Kathryn Ray said...

@Hellchick - It works... smooth and quiet. I'm actually using it on a project with my mom... a future FAF post, I suppose. ;-)

Holly Bee said...

The Ogre's color blind great uncle sews quilt on the same treadle machine that his grandma used. Old machines are awesome and full of love!

Thanks for sharing the story behind yours!

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful machine and a wonderful way to remember your grandmother! I keep an old ratty afghan that my mom knitted just because she's the one who made it, so I understand about that priceless teddy bear. :)


AllyB said...

Kathryn you touched my heart with this post. I too learned to sew thanks to my Grama. I missed the opportunity to have her machine but I remember the green alligator-ish case, it was probably a Singer 99 born about the same year I was. Some day I hope to find one like it to add to my collection. The bear is wonderful but the memories, are what make it priceless.