Look. I don’t want to go all Little House on the Prairie on you – wait – that’s a lie – I always want to go all Little House on the Prairie. I have a story to tell.
One day, when I was getting ready for school in the morning, my mother approached me with a measuring tape. I was seven. Or eight. She measured here and there and off I went. I don’t remember thinking too much of it at the time. There was to be some kind of concert in the evening. Chorus or something – I have no recollection of the event itself whatsoever. What I do remember is this: When I got home from school there was an entire outfit for me to wear to the concert and it was brand new. It was a two piece ensemble. Skirt with a self ruffle at the bottom and a vest. Beautiful, soft, grey velvet. It fit me perfectly and I felt very beautiful wearing it.
I’m not sure I’m communicating the wonder with which I beheld these pieces of clothing. It’s not that I was pining away for pretty clothes. I had a series of long, calico, Laura-Ingalls-type-dresses that I wore and I was perfectly happy with them. But you have to realize that my first pair of non-hand-me-down jeans is still about 3 years away at this point in my life. New clothes didn’t just show up on any kind of regular basis. My mother had, of course, sewn them. She had, of course, cut down a dress she bought for herself in a thrift store and made it into a beautiful skirt and vest for me.
Half Pint: “Ma! You used your yard goods to make dresses for Mary and me!”
See what I mean? Sigh. . . Well, that’s what I was thinking about while I took these photos today. This isn’t my mother’s Singer sewing machine, though hers is very similar (and she still uses it). It belongs to her sister, my Aunt Kathie, who has loaned it to me on a semi-forever basis. Tomorrow morning it goes off to the shop to be reconditioned – it has “seized up”. It is FIFTY years old and from what I understand it will be as good as new after 2 days in the shop. TWO DAYS! There was no hemming and hawing about the age of the machine. This shop has been in business longer than the sewing machine has been around (!) and the nice older man on the phone said, “We do it fast because we know you have to be able to do your sewing!” I used it once. Fourteen years ago. Hasn’t sewn a stitch. Since. Then. Seized. UP.
Now, I am itching to sew. My sewing projects will undoubtedly be like my knitting and woodworking projects. Very simple. Easy enough for a beginner. So, if I can make them, you too, will be able to make them. I already have so many things planned out in my head. . .
Just two more things:
1. I wrote this entire post thinking that 1962 (when this sewing machine was made) was FORTY years ago and I just realized my mistake and had to go back and change everything. . . wow. FIFTY years. . .
2. The only other thing I remember from that night is Krisinda Bleu, high fashion second grader, touching my new skirt with longing and saying, “I knew everyone would be wearing velour.” It was the first and last time I was ever in fashion.
I’ve asked you this before but, do you sew? What kind of machine do you use? Do you love Little House on the Prairie? Books or TV?? Your answer may determine the future of our friendship. Choose wisely. It might be a trick question.