I need to sew a few things - stuff sacks, tarp tie-outs and reinforcements, and snake skins. I told my mother-in-law I was going to borrow (read: take) her sewing machine a couple of months ago, but have been reluctant to let the machine into my house. I have enough hobbies, and DIY sewing just seems like one of those things that might become an obsession.
Well, with a trip coming up, I brought the thing home. I'm regretting it already. Now I have to find out everything about it. It's a Fashion Mate Model 237 by Singer. They call this thing a portable sewing machine - has a case and everything - but it weighs a ton (32 pounds).
Of course, I'm already googling all about it. It was manufactured in the late 1960s and is described as a decent basic, zigzag, flat-bed sewing machine. I'm trying to find the manual online because I really don't want to have to listen to my 84-year-old mother-in-law tell me how to use it.
For a 40-year old machine, it's in good shape. It brought back memories as I examined the service tags. I suddenly remembered that this machine originally belonged to my wife's Aunt Connie, who was a wicked third-generation seamstress. She learned her craft from Jewish tailors in Newark, New Jersey - she even spoke Yiddish, which is not very common for Italians. There's a service tag from when Aunt Connie owned it. I haven't thought of Aunt Connie in years. I remember threading needles for her in her advanced years.
When Aunt Connie died some 20 years ago at the age of 84, my mother-in-law pilfered the machine. Though she's no professional, my mother-in-law is a darned good seamstress in her own right. She had the machine regularly serviced too - and there's a service tag from a local repair shop. I would rather get my mother-in-law to do my DIY projects, but she's also 84 years old and she got fairly stressed out doing some sewing projects for me last year and I don't want to put her through that again.
Now the machine is mine. After two generations of ownership by Italian women, it's now in the hands of a German/Irish man who knows nothing about sewing.
Which brings back even more memories. I realized I do know something about sewing - I was a tailor's apprentice in a men's clothing shop for two years. I did all sorts of alterations to men's clothing including suits, coats, shirts and pants. I was just 16 at the time, but the ladies who taught me said I was gifted (probably a ruse to get me to do their work). I can't believe I forgot all about that period in my life. I wish I hadn't remembered it - it's gonna give me the confidence to sew, a confidence I'd rather not have.
I'm hoping this machine will be sufficient for general purposes. After I learn all about it, I hope I don't find myself going out to purchase a new, high-tech thread injector. That's why I wanted to avoid this whole DIY thing in the first place - it can be an obsession.
Well, let me go get to know this machine better.