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Apr 13, 2012

Teach Your Mother to Sew Day!



Friends, do you have parents?  If so, have you ever thought about passing along some useful skills to them that will contribute to their independence and keep them out of your hair?

I have, which is why I decided it was time to teach my Sonia -- an only child who is quite mature for her age -- to sew.  She didn't accomplish much today, in fact, I don't think she managed more than a few rotations of the hand crank, but I did see the needle go up and down and I am certain stitches were formed. 



As you can see, along with my mother, my Singer 66K Lotus arrived today and, readers, it is gorgeous -- absolutely pristine.  In fact, judging from the condition of the decals, it was hardly ever used.  It turns smoothly and is free of grime and gunk. 





I've already attached the hand crank, as you can see.



The machine arrived beautifully boxed, with lots of packing peanuts and bubble wrap.  Not sure what I'll do with the top of the case, which can't close with the hand crank attached.







Of course, my mother's reaction to my sewing machine collection is similar to the one she had to my (now dramatically downsized) record collection.  Almost without fail, when she comes over, she will ask the following:

What are you going to do with all those sewing machines?

Have you sold any sewing machines lately?

You're not planning to buy any more sewing machines, are you?   (Often followed by a "no" and a shake of the head -- i.e., she has already answered the question the way she wants it answered.  I attribute this to her being born during the Great Depression, but then so was Elizabeth Taylor and she certainly owned a lot of stuff.

Still, forgiving our parents their limitations, it is important for their self esteem that they know how things work.  Plus, they can, in turn, teach their peers who were never taught to sew by their children.  Don't you agree?

Sharing a skill with one's parents can be rewarding.  Even the rebellious ones do look up to us, especially the ones who shrink an inch every year or so.

Won't you help prevent the next generation of elder delinquents?

Happy Friday, everybody!

More pics of my 1920 Singer 66K here.



39 comments:

  1. I don't have a mother to teach to sew; she taught me the basics ... oh... maybe 35 years ago, but she's no longer with us. I think my brother inherited her Necchi SuperNova machine, in the hope that his wife might learn to sew on it.
    What bugs me is that my daughter not only has no interest in learning to sew, but that she takes my sewing ability very much for granted. Classic example from a couple of years ago: "Mum, I need a new costume for a (dance) competition next weekend." So we went through my stash, and my patterns and she chose something for me to make for her. I cut it out, sewed it, and sequinned it (to her specifications) and
    She
    Didn't
    Bloody
    Wear
    The
    Damn
    Thing!
    (It's currently on "loan" permanently to her dance studio in the hope that someone else will see it and choose it for a solo performance at some point. Nobody has, as yet.)

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    Replies
    1. Jen, steal your Mother's Necchi back from your brother! I have an old straight-stitch-only BF that I rescued and cleaned and fixed (with the help of my eight-year-old daughter), and it sews like a dream and is way quieter than the elna I saw online.

      Peter, that's not a sewing machine; it's a big O____ism waiting to happen...you dawg.

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    2. Personally, I would dump the kid and keep the dress, but that's me. Have you considered a good spanking?

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    3. I hope she doesn't tell all her friends that you sew and will do free alterations and hemming for them!! Now that would be a true insult to injury! LOL!!

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  2. That's a machine that would make any mother proud. My own mother--whose sewing skills are mind-boggling--would swoon.

    I'm teaching her to knit.

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  3. My 87 year old mother taught me to sew and I believe she has more sewing machines than I do, so I never get those sorts of comments. Peter - that machine is absolutely gorgeous and well worth waiting for. I am so pleased for you - it's beautiful.

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  4. My 85-year old mother taught me the basics of sewing, but I quickly became better at it than she was. Imagining her as an "elder delinquent" made me laugh. I do try to teach her new things occasionally--like your mother, she is mature for her age--but she's impatient and it's difficult to keep her attention engaged for long.

    On another note, how I envy you that machine! I would LOVE to find a Lotus--maybe when DH and I get around to that trip to Scotland.

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  5. Peter -- I am seldom (very) jealous and ready to snatch other people's finds away from them (very much) -- but that is such a pretty machine. I am even tempted to suggest that if/when you sell it, you offer it to me first.

    Congrats on the machine. Good luck with your mother. ;-)

    Beth

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  6. My mother taught me to sew, but in those days I was more interested in women’s lib than the domestic arts. If my mother were still among us I would be running to her to teach me her amazing skills. I would promise that this time around I would not be the impatient, know-it-all, snot-nosed brat that I was then.

    Your machine is absolutely gorgeous and I wish you many joyful hours of sewing. I just saw a 66 in a consignment store that looked like it was run over a truck, buried, exhumed and run over again, with no one bothering to pick up all the missing pieces that rolled along the highway. It looked so sad that I felt bad for it, but the price was in the stratosphere. Fully serviced machines sell for way less.

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  7. I find this funny because it was my mom that taught me to sew. I went from sewing a quilt for my American doll to so much more. I try to pass sewing, knitting, and other crafty skills onto any of my friends that have the patience though! =)

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  8. You always make me laugh, Peter. That is beautiful machine.

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  9. LOL! Gorgeous machine, Peter. And considering that my mother was the one who taught me to sew... ;) I guess that means that I should do more projects with embroidery to hand off to Mom?

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  10. Peter, a machine that pretty should be displayed in an original case. Get busy!

    Jeff in VA

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  11. My mom knew a heck of a lot. The only thing that I can think of that I taught her would be the use of the redial button on her new phone when she moved into an assisted living apartment. I made the lesson something based on suspicion and possible adultery. "If you think Dad is calling other women, just push this button and it will dial the last number that was dialed from this phone." Never had to tell her again.

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  12. My Mom, too, taught me how to sew, in defense for her sewing machine, which I was wrecking at a rapid pace. I was 6! But I quickly surpassed her skills. By the time I was 13, she was asking me to sew for her.
    Now I teach a lot of Moms to sew, who weren't taught by their Moms because of the feminist revolution...wha??? I was there for that, but didn't want to stop sewing. Whatever.

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  13. I agree that you now need a pristine case to display that pristine (drool...) machine - what a glamour-puss she is!

    My precious Mumsy of 97 years is responsible for teaching me many good sewing habits. Some of which I retained, some of which I tossed out of sheer impatience and laziness (for awhile, anyway, until I started sewing again and realized the importance of those details)

    She can no longer hold a needle or turn a crank, but I am forever grateful for her perfectionist methods, and for instilling my love of vintage machines by teaching me on her lovely little Featherweight :)

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  14. What a gorgeous machine! I'm now on a quest to find one of my own....I have machine envy. Good on ya for teaching your mom to sew! Thanks for always brightening my day with your blog.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. p.s. if you could only buy 1 (yes, one!) vintage workhorse machine, which one would you buy? I make Beatle inspired clothing including the Sgt Pepper suits, so there's alot of detail/trim work on them, and the thickness can get, well, thick. But I also make more delicate items as well. I value your opinion, and kinda want a self powered machine to keep me in business when the power goes out (last summer I lost about 8 days sporadically) and because those gorgeous vintage machines seem like they are built to last and will sew anything. So, which one????

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    2. Marcia, from what I've been reading the Singer 201 may be the way to go. But perhaps Peter or his friend Rain have better suggestions.

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    3. Yes, a 201 or 15 model -- but NOT with the potted motor (the ones that are gear-driven can't be converted to hand crank or treadle). I'd look for something with a spoked wheel, if you want to convert it to hand crank. A 66 (with a reverse lever ideally) is also an excellent choice.

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    4. Thanks so much! I will start my quest...and let you know who ends up living with me! ;-)

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  15. I taught my mom to use my old machine, which she inherited from me 30+ years ago, and she used it diligently for several years doing hems and repairs. Now I think she's lost interest as I noticed that the sewing machine is in the storage room.
    Hooray for your mom sewing with a dog on her lap - that takes concentration and coordination!

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  16. i read your post earlier this morning on my iPhone...then later this afternoon went to a garage sale and low and behold there was a beautiful Singer 66 treadle with lotus decals...the machine head was lovely but the cabinet needed a little work which may have required redoing the laminate top. They wanted $250 for it...i didn't even bother asking them for their best price; ridiculous!

    Anyhoo your machine is lovely!

    My mum taught me the very basics of sewing on her early 60s Class 15 Japanese Clone (which i still have)...i remember her doing a stretch knit sewing course in the late 70s. The last time i remember her sewing anything was in the 1980s when she sewed a lovely lace and satin suit for my brother's wedding....she even made a headpiece with netting; she was very stylish.

    I'm not sure my mother ever loved sewing; it was something she just fell into as she bought her first machine to do a sewing course with a friend who had signed up for it. I don't remember her making lots of clothes, but the standout was my 5th birthday party dress in 1971; a gorgeous blue lace number which was still very 1960s in style.

    Lovely to see your mum cranking away!

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  17. Well thanks... I spilled my morning coffee LOL over that Elisabeth Taylor comment! You mom is ADORABLEEEE!

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  18. Your Mum sounds wonderful, sounds just like mine. When I was 12 I taught myself to crochet, then showed Mum. Both my parents were good crafters (there were 7 children) Dad worked a knitting machine and Mum sewed and repaired. As I progressed with my skills then just passed everything over to me (the difference being I enjyoed it, where for them it was a necessity.
    So Love that machine, Ive never seen one like that before. Beautiful and different.
    louise

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  19. Well, it is hard to sew with a dog on your lap ...

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  20. Peter,

    You made me laugh with the story of your mom! Certainly you have chosen the perfect sewing machine to give her a "little tase" of your addiction... Haha Maybe soon you will need to provide her also a handcrank. Good job!

    My mom was sewing very intuitively, but she was good. It failed her some more sophisticated sewing techniques though, which nowadays I can teach her.

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  21. Peter,
    If you flip your hand crank handle up and move it a bit you "should" be able to get your cover on.I'm a new reader and love your blog.

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  22. It's so pretty! What a nice machine to add to your collection. I'm so tempted to try to find an ancient singer for straight stitching on. I'm too scared of getting scammed though now!

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  23. Hi Peter love your new old machine, i have a singer with a hand crank which folds forward so i can still get the cover on ok, thought they were all like that. Anyway hope you have lots of fun with it.

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  24. My stock and trade is envy, laments, and not-such-helpful hints, but here I am genuinely envious of the Lotus, eyeing the dog with the dark spot on its head, and wondering aloud if "mother swapping" is legal, even for an afternoon.

    Peter, time to change your banner again (maybe magnet numbers or a digital display could reflect your current machine count?).

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  25. Hi Peter,

    I'm a young man in his 20s. I found your blog after searching for information about my grandmother's Singer 99k sewing-machine. I'm currently in the process of restoring it (almost done!). Your blog is very interesting, and I'll keep it for future reference, for when time comes to actually use gran's machine. It's a 61-year-old vintage knee-lever electric model.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, scheong. I've seen those knee-lever Singers -- sounds great!

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  26. My Ma let me use her unthreaded hand crank when I was very young to make postage stamps for my dolls' letters. Then it was dolls' clothes, and by the time I was in my early teens I was making Mum's evening dresses (on a pfaff zigzag). This was in the early 70's, polyester gowns for dinner dances. They must have been hideous!

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  27. "Won't you help prevent the next generation of elder delinquents?"


    Bwhahahhahahaha

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  28. Boy the decals on that Singer are really gorgeous you have a lot of pretty machines but this one is my favorite. I wonder if it dates to sometime after 1922 which is the year that the discovery of King Tut's tomb was announced to the press and it spawned an trend in Egyptian imagery that was really embraced by fashion and product design during the mid-20's.

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  29. My mom could sew amazingly well. My husbands mom use to sew in the 70 and doesn't any longer buy has passed me a bunch of great vintage patterns. I like this idea though.

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  30. I covet both your Mom and your sewing machine. My mom taught me to sew on an old straight stitch Domestic. I still miss my mom, every day.

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  31. Happy, B'day! Here to help you feel younger--63 y/o here from Texas. I know what you mean about being in the presence of someone older..in my case a Singer 66 Lotus that I just purchased having seen yours! Mine was made in 1906...so its 106..I feel so much younger in her/his presence! (Not sure the gender of the machine, yet!) Again many happy more birthdays! Steve in Texas

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