Saturday, February 6, 2010

Needle and Thread

Purchased in the mid 1970's, my trusty Kenmore sewing machine should soon qualify for antique status. Although I can't sew MaryJane shoe straps back on or mend a canvas tent as I could with my even older Singer, made, as I was, in the late 1940's, nevertheless my Kenmore has been a good sewing machine. Although it doesn't have all the abilities of the newer machines, I'm certainly not about to throw it out on the dung heap just because of its age. Let this be a lesson to my children. :-)

So now I have the old black Singer and an even older treadle sewing machine that we inherited from Kevin's mom which she, in turn, inherited from her mother. I was going to photograph it as well, but unfortunately it is currently buried under other items too numerous to move. I actually used it once, and remember that it has a really interesting bobbin/shuttle setup.

Although I managed to crank out several items of clothing for my children on both of my sewing machines, I really do very little sewing these days. Yesterday I located my much-neglected Kenmore (and no, my stack of life-organizing notebooks was not with it), dragged out an old jumper pattern, and began sewing as part of a church project.

I think the lovely fabrics available now are quite inspirational. What I purchased was a cotton plisse'. I still have no idea what plisse' means, but the fabric was lightweight, mostly cotton but enough of a synthetic to make it wash well, and the prints were gorgeous (see photo). A definition I found online for plisse' is: 'A puckered finish given to fabric by treating it with a caustic soda...' That sounds like it started out as an accident, but because I've been spending so much time lately making lovely, moisturizing soaps using caustic lye, I remain undaunted.

Yes, one can buy clothes pretty cheaply these days, but there's something really special about a little sun dress or jumper that's handmade, that has nice, wide seams, is well finished, and won't fall apart in the washer. I'm hoping to remain inspired until spring, when I'd like to make a few Regency-period dresses. How fun would that be!

1 comment:

Deborah said...

I remember when you used to have a Singer out for decoration...ions ago. (or was it the beautiful wood table that they used to come in minus the Singer?) My Aunt Millie taught me how to sew. I did not think that I would ever learn but I did, with her being very, very patient with me while I was shedding much tears. She would say, "Deb, tears aren't going to teach you to sew. Quit crying and let's do this again." So again I would try it and finally learned. I sewed many an outfit for my kids and actually did some sewing for others. I think the most fun thing I ever sewed was a clown suit for Katie as part of a ministry team she was in. (she did face painting.) Thank you for the memory of that. :)


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