Thursday, 24 March 2011

Sewing Machines

When I was a girl my Mother sewed all the time. There are loads of photos of me as a chubby little toddler with reddish curls – dressed in gingham nappy pants and little matching apron like smocks with cute little iron on motifs on the front.
As I got older there were ballet costumes, party dresses and then for my 9th birthday a blue velour dressing gown with frills around the neck and bottom of the sleeves. How grown up I felt swishing around in that dressing gown! Funnily enough not that long ago Mum and I were fossicking in an op shop somewhere and we came across the vintage pattern for that dressing gown – what a hoot!
So of course as children are want to do – from the get go I bugged my Mother to let me use her sewing machine. Mum told me stories about when she was a girl and how back then she used to use her Mothers sewing machine to re-fashion hand me down clothing into something she could wear, shortening skirt lengths and turning dresses into tops and so on.

It’s only natural then that my daughter Kitty is hot on my heels. She received her first sewing machine at the tender age of 5 – a gorgeous vintage children’s Singer (thanks Kath!) and has gone on to be given a number of other children’s sewing machines to practice on. The thing is there is never quite anything like your Mothers sewing machine – so as soon as she sees me get to work she wants to make things on MY machine! To her credit – she is actually pretty good at it and as my machine is finger operated as opposed to foot operated – she seems to find it easier than I did to sew on. I always remember that my feet were never quite long enough to reach the pedal properly!

When I first started my business – I used a beautiful old vintage machine I had found in an op shop for $25 and later an egg shell blue 60’s machine (which weighs an absolute tonne).  As the business progressed and I needed to use fancier stitches I had to upgrade to a modern machine. Of course I haven’t looked back. Lots of what I do and make today is thanks to my trusty sewing machine. Thanks to Mum for having the patience to give me a go all those years ago and thanks to my High School Textiles teacher Helen Amor – who I have seen recently at various markets I attend – and have been able to reminisce with about the various projects I worked on at school! Particularly the embroidered Mum 4 Dad oven mitt!

Congratulations too to Lioness Lady who has won my 100th Blog post giveaway! Congratulations!

1 comment:

Trish Gavegan said...

Hi Morgs

Sewing makes my heart sing – how I loved to while away the hours on your Nanna’s Singer treadle- style sewing machine on weekends and in school holidays.
I learnt to use it when I was about 12 and as fabric and money was scarce and we lived a long way from the nearest fabric shop, I often unpicked and recycled hand-me –down clothing.

I usually made garments for myself and my smaller siblings – your Aunties Lee, Vicki and Susan, lovingly creating my own designs, as patterns were scarce as well.

At 16 I left school and began full time work, so I then had money to spend on lovely fabrics and patterns. It was the mid ‘60’s and I became a bit of a fashionista, loving Carnaby Street style and all it stood for.

Living in Jindabyne – shopping for anything other than basic essentials was a rare treat. So it was with great excitement that we once or twice a year caught the school bus to Cooma (an hour away) and enjoyed a few precious hours of retail therapy - such as it was in a mid sized country town…..

Later I was to have a rare opportunity to get to Canberra to the shops – that was cause for great excitement. And, oh the fabrics!!!! What a different world we live in now, here in Melbourne or even in Ballarat……

At one time when I was about 19, I had about 20 dresses hanging in my wardrobe, most of which I’d sewn myself and all on Nan’s treadle machine. (My first electric sewing machine didn’t arrive until I was in my early 20’s and living in Melbourne, when Cleg’s Fabrics became my favourite shop for a while)

Many of the dresses were made from the same pattern, using vastly different fabrics, but featuring my adaptations such as cut outs in short sleeves in soft summery fabrics or long sweeping sleeves in glorious burgundy velvet trimmed with fake fur, but ALL were miniskirts, so popular at the time (although, not nearly so short as the miniskirts today) and all were worn with square toed platform soled shoes, either sling back style or high heeled patent.

Nowadays, of course, I still sew – but my time is dedicated to other goodies rather than clothing. And I love it just as much :-)