I have worked with this machine on and off for the past 48 years. My mom bought it for me as soon as I was registered in my high school home-ec class. At the time I was really excited to start making my own clothes. Although I lived in a significantly sized prairie city, access to anything stylish was limited to whatever Sears Canada carried! Styles changed rapidly from the early to late 60’s. The trend toward simpler clothes made fashion more accessible, and home sewing became the answer for girls my age. Mini skirts, pop tops and simple shift dresses were not only an easy, quick make for someone with limited skills, but they were also well suited to my stick figure shape. Then, most of my friends could, and did, sew their own clothes. Now I don’t really know anyone who sews much (which is why I started this blog).
Almost all of my “alterations” were accomplished with a wider seam allowance or a belt. Add to that, the introduction of Fortrel, a solid, not too stretchy, 100% polyester knit which couldn’t possibly wrinkle, fray, sag or droop, and sewing these new styles was a quick and instantly rewarding way to get new clothes. 100% polyester knit may take the sharpness right out of the shears but it doesn’t suck up valuable sewing time by requiring seam finishes. I shudder to think about it now, but at the time the simplicity of working with that fabric and staggering array of colours was fuel to my imagination.
48 years later, this machine and I have sewn miles of fabric. It still has the same problems that it had when it was new (although mine are quite different). When starting a seam, the tension is tricky and requires a firm grip on both threads to prevent a knotted mess on the underside of the seam, and more recently, a lack of replacement parts means that I have to do things carefully and with purpose. On the plus side, nothing is computerized. I like the idea of being able to infinitely fiddle with settings.
A couple of weeks ago, during my bodice sloper lesson, I had the opportunity to use a Juki straight stitch industrial machine. OMG – what a treat!!!! It sews perfect straight lines, and perfect even stitches. It starts without any issues, and even cuts the thread at the end of the seam, plus, it’s 3 to 4 times as fast. It is even somewhat affordable. I want it badly, but the idea of replacing something that has served me well (more or less) for all these years, no matter how many irritating habits it has developed, how sluggish it has become, or how operating it takes extra time, feels like a betrayal….maybe I could install the new one beside the old one…and have two…