Saturday, March 16, 2013


I've had lots of hobbies over the years. Some I've lost interest in or life has taken me in other directions. Not sewing! Ever since purchasing my first sewing machine right after graduating from high school, I have never left this love for too long a time. My mom had an old black Singer sewing machine that she used to make me lots of clothes when I was a child. I remember sewing on it when I was taking Home Ec (why did schools discontinue offering this??) in junior high (now middle school) to make my mom a size 10 fitted black wool dress, completely lined, with a zipper in the back. The biggest memory for me now is that it FIT!! AND she actually wore it!

Of course, my first sewing machine had to be a Singer. That seemed to be the standard back in those days. Mine was a nice 646 Touch-a-Matic. I found this photo online of the instruction manual.

 Singer Model 646 Sewing Machine Instruction Manual

Since that handy machine, I have upgrated a few times. In the mid 70's I got a wonderful Viking machine that had cams that you could stick in the back of the machine for more stitch pattern options. I loved that machine because it was heavy duty! Sewing through multi-layers of denim or leather was no problem! It was manufactured in several colors other than brown. I searched around online to find this photo:

Then  in 1985 I was able to purchase a lovely Pfaff Creative 1473 that had lots of other stitches displayed under that "lid" and had another attachment that you could plug into it to stitch out a simple pattern that you drew. I LOVED the integrated walking food which would keep two layers of fabric from sliding apart when you sewed them together. The machine looked like this:


For several years I threatened that once I saw grandkids in my future I would need an embroidery machine. So once again I got the bug to upgrade (kind of like wanting a new car!) and in 2004 I purchased a Baby Lock sewing/embroidery machine  Here is a photo of it with the "top" (that covers the thread) removed:

This machine required a new table to accommodate the embroidery attachment and a handy lift so I can easily raise the level of the machine to use as an embroidery machine. It is hard to believe that I have owned this machine for 9 years! I have thoroughly enjoyed each of the machines I have owned. The manufacturers keep coming up with new bells and whistles to entice sewing enthusiasts! Of course, I don't have room, nor do I want to spend the $$$ on a designated "quilting" machine that will more easily quilt the layers of a quilt together with beautiful stitching.

With all the machine upgrades and sewing I have done to keep my creative juices going , one would think I would have been better served to just purchase a sewing machine store! Or a fabric store.

Here is my rant for the day. When I think back to that Viking machine, I am saddened by the fact that they just don't make many machines these days that are as solidly built as it was. Now we see plastic on the outside, plastic on the inside, and we're told to bring it in once a year for it's annual "going over." My mom NEVER took her machine in to be serviced! And it ran fine. Maybe I'm just subtly telling myself that I should have kept that old Viking. It sure was pretty! But the prices go up and quality goes down.

I do love my Baby Lock machine (and serger with the jet air treading system) but I still have that nagging feeling that maybe I should have at some point plunked down the extra $$$ for a Bernina. Now those machines are solid as a rock! I have always felt that they were overpriced and not quite up to having the latest bells and whistles. Bernina is sort of the Mercedes of sewing machines. I had an opportunity to try out the Bernina 830 while making a zippered cosmetic bag for Kari for her birthday. Wow! I was impressed! Here is a picture of the Bernina 830:

More room for creative sewing ideas

This machine has a jumbo size embroidery hoop which I don't see offered with other brands. It also has a built-in stitch regulator which I LOVED!! This gives even stitches when doing free motion embroidery. It also had the ability to use a special foot (for extra $$) that would clamp on a permanent marker pen and it would print out a pattern with the pen! Another special attachment (extra $$) easily creates a pattern for putting a design with crystals on your fabric. If you are looking to purchase a machine and spending a bit extra is no problem, you might want to look at Bernina. I think their technology has caught up to that in other machines and passed them up. My only complaint is that the screen is awfully tiny. I haven't been bothered by my screen being off to the right, but I understand that some folks get frustrated with it off to the side and Bernina has taken those complaints seriously. It is easier to see it when it is right in front of your eyeballs!

Here is that cosmetic bag that I sewed for Kari:

Note that the heart design was done with permanent pen and the design for the crystals was also done on the machine.

Here is the latest quilt that I have been working on for one of my granddaughter's preschool auction. I'm tired of working on it and yet my DD says it needs more flowers at the top. Maybe tomorrow I will add those and then get it layered and quilted and bound. I've put in hours upon hours and am ready to move on!!

While I'm at it, here is a wall hanging that I recently made for my sister-in-law, Jill:

And here are some kitchen towels that I embroidered and given as gifts:

I also made that jazzy ironing board cover to spruce up my craft room. It almost makes ironing tolerable!!

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

Hi Sandy! I am drooling over your sewing machines. I really want to upgrade my Bernina 440QE - to add the embroidery module, someday. Oh the fun I could have. I love the quilt you made for the preschool auction. So glad you found my blog... i'm your newest follower. - Jen