Aug 14, 2015

sew long ago

As a wee girl, my Mum had a Singer sewing machine. It was not a featherweight. It was white, electric, and it folded down into a table that was really cool. When you weren't using it, the machine faced the floor suspended under the table-top (which folded out and became wings when it was open). I learned to sew on that machine. When I got to grade 8 and had to make a pair of bermuda shorts from a pattern, I whipped them up in no time flat and spent the rest of the unit helping other people. I can't remember everything I sewed at home, but there was a poplin dress a la 1980-something, a grade 12 grad dress in taffeta, and then a wedding dress in satin or pretend-satin.

Now let's go back to 1979 and imagine my wee Nan looking forward to a new sewing machine. She was probably completely stoked because she was looking at the first programmable sewing machine EVER. It memorized stitch patterns like flowers, dogs, etc. and strung them all together into a repeated thing. You could flip them over too. So if you wanted flowers this way, that way, this way, that way, you could totally do that.

She must've been giddy.

It was a Janome Memory 7, which also went under the name of the New Home model 5001. Janome apparently bought the New Home company and I know my machine and its hard cover said Janome, but I've seen some on the internet that still said New Home.

And that's what it looked like. The left side of the dark part to the right of the throat was a cover over the control buttons for the memory functions. It flipped open to the right. The top flipped open as well, and all the feet were stored up there. The whole thing was made of the heaviest metal possible and it probably weighed 50 pounds. I might be exaggerating, but I doubt it.

When it started making REALLY loud noises in 2013, I took it in to see if it was worth servicing or selling. The shop didn't think so. It's not old enough to be a collectible item, and I couldn't see spending a lot to fix it up when I could get a basic new machine for $400. So I retired it.

Two years later, I outgrew the basic new machine. Truth be told, I would have outgrown the Janome as well with the crazy stuff I'm into now. I was going to have to upgrade regardless. All is not lost, though, because the basic new machine can be my daughter's ... if she ever decides that sewing is something she wants to do.

So (sew) that's the history of my sewing life.


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