I posted this on my sewing blog yesterday.
I inherited my maternal grandmother’s treadle sewing machine when I was 18. I had done a little sewing but this is what really kick-started my sewing life. It never occurred to me to keep it just as an antique sitting in a corner, something to set plants on, or turn it into a desk or something. (sacrilege!) It’s a sewing machine! Besides that, I always liked the idea of being different, of doing something almost no one else does.
It’s not pretty. It was already old and beat-up-looking when I was a small child but it sews like a dream. I have sewn everything on it from the most delicate fabrics to some really heavyweight stuff and the things it can’t do, like buttonholes, I learned to do by hand. I am, frankly, quite proud of it and what it can do. I have never felt limited by it at all.
In all these years I have never had any desire to have a modern electric machine. Until recently. A couple of things caused me to change my mind. Last fall I was doing a blanket stitch to finish the seams on a pair of jeans. It’s a fun stitch; I always enjoy it, but, for the first time, I started thinking, “I could get this done faster if I had a modern sewing machine.”
Another thing that happened is that I got older. (Wait! Really?) When you’re in your 20s and you use a treadle sewing machine, exclusively, you might be cool and a bit of a rebel, but when you’re 50+ (No! That can’t be right! I demand a re-count!) and you use a treadle machine, exclusively, you’re just an old woman who can’t handle modern technology. So I hinted that I might like a new sewing machine for Christmas and I got this one:
I like it. It has lots of nice specialty stitches, most of which I will probably never use, and it’s almost as easy to use as the treadle machine. My original intention was to just use it for things like finishing seams and buttonholes but I have made one “outfit” (a set of knit pajamas) on it and I think I might always make knit garments entirely on this machine. The old machine sews knits just fine but it’s nice to be able to finish the seams neatly. I tried using it once to make buttonholes. I think I will probably continue to make buttonholes by hand.
I will continue to use the old machine most of the time. I’m in the middle of making a shirt on it now. But it’s nice to have the new one for certain things.