Friday, February 23, 2007

Saying goodbye..., not to you!

To my sewing machine.

This is the machine I have been sewing on ever since I swiped borrowed it from my mother about 10 years ago. The machine itself is as old as I am. Notice the lovely harvest gold accent color. Guess when I was born!

I called my mom to find out a more precise age for the machine to which she responded "That thing is so old it's practically an antique!" Thanks, mom, love ya too! She remembered getting it shortly before I was born.

I loved this machine even though it is not the machine I learned on. My mom didn't teach me to sew. I learned to sew in college while working as a slave drama major in the costume shop. That is probably why my sewing doesn't always look very professional. It only had to last for 10 nights and look good in the dark! But I still loved this machine!

It came with the lovely cabinet you see it sitting on. The front wooden panel lifts up and allows you to fold the machine forward and down so that it is entirely contained inside the cabinet. Another wooden piece folds on top of it to create a completely flat surface when not in use. Have I mentioned that I really loved this machine?

She started showing signs of a terminal illness last year when I was making Easter dresses for the girls and matching dresses for their American Girl-like dolls. I thought, "OK, it's just the reverse. I don't need to use the reverse. It's not like this is a car." I found that I could just flip the fabric around to secure the ends of the stitches. Eventually the reverse problem went away. I was convinced it was miraculously cured. There must be a patron saint for sewing machines! Yeah, I know...whispers of denial.

The death throes began a few days ago when I started a project that had to be absolutely finished by Saturday. Of course, a project with a deadline! Why me? Why now? It's just not fair! Enter anger.

My husband had been waiting for this moment. He had already scouted out sewing centers in the area. He has been wanting to replace my machine for years. I kept insisting that it did everything I needed it to so there was no need to replace it. Who cares if it drives like a golf cart instead of a Cadillac? I can handle her.

He packed all of the kids in car and drove me to the closest shop. The incredibly helpful ladies listened to my problems and smiled politely while I inquired about having the machine repaired. (Did someone say "bargaining"?) Well, it sounds like it is a cam stack problem and on a machine that old, that part, if it can even be found, will cost about $395 plus any labor charges for cleaning, oiling, tuning, studying for research, and documenting for extinction risk classification.

We came home. Depression hit hard.

I had nothing left to do but move on to the final stage of grief. Acceptance (sigh).

I accept the fact that my machine is broken. The machine I love is 30 some-odd years old and while it isn't considered a dinosaur in the new high-tech world of sewing machines, it is definitely a dodo. I accept the fact that fixing it would cost more than buying a new one. So, I accepted my husband's generous offer and chose a new machine.

I have to admit...this is the most expensive gift I have ever given when you count the total cost!
I hope the new mom's labor of love won't be as painful.


  1. I'm sorry for the loss of your beloved sewing machine. I have to say -- I always, always, always wish that I learned how to sew!

  2. What kind did you get? I'm going to have to get one eventually too.

  3. Hi Rosemary, I ended up choosing a Janome. They have been around for a long while under the name New Home. They had a mechanical machine with about 30 stitches for the price we were looking to spend. I was afraid of the computerized models! The Janome machines are known for being pretty tough and capable of handling thick fabrics. They demonstrated one sewing through 6 layers of denim without batting an eye! I spent a little more than I thought I wanted to but got one that had a speed governor. I liked the thought of being able to control the speed when I teach my daughters to sew!

    Oh, by the way, I saw that your daughter is learning the cello. I played the cello when I was younger. I loved it. It has the most beautiful sound! Just keep practicing.


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