sewing machine

week 44 in my “this is where i am from” year long project:

My Mother’s sewing machine. A White Rotary, I think it was a wedding present. It’s the machine I watched her sew curtains and clothes and dolls and toys on. It’s the machine I learned to sew on and it’s the machine I sew on today.  And because it’s almost Halloween I’ll tell you a spooky and entirely true story about it:

In December of 2006 I had just begun my solo enterprise – I had lots of orders and deadlines and on the eve of one of those very important deadlines I was still  sewing furiously  very late  at night.  With a long way still to go the machine suddenly  stopped and a chunk of metal rocketed past my face.  I found it across the room –  an essential part of the machine – no sewing without it – and it was broken. I tried to fix it but nothing worked.  I have a drawer full of bits and pieces that I saved from my Father’s workshop, things I used in dioramas and assemblages – bits of metal and rubber, knobs, washers, gears, springs etc.  I thought maybe I could cobble some temporary solution together from those.  Another hour of frustration  and  no luck at all.  Exhausted, defeated and ready to give up I pushed the drawer closed and it stuck halfway, I pushed again and it stuck again, I pulled and it stuck. I gave a great big angry  pull and the drawer flew out and what had caused it to stick also  flew out and landed in my lap: to my amazement and disbelief it was a replacement for the broken sewing machine part – the exact part – identical but for the color. Not similar, not “good enough” the EXACT PART in perfect condition. I snapped it in and it worked beautifully, that night and all the nights and days that have followed.

The End.


  1. Your story is lovely. I learned to sew on mom’s black & gold Singer and recently had grandma’s early Singer repaired for my aunt to be able to sew with it. I imagine that Williamsburg, Bklyn hummed with the sound of sewing machines back in their day.

  2. I always sewed on machines much older than me. Then in the early 2000’s while living away from home I bought a good new machine. Sewing was never easier. Now I am living away from that younger machine. I am back to another old machine and I have a lot of sewing to do. If I had the coin I would buy a new machine, a good machine. Once you go new it’s had to go old.

  3. Wow, what an amazing story….thank you for all that you do, share and for who you are!


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