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!


  4. Sandra Wiensz

    I am also a crafter. My grandmother taught me how to sew on her treadle sewing machine when I was 12 years old. She bought a “new” electric sewing machine and gave that to me over 35 years ago. I have sewn clothing and my craft projects on that machine ever since! You blog about your grandmother’s sewing machine brought me to tears. Every time I use that machine, I have memories of my grandmother and the tiny home she lived in. Thank you!

Comments are closed.