It’s National Sewing Machine Day. Since there are six working sewing machines in my studio, you can guess this day is important to me. Is six too many? Not at all! My grandson asked me one day about the number of them. I explained each one does one or two things better than the other one does, so yes, I do use them all, at different times of course..
If you asked me, I thought Singer invented the sewing machine. I would have been wrong. The National Day of Calendar tells us skilled cabinet-maker and English inventor, Thomas Saint, received the first patent for a design of a sewing machine in 1790. It was intended for leather and canvas, was never advertised and no evidence of it, other than his drawings, could be found. In 1874, William Newton Wilson found Saint’s drawings in the London Patent Office, made adjustments and built a working model. The London Science Museum currently owns Wilson’s model.
- Walter Hunt invented the first American lockstitch sewing machine in 1832.
- John Greenough patented the first sewing machine in the United States in 1842.
Growing up, I used a Singer sewing machine that was in a cabinet which sat in front of our dining room window. We pinned patterns to fabric that was laid out on the dining room table. We cut each of the pieces with scissors and pieced our garment together, using lots of pins and maybe tracing paper to mark darts. My older sisters taught me to sew. In high school, I made my first quilt. It was just some squares sewn together.
There are many brands of sewing machines today. They all have a complete line, from rudimentary to computerized ones with many stiches and lots of extra features. Pfaff, Babylock, Elna, Janome, Viking, Husqvarna, Brother, Bernina, and Singer are the ones that come to mind. Then you get into quilting machines; Gammel, Nolting, Innova, Grace, Bernina, and the list goes on. So many to choose from. If you want to buy a machine, talk to your friends for personal recommendations and by all means, go from dealer to dealer to try them out. One fact about sewing machine bobbins. Each one is designed to only work with it’s own brand, and sometimes style,of sewing machine. They are like car parts and not interchangeable. Be sure to buy them from your dealer. Another thought. I suggest you buy your machine from a dealer, not a big box store. A dealer is a constant supply of help and usually classes. Once you walk out of a big box store, you are on your own.
Some sewing machines rarely get used and don’t have a cabinet or spot of their own. My machines each have their own table and I can easily move them around to use the one I want at the time. That’s true of all but my travel machine. That one sits by the back door waiting for the next sew day at my friends, or a new class at one of the local quilt shops. You got it, my sewing machines are more important to me than the television.