I remember my first sewing machine, it was tiny and you turned the crank to make the needle rise and fall. I recall bugging my mother for pieces of fabric so I could try to make something. I don’t recall ever having much success, and the later “sewing machine” that used a glue cartridge was not much more successful. But those early toy sewing machines started something deep inside me that no matter what I went on to do, never died out.
Later, I learned more about cutting out from a pattern in a 4-H project I never managed to finish and I learned about sewing with a real machine from several people, my mother and great-grandmother, Mrs. Presar and other moms in my one brief stint in 4-H, and my home economics teachers.
Here, I must give particular credit to a dedicated home economics teacher named Mrs. Ankerman. She was stern and made very very certain we all learned to sew a straight seam no matter how often we had to tear it out and do it again to make it right. She set the bar high and gave me a foundation in sewing for which I feel great gratitude. Every time I sew a straight seam I think of her and all those hours after school re-doing the seams and hems until every line was stitched straight.
Our family sewing machine sat in a wonderful dark wood housing and you could control the speed with your knee against a lever. It was a Singer my great-grandmother handed on to my mom when she was no longer sewing. I never used it to do anything but forward or reverse but I loved using it.
Eventually, my mother replaced the worn out machine with a fancy new one and that one became mine when my mother moved up to something newer still. But I feel nostalgic when I remember that old Singer.