Friday, June 6, 2014

In a Sewing Revolution

I have this theory (that I've mentioned before) that the reason sewing fell out of vogue with my mother's generation is that this is when cheaply made sewing machines became common. Instead of good old solid metal machines, we started getting plastic parts and fussy bobbins and other clipped corners that came with only paying $99 for a machine. So those cheap parts failed and home seamstresses threw up their hands over messed up tension and jammed bobbins and said "no more! I can buy my clothes and curtains and pillows and I will!"

Women didn't stop sewing, just the majority of them. But their mothers still sewed because they came from an era when you had to sew a lot and they knew how to make their good old machines work. And when those machines broke, they fixed them. And when they couldn't fix them, they were usually grandmothers and had extra cash to invest in really good new machines and go on sewing doll clothes and quilts for the grandkids.

And then those grandkids grew up and saw their grandmothers sewing, and saw it was something their mothers didn't do, so what started as granny/grandaughter time grew into their own rebellion of parental culture. They became a generation concerned about waste, so they learned to refashion thrift store options. They're concerned about individuality so they make one of a kind garments. And they're the internet generation, so they went online and found that they were not alone. Instead of expensive classes, they found youtube. Instead of groups of grandmothers, they found blogrolls of their own peers. Instead of just buying whatever the local craft store had, they discovered discount suppliers, independent patternmakers, and best of all, sewing machines they could read reviews of before buying.

And thanks to the computer age, sewing machines are better than ever. For $300 you can have a machine shipped to you from Amazon that has embroidery and quilting features, over 70 stitch functions, automatic bobbin sensing (and a top loading bobbin!), automatic threading function, and an automatic thread cutting function.

(Yes, this is my Brother SE400 which I LOVE. Watch the price on Amazon before buying, it fluctuates).

And there are some good machines that are not so fancy that cost less as well. Maybe they don't have so many stitches (but you really only need a few to get started), and maybe they don't have the special sensors, but they are top loading bobbins and they come with better written manuals and you can find plenty of support groups to problem-solve your issues. All things our mothers didn't have the benefit of.

We're in the midst of a sewing revolution, and I am thrilled to be a part of it.

BTW, this is what I'm working on now. It's intense. And taking forever to finish.


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