I’ve pondered this before-that no matter what our chosen craft is, or our artistic passion-what allows us to express our creative vision is possible in part (a big part) because of the tools we use. Painters need paints and canvas, for example. Writers need computers-or typewriters-or even pen and paper. And I need a sewing machine. (I suppose I could get by with a needle and thread if I had to, but I’d rather not.) And not only are the tools themselves important, but our choice of tools, too.
I prefer using a vintage sewing machine over a modern machine. I own two vintage beauties-both made by Singer. One is a full sized model from 1950. The other-the machine pictured here, is a diminutive “portable” Singer Featherweight, made in 1946. I know my choice of stitches is limited to back and forth. And I know that I have to do without the bells and whistles (very nice bells and whistles, too) that a new machine may have.
A case in point is shown in this picture of my 1946 Singer Featherweight. There are no fabric guide markings next to the needle-so I have to use a very unglamorous piece of tape. (It makes me wonder what seamstresses did in the old days?)
But no matter. I don’t mind.
Just look at that decorative detail on my Featherweight’s face plate. They certainly had the right idea in the past- that everyday objects could be beautiful as well as useful.
Then too, I like the idea that my two vintage sewing machines have so much history behind them. It’s fun to imagine who owned them before I did, and what those previous owners might have sewn. Prom dresses perhaps? Or baby clothes? I like to think that my Featherweight was given as a wedding gift to a new bride. Her sweetheart was home from the war, and they were beginning a new life together.
Whatever their stories-my vintage machines infuse my work with a spirit that no modern machine ever possibly could.
Is there a certain “tool of the trade” that inspires you when you work? I’d love to know:)