I admit it, I’m obsessed with fabric. It’s always been there, some of my earliest memories revolve around the texture and color of fabric. Blankets and bedding at my grandmother’s house when visiting her every year. The most scratchy lining of a dress I was dressed in around the age of three. After graduating from college, I had a bucket list of things I wanted to learn and experience, one of which was to learn how to quilt.
It wasn’t the first time I had sewn. Way back in home ec class in high school I got to experience sewing for the first time. I made a quilt (sorry, no picture exists), but it was very basic and because it was in 1976, the fabric was red, white, and blue with Stars and Stripes! I like to think now that I was channeling my inner-DAR. I used it on my bed for a couple of years. Lord knows what happened to it after that. But I also made a skirt. Yes, just like now, maxi skirts were the bomb and this one was my first maxi skirt. I didn’t have access to a sewing machine at home growing up so the only way I got my fix was to sew on one of the sewing machines in the home ec classroom. The teacher would let me come in there when there wasn’t a class so I could sew. Bless her heart.
The funny thing is that I haven’t made another skirt since then. I may love to sew, but I am not a semstress. I have no patience for patterns and following instructions. For me, its all about creating my own designs. Because the time I have available to create is limited, I must keep my projects short and sweet. I have made jackets, purses, and even a draped sleeve top modeled after one worn by Queen guitarist, Brian May (again, back in high school). That was for an art project in high school. It was not embroidered, but painted instead. Not sure whatever happened to that top, but it was fun to wear to concerts.
The first thing I had to do after college was to get a sewing machine. I started with a ’37 Singer that I got at an estate sale.
I was very excited to get, the family that sold it to me gave me a great deal
as they were happy to see it go to a new owner so pleased to receive it and it still sews beautifully. But only does a straight stitch, so I was yearning for a modern machine. Along came my first Bernina, a base model, but the itch to sew was getting stronger. About a year later I traded it in for my current Bernina, an Artista 170. Not top of the line for its day, but the next best thing and it has served me well all of these years. Since then I got a Pfaff serger, but did not like it at all. Try as I might I couldn’t get the tension right. Luckily I found a new home for it at the same price I purchased it. Along the way I’ve rescued a few antique and vintage sewing machines from estate sales as well. The charm of the antique machines is their beauty. They were works of art in many aspects – capturing the obsession of the era they represent.
My newest acquisition in the realm of sewing machines is this Emdeko, made in Japan most likely late 50’s, early 60’s. This vintage machine is the real thing retro! It came with the instructions and all of the original parts, neatly tucked away in the case. The best thing is that operates so similarly to my Bernina. And it sews like a dream.
My husband gave it a tune up and oiled it, so it will sew for years to come. It is built like a tank and as heavy as a mini one. This is not a machine you’d want to haul to a retreat, but it makes a great primary machine on a limited budget or the perfect back up machine. I keep mine set up on the dining table for those last minute projects. It is portable enough to tuck away in the closet when company comes over.
My sites are now turned onto Japanese Taupes. I’ve dabbled in them before. Sure, I experienced the Zakko! phenomenon within the past couple of years. I’ve squirreled away my fair share of linen whenever and wherever I found it. I was fortunate enough to find some descent sized remenant pieces on clearance at JoAnne fabrics and even found some yardage (in black) at a local church thrift store. Then there’s the Japanese Taupes. What is it about them that appeal to me so? I think it is the subtlety of them that makes them adorable. Its just a tease of color that makes them so lovely.
My latest obsession has been the books by Yoko Saito.
I so love Yoko’s work and the books are such an inspiration.