50 Years

One day this summer, I was just sitting around thinking about things and it dawned on me that this year marks a very special anniversary for me.  Although the math is a little hard to work out (me being barely 29 and all ;-) ), it turns out that it’s been 50 years since I learned to sew.  It hardly seems possible and makes me feel really ancient.

One day, way back when,  BigDaddy came home with the surprise of a new machine for MeMum.  She said she didn’t really know what to do with it (although she knew the basics of sewing) and “it sat in the dining room for a year “.  Finally, she took a class or two at the local community college.  I loved watching her cut out the pattern pieces and put them together to make something.  I think I must have bugged her to let me sew something, so she finally gave in and taught me how to sew.  I wonder, did she have any idea what that gift would mean to me in the coming years?  My very first project was a little wrap around dress.  The perfect beginner dress — no buttons or zippers.  I remember that my bias tape edging wasn’t perfect, but I wore my little wrap-around proudly.

Thimbleanna: Dress

Long-time readers probably know that I’m a die-hard Husqvarna Viking fan, in part because I was taught to sew on MeMum’s Viking (and mostly because they are amazing pieces of technology).  Here’s MeMum’s little beauty herself — the prized Viking 2000.  This machine is a fantastic little workhorse.  It has the ability to drop down into a lower gear (do machines even have that feature anymore?), so it can do some really heavy-duty sewing.  I even repaired the back of a leather shoe once with this machine.  (I found a fun little video extolling the virtues of the Viking 2000 by a sewing machine repairman on YouTube).

Thimbleanna: Viking Machine

When I was 13, MeMum and BigDaddy got me my own sewing machine for Christmas.  It was a Singer and, after a year (and a lot of frustration), it was decided that I should get the Viking 2000 and MeMum got a new machine (this time an Elna — nothing close to the power of the Viking, but it had a gorgeous stitch and MeMum made all of her beautiful quilts on her Elna.)  The Viking took me through high school and college and a lot of sewing my own clothes.  As newlyweds TheManoftheHouse and I were stationed in Germany and we decided to take advantage of the “bargains” available living so close to Sweden, so we bought a new Viking — the 6690.  It was the first electronic Viking and I made lots of kiddie clothes and learned to quilt on this baby.

Thimbleanna: Viking Machine

Then came the era of embroidery machines.  By now, the kids were in high school, and, of course, I neeeeeeded one.  Enter Hester.  My beloved Hester.  The only machine, for some reason, that I actually named LOL.  This model introduced the even-feed foot — no more walking feet for machine quilting — yipee!

Thimbleanna: Viking Machine

And last year, I guess in retrospect, to celebrate 50 years, I upgraded to the Epic.  I didn’t really need a new machine — Hester is still going strong.  But, Hester’s technology scares me — she takes her instructions on a floppy disk.  You can’t even buy a computer with a floppy disk these days — it’s an obsolete technology.  So, darn it, again, I neeeded to upgrade.  I was forced.  Against my will.  LOL.  I’ll probably never even come close to using the features of this machine — so far, it’s just been a few simple embroideries and a lot of quilting.  I love the 1/4″ quilting foot which I moved from Hester to this machine.  I know just how to adjust the machine to get the perfect 1/4″ seam.

Thimbleanna: Viking Machine

So, anyway, that’s 50 years of sewing for me. I can’t imagine my life without sewing in it — I get a little cranky if I can’t sew at least every few days LOL. I would say I’m looking forward to the next 50, but I think we all know that’s not logical. I’m hoping to get close though!


24 Thoughts on “50 Years

  1. I would really have to sit down and figure it out I’m 65 and I think I started to learn to sew when I was 10 or 12 – I remember my grandma sitting me down at her treadle to show me how it was done – my mom had an old singer or viking I think and between the two I learned so maybe 55 years – god that makes me feel ancient – but then being able to now use a medicare card this week makes me feel that way too!

  2. Your collection of machines is beautiful! Your mum’s machine makes me feel all swoony. I wish I had such a great learning to sew story!

  3. LOVE! reading this story! Thanks. Finally a girl will love reading this someday.
    (I should type up my learning to sew story!) Those machines are beauties.

  4. What a fun post. I didn’t get my first sewing machine until I first got married in 1982 and that little Frister and Rossman made curtains and cushions, baby outfits and dresses for me for over twenty years before I started to learn free machine embroidery and invested in my first Bernina. I currently have two… one stays at home and one is my teaching machine.

  5. Yay for 50 years of sewing!!! And I loved reading about your sewing machine history. I’ve also recently upgraded my machine (actually in my case it was more of a downgrade) and I’m a much happier sewer since.
    PS: If my memory serves my right, you are celebrating a big birthday any day now! Happy Birthday and many, many more years of sewing.

  6. Beautiful post!

  7. I love this story. I’ve been sewing forever as well, but it wasn’t until a year ago that I bought myself a spankin’ brand new machine. It’s not electronic, but it is a work horse, and I’m quite smitten with her. Here’s to another fifty! And maybe, just maybe, finallyagirl inherited the sewing gene. Won’t you two have fun!

  8. What a great read about “our” machines. I sew on my 2nd Viking. It is the Designer II – non embroidery. I love it but I have considered upgrading. The epic sounds good. How big is the harp opening?
    Love that nostalgic sewing pattern.

  9. I remember using my mum’s sewing machine to make doll’s clothes when I was in the Brownies so I must have been 7 or 8 at the time. 54 years ago, Yikes, that’s scary! But also not. :o)

  10. Michele Mishler on September 28, 2017 at 12:22 pm said:

    What a great story! Among my early memories is my Mom sitting at her Singer sewing machine, making shirts for my brand new cousin. I gathered all the little scraps and demanded a needle and thread, and that was the beginning of 63 years of sewing! I was 2 or 3 at the time, so it has really been a lifetime passion.

  11. What a wonderful trip down Memory Lane! Thanks for sharing. Sewing IS such a part of so many of our lives. (I get a little cranky, too, if I can’t sew most every day!) I have been so heartened through the world of blogging to see that there is a whole new generation (or two) of sewing enthusiasts coming along. I am just glad I discovered it!

  12. I told a girl today that I was three years old when I sat down at a sewing machine, and suddenly realized it was 51 years ago. I have sewn almost every single day in some form and thank my mother for giving me this gift. I have sewn professionally for more than 30 of these years.I even sew on weekends as a hobby . It’s my pleasure and my relaxation

  13. Thanks for the memories! It’s fun to watch your Viking evolution. The new machine looks so Space Age. She looks like one that Jane Jetson would use. I hope you spend many hours of sewing bliss with her. Or if your schedule is too busy to sew, I wish you at least a few minutes to fondle fabric daily.

  14. so cool Anna.
    great history you can pass on to FinallyAGirl

  15. What a wonderful story! My first machine was a Viking Classica 105. I loved it and still do. But you know I recently bought a Bernina. It’s really nice, but truly, WAY more machine than I need. Do you ever sew on Memum’s Viking?

    Happy 50th!

  16. This is a wonderful story! Enjoy that new machine! Isn’t it amazing how they’ve changed ? I think I was about 8 when my mama taught me to sew. Then came 4-H club and Home Ec class. Does anyone even remember those? ?

  17. That’s got me thinking of my own sewing history! Water always finds it’s way down hill and, in spite of having little interest in sewing as a teen, all the things I loved to do as a small child eventually snuck back into my life. I never would have believed it if anyone told me years ago that I’d come to love quilting, and especially applique, so much. I’m a one sewing machine woman though. Do not come between me and my Bernina! Great post Anna!

  18. Cathy Burk on September 30, 2017 at 12:16 am said:

    Everyone else is excited about your machine. I’m excited to see that pattern! I had a “three sleeve dress” made from that very pattern. I don’t know why but I remember the cover vividly. I’m 61 years old. How fun! Thanks for that memory!

  19. Never mind sewing: it’s about to be 50 years since our first date. Eeek.

  20. I love my Husqvarna, which I think I have had now for 15 years. I love it for piecing, and it just chugs on and on!

  21. You have done so well…. Learning to sew 21 years before you were born……. Wink wink……
    Love the machine history also…….

  22. I loved this. A date well worth celebrating.

  23. First off congrats on 50 years of sewing awesome sauce little missy that’s wonderful . Your passion for this wonderful hobby has turned out some amazing finishes. Your new machine is a treasure and will enable you to up your game even more, although I’m not really sure that’s possible ? Hester will wait her turn and come out to play when you need her and be happy to let the new machine work it lol. I got my new machine last December and still only know a teeny tiny few of its options lol. Hugs sister friend

  24. My first machine was a Viking 150 that I bought back in 1985. I have upgraded since, but I still have that Viking and it still runs like a watch. I still love to use it for piecing every once in awhile.

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