Sunday, July 7, 2013

A Simple Seamstress

I got my sewing machine back in 1980 when I first moved to Arizona.
It was cheap and it was basic - a simple Singer sewing machine.
{Instagram caption = "Sewing + Gummy Bears = Happy Curtains"}

This simple sewing machine has seen its share of activity in 33 years. I’ve made curtains, quilts, dolls, doll clothes for Carrie's Cabbage Patch Kid, tote bags, this-that-and-the-other, and it’s been my trusty friend along the way.
When my mother-in-law passed away a few years ago, her collection of sewing machines was up for grabs but I had no need for a contraption that had that many dials and knobs and features. I’ll stick with what I know and love, I thought. I’m kind of simple that way.

A couple of weeks ago, my little sewing machine had a hiccup and I had to take it in for repair. As I pulled it out of the carrying case, the sweet repair shop lady with a thick German accent noted, “Oh, dat’s an old one!”
“Uh…do you think he can fix it?” I asked, now just a little worried.

“Oh, Honey, he can fix just about anything,” she replied with confidence. Thank goodness.
When I went back to pick up my sweet little Singer, there it was, all cleaned up and shiny and looking like a brand new machine. There were a few other customers in the repair shop that day, and I overheard a conversation of someone going on and on about a certain-kind-of-thread, how it always jams her machine when she sews on a certain-kind-of-fabric, even though she does these certain-kinds-of-adjustments. “Wow,” I thought, “I have no idea what she’s talking about.” I guess I’m just simple like that.
And then came that wave of self-doubt - those thoughts that crop up from time to time and tell me that I’m mediocre - I’m good at a whole bunch of stuff but not an expert at any of it. That I’m a very basic seamstress and in all my years of sewing {on a machine since I was eight years old}, I’m still not totally sure what that darn tension adjustment is for.
I paid for my sewing machine repair and loaded it into my car. As I drove away, I thought about Presley and the quilt I made for her this past year. I thought about the dolls I made to donate, and the other gifts I’ve sewn and given over the years. I’m pretty sure that none of those recipients have given one thought to the kind of sewing machine I used to make their gift, or whether or not I knew how to adjust the tension.

And if they did, I’m pretty sure they'd
still love me for being simple like that.

Today I'm linking up with my good friend Sian
for her monthly meme: Storytelling Sunday.
{You can read more stories by clicking here.}

29 comments:

Karen said...

A simple seamstress???? You??? Goodness, I certainly consider you expert, and you are so right, no one has any idea what machine we sew with. It's funny. I bought my sewing machine in 1980 as well--the year Sarah was born. I still think of it as my "new" machine as I was so excited to get it. When it needs repair, the repairman always tells me how lucky I am to have an old machine with metal parts, rather than the new ones made of plastics. :-)

Abi said...

Your words totally spoke to me today. I often feel like that when I am sewing. I don't have a clue about thread tension and like you I consider myself a basic sewer. What you gain from sewing though and the joy you bring to others is the most important. Your work is beautiful Deb whether you count it simple or not!

Irene said...

Your machine might be simple but you my Dear are not simple. From where I sit, I can see that you are an amazing and very talented person who creates and gives the most precious gifts made with your two hands and given from your heart. Those are gifts that family and friends treasure the most. (I did not get paid by Deb to write this.). LOL

It's not the machine that creates wonderful sewing projects, it's the seamstress.

debs14 said...

When you sew with love, no one cares if you have perfect thread tension or not! Keep doing what you do, it's brilliant !

Fiona@staring at the sea said...

I'm thinking of the beautiful quilt you made for Presley and wondering how that could ever be described as simple?! I had a very basic machine and made all sorts of things on it, including my own wedding outfit. Now I have a fancy machine and I'm running scared of the simplest project! My advice? don't change!
debs14 has it in a nutshell there x

Karen said...

I beg to differ about you being a simple seamstress! You make such lovely creations and you know what? If your simple machine suits you what the heck!

Kirsti said...

What a lovely story Deb...don't know if you have heard the saying 'Jack of all trades but master of none'? It may be a British one but its how I feel too...sometimes I wish I was really skilled at one thing...

Kirsti xxx

Sian said...

What a perfect story this is. All of those things you list, all the lovely gifts you have made, they are the real stuff of life. The things my mother made here for us and the things I love to make now too. I have only a basic machine too and when anyone says sewing machine repair, I think of one little time in my childhood when my dad took my Mum to buy her machine. In my mind it's all 1970's, like a scene from a movie, you know? all orange fabric and patterns for flared trousers..thank you for conjuring it up for me again this afternoon. Thank you very much.

Jennie said...

It isn't the sewing machine that makes what is sewn on it - but the seamstress - and nothing made with such love as you put into all you create can be called simple. A lovely story - thanks for sharing. J x

Missus Wookie said...

What a wonderful list of projects and gifts you've created.I love my little metal part machine too, looking forward to learning more about it as I am a very simple seamstress.

Mel said...

I approve of your sewing snack!

Ruth said...

Never, never describe your sewing or any craft as simple! Everything you is make is filled with love and loved in return by those who are lucky enough to receive something from you.

Sabrina S. said...

Your singer looks pretty close to the old one I have. They're the most robust! Don't second guess yourself. You know how to make it work without the fancy words and you make stuff for people to enjoy. That's what matters. xoxo from France

boysmum2 said...

at least you are there giving it a go. Some people won't even try it unless they have the latest gadgets and connections

Rachel B said...

I often feel exactly the same, I always give it a go but when one of my friends starts talking technical sewing terms at me asking if I have used them.. I go a bit white in the face! 'I don't know!' I reply ;)

Loved your post Deb :)

Maria Ontiveros said...

I think simple with fewer moving parts is often the best. And you crating little miracles with it - that for sure!
Rinda

Margaret said...

My sister is a wizard at sewing. I'm pretty awful, but I have her old machine that mp grandparents gave her in the 1970s.

Beverly said...

Mine is very basic as well. we had to decide what to do with my mother in law's this weekend and it has a lot more stitch options than mine. If I thought her gift could be transported through that machine I would have claimed it. SweetGirl is yearning to sew so it's going to her, I think Elena would have liked that.

scrappyjacky said...

I love seeing your sewing projects,Deb....they always look wonderful.

Ladkyis said...

I started on a hand machine and in 1972 my mother and I paid 58 pounds for a second hand Singer electric machine. I made everything for my children when they were growing up and like you I never understood the tension thing. It doesn't matter. I made costumes for live roleplayers and they didn't know or care if I knew about tension they just wanted to look wizardly and dramatic - and they did. You just keep on using that machine for as long as it lasts. I still have mine and it was made in 1964!

Miriam said...

Gosh, I was going to write about my sewing machine sitting here on my desk...
You know, a bad workman blames his tools. You make the things with love, that's what counts. Self doubt is a destructive emotion...talk to me about it ;)

Becky said...

You are no way a simple seamstress! I am in awe of the things you create with your sewing machine! But I agree with you that I would much rather have a simple machine than one with lots of buttons and dials!

Alison said...

Basic is good...but you simple?!...never my friend!
Alison xx

tainted with a positive view said...

I feel that way about my Bernina. I bought it before Kate was born (she's 27) and used it to make her baby bedding. I have never had a problem and if I did, it was always the thread! I am so pleased with my machine. I remember saying if I bought this one now, I would probably never need another. So true.

Chipper Newman said...

Does anyone actually know how to adjust the tension dial?!?!?!?!? When I went shopping for my machine I only needed it to sew a normal stitch and a zig-zag. There wasn't a simple machine on the market and the one I chose had an automatic button hole. It is fabulous and I only use those three settings ... never touched any of the other stitches! LOL I have seen your creations pop up around blogland you they are beautiful so I don't think that the machine really matters :)

Jo said...

I read every post on your blog and I happen to think you're amazing at so many things. I just wish I was as basic as you think you are :) x

Cheri said...

Your machine may be simple, what you create with it is decidedly NOT! And in the case of machines, simple is often preferable. When I was heavily into quilting I got an expensive fancy machine with all kinds of fancy stitches and capabilities... and what do I do with it now???.... basic straight stitch clothing and household item repairs. And that's about it.

Lisa-Jane said...

Wow, goodness knows what "they" might think of my sewing then! I don't think it matters as long as you enjoy it and the things you make "work" which of course they do. Lovely story xx

Gail said...

It may be a simple sewing machine but you are most definitely not a simple seamstress! I think the old simple machines (like my own) are better than these new complicated ones and I still don't get the tension adjustment thing either.

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