Out with the New, In with the Old—Sewing Machine

Growing up, I was very crafty and creative and around the age of 8 my grandma, Dootie, along with my mom began teaching me the basics of hand sewing and embroidery. Not too long after my other grandma, Grandma Bonnie, started teaching me the basics of a sewing machine. When I was around 13-14 my mom and Grandma Bonnie bought me a modern Singer sewing machine as I took a Home Ec class in school. I went on to alter clothes, makes drapes and pillows, I even made tacky little purses with leopard print fur and beaded fringe for the women in my life!

Fast forward to present times and I still had that Singer I got in high school and it was performing poorly. I promised myself about a year ago that the next time I had a legitimate sewing project come up I was going to seek out and invest in a machine I truly love. After moving in to our new house I wanted to make new pillow covers for our feather throw pillows to match the living room furniture.Then it dawned on me, this is my chance!

After scouring Facebook Marketplace for over a week I finally settled on this green Dressmaker, made in Japan I’m guessing in the 1960s. It came a from a guy in Sapulpa, Oklahoma who inherited it from his grandma. He said she was using it until her death a couple of years ago. After some cleaning and oiling I am happy to report it is the nicest machine I have ever used! Smooth and quiet, powerful and precise. I was even able to find a copy of the owner’s manual from a Facebook group!

They just don’t make them like they used to- there is not one single plastic gear or major component in this machine. All metal top to bottom. It should easily last another 60 years!

I had this vision for these bold modern patchwork pillow covers for my living room. One problem though, I’ve never done patchwork or quilting except playing around making things when I was in school. So I decided to start small and see how things go by making a patchwork pin cushion!

I found this awesome tutorial on how to make a “Simple Sprocket Pincushion.”The instructions are excellent and it walked me through creating HSTs (Half Square Triangles) for the first time. Sewing a circle was also a little challenging but good practice. Check out my results below! I’m quite proud of how well everything lined up and my “points.”

Something I decided to do on a whim when picking up fabric for this project was to use plaids- If you are new to sewing or just rusty, work with a plaid or stripe! The straight lines will really help you with making straight cuts and creases and also helps give you a line to align with the presser foot of your sewing machine. Overwhelmed by all the choices and possible combinations at the fabric store? Look for a bundle of “fat quarters.” They are generally 18” x 22” squares of fabric and usually come in pre-coordinated packs of five, six, or seven patterns. All you need to buy is one pack of coordinated fat quarters you like and you will be set for this project!


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