Have you been altered by your sewing machine?

Woman sewing Have you been altered by your sewing machine?

It helps to sit down when sewing.

I’ve been sewing for a long time, 2nd grade is when I started and then dropped it in high school ’cause it was ‘dorky’. Then took it up when I started working for theatrical costume shops. I come from a long line of home sewers, my other sisters never took up the needle for pleasure or practicality.

I couldn’t image my life without it. I love everything about sewing, the way I can play Art Director or Fashion Designer, how I can image all the possibilities in a yard of fabric and best of all my growing cadre of sewing buddies who teach me so much. I have never engaged in a hobby such as sewing where I am constantly challenged and always learning. If I weren’t able to sew, I’d be miserable.

So, the question I put forth today for the lovely Free Stuff Friday is how has your life been altered, changed for better or for worse by your sewing machine.  I would love to hear from people who have recently taken up sewing too. Do you have these dreamy images of making beautiful dresses. Or mastering couture techniques like the pros?

How does it feel when reality sets in, the realization that sewing is a process that takes time and effort.  That no one except maybe Anya Ayoung-Chee of Project Runway Season 9 infamy (she allegedly only had been sewing for 3 months prior to becoming a contestant and later winning) can take the sewing machine out of the box and sew some complicated garment that fits perfectly.

Do we purchase the sewing machine thinking we will  sew ourselves into another, better life, what happens if we don’t meet that goal? Do you keep sewing or move on?

Heady stuff for a Friday but I would love to hear what you think. If you would like to be entered in today’s giveaway for Maire Claire Simply Irresistible Bags please leave a comment.

maire claire bags Have you been altered by your sewing machine?

Plus, the winner for last week’s FSF is Cyndy L. Thanks everyone for joining our new group or just checking out and leaving your comments. Cyndy please email your mailing address to sewnews@sewnews.com and I’ll get your prize out to you!

Thanks and happy sewing!


 Have you been altered by your sewing machine?

About Jill

I write for the Sew News and Creative Machine Embroidery blogs. I love sewing, vintage and would love to get a comment from you!
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86 Responses to Have you been altered by your sewing machine?

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  2. Jill says:

    Thanks Katherin for this reminder. I actually forgot to announce the winner and will do so today. We had so many giveaways in August it got lost in the shuffle. The winner is prairiegrrl. I will make an announcement here shortly to make it all official.


  3. Katherin Clayton says:

    Has anyone won the, Maire Claire Simple Irresistible Bags book yet?

  4. Tai Spidell says:

    I grew interested in sewing in the 7th grade in Home Ec. (Yes, the old apron project). I was a bit of a bookwormy kid, wasn’t liked much and bullied by the other kids. Sewing became my escape and my refuge. When I was going to graduate 8th grade and enter aHigh School that required you complete an application and be interviewed, and I was selected to attend, and escape the bullies,(Yeah!), I pled with my parents for a sewing machine and sewed all my school clothes for my freshman year. I was so proud and so were my folks. I have been hooked ever since, almost 40 years. I have survived cancer twice and sewing is still my refuge and therapy.

  5. Lucylle Shelton says:

    I started sewing 55 years ago on my grandmother’s treadle machine. My mother resisted sewing for years because her mother sewed but she finally got hooked and got me started with a summer class at our local Singer Sewing Shop. The next summer we moved to Atlanta when I was 15 and I took another Singer sewing class. We had to model what we made and I won for my age group. My garment got submitted to the state competition held at Rich’s Department Store. I also won there for my age group and got to go downtown and have my picture made by the fashion photographer! These were submitted to New York. I didn’t win any further but received a Singer Sewing machine for winning at the state level. My mother and I sewed on that machine from 1960 to 2000! I feel like sewing is in my genes!

  6. Betty Domal says:

    Well, I haven’t been altered like the lady in the picture. First of all, I sit to sew. And I don’t have everything matching like she does. I looks like she’s using that fabric for everything – curtains, dress & whatever she’s standing there sewing !
    I was altered to sewing by my mother when I was around eight years old – learning to sew on her treadle Singer. I was in 4-H around that time, and won an award or two.
    Then took Home Ec (Alas, no longer being taught in schools) from grades 7-11, and have been sewing ever since (I’m 77 now). I love sewing – it is very relaxing to me. I just love to hear the hum of the machine.

  7. Cherie says:

    Sewing has definitely made a great impact in my life. I love it! I absolutely love being able to make stuff for my daughter and me. I am starting into making quilts and seeing my son using his that I made, makes me happy. Sewing is awesome!

  8. Mary Mac says:

    Has changed for the better, Love being able to play in my craft room for hours making projects for my self or loved ones.

  9. Doris Wallace says:

    My mother taught me how to sew when I was just 9 years old. I’m now 81 years old.
    Every time I sit down to sew I think of mother who has been gone for 20 years.
    I still sew many different things. I just finished my second quilt, the last one with pictures on my embroidery machine. I’m now making Christmas ornaments.
    Have done many wedding presents and gifts for my two great grand daughters.

  10. Carol Womack says:

    My mom taught me to sew on my grandmother’s treadle machine. What I really love about sewing is that when I can’t find what I want in the store, I can usually make it. I have a large ironing board, which does not work with normal sized covers. So I made one with my Hawaiian fabric! It looks so happy!

  11. Amy Baker says:

    I have a love/hate relationship with sewing…my imagination and my skill set are out of sync….but my niece was visiting recently and she is really into sock monkeys…I said we could make some and she looked at me like I was 3 headed…we went off to the store, bought a lot of funky socks and 2 days later Sophia had 5 (don’t ask about #6) darling, colorful sock monkeys….and she proclaimed me the best aunt ever! That connection is priceless….Sophia is already plotting what she wants to make next, so I practice …..

  12. Denise McGlinchey says:

    I can’t really remember what came first, but it all happened pretty close together. Barbies, my Charmin’ Chatty doll with a pattern, and my grandma making my school clothes. I was probably about 8 or 9 years old for all 3 events, but these events inspired me to sew. I had the Barbie. Then I received the Charmin’ Chatty doll for Christmas and she came with a pattern to make her more clothes. And my wonderful grandmother decided to make my school clothes. I remember shopping for patterns and fabrics with really no clue what was going to happen. Then, each time I would visit her we would have a fitting and she would sit in her spare room at her machine and sew them up. I took that pattern from my doll and cut up an old shirt and sewed that dress by hand, attempting to follow the directions. Of course, the collar was all wrong because I second-guessed the instructions (just couldn’t understand why I would sew with the right sides together). I also hand-sewed strapless slip-on evening gowns for my Barbie during this time. A few years later, my grandmother took some of my mom’s old skirts and cut them down for me. I was amazed at how she was able to do that…it was so awesome! My next turning point was getting involved with a dance group and needing to sew costumes for myself. I made a couple by hand and then my aunt gave me my first machine…an old electric Singer that had nothing but a straight forward stitch. I have been sewing ever since!

  13. kathleen farrell says:

    I love to sew. Got the sewing bug by watching my great-aunt sew when I was very young. Started making doll clothes by hand. My Mom made home decor but not clothes. My first clothing project was in high school and then I was hooked! I love to made everything but clothing is my favorite. From a simple pair of shorts to a fancy civil war ball gown, just let me sew!

  14. Susan Slovinsky says:

    My best friend in high school taught me to sew and I’ve been hooked ever since. Then got into quilting, embroidery and digitizing too. When my daughters were young I sewed for them and also have done a lot of home dec. Really helped to stretch the budget and let me be creative too. Sewers are such wonderful people – always willing to share techniques and ideas. So I guess you could say that sewing has broadened my horizons and given me many good friends and good times.

  15. Karen Poole says:

    I have been sewing since I was about 8 years old and could not imagine life without it. I love the feeling of being able to take fabric, just a flat piece of fabric and turn it into something amazing like a really awesome costume for a grandchild or something simple like a set of p.j.s. I have sewn three piece silk lined men’s suits and triple layered lace ruffled dresses for ceramic dolls, but I have also done the simple mending of seams or re attaching buttons. I have made soooooo many dear and life long friends because of sewing. My life would be very empty without my sewing machine.

  16. kbo says:

    Oh I really like to sew a variety of handbags. When I turned 50, my personal goal was to make a bag a month – and I did it!

  17. Lynette says:

    Sewing is a forever friend that you never get tired of visiting. No matter how long it has been in between sewing projects that wonderful familiar feeling comes right back to you each time you start something new.
    I too began sewing at a young age, my grandmother taught me how and then after classes in junior high and high school I was hooked for life. Over the years I’ve sewn for myself, my daughters, my friends and collected a LOT of fabric. I hope I never lose the passion for sewing nor the ability to do it.

  18. kelli says:

    I started sewing in the 4th grade through 4-H. Then I really only sews things to prepare for the fair. When I was 29 I learned how to quilt & that changed my life by wanting to sew more, learn more, & buy more fabric. Now I sew quilts & purses/totes. I love sewing things fot myself but love even more to sew gifts for other people. I am always trying to figure out what to sew for others.

  19. Mary says:

    My Mother started me sewing doll clothes for my dolls when I was in grade school. I have made a lot of my clothes. I am 61 now and I never get tired of sewing.

  20. Kitty Austin says:

    I have been sewing since I was 5-seriously. I had a grandmother who thought little girls should be taught to sew whether they ever learned to read or not. When I did learn to read, my mom gave me a pattern and showed me how not to sew my finger with her old Singer 15-91 and left the room. I made a pair of shorts the summer after my first grade. I have sewn ever since. I love to sew as it is a means for me to express myself. I made most of my clothes and my kids clothes and still sew when ever I can. How did it alter my life? I can’t imagine my life WITHOUT sewing in some form or fashion!

  21. mad14kt says:

    I L*VE Sewing ;)

  22. JoyceAA says:

    Sewing balances me. It is a fantastic de-stresser! At this time in my life, my husband is going through some major heart issues, spent a lot of time in hospital ICU’s, had two heart ablations, and has his team of cardiologists on speed-dial. With working full-time and dealing with his health issues, he knows I have given up my “me” time for the last three years. Now that his health is improving, he sometimes asks me if I have had any “me” time lately! I retreat to my sewing room, turn on any tv show, movie, or music I want and just create. It may be a piece of clothing, or working on a quilt, or a tote bag, or just playing with my embroidery software. When I come out, I am calm, relaxed, in a fabulous mood. Our lifestyles have changed dramatically due to his condition, and we both benefit greatly from my being able to just “walk away” into my sewing room world and decompress. Even one of our dogs will come into the sewing room with me and curl up in her favorite spot! Yes, the whole family balances when I get my sewing time!!!

  23. Tish says:

    Sewing changed my life, in that it has become a means to support myself. If you had told me 10 years ago I’d teach sewing to supplement my dwindling income from a dying industry, I’d laugh you out of the park. But with the upswing of interest in crafting and the resurgence of sewing being COOL instead of LOSER (which it was when I was in high school, too) it looks to be my main source of income in the next few years. So yay sewing! Plus, it’s something I can do and never be bored since you never really do the same thing!

  24. Melissa says:

    Sewing has given me a creative outlet that I didn’t know existed in my life. I walk into my sewing room and feel like I can do anything in there. My sewing machine has opened doors, led to amazing friendships and truly changed my life.

  25. Christy says:

    I am forever altered by my sewing machine because I now cannot live without sewing…..I LOVE SEWING!

  26. Bonnie French says:

    I have been sewing since a little girl making doll clothes. I have moved to Northern Michigan now and do costumes for our school plays ,alteration for the military ,quilting and many other alteration and . My mother did dance costumes when we were kids. It is so relaxing.

  27. I have been retired for a year and a half. I am on my 3rd machine in that time. I bought an embroidery machine this time. I love it. I am not making anything complicated yet, but my mind is full of ideas. I’m sure I’ll get to that point eventually. I learn something new all the time. The sewing blogs are great.

  28. Melanee Simpson says:

    Sewing is how I show my love for my grandchildren who live in NSW Australia..from wonderwomen capes to christening gowns each project is from the heart and hopefully one day I’ll be able to teach them to sew!

  29. AbbyK says:

    I love having the ability to make things. Sometimes the time investment puts me off but I really love my machines and sewing. If I could just get some magic being to sneak in and do all the stuff I need to do to get my stuff ready to be sewn I would be thrilled. ;)

  30. sue t says:

    Starting about age 10, my grandmother would pick me up on her way to Bingo on Friday night. Saturday morning we would shop for a pattern and material (she never called it fabric) and we spent the rest of the weekend sewing. I almost always had a new outfit to wear to school on Monday. We had a wonderful relationship.

  31. Irene Cole says:

    At age 5 I wanted clothes for my doll, my Mother sat me down at the treadle machine and started teaching me to sew… I sewed on that machine until I got out of high school and bought my first electric machine…Sewing is and always has been a big part of my life.

  32. Janice Mercieri says:

    I’ve been sewing for over 50 years. I learned at a very young age at the arm of my mother, a professional sewer. In school I made bathing suit ensembles and warm winter coats as the other girls learned how to make half aprons and a-line skirts. In college, I did alterations as a means of income to work around my schedule. As a newlywed, I had so much fun being creative and making all sorts of home decorating items. When my children were born, I created outfits for every occasion. My grown children still speak of their unique Halloween costumes. I continue to sew, make alterations and create things for myself, my home and my community. Through it all, I’ve made some great “sewing friends”. I also have great memories of sewing with my grandmother. My three girls have grown up learning how to sew also and have a few of my “hand-me-down” machines. I have memories of fabric and notion shopping with them for the perfect items to make our masterpiece at hand. Now that I have grandchildren, I hope to spend time doing the same with them. As a footnote, it is great to spend time with my 91 year old mother who continues to sew at least 4 hours each day. I hope I’ll be the “eveready bunny” just like her. Oh! And we still have to hide our good scissors from the men in our homes.

  33. Lori Nichols says:

    I learned to sew in junior high Home Ec class. I liked making my clothes from materials I chose, not the manufacturers. As I had kids, I enjoyed themed outfits and making toys. Since the kids out grew the cute stage, we discovered what is now called “refashion”or “repurposing”. I love being able to turn a bedspread into pajamas or an out-of-date dress into something more fashionable. Also, being a short, plus-size woman without a large chest, I’ve been able to make things fit.

  34. Karyl Jacobson says:

    I’ve sewn since I was about 10. I prefer sewing over all other household tasks so I suppose I’d have a much more tidy house if I didn’t sew! It has also spurred on my need for fabric: collection or obsession?!

  35. Sheila says:

    I learned to sew at a young age partly because my mother and grandmother sewed. Over the years it has been a creative outlet as well as a necessity at times. When my sons were small and I wanted dressier clothes for worship I was able to make them suits for less than half of what it would cost to buy them. Finding fabric remnants on sale and creating something out of it is a fun challenge too!