Have you ever unexpectedly run into an old friend? Was it awkward? Uncomfortable? Or did the good memories wash over you and come flooding back?
When by chance my sister Jeanne and I are able to spend Christmas together, we have a tradition of heading out on the 26th in search of half-priced holiday treasures and other bargains, along with a tasty lunch and day of no cooking or cleaning up! This past December 26, our agenda included fabric stores. One of our first stops was Ann Arbor Sewing Center. Jeanne had a question about her machine and I was checking out their fabric offerings. While meandering through various rooms, I passed a display of different sewing machine models, and there she was at the end of the row. A beautiful, used, older model Husqvarna, so very much like my old friend, my eyes felt a little misty.
In 1979 when I was newly pregnant with my first child, I bought my first used Husqvarna, a good quality brand from Sweden. It was my partner in creating an overabundance of open bottom sleeping bags for baby-to-be and other layette items. I then graduated to nightshirts and rompers for toddlers, chair pads and curtains for our home, halloween costumes and even a few pieces of clothing for me. I made pillows, sewed patches on lettermen and band jackets, and mended many a tear.
One December long ago I was frantically trying to finish up several pairs of Christmas flannel pajamas. Flannel fabric has a tendency to shed or pill and you end up with lots of annoying fibers clogging your sewing machine. I decided to take a break from sewing and clean it. Unfortunately, in my over-zealous effort to clean out my machine, I took it apart one step too far and was unable to get it back together. With my kids napping, I was in no position to load up the machine and the kids and head to the dealer. So, in desperation, I phoned for help. I am not a mechanically inclined person. It amazed me that in the next 30 minutes, that very kind and patient person on the other end of the phone was able to direct me step by step until I had put machine back together and me back sewing before the end of nap time!
I received a badge for sewing in 4-H when I was in grade school. In junior high, I took Home Economics and made a ghastly 1970s polyester skirt that my instructor deemed “too short!” During my high school years, I was intent on making halter tops, hot pants and maxi dresses, items that weren’t available in small town Indiana. Sadly, I drifted away from sewing until I bought my machine in 1979. For the next thirty years, we enjoyed a marvelous friendship.
So it’s understandable that it was a sad day for me when I realized that I needed to retire my trusty old machine. It was used when I bought it in 1979, and in 2017, much had changed in sewing machine technology and no one wanted to work on mine anymore. I eventually bought another machine, another brand, a plasticky, computerized one. We never bonded.
Maybe it’s because I have more free time or maybe it’s the influence of Project Runway and all the fabulous sewing blogs, I find myself eager to jump back into the world of creativity. And now I have my new used machine. When I was at the counter completing my purchase, I asked the clerk if they used to be on Main Street in Ann Arbor. Why yes they did! I was buying my second machine from Ann Arbor Sewing Center. If this friendship works out half as well as the first, I will be a very satisfied seamstress.
C’est la vie.