Apparently, ‘Sewing Machine Day’ really is a thing!
Don’t get me wrong, I totally agree that Sewing Machines should be celebrated; like many engineered inventions, they were a catalyst of change to their industry. But at the same time, we should also consider the impact these industries are having in our current world, something I think these ‘days’ never address.
But despite having never heard of the day before, I thought it was probably a good time to introduce you to my weapon of choice for the past three years. Like many people I’m sure, I name a lot of my possessions; and my machine is no different! But it was Elkie Brooks who sang it best with ‘Pearl’s a Singer, because, well, Pearl’s a Singer. A Singer Quantum Stylist 9960 to be precise.
Pearl comes with a quilting extension table, which I have never used as I had actually forgotten about it (and it would have come in handy quite recently!), and a hard carry case, which sounds brilliant until you have to store it somewhere…
She is a beast of a machine, with a metal frame and LCD display. She has a top loading bobbin with a transparent cover, which makes it easy to thread up and easy to see when the bobbin is about to run out, if you just remember to look – although sometimes while sewing I accidentally catch the release button and the bobbin cover pops open, but this has never really been a problem.
When I bought Pearl, she came with a selection of presser feet…some of which I have never even considered using, but they’re mostly snap on feet, so super-fast to switch between. She also has a built-in needle threader and automatic thread cutter, and I can lift and drop the needle at the touch of a button, as well as speed her up and slow her down depending on the type of sewing I’m doing. There is also a wide array of programmable and adjustable decorative stitches available, including text, so I can customise as and when I feel like it.
That’s Pearl. And I should probably treat her better since she does so much for me.
The more I throw myself into home sewing, the more I also learn about the garment industry and the more I am driven further to sew my own clothes. The invention of the sewing machine put this industry into overdrive, which like many things started out as a good thing. It was possible to produce clothing in a tenth of the time it previously had been; and so, there was an increase in demand for machines and machinists, cotton production and mills, raw materials and transportation.
Skip forward to 2019 and the fashion industry is now considered to be the second or third biggest polluter globally, the figures are still in dispute as they have never been fully investigated. And here in the west we demand more and more fast fashion at significantly reduced prices, and at great cost to the environment, people and animals, before sending millions of garments each year to landfill… And that’s just the tip of the melting Iceberg, a drop in our plastic filled ocean.
I’m still learning about the fashion industry; but I would like to thank Pearl for taking me out of that fast fashion cycle, for bringing me the pleasure of home sewing, and for never letting me down. I think I might even treat her to a dust down and a bit of TLC this weekend to honour her!