before you know it – you’re vintage cool


Well, maybe I’m not vintage cool, but my sewing machine certainly is! As I took it out to hem the chopped off sleeves of a shirt, I was thinking about the forty years I’ve had this little Genie. 

In my growing up years it was Home Ec for the girls…..we actually baked muffins (stir 15 times) and made pie crust (ice water for the dough) and we sewed.  I’m not sure who decided in the 1960s that all girls must know how to sew, but there it was on the curriculum. At least it got me out of typing….so I took it.

I come from a Mom and Step-Mom who were both amazing seamstresses.  My Mom made award-winning quilts as well as clothes with perfectly matched plaids and french seams.  My Step-Mom sewed most of my high school clothes and I was dressed with Vogue patterns and stunning fabrics with formal gowns to envy. And of course, I can’t forget my “Cher pants” outfit.  Pink gingham with cropped top and pants with a circle of fabric below the knee.  I was stylin’!

So….I learned to sew.  My dress project in Home Ec was an A -Line dress, zipper up the back, belled sleeves and the crowning touch…….that little fuzzy dingle ball fringe (made later famous in “shaggon-wagon” vans) on the sleeve hems.

Zippers were then and still are my nemesis and I took the zipper out and sewed it back in so many times that the fabric permanently had little holes all around it.  It was like a big calculus problem that I couldn’t grasp; that zipper stuff.

When I moved out on my own, the first thing I bought was a sewing machine.  A used Singer machine from the local sewing shop.  I believe to this day the man who owned the shop saw me coming as they say, and unloaded a machine well past its prime on me.  The machine was possessed and would lurch and puke thread or have a tension so tight it made the fabric scream.  Nevertheless, I made my wedding dress with that machine and I suppose I can admit all these years later that I hated that dress but it served the purpose.

After taking the machine back to “be serviced” costing me money each time and finding no difference in its temperament, I threw it out the door into the front yard and left it there on its side looking like it had been tossed aside in an act of violence and divorce. Which it surely had been. When Mark came home I was still angry at it and in tears of frustration I  told him to take it to the garage dump.

He came home the next day with my Singer Genie.  Something we couldn’t  really afford at the time but bought with a caring for me. I went on to sew maternity clothes with my Genie.  I sewed ABC quilts and kitchen curtains.  And I sewed my pantsuit to wear for my Canadian Citizenship ceremony; a brown fortrel (remember that teflon fabric?) pantsuit that is probably still living somewhere in its thrift shop donated life.

Then through the years, I moved on to ready-made store-bought clothes and admitted finally that I really didn’t enjoy sewing clothes, almost like a guilty confession of failing womanhood. About that time my best friend bought herself a new sewing machine that bore about as much resemblance to my Genie as a Harley to a scooter. She had to take classes to even learn how to use the complicated thing, and gushed to me “it even embroiders ducks!” Because, well……I guess that matters.

I stuck with my Genie. All these years it has mended, hemmed and been there for me. It’s not outdated; it’s vintage. And vintage is cool. I think me and my Genie will stick together through vintage into antique.




2 thoughts on “before you know it – you’re vintage cool

  1. tmrparentgmailcom says:

    This makes me smile as I bought my first sewing machine about a year ago. I wanted one for years for mending and creating aprons and other cool projects. It’s a vintage brother, watermelon pink and the price was just right. I smile as I also struggle to figure out if my machine is possessed or if maybe I need sewing machine lessons. One day it works and the next a tangled mess. Some nights I find myself looking at sewing machines online but I just can’t give up on my pink machine yet


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