I’m still learning to machine sew many years later. I’ve been using sewing machines for many, many years. Let me rephrase that. I’ve been exposed to sewing machines for many, many years. But because life gets in the way, I’ve never become an expert at using any of the machines I’ve owned or tried.
My first memory of using a sewing machine takes me back to Cuba, where I was born. We lived in a house that was long. It was long because it was built in a style of a single line of rooms, starting with the living room in the front, the kitchen in the back and the bedrooms and 1 bathroom in between. The reason this is even pertinent to the story is coming. Stay with me. Mom used to sew by the front window in the living room on her vintage pedal Singer sewing machine. Maybe it wasn’t vintage then, but thinking back on that, this many years later, I can only call it vintage.
I’m talking 1968 here. I think I was 6 years old. One day mom was working on a bra. Yes, she made bras. She used to sell them. It must have been time to check on lunch because she got up from her sewing and headed to the kitchen, all the way in the back of the house. This was my chance! I had been watching her quilt the cup and it didn’t look too hard. I felt up to the challenge. I quickly sat down at the machine and started pedaling away while my little hands moved the fabric back and forth the way I’d seen her do. All the time I was doing this, I kept looking over my shoulder to make sure she wasn’t returning. I am certain now that my looking away and my harried first attempt created a visibly different quilting than the perfect specimen she had been creating, but to my 6 year old adventurous heart, I had just created a masterpiece!
If mom noticed what I’d done she didn’t say anything. Mom was cool that way. Always gentle with the kids except when she needed to be firm. I mentioned this story to her the other day and she doesn’t remember. I will take that as a compliment of my inherent sewing skills.