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I’ve made purses and pouches, pants and shirts, scarves and. Oh, and don’t forget the curtains, I’ve made so many curtains for so many people, roommates, and the various places I’ve lived over the years. Sometimes I retrofit curtains for new places because I love the fabric so much. Other creations include: pre-20th century clothing, corsets, wedding dresses, and dog and people pillows. I’ve also been asked to design obscure creations including: a shell-casing pouch for a gunman so he doesn’t litter shells while in nature and an E Coli costume for silly lecturing prof.

I have owned almost 20 sewing machines in my lifetime, still have 7, use 3 of those (including a serger and industrial machine). In my baby book, my mother wrote that I received my first sewing machine at age 2, a toddler-type, to “help” her make baby clothes and quilts. My original sewing skills came from my mother, Susan. She taught me at a very young age to hand stitch; I recall hand stitching embroidery or small pillows that I gave to the family for Christmas. In high school, I took a homemaking class which was my introduction to patterning and more sewing machines; I made a simple windbreaker in 1992 that I still have. During college, I was one of the lead seamstresses in the costume shop. My patterning skills emerged from here. Prof Kathleen taught me how to pattern just about everything; some of our projects included corsets, blazers, jackets, alterations, religious garb, kimonos, scenery props, and upholstery. For one of costume construction class projects, we had to make a Renaissance dress from a 4″ picture in book which included up scaling to graph paper and then creating a life-size version of a historical period dress. Difficult but rewarding!

Over the years, sewing machines have come and gone but I have kept a few that have sentimental meanings or are, just plain great machines. My mother’s, a 1970’s Singer, is still in my possession and I believe it still runs?! She made the majority of our matching outfits (when we were wee) on this machine; it’s a keeper! I also held on to a 1950’s machine my great-grandmother had, she probably made dozens of family quilts on. My serger is a “borrowed” machine from my Grandma Ruby – she hasn’t asked for it back :) Many years ago, I would run a machine into the ground in less than a year, this was mostly due to overuse of a hobby machine (sewing 10 hours a day is Not intended for Joann Fabric-type machines) and because I attempt to sew 4 layers of jean material together — daily broken needles, broken machines. During that time, my 3 roommates got together and bought me an industrial Juki. This monster of a machine is intended for 24/7 use and has handled everything I’ve put thru it. The 200-pound giant requires oil changes and has an oil filter like a car. It stitches almost 5000 stitches per minute and at times, the feeder dog is almost faster than I can handle. I have not had any major problems w this machine in almost 8 years, that’s a record!

Don’t even start on the fabric! I have fabric for every project, granted, I may not have enough of that particular project, but I got a lot of material.  I have many notions as well. For you non-crafties, notions can be beads, buttons, trim, ribbon, etc. for crafty projects. I have a habit of collecting all of the buttons from all of the pants that I cut up for quilts. At a 2-button average per quilt, I’ve got a whole lotta buttons!