I was sent a reminder about the 2015 Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace in London, England. One of the events is the Butterick Walkaway Tea Celebration. The ‘Walkaway Dress’ pattern was featured on the The Great British Sewing Bee and thousands of sewers created their own version of the Butterick classic.
The email reminded me of all the years I made my own clothes. My first serious sewing machine was an Elna which I left behind with a friend when I moved to the West Indies and started living abroad. I missed my Elna and bought another no-name machine while in Antigua. I say ‘no name’ because I can’t for the life of me remember what it was!
Everyone on the island was a skilled seamstress and pattern maker. We couldn’t afford to buy clothes as they were all imported at vast expense. And you could fit only so much into a suitcase when you traveled to the States.
I made all my clothes – even my own swimsuits.
When I married and moved to the States, we bought a Pfaff. My husband wondered if we couldn’t have bought a car with the money we spent on my machine!
I stopped making my own clothes. The machine didn’t languish – I began making quilts.
I bought a second sewing machine – a Juki with a big throat, which I could use on a large quilting frame.
My mother gave me 2 family Singer sewing machines. One of which I remember using when a child. It was kept on a table in the attic and I have no memory of what I stitched – but something! The oldest machine belonged to my great grandmother and the other to my paternal grandmother.
So I am part of a great tradition. No, not the ladies who sew. But the ladies who have far too many sewing machines in their home……!
If you are in England next month then take yourself to the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace in London. You’ll enjoy it.