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I love all things sewing!  It's all about the creative journey.  All my blog posts are letters to my sewing alter-ego - Lola!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Sewing Machines - Function, Form + Now Beauty?

Dear Lola,

I think part of my love of sewing stems from the simple fact that I like the idea of using a power tool!  I adore learning how to maneuver my way through the buttons, dials and stitch adjustments on the machine.  I feel so proud when I can make a stitch look the way I want and do what I need that stitch to do.  It’s like hitting your first home run or passing the driving test!

First and foremost, there is function - what a machine can accomplish:  I believe in my heart of hearts that without my taking up sewing, I would never have learned to appreciate the store bought clothes that I own.  I definitely know I can never take buttonholes, zippers and topstitching for granted again.  I check store bought clothing much more thoroughly now.  I check to see how the seams inside are finished.  I appreciate embellishment details in the way some people appreciate fine wines.  If a jacket has a Hong Kong seam inside – I am completely in awe of the talented and capable artistry that creates these details.  Perfect free-motion quilting is a personal dream of mine.  I aspire to master these precise details in each sewing project I undertake.

I also know that sewing machine manufacturers create new machines to accomplish new extraordinary feats of sewing.  Whether the new machine capabilities involve the delicate and intricate or the powerful and speedy, sewers will line up to check out what the machines can do!  We will be interested in the attachments and accessories that come with the machines; we will consult each other for opinions and ratings; and we will find inspiration from the new techniques that sewing machines can help us achieve. We will cheer for new attachments and mourn for machines that stop being manufactured to make room for newer and fancier models. We will be dumbfounded by machines like the Baby Lock Sashiko machine that costs a bundle and does only 1 stitch, albeit a pretty stitch.  

Now for the form part of the equation– the way a machine feels to us:  Many sewing enthusiasts find themselves enthralled by the color of a machine, or a limited design on the cover.  We can be comforted by the tried and true of the mechanical machine or completely wowed by the sleek, computerized sewing machines that dominate many hearts and minds.  There are avid collectors on both sides of the coin.  There are the Featherweight Mavens and the Bernina Babes.  Zealots aren’t just involved in religion! 

This week as I was stumbling around the Internet checking out sewing and quilting in the news.  (See my previous post).  I came across these new machines that don’t come from the big sewing manufacturers, but rather from hot new industrial designers.  Just like an Umbra trashcan or an Eames chair – the sewing machine is finding its way into the minds of industrial design students!  How intriguing! 

Watch This Amazing Video of James Woods' Concept Sewing Machine: 


Here is a photo of the New Designers Folding Machine: (Thanks to Core 77 Blog for posting entries about these machines)

While I ‘m not sure the designers got the machines right, I do think it’s exciting to entertain the notion that the sewing machine is entering the design world in such a hip way.  This can only be good for continuing improvements in how machines adapt to our needs.  Design, function and form can be all leading edge. 

Lola, all I can say is keep your eyes and mind open.  I do believe in our lifetime that the sewing machine will not only be an amazing power tool capable of amazing function and form it will become a thing of beauty!

Hugs and stitches,