Friday, September 13, 2013

Remembering Grandma Ruby

I had to take my Bernina in to have her yearly tune up. But, I am right in the middle of the MSBHQAL, so I couldn't be without a machine. I came up with a plan...I wanted to get my grandmother's Singer featherweight ready to sew. It has been a few years since she was used, and the last person to use her, was my youngest daughter. She even moved her to the west coast.

The first thing I did was to find an on line source for parts. I knew she needed to be oiled and greased and a lightbulb. Then I noticed the wire on the pedal was frayed, so I found a place that sold new foot pedals too. I waited rather impatiently for all these items to arrive.

 This is the original foot pedal that came with the machine. I don't know when it was purchased, but it was manufactured in 1948.  I am keeping this pedal for now. I can't bear to throw it away.
Here is the new foot pedal that I purchased for $18. A fair price if you ask me and it works like a champ.

 So what has this to do with Grandma Ruby? Well, obviously, this was her machine. It is the only sewing machine I remember her ever using.  She was a professional seamstress and for a number of years, when she first lived with us, she worked at a drapery shop.
 She was very good at making clothing too. She and my mother whipped out lots of clothes and mended many other items over the years. When I wanted to learn to sew, she taught me. This is remarkable to me now, as I remember she was not a patient person and she would often get "an attack of nerves" thet sent her to bed, sometimes for days.
 We made a small pink skirt for a doll I had. I think i was about 10 at the time. She showed me how to do everything and then let me do it. That skirt was pleated, had a waist band and a snap, and had a hem put in by hand, by me, with an invisible hem stitch that she taught me. "Only pick up two or three threads of the fabric and it won't show on the top side." Did I mention she was meticulous.
 After that I sewed lots of clothes for me and my sisters on this machine. All through high school. When I went off to school and later moved out on my own, I had no machine for a while, then I won one in a drawing. I used it for a bit, but it wasn't great and I don't remember the brand or model.
 Somewhere along the way, I got this machine given to me by my mother. I remember sewing clothes for my daughters on it when they were small. I have taught all my daughters how to use it, and some went on to sew more, some, not.
 But I am so proud that 4 generations of my family have used this machine. I have a big Bernina now, but I have enjoyed using this little one so much. The memories it brings back. I think I will continue to piece on it.  Bernina can do the quilting part.
 I hope that somewhere, Grandma Ruby looks down and smiles and is proud of the legacy she left to us.
 Thanks, Grandma Ruby, for giving me the best gift ever, the love of sewing. It sustains me more than you can ever know.
And she still sews a pretty straight line too. Thanks for stopping by. See you soon.


  1. WOW - those pictures take me right back there!

  2. What a treasure... both the sewing machine and the memories! May you and Grandma Ruby's featherweight enjoy many more sewing years together!

  3. How lucky are you to have that machine! Not only is it beautiful, but the memories are priceless! I was supposed to get my great-grandmother's treadle machine. I don't know whatever happened to it, but I would dearly love to sew on it! o:)

  4. What a treasure! I'll bet more generations will even use this!


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