The art of sewing is one of the greatest crafts of old and one that is re-emerging today after decades of being consigned to the back burner!
Enter the 21st century and the sewing craft is making a grand entry and is fast becoming a popular craft amongst the youth. Many now want to learn the art of sewing and because of this sudden surge in interest, registration and enrolment into sewing classes, both online and offline is fast increasing. Suddenly, people want to learn how to sew, not so much as a profession, but for the fun that the sewing craft gives its enrolees and enthusiasts.
Up until the mid-fifties, sewing and dressmaking was associated mostly with housewives and spinsters sitting at their sewing machines for hours, sewing dresses, aprons, skirts, blouses, etc… a true picture of a bygone era.
Today, there is a new wind of change and it really is a welcome turn of events. Now, the handmade/custom clothing profession is growing at an alarming rate and fashion designers are now joining the trend.
Early Sewing Tools
Before the advent of machines, the art of sewing was called needlework and was done using needles to painstakingly stitch together fabric pieces to form clothing. This was done by women and young ladies, and was produced mostly for personal use. It wasn’t uncommon to find women in the home doing their needlework diligently, day in, day out just to produce that item of clothing.
The first sewing needles were hand-crafted using animal products like fish bones, animal bones and horns. By the 14th century however, needles made from iron was introduced but the needle eyes were not developed until the 15th century.
Early Domestic Sewing Machines
When the domestic sewing machine was introduced to American homes in the 1850s, it was a common feature that was soon to be found in every household and was heralded as a “mechanical wonder” made to totally transform the dreary life of every woman.
The first of the mass produced sewing machines was manufactured by Isaac Singer in the mid-19th century, and by 1855 it was proclaimed as an item that was indispensable to women. What made his sewing machines successful and popular was his introduction of the foot pedal. The added new feature made the sewing machine a very important industrial machine of sorts that was used only in clothing factories . . . but it eventually became a common item that featured in most households.
The Modern Machine
After a series of transformation in sewing machine types and features, including the computerised ones that now make sewing a breeze, another addition to today’s wonder machine/tools is the handheld mini sewing machine. Though they may have been around for some decades, they are more powerful, with added features than ever before. It is so versatile that it has become a useful tool to have around the house, especially if you don’t own a domestic machine.
This new age tool is good when you need to quickly mend curtains, slipcovers, cuffs, clothes, hems, loose stitches or other fabric materials in the home. It’s also great for sewing projects that will ordinarily be a cumbersome task to do, even with a regular sewing machine.
Antique or Vintage Machines and Sewing Paraphernalia Collectors
Because the domestic sewing machine of the 19th century wasn’t a very attractive addition to the parlour, dining room, or bedroom, the cabinet machine was later introduced and subsequently became the rave. It became an inconspicuous addition and was usually placed in the corner of the room and when noticed it was with words of admiration.
By the early 20th century, it had become unfashionable to display the domestic sewing machine for all to see. It was more desirable to hide it away in some cupboard, or closet, away from visitors’ eyes. Funny, roughly a century later, the antique (or vintage) sewing machine has become a collector’s delight and a great favourite for vintage item collections.
Classic machines, including other antique or vintage sewing paraphernalia . . . patterns, thimbles, bobbins, pin cushions, sewing scissors, notions baskets, needle boxes, needlepoint and needlework books, etc… are sought after by enthusiasts and those who appreciate the engineering of the early sewing machines and hand sewing implements.