I’ll never forget my first sewing machine. It was pink, it had two speeds (fast and faster), and I loved it. I saw it on an end cap at Walmart one day and asked for it as a Christmas present. When I opened it up, it was love at first sight. I was 21, and the sewing bug had hit me hard.
When I got my sewing machine, I did not know how to use it. I was in college and sewing classes weren’t readily available to me on my budget (read: free) at that time. So I turned to the internet to learn. I botched a lot of fabric and said more than a few curse words, but through blog posts and tutorials, I taught myself how to sew a straight line on my little machine. Additionally, I married a guy who took fashion in high school. Though he took the class to meet girls, he learned a lot and was able to help me with my sewing questions. With his help and the help of tutorials I found, I was able to learn to sew. My first project was a ring-bearer pillow, followed by some couch pillows and a café curtain.
My in-laws gave me a 1960s Singer sewing machine that was housed in its own cabinet a few months after we got married. I was terrified of it. A sewing class would have been helpful at this time, but with help from my husband and finally locating the instruction manual for my machine, I slowly learned more about it and branched out with my projects.
Sewing classes weren’t always so hard to find, and these days you can even find them on the internet through vendors like Craftsy. The YWCA in Louisville offered many classes, and among them were sewing classes. Recently, Heather Stone found a collection of glass lantern slides in the stacks, and we pulled them out to look at them. There were some beautiful images, including images of a sewing class and advertisements for these classes! Below are three of my favorite images from this collection, and I look forward to seeing what other sewing treasures The Filson has hiding in our collections.