Have you purchased a sewing machine lately?
As a new bride my mother decided I needed my own sewing machine. She scrounged around and found an Italian brand machine. A Bertinelli, ever heard of it? Nah, neither had I, or any of the repair shops I took it to. It was about 20 years old, but had been reconditioned and was about 88 pounds of sea foam green hardware. The motor sounded much like Mussolini's tank invading France, and it left destruction in it's wake the majority of the time. I look back on that machine as the tool that taught me to swear.
Time went by and we decided to take up with the allies and remove Italian machines from our home. We searched out what my mother and other's had said were good brands, Bernina, Pfaff, Viking...hey Viking, they sound like they could take on any sewing chore and do very well. After doing much research we decided that a Nordic made machine would be great, however the Euro had not yet been created, the iron curtain was still hung, and no matter how we thought it out, we could not afford a "good" machine. We went with a Singer. Yikes. It was a higher education to be sure:
Singer Sewing/Swearing 202. The Sewing/Swearing Technology program provides students with the technical and practical training necessary for work as a seamstress or sailor in a variety of settings, including homes, church, and/or but not limited to submarines, along side drunken sailors, long shore-man or bartenders frequented by the above. Students will examine the sewing machine (over and over and over), material becoming ground up into the feed dogs, thread entanglement and breakage, bobbin tension malfunctions, the use of scissors to extract clothing from the machine and seam ripping on all articles made.
Courses are not necessarily offered in the sequences in which they appear in the catalog. Oh no no no! Students will be thrown for a loop every time they begin to sew! No two projects will ever be the same and multiple application in regard to the same pattern will also turn out different as the machine is possessed by Satan.
Prerequisites for this course are previous work on a Bertinelli Machine, serving 2 years with the merchant marines, or surviving a coup d’état. Testing out is possible if you can go two rounds with...with... heck, my mom! (sorry mom, but yeah, I learned a lot at home!)
30 years have gone by and it's time to buy a new machine. The kids are (relatively) out of the house, we can eat food storage for a month, and save to buy a new (cherubic choruses singing) machine of Nordic heritage!
I thought. Have you seen the price of a new machine? The first store I went into we had to call in paramedics. The sales gal asked me what my budget was. I know I was going to shoot low, I mean really, I know I can't afford even a mid range machine, but all I need is a low end model, so I say (somewhat proudly) $350.00! The poor woman fell over backwards and knocked herself unconscious on a bolt of heavy duty denim.
After the medics took her off, her second came in and politely told me, trying very hard not to laugh, that the LOWEST price machine they sold was $500.00. She could show me a "craft" sewing machine, they come in a cardboard box, third shelf in the scrapbook isle. (swearing is coming back to me) "O.k. well show me what you do have in the bottom of the barrel category. It's been a while."
She takes me over to a "...really nice little machine that has been used as an upgrade. The owner bought it knowing they would return it within 90 days as a trade in... (WAIT! Did she just say "trade in"? as in "I want to trade in my station wagon for a minivan."?) ...so it has only 3 months usage! It retails for $5,000.00 but we are putting out for $1,500.00!" Holy cow, I am dead freaking meat.
When I gasp, she senses my surprise and informs me that to get a "really good quality machine I need to invest, not just buy." I am SO in trouble. She walks me over to -if it were a surf board- would be a long board. "This (she pauses for dramatic effect, arm pointing to the beast) is the Turbo-tastic computerized embroidery/quilting 350! It retails for (please sit down if you aren't already) $25,000.00." (and yes, I am exaggerating a lot in this post, but this price? um, no. THAT WAS THE ACTUAL PRICE!) She waits for a response. I am, frankly, hoping those paramedics haven't left the parking lot because I am feeling my left arm go numb. "You see, you need to invest!" She waits again for me to say something, anything, but I am still trying to get the elephant off my chest. "You can purchase a car, or a sewing machine...." Her voice kind of fades and gets echo-y and at that the room kind of swirls around and begins to turn black.
I woke up (in a cold sweat) with her standing over my (presumably dead) body. "S'mee? S'mee? Oh perhaps I have overwhelmed you. (ya think?) Oh dear, (she begins to giggle) you were serious about wanting a bottom of the line!" She walks me over to a rolling chair and sets me down to look at what she has never touched. Seriously, it had cobwebs between it and the other 3 machines on that desk. There were cobwebs and I think I heard eerie organ music in the background, it was a dark and scary place, the kind of place you just know something bad is going to happen.
"This (she is suddenly channeling Ben Stine) is the WhyBotherSewingAtAll 200. It sews. This model here (moving over one machine) is the Sure,IfYouWantEveryoneToLaughYouOutOf TheSewingGuild 180, it also sews, but it has reverse too. It starts at $550.00, but it's on sale, today until (what time is it now? 12:35) 1:00 for $399.00. This next one, the I'mSoEmbarrassedToEvenBeSittingByIt 450xl3 is also on sale, regularly $800.00, for $499.00. It sews, go backwards, and also makes zigzag stitches. (she begins this speech with those soothing, melodic tones one uses while trying to coax someone off a ledge) Now you see S'mee? Do you see why you need to invest? Why these machines here, well they just sew a straight stitch, maybe a button hole, but those over there, well, all you have to do is throw folded material at the machine and (in a strict German accent) command them to "make a toddler dress, size 4!"- and it's done! No cutting, no sitting at the machine, just done!"
I go through this process with four other sewing centers. Ladies and gentlemen, I have some career advise: Forget being an astronaut. Put down that dream of being a brain surgeon. Don't even think about being a rock star. The real money on this planet is in sewing machines!
I am still in the market for a machine I can afford. (please, for the love of Pete, stop laughing!) I have a few more places to explore before I finally commit to just killing myself. I'll let you know how it goes. Mussolini? Hitler? heck, if they knew how to do it right they would have just forced their enemies to try and buy a sewing machine.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Have you purchased a sewing machine lately?
Posted by S'mee at 1:41 AM