John-Paul Flintoff

Goodbye, treadle-powered sewing machine

Seven years (or so) after I first got it, I’m saying goodbye to my treadle-powered Singer sewing machine.

It’s not an easy thing to do. This is the machine that I learned to make clothes on: shirts, jeans, a dress for my daughter, Easter bonnets, you name it.

This is the machine I took with me onto the streets, to teach sewing to unsuspecting strangers. I liked to joke that it would come in handy “when the oil runs out”. Without this machine, in short, I’d never have written Sew Your Own. And without this machine, I’d not have been able to explain that book to a bemused roomful of marketing people in the offices of my publisher.

But one of the key people featured in that book, my wife’s great-aunt Peggy – who helped me, one bank-holiday weekend, to make my first fitted shirt – has now given me a more modern machine. (If not quite state-of-the-art. It’s from the 1960s.)

And I’ve decided to get rid of the one that takes up the most space in my cramped office. Goodbye, trusty Singer. I bought you on eBay, and that’s where you must return. It’s time for somebody else to get fit (using the treadle) while being creative (using the needle).

I shall use the proceeds to buy something special for Peggy: to say thank you for the “new” machine, for teaching me to sew that first shirt – and for just generally being ace.

But what do you give to somebody who has spent the last few years getting rid of possessions? If you have any suggestions, please leave a message below.

My “new” sewing machine, courtesy of Mrs Peggy Parker (pictured)

blog comments powered by Disqus