I learned to sew when I was in 5th grade on my mother's Singer Touch-n-Sew. That was when I started 4H and I remember my first project was an apron that gathered onto a plastic molded band. I used that machine to make many clothes for my fashion doll and for myself. I continued using that machine into my teens, making crafts, gifts and toys along with even more clothing.
Imagine my joy when I took home economics in high school and there was the same sewing machine! I was 'home'! After graduation I started my degree in home economics and found that I needed a sewing machine of my own. YAY! The high school was selling their machines - just 5 years old - and they included an overhaul and cleaning. I paid a whopping $75 for my first sewing machine.
I used that machine for all the sewing for my degree in clothing, textiles, and design and for making my clothes. When the kids came along I made baby clothes, play clothes, school clothes, and even formal wear for my daughter. Still later I made wedding crafts and bridesmaid dresses for her and then some baby clothes for the grand-daughters our son presented.
I have been using that workhorse for 39 years - plus the use of it and it's cohorts for 3 years in high school - plus the one at home for another 7.
Sadly, I was just starting to do the quilting on a second quilt I had pieced when the gears inside began breaking. Oh, the horrible sound of grinding and crunching as cogs snapped off!
(not the actual gears)
Off to the sewing machine shop and a repair estimate to drop the jaw. I ended up buying a new machine for only $50 more than the repair bill.
I didn't want to go right back to the quilt without learning about the new machine and all the fancy feet. So I took 4 hours of instruction at the store and set out to make a separate project to learn the 1/4- inch foot, the walking foot, and the free-motion foot. I had materials for a watercolor quilt so used them to make a wall hanging.
This is the result:
It measures about 29 inches square (the interior blocks are 1.5 inches square). I did stippling for the first time ever, learned to install hanging loops, used a glued basting for the binding, and used a product called quilters ease for layout.
Good lessons learned - now I can get back to quilting the pieced top that started the whole thing!