Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Does Your Sewing Machine have a Name?

Does your sewing machine have a name? Common now, you can tell me! As I have been researching machines this week, I have run across this notion (sewing pun!) more times than not. Come to think of it, when I brought the Babylock Ellure home I think my daughter named it something, but I can't remember what. I may have been Sewey or Stitchey, but I will have to ask her. I also recall the Elna at Oregon Ballet Theater's costume shop having a name, but I can't remember that one either. Maybe I'm just bad with names!

I love that there is a machine called a Minerva, which is the brand name, not the name of the machine itself. So what does it say about our collective sewing personalities that we name our machines and talk about them like they are human? In literature that is called personification -- or maybe it is pathetic fallacy -- I can't quite remember which is which -- but I still find it interesting that we think of our machines as our friends (or in some cases, enemies...)

It seems for many people, the choice of a name is derived from the brand name -- such as Bernie (for Bernina) or Vicky for a Viking. I have also read about lots of machines which (or is it who?) possess a name that conjures up a reliable farm animal or wise elder: think along the lines of 'Ol Betty or Aunt Bertha.

Here are a few links I found that discuss the habit of naming machines. Julia over at Serious Sewing calls her Singer 168 machine Matilda. There are seven pages of comments on naming machines on the quilters' message board. And it was one of the questions for the Sew Mama Sew Sewing Machine Meme: they asked if 'she' had a name - I wonder if there are any machines out there who are male...?

My dad had a car named Sad Bird. He had a little silver plaque engraved with the name on it that was set into the dashboard. Could be a business idea for someone, no? Maybe take over a corner of a trophy shop and market it to us nutty sewers? Let me know if you start it up!


  1. Think I'll name them right now.
    Thompson walking foot is FRED
    Kenmore is ESTER
    Industrial Singer is JAWS
    Bernina is PRECIOUS
    Jamone serger is MATILDA

  2. Thanks Miyo! This post also inspired my friend Dave to name his Singer 4411 'Stitch'. I may have to revisit naming my own machines as well. We'll see!

  3. Hi there,
    I have a Singer sewing machine, my favourite singer is Aretha Franklin so my sewing machine is called... Franklin!!!