I don't exactly remember how old I was—5 or 6? It was always out and set up, I think. My mom taught me. We did a mix of hand sewing and regular sewing, but mostly I was just watching her and learning the process and then trying myself by jamming up her machine over and over again. What kind of machine did you first learn to sew on?
I learned on my mom's machine, which she no longer has, but has since given to her sister. It was a awesome 1970s (maybe earlier) all metal bright orange Husqvarna. I love it and it was so strong! I must have jammed that machine up 1000 times and it still worked great. When I graduated from highschool my mom and dad said they would buy me a computer to take to college or a sewing machine. I went for the machine, and of course I chose a Husqvarna and now it's the machine my girls use.
Sewing! Ha! Seriously, everything, right? I mean it's perfect for both crafts and garment sewing. I do a love of free-motion work on it as well and it does a great job with that.
What is your 'dream machine?'
I'm pretty well set up right now. I don't have a collection of machines (nor do I want one) but my mom has a vintage featherweight, which I would love to try, it's popular among quilters for it's wonderful straight stitch, and I'd love an old school Pfaff machine, like what I used when working in college in the costume shop, again, another straight stitch machine. Purely for nostalgic reasons.
What advice would you give to a beginning sewer looking to invest in their first machine?
I actually have a bit about this in my fist book, Bend-the-Rules Sewing. . . I'd say try to get the best one you can afford and buy from a dealer from an independent shop, not a big chain store. Also, these smaller shops have classes usually for free—take them. It' makes all the difference in the world. And really be honest about what you think you might sew and try to keep it simple. You can always trade-in if you later want a machine with all the crazy bells and whistles, but starting out, simple is best.