On this day in 1851, Isaac Merrit Singer was granted a patent for his sewing machine, revolutionizing the manufacture of clothing and changing the way women thought about fashion forever. By the very early twentieth century, it was estimated that 85% of households owned a sewing machine.
But sewing declined toward the end of the twentieth century, to the point where home sewists were considered old fashioned and garments made by home sewists were considered “home made” and inferior.
Now, sewing is enjoying a large revival in popularity, helped along in particular by the internet. Sewing blogs are everywhere, and the sewing community is vibrant with energy. “Handmade” is being chosen over fast fashions, vintage pattern are being resurrected and revered, and building your own very unique wardrobe, that features perfectly fitting garments, is becoming very, very trendy.
Even if you know nothing about sewing, it’s possible to learn everything you need to know, plus find years worth of inspiration in the way of projects and ideas, within the sewing community.
If you’re not already an active sewist, I’m still betting your mother or your grandmother have a dusty sewing machine tucked away somewhere.
If you are an active sewist, there’s a good chance you’re already using the machine your grandmother or mother used to use. (My first sewing machine was a beautifully restored, honest to goodness vintage Singer treadle machine that really, really worked.)