One of the most pervasive and critical machines to enhance and advance civilization is the sewing machine, yet it is so easy to take for granted. Look around your home and identify all the items that required machine stitching to produce, and try to imagine life without the sewing machine.
In the home, the introduction of the sewing machine brought new independence and efficiency to families as mothers and daughters began to sew clothing and fabric goods more quickly and often more creatively.
Thanks largely to Singer’s immense sales success, the concept of consumer credit was introduced to American families. By the 1950s a beautifully designed, elegantly colored machine might be the prized possession of a caring wife and mother, until our modern era of cheaply produced, disposable components began to replace the sturdy metal construction of the classic machines.
As the 1970s ushered in a new age of equality for women, as well as a growing demand for dual-income lifestyles, the durability of all-metal machines was lost at the same time many women abandoned sewing. Gone was an age of designing, constructing, and servicing our own clothing and fabric goods in the home. Sensible families could purchase clothing more cheaply than sewing it at home, thanks to low-cost labor and high-volume factories. This freed wives, mothers, and daughters to pursue jobs and careers.
Today, many share a passion for the craft and artistry of stitching fabric into beautiful and useful things, but no longer is the home sewing machine an essential tool for most families.
Filmmakers Brenda and James Wolfensberger traveled through New York, New England, Ohio, Maryland, and Virginia to bring you the first full-length, comprehensive documentary on vintage sewing machines. Enjoy interviews with collectors, mechanics, and restoration enthusiasts Scott Kennedy, Renato Pace, Karen Castor, Danna L. Fore, Terry Crawford Palardy, Will McCann, Cathy Racine, and Joe Brennan.