By Celia Kent
1X/HEN you were a child and V the nursery was your world, did you, almost unconsciously, put special values on the objects there? First the toys. They were yours. You could be as familiar as you liked with them. Love them or despise them, drag them round, or sit them solemnly up on chairs and talk seriously to them.
Next came the things; the furniture, the rugs and cushions and curtains and tablecloths—and the ornaments and the clock. These were in a higher world; not quite yours but in your power to an extent. That is to say you could use or misuse them, but retaliation soon followed on any mis-use. Finally. entirely in a class on its own, remote and yet strangely familiar, exuding a presence or even a smell more fascinating than anything I can remember in that room, standing alone and, when not in action, covered, was that wondrous. omnipotent, household god—The Machine.
For me the only existing example of the sewing machine. I thought it was also the only piece of machinery in the world--1 didn't count the lawn mower, it had no presence and did a prosaic piece of work which never varied from one time to the next. And respectfully, from a distance, worshipped the sewing machine,
THE things it did had very little I interest. It was the way it did them. First the exotic oily smell that filled the room when the cover was taken off. Then the shape, vaguely animal, but what animal? It was headless to start with, which was puzzling and very sinister. I was. of course, never allowed to touch it, but I doubt if, in my reverence for its mystery, and my terror of its relentless, steely, champing, single, bright needle-tooth, I should have dreamed of such familiarity. The threading of it with bright cotton, like the most intricate reins, was quite remarkable to watch. It was usually accompanied by grunts of impatience on the part of the grown-up who couldn't see for me being in her light.
I would reluctantly move away a little and wait for the best moment of all when whirr, the handle was turned and a cascade of material flowed under the steel-fierce tooth, gnashing up and down in its rage, faster, faster, faster—until its movement fused into a flash. And all the time, this strange beast-cum-god, so evidently thrown into a high state of fury which, by the movement of its handle, agitated every particle of its being, was still, in its deep centre, contented enough to purr and fill air with the pleasant, drowsy, sound that is the sign of a happy machine.
Your own mechanic
"THE Machine" has remained "the I machine" to me. No capital letters any more, but I am as ignorant of its workings as the child that rested its chin on the table, the better to smell the lovely oil and to see the great performance. Imagine then my fright when I received a copy of the Singer Sewing Book marked "for review."
"Celia Kent," I said, "you've had it now. You'd better resign. Did you ever know a columnist writing about women's interests who couldn't use a sewing machine?" "I do know an editor of a woman's magazine who can't cook," she said. "That's different." I said severely. "anyway, can you cook?" "A bit," said Celia, obviously hoping the subject would change quickly. "but why not send the book to mother?" So the book went to mother, who still has the nursery sewing machine, electrified now, but just the same venerable figure of the terrible aspect. This is mother, very enthusiastic for what is obviously the "Mrs. Becton" of the sewing-room. She writes : The Singer Sewing Book• is admirable. It assumes no previous knowledge on the reader's side and starts her on her sewing career from first principles. (Even a chapter on teaching children to sew is included.) It explains that one must at first thoroughly understand the machine, how to keep it clean and oiled, and how to use it for every purpose. For this, much practice is essential. preferably not on your new dress material, but any piece of material you may have by you. even paper.
advice followed: good planning and order are necessary for good results.
Having read it, then one is ready to begin. Take the dressmaking section. On page 22 is the measurement chart which ensures one having one's own correct measurements to which any pattern can be adjusted (see pattern adjustment chapter). When the pattern is arranged, turn to page 31 where one is shown exactly how the layout is done to the best advantage. And so, after cutting out. one is taken, stage by stage, through the sewing, pressing, fitting and finishing.
Another section deals with home decoration and how to give a room a new look. Instructions even -go into details about how cupboards can be tidied up by introducing shoe bags and hat boxes and other accessories. Reading it, one wants to scrap all one has and begin decorating all over again.
Mending—housewives' horror—is tackled easily and efficiently. The darning of that long-neglected hole in the tablecloth, the patches on the children's clothes, and even on one's own; button-holes and pockets are all made or repaired with Singer's sewing machine attachments.
Refresher course PEOPLE often don't realise how many decorative trimmings and stitches can be done by machine with the correct attachments. For instance monograms and initials can be machined on household linen and are most pleasing and lasting. Baby clothes, children's clothes, table mats. floor rugs and quilting all find a place in this comprehensive volume.
thoisefindwhthoe db000k nomt instructive those most helpful to those who have perhaps forgotten and are glad of some hints to revive their memory. What I did miss was a complete list of all the different attachments that can be obtained for the Singer sewing machine. Could these be included in an index in the next edition? thoisefindwhthoe db000k nomt instructive