Heart of the Home: First Big Buy Was a Dressmaker Sewing Machine

Teen bought a new sewing machine at a big discount after winning a cash prize.

| Winter 2017

  • A Dressmaker sewing machine lasted for twenty years with this reader.
    Illustration by Fotolia/natrot and Fotolia/macrovecto

I made my first big purchase when I was still in high school, almost 60 years ago.

I had learned to sew on my mom’s Singer treadle sewing machine, and she and I made all my skirts and blouses when I was in school. I traveled to Curtis, Nebraska, to attend high school at the University Of Nebraska School Of Agriculture, and I missed having a sewing machine and making my own clothes.

At some point, I saw an advertisement in a magazine where you could win money toward a new sewing machine. I’m not sure if it was in Capper’s Weekly, Farm Journal, or McCall’s, but those were the magazines my family received. According to the advertisement, all you had to do was complete a simple “fill in the blanks” word puzzle and send it in. So, I filled the form out in my best penmanship, and then sent it in.

Low and behold, I received a check in the mail for $200 toward the purchase of a $225 sewing machine. Luckily, I had been saving my money, and I had the $25. I sent it in, and I received back the prettiest blue and white Dressmaker sewing machine.

I used that sewing machine for more than 20 years, sewing everything from my school clothes to clothes for my husband and my children, and even quilts from scrap materials. One year, while I was making Christmas gifts, my trusty old machine started acting up. I persevered, though, and I managed to make it through.

Under the Christmas tree that year, from my husband, was the paperwork for a brand-new Singer Touch and Sew Slant Needle sewing machine. He had traded my old Dressmaker in on it, and had received $25 as trade-in value.

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