Tuesday, March 10, 2009
In 1980, while I was serving with the U.S. Army in Frankfurt, Germany, I went to the PX and picked out the sewing machine of my dreams, a top-of-the-line Pfaff 1222E, all metal, made in Germany, with a switch to allow operation on U.S. 110-volt and European 220-volt electricity. It cost me somewhere between $600 and $700; I put it on layaway (a great thing in those pre-credit card days) and it was a few months before I could take it home.
This sewing machine has been my most beloved friend for almost 30 years, dragged from one side of the Atlantic to the other several times. For a while, unable to imagine living without it for even a day, I carried it on the plane with me, since it fit under the seat nicely. Occasionally a stewardess would argue with me as I tried to bring it in, but I generally won those arguments and used it as a footrest on countless transatlantic flights. I only abandoned that practice when I had to carry babies and diaper bags instead.
With my Pfaff I made a beautiful outfit that my handsome young husband wore in a fashion show, a wedding dress for my friend Pat, a raw silk suit for my mom, two suits for my mother-in-law, two sets of blue and white draperies for the bay window of our house in Maryland, bedding and curtains for the nursery, a whole queen-size quilt top and lots of other things too numerous to list. My Pfaff was more faithful than most friends and never let me down, until recently.
You could say it let DH down. While trying to patch his own clothes, he managed to break the machine. I don't really blame him; it IS 29 years old and he is normally the person who fixes things; he's not a breaker by nature. He tried hard to fix my machine, but it needed a part that a broad Internet search revealed to be no longer available.
I suppose I could have just bought a new machine, but you know how it is when an inanimate object becomes a member of the family? I couldn't bear to retire the old Pfaff. I also suspect that no new machine could be as good as the one I already own. Thus began our search for twin machines that could be used for parts. We had several false starts on eBay, but were finally successful in buying one whose motor supposedly didn't work. It arrived, much newer-looking than mine, and guess what? DH managed to fix it, more or less. Of course that meant we still needed spare parts for my machine, so we bought another one. This one was missing a lot of parts, but had the one we needed, plus a much nicer case than mine, which was itself a replacement bought after the original case got damaged in shipment back from Africa ten years ago.
So now I have two Pfaff 1222's, both more or less working, and an extra for spare parts, all sitting on the table in my sewing room. There's no room to actually do any sewing, but how great is that?