Sunday, June 16, 2013

It Ain't Heavy, It's My Brother

I have just bought my second Brother sewing machine, this time for Zonder Zorg to accommodate  the European 220 volt systems. I had bought one previously to share between Sequitur and home, both wired to 110 volts. 

The sewing machine weights 7.5 Kg and is small and light enough to fit into my carry on bag. In our past commuting from Vancouver to South America, taking it through the security machines at various airports was amusing. With most female operators at the X-ray machines there wasn't any problem. With male operators, my bag moving on the conveyor belt would come to a sudden halt, followed by  back and forth motion for further scanning and frowning. I normally helped them out by catching their eye and making needle and thread gestures. This was acknowledged with a smile and a nod and my bag moved forward again. 

In the mid-1950s my two elder sisters pooled their funds and bought a Brother sewing machine, which had been newly introduced to the international market from Japan. Prior to that there had been some sturdy older brand names around like Singer, which my mother owned. Her portable Singer came with a wooden dome case and a manual wheel; it was rather heavy. She later had it converted to electrical as small conversion kits made their debut. The kit came with a small motor, a belt to hook onto the wheel and a foot pedal, but the machine remained basic with only one forward stitch. Any attachments for these machines were very expensive and needed to be purchased separately.

The Brother Sewing Machines have come a long way since the Yasui Sewing Machine Co. was established in 1908 in Nagoya Japan. In 1954 they became the Brother International Corporation.
They entered the market with a relatively inexpensive sewing machine with several selectable stitches, including zig-zag, and they came with bobbins and button attachments.

My sewing machine has already made a few pillows for onboard and I marvel at the little bag with all the free attachments. I look forward to sewing aboard as we pass through areas where small fabric and sewing shops still exist.

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