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August 12 is Sewing Machine Day

Posted in Sewing

Time to celebrate – it is Sewing Machine Day!

Hand cranked sewing machine
Hand cranked sewing machine

Where would we be without sewing machines?!  Hand sewing clothing, draperies, tents….Yikes!!

The first functioning sewing machine created an uproar as many new automated machines tend to do.   It  ” …was invented by the French tailor, Barthelemy Thimonnier, in 1830. Thimonnier’s machine used only one thread and a hooked needle that made the same chain stitch used with embroidery. The inventor was almost killed by an enraged group of French tailors who burnt down his garment factory because they feared unemployment as a result of his new invention.”  (Inventors.about.com)

The uproar continued on with patent disputes between Walter Hunt, Elias Howe, and Isaac Singer.

zig-zag-stitches

Helen Augusta Blanchard of Portland, Maine (1840-1922) brought us the 1st zig-zag stitch machine in 1873. The zig-zag stitch better seals the edges of a seam, making a garment sturdier. Helen Blanchard also patented 28 other inventions including a hat-sewing machine, surgical needles, and other improvements to sewing machines. (Inventors.about.com)

The invention of the sewing machine triggered the emergence of a new industry
The invention of the sewing machine triggered the emergence of a new industry

(Photo credit: sciencewriters.ca )

And finally – the electric sewing machine! The first mechanical sewing machines were used in garment factory production lines. It was not until 1889 that a sewing machine for use in the home was designed and marketed. By 1905, the electrically-powered sewing machine was in wide use. (Inventors.about.com)

So there you have it – the abbreviated  history of how the sewing machine came to be and make our lives so much easier!  Now go give your sewing machine a hug!