Fixing The Sewing Machines In Sue’s Classroom

The sewing studio in Sue’s Art Room

I noticed the painted hands on the wall, but didn’t think about them until a couple of  Sue’s students came into the sewing studio.  They were visiting Sue.

I stopped what I was doing to talk to them.

One had graduated in the spring and was counting the days and hours until she left for collage.  She pointed to her shirt with Oswego  written on it when I asked her where she was going.

Then she showed me her handprint on the wall.  Her name written on the palm.

Like ancient handprints on a cave wall, these students have left their mark in Sue’s classroom.

Both of the students did some sewing when they took Sue’s art class, but mostly by hand.  They lit up when they talked about it.

I was in Sue’s class room to set up the sewing machines for when school starts again.

If they don’t know how to use a sewing machine, the students will sometimes abandon a machine if the bobbin is jammed or the tension off.  Or they might start fiddling with the setting, often making it worse.

I spun a full bobbin for each machine, threaded it, set the tension, stitch size and stitches settings.  I did a little sewing on each one to make sure it worked.

Most of the machines were simple, but one had a complicated threading system I’d never seen before.  Luckily it had an instruction booklet with it.  I worked great once I figured it out.

There are a few students in the class who know about sewing machines.  Hser Nay is one of them and she helps the other students when she can.   But by the end of the year they all needed some special care.

I hope to get back to the class room once school starts to teach some sewing and keep the machines in  order.   There are eight or nine working now, and I just need to get a presser foot for one and a foot pedal for another and there will be two more machines for students to work on.

Sue organized all the fabric, patterns, yarn and notions into marked boxes over the past couple of months.  Now her class room is as neat as my studio after I clean it up.  But soon, when the kids come back to school,  it will be the kind of mess that my studio is when I’m working.

Working on the sewing machines. Photo by Sue Silverstein

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