I've always sewn, but I've never had any proper instruction despite coming from a long line of sewers and embroiderers. My Mam made all her own clothes as a teenager and still uses the sewing machine she bought back then. My Dad's mother was a professional dressmaker. Many of my Mam's aunts were well known for their skill with a needle; in fact, Great Aunt Rose was the dressmaker for the uniform section of a major city hospital. But none of these (with the exception of my Mam) ever passed on any of their (surely) massive fonts of knowledge to me- it's only anecdotally that I've discovered the depth of sewing knowledge in the family.
I started sewing by hand as a child, making little dolls for my dolls house or embroidering names onto ribbon to give to relatives as personalised bookmarks; I still have some of these really dodgy little people, but pretty sure the ribbons are long gone. I never used a pattern- I made it all up as I went along and discovered things like clipping curves through trial and error and the odd word of encouragement from my Mam. I still prefer hand sewing but I do love machine sewing too (except when the machine takes notions).
My first ever sewing machine came from Santa when I was about 7; it was pink, had a little drawer at the front to store stuff, and it worked using batteries or by manually cranking a wheel, but I don't remember ever making much with it. In fact, what I loved most about it was the drawer.
My second one came from Lidl shortly after I finished college, but it still wasn't a full sized one; it was a really noisy, one-type-of-stitch-only, teeny-tiny travel sewing machine- my Mam got it for me on a whim. I made quite a few bags on that clackity little machine before moving onto an old Toyota, obtained second-hand. Well the joy of being able to zig-zag stitch was amazing. The Toyota came from a girl I used to work with who was moving to Argentina; obviously this wasn't going as hand luggage with her, so she passed it along to me (thanks Viena!). The tension on it was always a bit dodgy (it regularly wrecked my head to be honest) and when my aunt offered me the machine she got in Lidl (Lidl again!) but had never used, I said absolutely!
My current sewing machine is a workhorse- it's a Bernina 1008, it weighs a tonne, but it's so reliable. I got it 4 years ago after the Lidl machine decided to die a death right in the middle of me making a piece on deadline (agh!); thankfully I had been saving with the Bernina vaguely in mind, so it didn't leave me eating beans on toast for 6 months (could have been a problem considering the price of a new Bernina, even the totally basic model that I bought). I chose this particular one as I had used that model in a college where I was doing an evening course; I had really liked it. In hindsight, I probably could have gone for a more cost-effective brand and not noticed a difference, but I was in such a hurry at the time that I went for what I knew I liked. And I do love it!
Tricia is newer to the sewing machine world. She bought a basic Janome J3-24 a few years back, and after making quite a few lovely, lovely items of clothing on it, decided recently to upgrade to a machine that had more stitching types. Her current machine is a Janome 525S and she loves it so much. She recently finished a fabulous Cambie dress on it and is working on an epic secret project too.
What sewing machine do you have? What machine would you love? Personally I'd love an overlocker, but I just don't have the space for one where I live (and work). Maybe some day!