Covid Creativity, 20Apr2020

By Flip Flockton

The Sewing Machine’s Tale or How I Joined the Fight Against Covid-19

Three years ago, when my owner downsized and moved, I left my cosy, warm corner at the bottom of a cupboard on the main floor of the farmhouse for my new home.  This turned out to be a dark corner of a basement amongst boxes of dubious artistic creations. Although, once, I had created prom and wedding dresses, there I have languished, unused and unloved for nearly three years…until now.

Who would have thought that sewing machines would have a role to play in fighting the current Covid-19 pandemic? BUT WE DO.   On the machine network, the buzz has been the pros and cons of masks to control the spread of Covid-19 and how to make them.  Consequently, I was not completely surprised to see Madame descend to my dismal basement abode.  “Oh good, you are where I thought I put you”, she muttered to herself as she heaved me out from amongst the boxes; and then huffed and puffed her way upstairs as she commented unfavourably about my weight.

With one almighty effort, Madame lifted me onto the dining room table, removed my lid, untangled all my electrical wires…discovered they would not reach the electrical outlet…and then spent 15 minutes looking for an extension cable.  Eventually, mission accomplished! 

Madame checked the internet printout of “how to make a mask”, assembled the pieces of the bilious orange fabric cut from an old pillowcase, and found some cotton thread to install on me.  Unnecessarily I thought, there were several derogatory remarks about the smallness of my needle eye and the problems it caused when threading the cotton.  I personally think it had a great deal more to do with Madame’s eyes than mine.  I will draw a veil over the next rather unpleasant 15 minutes. Suffice to say, eventually I was threaded and rearing to go. 

Madame inserted the fabric under my foot, and plonked her own not so dainty foot on the electric pedal. Nothing happened!   I thought there were some very unfair observations about my inability to perform, but fortunately Madame had one of those senior flashbacks.  She recalled an incident, many years ago, at a local sewing machine store. She had taken me there because she accused me of not working at all.  As the repairman pointed out to her on that occasion, “you need to turn the sewing machine on”, and promptly charged her $30 for a service call! 

At first, I was a little nervous after so many years of inactivity, but gradually my stiff, unlubricated engine slowly picked up speed, and my needle was going up and down ferociously.  Madame was delighted with the two very peculiar looking masks she made, and muttered about making more.  (Personally, I think she needs to up her sewing skills considerably. Her mother may have embroidered blackout curtains during World War Two, but believe me, Madame is not in that couturier category.)

In the meantime, just in case Madame gets carried away and embarks on a mask production line (I suspect extremely unlikely), I am on stand-by and have a new home.  I am ensconced in an easily accessible cupboard on the main floor, surrounded by Madame’s collection of old winter coats and boots dating back thirty years. In the meantime, in these unusual times, I’m so pleased to have come out of retirement to be one of the hundreds of sewing machines doing our bit to defeat Covid-19.

Collectif members, send an image of your very recent work to  with up to 100 words describing what you did, materials used, inspiration, etc. Maybe share how you’re feeling & how creativity helps. We’d like an informative, inspiring show & tell. For writers, send us poetry, lyrics, a short piece or excerpt.


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