Searching for a pin in my wife’s needlework box today, I came across a vintage tool, which had somehow mysteriously stayed out of sight for a good 3 decades or so.
Circa 1980, my then GF decided to take up sewing lessons from her neighbouring Aunty. So she acquired a good-size needlework box, with a full complement of scissors, measuring tape, a small box of pins and needles, a triangular piece of marking chalk, etc, and of course, this Tracing Wheel.
A paper pattern would be drawn, and then a piece of carbon paper placed in between this pattern and the underlying cloth. The tracing wheel was then used to roll along the lines drawn on the pattern — producing a matching string of dots onto the cloth. Stitching was then done along these dots, after removing the papers.
Sometime in the 1990s, we decided to trade-in our old Singer sewing machine for a secondhand Brother, with some high expectations. It came in a nice glistening white…but alas it was really another animal. Nothing seemed to fall in the familiar “right places”. For instance the shuttle was staring at the user and kept nodding up and down, instead of facing the left. And the motor-drive really drove us crazy.
Oh how we struggled to tame the beast, instead of giving attention to the sewing jobs. Finally we traded-in that white elephant for……guess what…an old-fashioned leg-powered Singer !
Not that Brother is bad, just that it was the beginning to dawn on us that we were getting old, and finding it harder to cope with new things.
You may want to call it Stitch – any which way, it was an art that required huge Passion, Patience plus creative Imagination. Embroidery by hand ; which ladies of the old days – including many of my senior relatives – loved to indulge and excel in.
I remember that sometimes they also used sewing machines to do the stitching.
Haiz, it has been donkey (maybe for 2016 just call it Monkey) years since I last saw any lady, especially a younger one, doing it. Perhaps it simply does not jive well with the fast pace of modern life. Also, these days, with computer-aided machines, even extremely complex patterns can be sewn and reproduced by the millions in perfection.