The 1950’s and 1960’s were regarded by many to be sewing’s golden age. There was a strong focus on fashion sewing, designer patterns, and copying Hollywood looks. In some ways, sewing became more chic. In 1955, 52 million women and girls in the U.S. were sewing. By 1963, American women spent a record $1 billion on sewing—including patterns, fabric, notions, and sewing machines. By 1964, the average age of the home sewer was 25 years younger than in 1940. Between 1960 and 1968, the amount of clothes sewn at home increased by 50 percent.
To combat the growing “ready-to-wear” industry, Singer needed to ensure a new generation of sewers, Singer ads started encouraging mothers to teach their daughters to sew from a young age. In 1920 Singer introduced the model 20, a tiny, working sewing machine especially for little girls. Singer also began to advertise free sewing classes with the purchase of every machine. When I was a kid in the 1970’s, my mother sewed like a banshee! I remember being beyond excited when she taught me how to sew by hand, and later with a child sized sewing machine – a much later electric model that the Sew handy model 20, and not nearly as neat!!
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