Saturday, September 5, 2009

Help Me Name My New Sewing Machine

I have a habit of naming my sewing equipment. It makes me feel like we're all a team, working together to make beautiful dresses. My Brother machine is named Betty, and my dress form is Veronica, for instance. And now I have this beautiful 1952 Singer Featherweight that is, as of yet, nameless.

At first I thought she was a Doris, after the fictional lady who first owned several of my VoNBBS patterns. But this morning, she looked so proper and stately, and I thought Mrs. Exeter.

Anyway, they're both quite sentimental names, which is perhaps why I can't choose between the two. In the short time that I've owned Mrs. Exeter/Doris, I've quite fallen for her. She brings such an air of serentity to my sewing room - plus she's a dream to use.

What do you think? Also, does your sewing machine have a name?


  1. Well, I like both Doris and Mrs. Exeter, although isn't Mrs. Exeter on the opposite end of the spectrum of a "Featherweight"? ;) According to Wikipedia, the Social Security Administration lists the most popular female names from 1952 as:
    1. Linda
    2. Mary
    3. Patricia
    4. Deborah
    5. Barbara
    6. Susan
    7. Maria
    8. Nancy
    9. Debra
    10. Kathleen

    I don't name my machines, personally, but I like the idea. Maybe one of those will inspire you--or not!
    P. (as in Patricia)

  2. Sounds like it's Mrs. Doris Exter to me. That way you're not having to choose.

    But this is coming from a woman who has a "Mike", "Hank" and "Biggum" short for Big Green ugly machine. I'd not know how to act if mine became female in personality.

  3. Name her Agnes, for my mother. Agnes Marie. I swear she sewed that full-skirted dress, in a red something patterned in black and white things. White buttons.
    I have my mother's Singer from the mid-fifties, built like a battleship in a mahogany stand.
    Did you realize when you started this that you'd be stirring up so much cultural stuff? Or was that part of the plan?

  4. I just decided to name my vintage Singer 15-91 "Henrietta". My 1950s dressform is named "Ruby". I wish I could take credit for them, but my husband suggested both of them when I requested old school names.

    I also looked up names on the Social Security Administration site, but nothing really caught my eye.

    I'd go with Doris of the two, but I think a Featherweight deserves a more exciting name than Doris. What about something like Virigina? Or Genevieve?

  5. I have never named my machines. My mother always named our cars when I was growing up, and she still does. I have decided to name my machines and dress form after reading this post. Thanks for the idea. I am going to use my grandmothers' names.

  6. I love the name Mrs. Exeter! I do think she needs something elegant. If you want to be on a first name basis, how about something ladylike like Constance, Camille or Claudette? Not sure why they all start with C, those are just the ones that came to me for some reason...

  7. My sewing machine doesn't have a name. It hasn't come to me. My dress from is named Dressy Louise and my serger is Sergio. Sad since my sewing machine does most of the work around here while the other 2 plan romantic evenings together when the sewing room lights go out.
    You machine's name will come to you.

  8. I would name her "Gretchen." I just like that name.

  9. She looks petite yet practical with a Tyrolean fluorish - so, I liked the Gretchen suggestion or how about a diminutive Helgi?

  10. I also like Mrs. Doris Exeter. My dressmaker's dummy is called Bertha Bust... after her, um, best attribute. I haven't named my sewing machine yet, but I think I will now. :)

  11. I liked P's idea of looking at the top names from 1952... but I think she should be named after a woman who began sewing in the fifties, not a child.

    So my favorite names from babies born in the 30s:

  12. My first thought was Priscilla, but after reading I think Mrs. Exeter may be perfect.

  13. This machine looks too classy for a common name, how about Miss Letitia?

  14. I like 'mrs Exeter', because to my ears the name sounds like a mecanism working well! But both Doris and Mrs Exeter are two distincts characters that you already met, so I think the machine should have an entirely different name! (but wouldn't it be a bit strange to call the machine Gretchen like you?)
    My dress form is called Matelotte, because when I bouhght it second hand last spring I immediately thought she would have a stripey jersey bodice to cover her ('un matelot' is both the cutest and simplest equivalent of 'sailor' in french), plus we're the exact same measurements, which makes her a sort of alter ego, and my first name is actually Charlotte.
    Sadly I still haven't found a name that works for my machine: at first I had thought of Brigitte, because there's pink gingham on it à la Brigitte Bardot, but it didn't work well, because my gran is called Brigitte, so it sounded too weird, and because Bardot, as iconic as she was, didn't turn well (politically) to me.
    You make me think that I might give her a true name, now there's Matelotte: I could call her Margotte or Louiselotte, Camelote, Gibelotte...
    Why did you name your modern machine and your dressform this way? that might be a clue.
    (Oh my, I feel so talkative!)

  15. Carlotta, I'm glad you pointed out the problem with naming it Gretchen, I was just about to! It was probably subconsciously sticking out in their minds!

    I think she looks sturdy yet feminine, like, maybe an Elsa.

    My car and bikes have names. I'm not sure why my machines and dress form don't.

  16. Sissy^^
    Good luck and good sewing!!!

  17. No real relation to 1952, 'cept the names are for actresses who were alive at the time. Bearing in mind your machine is an extremely shapely little number:

    Ginger (Rodgers) obviously
    Esther (Williams)
    But by far, my favourites are Magarita (or Rita) after Mlle Hayworth and Norma-Jeane.

  18. I'd name her Victoria Exeter. That's Mrs. Exeter to you, sir. I'm not quite a "woman of a certain age" yet but I think about Mrs. Exeter and her style choices all the time. I'm glad you introduced us.

  19. I like Mrs. Exeter. And some days, when you have been sewing together for a long time in a row, when you exchange some personal stories, you could call her Doris. And maybe she'd allow you to. Ofcourse, the next day she would be all formal again (but still lovely, ofcourse) and you'd be back at calling her Mrs. Exeter.

    Yes, I think that would feel just right with a beautiful machine like that :-)

  20. Thanks, everyone! There are so many good names here that I'll have ideas for the rest of my life!

    In the meantime, I've decided firmly on Mrs. Exeter for this one. As I've been using her these past couple days, it just seems fitting. Sure, she's diminutive in stature, but she's aged so gracefully. It just seems right.

    Kathi G, I've stolen your serger's name. It's pure brilliance.

  21. I see that you have settled on a name before I got a chance to read the post, but for future tools, I think that Sabrina, after the character in the film of the same name would be a lovely name for a machine like that. She's a working girl, but also refined, elegant, and acomplished.

  22. I have the same machine and I LOVE her. Three generations in my family and 9 girl scouts have learned to sew on her. She's "Matilda". No other machines have beat her in sewing through countless layers for jean repairs.

  23. Although I didn't name my five, I do speak to them. Generally, during unpleasant situations. Then it's, "You miserable, misbegotten chunk of slag." or "All right, beast, knock it off." These comments have the additional consequence of clearing out family members from my immediate area. I am not a temperate sewer. Nehmah-who is unhappy with the embroidery machine which ate a monogram last night!

  24. My family also names the cars and sewing machines, and computers. My dress form is Mini-Me. My serger is pretty much just called Bernina after her brand. And I am sill looking for a name for my new sewing machine.

  25. Gertie- I just found your blog yesterday, and I have been reading it through from beginning to now! I love your concept and your work!!!
    I thought this would be a fun post to chime in on... my machine is named Eula, after my great-grandmother. I never met her, but her sewing creations still inspire me daily.

  26. Just found your blog as well, luv it! My machines are all named as well...Helga the Viking, Sergio the serger, a small portable Singer model 354 Genie (she came named already). My Singer Featherweight was made in 1955, when I was born, so she has my middle name, Louise. Another , 70's-80's vintage Singer is called Cinco because it was my fifth machine. I recently bought 2 Janome refurbs and a used Kenmore for teaching, so I think they are going to be Abby, Betty, and Carly.

  27. I want you to know all my children have the names of my grandparents or their siblings. Once you start using family names it is hard to settle for anything less meaningful. I love it that they have names used in the 20's. For the record, they are Irvin, Magdalena, Marilyn, and Mae.


Thanks for your comments; I read each and every one! xo Gertie

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