Saturday, December 15, 2012

Just for Fun: Let's Design a Sewing Machine for BOYS!

Bernina Activa 215, with Custom "Skin" for Lars-of-Ours
This morning, as I was reading V & Co's post about how she's teaching her sons and daughters to sew, I was reminded that my son Lars has asked to learn sewing a few times.  I actually bought him a toy sewing machine from Pottery Barn Kids when he was 5 or 6, but it was a disaster -- even I couldn't get that lump of garbage to sew a straight seam.  The market is flooded with cheaply made SMSOs (Sewing Machine Shaped Objects) marketed for children who are first learning to sew, and not only are most of them guaranteed to frustrate any child to the point that they give up and never learn to sew at all, but almost all of them are also bright pink, covered with flowers, and look like something out of a Barbie Dream House. 
Umm, not for MY son!!
You would think you could buy a decent first machine for a child to learn on from a major sewing machine manufacturer, but they have all fallen prey to the Barbie Unicorn Princess Plague as well.  Case in point: the Singer machine at left.  This is obnoxious and foolhardy on the part of manufacturers, because they are deliberately alienating half of their potential customers.  Yuck! 

Bernina at least has a black Bernette sewing machine geared towards children that sells for around $250, but they had to go and put flowers on the front of it.  They might as well put a big warning sign on the front of the machine saying "BEWARE -- SEWING IS ONLY FOR GIRLS!  SEWING WILL MAKE YOU GROW BOOBS!":

Bernette 46: Would be a great gender-neutral child's machine, but for the flowers

Lars hasn't mentioned wanting to sew in a long time, and honestly, I doubt he is serious about it.  But if he ever did want to learn to quilt, I think I'd have to find him a nice, used Bernina Activa machine on eBay.  I've seen the used Activas selling for anywhere from $400-800 at auction, depending on which model and how old the machine was.  For about $30, you can custom design a "skin" decal for these machines at using any graphics your heart desires, and the decals can be peeled off and changed as the child's tastes change.  Since I was designing this one with almost-twelve-year-old Lars-of-Ours in mind, I used an "Armageddon" image along with another image of a flaming electric guitar.  I wonder how many boys would be interested in sewing if a reasonably priced, entry level sewing machine that looked like this one was part of Bernina's regular lineup?  Hello, Bernina -- is anybody out there???


Michele said...

Wow, thanks for mentioning the "skins."
Who knew?
I never heard of them being available for the Activas - what a great way to personalize a machine.

Jenny K. Lyon said...

Fun post! I've seen these skins advertised but never seen full photos of them-so cool!

Beadboard UpCountry said...

Hi There!!!!!!!
YOu are stirring the pot again!!!!!!We have been so busy at the shop and am doing interior design on a rather large new house,so time Why not a sewing machine for boys???? May have a budding designer there or a tent company......... xo Maryanne