Living With Technology: What Do You Get When You Cross a Sewing Machine with a Computer?
Published 4:41 pm, Wednesday, February 22, 2017
I quite often come across new devices that have never been seen before: 3D printers, drones, smartphones and more. But what happens when you take a device everyone has known for many years and adds cool technology?
That happened to me recently, when my daughter’s music teacher, Ms. Beckey Squire, showed me her new sewing machine. When she mentioned it to me, I was thinking of the scene in Fiddler on the Roof when Mottel shows off the “new arrival” that everyone thinks is a baby, but is really a sewing machine.
Not the case this time.
Ms. Squire showed me her new Husqvarna Viking Epic sewing machine, which is like no other sewing machine I’d ever seen.
This is a big machine, easily 3 feet wide when some of the accessories are there.
By and large, it looks like a sewing machine, but it also has a touch screen tablet on the right to operate a vast number of functions.
What impressed me was the ability to program the machine to perform functions I grew up watching my mom try to do by hand.
In particular, the machine has the ability to do embroidery pretty much all by itself.
Designs can be created either on the sewing machine itself or on a personal computer. When designs are completed on your computer, you put them into a folder in the cloud, similar to Dropbox, and moments later, they are available on the sewing machine, because the computer has a WiFi connection to the Internet.
When the sewing machine is doing its stuff, you don’t even need to stand by. There’s an app for your smartphone that will let you know when a thread color needs to be changed, a thread breaks or when the work is done.
Ms. Squire told me she purchased the machine from Close to Home (www.closetohomestores.com/) in Milford, so I stopped by and looked at the machines. I had no idea sewing machines had come so far along since I last saw people using them.
The owner, Paul Gattinella, told me “Husqvarna Viking has taken the technology that we are used to in our everyday life, interactive touch screens, wireless connectivity, and automatic everything, and brought it to the world of sewing, which so many believe to be a lost art. Sewing and embroidery is the Ultimate hobby, it's healthy, is not limited by seasons, and can be enjoyed by all skill levels. You don't have to be an expert to enjoy it! And what you make can be shared with people.”
Needless to say, I wish I had more time to learn sewing. The integration of the ancient skill of sewing with some of the latest technology around makes it far more attractive and practical than I had ever thought.
I expect we’ll see more people using sewing machines with these new capabilities. Sewing is cool again.
Mark Mathias is a 35+ year information technology executive, a resident of Westport, Connecticut. His columns can be read on the Internet at http://blog.mathias.org. He can be contacted at email@example.com.