Sewing machines I have known: Eleanor

Eleanor was my first sewing machine.  She was a New Home.

Eleanor and I. I'm pretty sure this is the only time I ever photographed her.

I got her for my 12th birthday (or maybe it was 13th?).  She was already almost as old as me.  But no older.  Which doesn’t make sense, because I can’t find any records of New Home machines manufactured after 1955.  But I seem to remember something about Janome using the New Home name in the US, so perhaps that is it?

Eleanore is named after Eleanor of Acquitaine.  They could both do just about anything, both had long, hard lives, and were both well travelled.

Eleanore the sewing machine lived in Oregon for the first decade or so of her use.

Then she was shipped to Hawaii for me to have, where she lived for another almost 10 years.

Halloween in Hawaii. Goldilocks, my little sister, in a jester costume, and me in a 'colonial' dress, both made on Eleanore.

Then she got mailed to California for me to use during university.

Eleanor in my dorm room, hard at work

Finally, Mr Dreamy to-be packed her in a really, really big suitcase, with lots of fabric, and she travelled to New Zealand to live out the rest of her days.

Unfortunately, the cold, damp Wellington climate, and the 23o volt New Zealand electrical system (the US has 120 volts) didn’t agree with Eleanor.  Her engine burnt out, and she couldn’t be repaired because of the difference in electrical systems.

Eleanor is responsible for dozens of sewing projects.  She made two prom dresses, more than a few halloween and high school theatre costumes, lots of clothes for me and my sisters and mum and even a few shirts for Tim.

Two dresses that Eleanore helped make. I have no idea who the woman in front is. She just threw herself into the photograph.

She was a good machine.  I hope her parts are helping to keep other machines running



  1. MrsC says

    Oh that is spooky, my first machine (as opposed to using mother’s) was also a New Home, albeit a much older one. I’d say it was from the 60’s – it only did straight stitching, not even a zigzag, and I made my first costumes and wedding dresses on it. Wonderful machine though – it could sew chiffon and leather and never bat an eye!

  2. Aww, bless – she sounds loyal! RE the New Home thing – I did a bit of research as my machine is a New Home from 1983 (same age as me and my Mum was the original owner, still have the receipt and everything!). As far as I could find, Janome did continue to use the New Home brand for quite a long time, though I don’t think it was only in the US, as mine was brought in the UK…

    • I’ve done a bit more researching myself, and Janome does still use the New Home brand – in fact the machine my Mom bought in 2004 is a simple Janome New Home. I’ll blog about it 🙂

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