My mom’s last sewing machine – a Scandinavia 200

Husqvarna Viking Scandinavia 200 - my mom's last sewing machine

If you read my post yesterday about taking a sewing machine on a plane, then you know I now have my mom’s last sewing machine, a Husqvarna Viking Scandinavia 200. She can no longer sew because she has dementia.

When my three sisters and I were growing up, my mom made all our clothes. She also taught us how to use her sewing machine, a Singer Golden Touch. She wasn’t an expert seamstress but she knew enough to make our clothes and Halloween costumes.

Here’s a photo of us with my mom. I’m standing to the left of my mom in the red shorts.

My mom, my sisters and I wearing clothes my mom made.

Here’s a closer look at our outfits. She mostly sewed Butterick, McCall’s and Simplicity patterns. It looks like it was a hot summer day at the petting zoo.

Sisters at the zoo wearing clothes my mom made

When my parents moved from Delaware to New Jersey a few years ago, she could no longer sew. But my dad had the movers pack her Scandinavia 200, to their new home. I think sewing was so much a part of her that he didn’t think about leaving it behind. Or maybe he still couldn’t accept that she could no longer use the machine. She was still able to thread it when they lived in Delaware.

But last fall, her dementia got worse so my dad could no longer care for her by himself. She’s now in a nursing home, not far from where my dad lives. Just last year I was writing about sewing patterns for women with Alzheimer’s. We had no idea she would deteriorate so quickly.

My sisters live on the East Coast so they have been helping my dad deal with her things for the past several months. In the nursing home, she has a roommate and a small closet. So she couldn’t take much with her. My sisters have been going through her things and choosing what to sell, keep and donate.

When I was visiting in April, my dad asked me if I wanted her last machine. I immediately said yes. It’s like having a piece of my mom. I sew more than my sisters so I think everyone agreed that I was the right person to have it.

My dad didn’t have the instructions so I found a link to a PDF of the Scandinavia 200 manual.

Viking Scandinavia 200 sewing machine

It will be my first sewing machine with any electronics. My other machines are all mechanical. When I can set aside a good block of time, I will do some test stitches and play around with its capabilities. And then I will sew something for her that’s easy for her caregivers to dress her in, such as a top with snap closures in the back.

It’s weird to deal with my mom’s things when she’s still around. It’s like she’s gone but not gone. She can still recognize us most of the time, which is amazing but her ability to communicate is limited. She doesn’t talk much anymore.

One of my sisters told me that on a recent visit, she told my mom that I had her sewing machine and she smiled.

Author: Chuleenan

Chuleenan sews, collects hats and shoes, and is a fabric addict. She is also the organizer for the Bay Area Sewists Meetup group.

16 thoughts on “My mom’s last sewing machine – a Scandinavia 200”

  1. I am so sorry about your mom. My mom took up sewing when I was a teenager, and made some of my clothes. She also had some dementia, and passed away a few years ago. I have her old singer sewing machine, and patterns. I have recently started sewing again myself, and when I go through the old pattetns it reminds me of all the things she made with each one, almost as if she was there with me, What a wonderful gift to have from your mom…. not only her machine, but the talent for sewing she gave to you. It will create a great bond betwern you both. People with dementia are more aware than they appear….I am sure your mom will feel the love in anything you make her ❤

    1. Thank you, Linda. How wonderful that you have her old patterns. My mom’s patterns didn’t survive various moves.

      You’re right that people with dementia are more aware than they appear. And they still have feelings and can express them. So I do hope she can feel the love in whatever I make for her.

  2. Hello Chuleenan, i just wanted to say i was so touched to read your post about taking your mom’s last sewing machine. Dementia and Alzheimer are so hard to bear not only for our beloved ones but also their caretakers. I am sure she will be very pleased to wear the top you sew for her on her machine. I read your blog and the newsletter regularly. Though i am geographically quite far and can not sew as much as i would have liked, it gives me great joy. Have a good day 🙂

    1. Thank you, Ozge, for reading the post and being a loyal reader of my blog and newsletter. It makes me feel good to hear that you were moved by the post.

      Yes, dementia is such a difficult disease. I hope someday there will be a cure.

  3. Your tribute to your mom’s sewing days and the pictures made me cry. My mom also made all our clothes. I’m sure your mom loved seeing her girls in those clothes…she looks so happy and proud of her girls in the picture. She would be proud of how you support the joy of sewing in so many people’s lives with your Blog and Bay Area Sewists.

    1. Thank you, Charlotte. I got teary writing this post. Though her memories of sewing have dimmed, my sisters and I all remember wearing what she made for us.

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