Brother Sewing Machine

Relationship: Child of im/migrant

When my mom came to New York, my dad barely had any furnishings in his apartment. She immediately began working to fulfill the shortcomings. The windows were barren and overwhelmingly sunny, so she started to make curtains. She spent hours hand-stitching lace and seams onto white material. Later, my dad bought her the white Brother sewing machine. Even then it was an old, outdated machine, but it reminded my mom of the sewing machine she had back home in India. My parents barely had any money, but still excitedly bought it.  When my mom came to New York, this sewing machine was her first possession, and she would soon utilize the machine to put her sewing skills to use. While my dad was at school, my mom built their home. She furnished her small studio with curtains, pillow covers, quilts, and furniture slips.  Soon, my mother would take a job at a small company to pay the $800 rent; sewing was now moved to the weekends. She’d make Indian dresses for me and my sisters, or dresses for Halloween, birthdays, and weddings. Her family would grow, her financial circumstances would change, but the one object that has remained for my mother is this sewing machine. She’s utilized it to make ends meet and stretch her earned money to new lengths. The Brother machine is one of the first tools she used to shape her family in America. It’s been with her for the past 28 years, a connection to both her past in India and her promising, challenging future in the United States. 

Year: 1989

– Abir Petiwala

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant