This 91-year-old seamstress from Kerala proves that age is just a number
Every year on June 13, National Sewing Machine Day honors an invention that has kept us guessing for more than 150 years. Before the sewing machine, tailors and seamstresses made clothes by hand, stitch by stitch. The invention of the sewing machine brought about revolutionary change. Not only did this spur an entire industry, but it also changed the way people perceived the clothes they wore.
Industrial use of the sewing machine reduced the burden on housewives, shifting clothing production from them and seamstresses to large-scale factories. It also reduced the production time, which caused the price of the garments to drop considerably.
The rich history of tailoring and tailoring dates back to 185 BC or even earlier. Historic innovation is part of the fabric, and the revolutionary machine has opened up opportunities for many businesses, but at the same time, it has also enabled women to become skilled and earn a living. One such story of passion that turned into livelihood is that of Vadakepatt Madhavi Kutty Amma.
Vadakepatt Madhavi Kutty Amma
For Amma, sewing is more than just a source of income, it is her way of living and worshiping Lord Krishna. The 91-year-old belongs to a small locality in Thrissur, Kerala.
Sewing machines are one of the first mechanical consumer goods that were produced on a large scale and sold around the world. One of the oldest and best sewing machine brands in India, Usha International has played an important role in Amma’s life. Both have lived and experienced the changes of time.
Amma’s compassion for sewing for years is her way of expressing herself to the world. Starting out as a hobby, she grew up working on the classic black machines of the ages. She now specializes in making ‘Thirudada’ and ‘Njeri’ (special clothes for deities/elephants) and donating them to temples for prayers.
“Sewing and Krishna are part of my life. I do ‘Thirudada’ and ‘Njeri’, this is my way of devotion to my Lord and my passion for sewing,” Amma said while speaking to The Logical Indian.
“Sewing has become such a part of my life that I won’t be able to stop myself, at least in this life,” she added.
Source of livelihood and empowerment
Amma’s hobby, sewing, is not just limited to worship, it is also her source of income and a sense of empowerment.
The Thrissur native started sewing as a hobby at a very young age. Seeing her mother and other nearby ladies doing it, she was amused that a simple needle and thread could add beauty to an ordinary piece of fabric. A few years later, she started enjoying it because it brought calm to her life.
“At that time, when women weren’t allowed to go out or work, sewing was also my way of earning a living and feeling empowered. Soon my hobby turned into a passion, and that gives me strength even today,” she said.
Inspiration for young people
It also manufactures creative items such as garment bags, pillowcases and other home decor items. A fervent devotee of Lord Krishna, the 91-year-old is an inspiration to young people today. She, literally, is the definition of “age is just a number.” Currently, Amma continues to follow her true passion, which is also her secret to mental well-being and positivity.
In honor of her hard work, passion and dedication to sewing, Usha gave her the most advanced sewing machine to encourage and nurture her love for sewing. Her sewing journey has evolved over time.
“Sometimes I look back and think about how far I’ve come. I still remember the day I bought my first sewing machine and started doing something with two-piece garments. The black metal heavy contains so many memories of my youth,” she shared.
“I will not give up my passion”
Although certain age-related difficulties sometimes hinder Amma’s work, she does not want to give up her passion.
“It’s also my way of feeling relaxed. Even though I can’t do something for my friends and family, sewing for my Krishna is my devotion and I will do it until he allows me” , she concluded.
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