The Sewers (Garment Makers)

Women at sewing machines “Ouch!” I’d hear as the needle hit their finger. It was the only human sound I heard from that section of the Oresman Bros. Christmas Factory, muffled as it was by the whirr of sewing machines.

The sewer stopped, bandaged up, and went on.

There was no more focused individuals in the mill than the sewers, women that worked at breakneck speed, sewing together the two halves of Christmas stockings, so they’d hold the goodies little ones had grown to expect.

Like Santa’s Elves, they worked all year for a one-day-celebration.

These women (for I’d never seen a man among them) sat in a big room, hunched over machines, with their zip—zip—zip—bursts of sewing, as they ran down one side of the cloth and up the other.  That’s when they occasionally ran over a finger, sewing skin to fabric.

They never took coffee…bathroom….or lunch breaks.

You see, they were on piece work.

Wedded to their instruments, they’d become “machines” in their own right.

P.S. What mill jobs fascinated you?

From “In the Shadow of Princes,” a book in production

By Colleen Kelly Mellor ( and @ColleenMellor) #milltownrigirl