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Sewing Machines in the Movies

My top six films for sewing machine day


Blink and you miss it but there is a sewing machine in Encanto! Right at the beginning of the film. Mirabel pulls her skirt from under a vintage sewing machine as she starts singing. I noticed it as I’d just finished making my niece her very own Mirabel skirt to wear as she sang along to the movie. It made me appreciate how much work the character had put into her skirt, making it individual. You can see it is a work in progress as Mirabel is constantly adding to it. I thought adding the sewing machine was a nice touch from Disney as it showed how she was adding embellishments to her skirt.


The sewing machine is key to the crimes of Estella and her gang. Estella makes new outfits to disguise their appearance and they steal from Londoners. The sewing machine is key throughout the film as Estella turns into Cruella and her creations become increasingly wild. Moving from the sixties into the seventies, the styles become more than a little punk inspired. The rubbish bag dress is genius and probably my favourite although there are many fantastic designs from Cruella and her nemesis The Baroness.

Pretty in Pink

The ultimate make-over movie, I haven’t seen this in years. The sewing machine comes into it’s own at the end as Andie cuts and creates her own prom dress. I remember watching this scene as a kid and thinking the dress looked better before she hacked it. But I don’t think that is the point to the movie. Ultimately the sewing machine saves the day.


This tongue in cheek film is rumoured to be based on Philip Green. It highlights the disparity of the rich fashion business owner compared to the textile worker who makes the clothes using the sewing machine. A funny film with a serious message, I recommend watching it.

Made in Dagenham

Sewing machine is power in this true life movie. The women workers at Ford car factory in Dagenham campaign to prove they should be paid the same as the men. The company claimed making seat covers on industrial sewing machines for cars is not skilled work. This film blew me away when I first watched it, knowing that it actually happened. Sadly there is still a male-female pay gap in the work place but these brave women fought for their rights back in the Sixties.

The Pajama Game

A fan of Doris Day, I only watched this film recently as part of the Stitched up Film festival. It takes place in a Pyjama factory in America and many of the scenes have the sewing machine in the foreground. At one point them women workers all force the machines to overheat so they can take a break. Made in 1957, the costumes are fabulous too!

Show your sewing machine the love it deserves this sewing machine day.