First jobs

I stayed packing socks for about two weeks. Then, one day, a girl at a nearby work table had an epileptic fit. She had to be held down until she relaxed and was carried out to the sick bay. I worked until the end of the week and, again left.

My next job was at a small leather goods factory, where we made leather belts and handbags and other small leather goods. One day, I was sitting beside the girl sewing on buckles, when she gave a small yelp and stopped. She had run the needle right through her finger and couldn’t get free. She fainted and had to be held in place while the front of the machine was dismantled.

I stayed on at this factory for about six months, then again left and went to work in an embroidery workroom belonging to a large drapery and clothing shop. They had a special department where customers could leave materials to be made into covered buttons or embroidered to a pattern of their choice. These orders would be sent from the shop to the workroom where we filled them. There were several machines for embroidery such as satin stitching, chain stitching and badge making. We also made covered buttons of all sizes. The badge making machine made twenty to thirty badges at a time and had double-ended needles, each threaded with its own cottons. The machine was guided by a lever at one end following the pattern of the badge. The hardest part was making sure all needles were threaded the whole time because one broken thread ruined the pattern on that particular badge and had to be mended by hand.

We also made permanently pleated skirts in various styles. I tried to watch the embroidery machinists as much as possible as I was longing to work them but didn’t have any opportunities as I was kept busy making buttons. I stayed at this factory for two-and-a-half years.

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