(Mis) Adventures in Sewing

Sewing Machine 1, Me 0

While researching a project last year, I bought a sewing machine.  I justified the investment by telling myself I could do my own repairs, maybe even alterations.  I had it all figured out.

Fast forward – six months later, the project is a no-go and the sewing machine now collects dust in the corner.  I figure I either need to either start sewing or throw it on Nextdoor.  Not one to quit, I decide to make pillowcases for the new travel pillows I purchased.  This would be a perfect first project.

Or so I thought.

Armed with determination, I grab an old pillowcase (I didn’t want to spring on fabric for my first project) and supplies and set up the machine.  I can’t wait to begin, I’m so excited.

Step one:  select a thread color.  No problem – since I have a purple pillowcase, I choose a pretty purple thread.  Step two:  change the bobbin (little spool of thread that sews the bottom of the fabric).  I find the corresponding color bobbin (pre-threaded) and insert it into the machine.  Step three:  thread the machine.  I follow the directions on the machine, and now I’m left with step four, which is thread the needle.

This is where the wheels start to wobble.

This machine has an automatic needle threader, which I’ve never used.  According to the instructional video, all I have to do is wrap the thread around the plastic thingy, lower said thingy, and pull the thread under the needle.  Sounds easy enough.  I wrap, lower and – the thread pops off the plastic thingy.  OK, I’ll try again.  Wrap, lower and lose my grip on the plastic thingy, which makes a loud noise and scares Lucy.  Replay the video a few times and realize I need to lower the foot.  Push down on the foot only to have it pop off in my hand.

This is Lucy

This didn’t happen in the video.  The wheels wobble little more.

Now I have to put the stupid foot back.  I start trying to jam the pieces together, and somehow manage to re-attach the foot.  Then, after a few more unsuccessful attempts, I finally get the needle threaded.  One hour after I started, the setup is complete.

With the machine ready to go, I get the stitch puller and start trying to take the case apart.  I pull the first layer of stitches, only to reveal another layer of stitches.  Frustrated, I pull with more force and rip the pillowcase.

At this moment, it occurs to me that I might have wanted to measure my pillow before I shredded this case.  So, I wrap the pillow in the fabric and realize that I am about to sew the strangest looking pillowcase in history.  I start sewing anyway.

After a few stitches, I hear this awful clanging noise and then the fabric stops moving.  I cut the fabric away and try again and the same thing happens.  Thinking the fabric might be the problem, I go to the closet and pull out a thick pillow sham.  This time, I measure and cut.

Since I am now working with a baby blue case, I change the thread, feeling like a pro.  Again, I line up and start sewing and again, the machine jams.  As I’m cutting my pillowcase free from the needle, I discover the problem:  the bobbin holder is the wrong size.

The wheels are officially off, and the bus is swerving out of control.

I am now faced with a decision:  find the right bobbin and start over or quit for the night.  I choose Option B.

Results of sewing experiment:

The remains of the experiment

(1) shredded purple pillowcase
(1) ripped blue pillow sham
(1) useless box of bobbins
(2) hours of my life I’ll never get back

I also have a newfound appreciation for those who sew.

So, while I officially suck at sewing for now, I will prevail in the end.  Or you’ll see a sewing machine listed on Nextdoor.  Stay tuned.



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