Monday, January 31, 2005

Look Ma, I Can Sew!

I learned to sew in Home Ec. I made a red gym bag and a pillow that looked like a chocolate chip cookie. I got a B- on the bag because I failed to backstitch my seams. The cookie pillow came out a bit better, but my dog later ate it. (I guess it looked too much like a real cookie.) I then entered a sewing hiatus until college, when I turned out a couple of tote bags, Christmas stockings, and curtains on my mother’s machine. I didn’t touch a sewing machine again until Saturday.

Despite my past masterpieces, I am “sew retarded.” I have always had trouble threading the machine and setting up the bobbin. My teacher took care of that in class, and my mom threaded the machine for me at home. Despite my mother’s help, I inevitably created horrific thread snarls that had to be cut out of her machine. Thread and I don’t get along.

I bought a sewing machine this past November from a sweet lady who had received it as her high school graduation gift, about 25 years ago. It is in great condition. She had taken good care of it and still had the extra parts and the manual. I was very thankful for the manual because it included a diagram on threading the machine, my Achilles’ heel. However, I lost the manual soon after, in the pre-house-warming cleaning frenzy. Without the directions, I was afraid to even try to thread the machine, and so it sat, sadly unused. Finally, I used an Amazon gift certificate from my brother-in-law, Dave, to buy Sewing 101, hoping for a threading diagram.

On Saturday night, I decided that it was time to conquer the sewing machine. I opened my book to the threading diagram and saw that the machine pictured in no way resembled mine. I was on my own. First, I wound thread onto the bobbin. It wasn’t too hard. Next, I experimented with threading the machine in different configurations until I found one that looked right. Thanks to Sewing 101, I knew that there should be some tension on the thread and that the needle is threaded from left to right. Then, I inserted the bobbin into the bobbin case and the bobbin case into the machine. I turned the drive wheel, the needle descended, and, like magic, my bobbin thread pulled up. I still wasn’t convinced that I had all the threads in the right places, so I sewed a test line on some scrap cloth. The machine stitched smoothly. There were no snarls. It was beautiful!

My project for the evening was hemming a piece of red and gold Thai silk, which I then hung on the wall. It turned out well and I even remembered to backstitch. Then, I called my mom and shared my success. Hooray, I can sew!


Blogger Scott in Washington said...

BTW; being "sew retarded" is better that so retarded..

8:27 AM  

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