I got a sewing machine for Christmas from my sister. Her father-in-law found it by a dumpster. He knew that my sister and her husband are into antiques and vintage treasures so he brought it home for them. My sister knew that I had been wanting a sewing machine for a while now so after warning me that it might not work and weighed a million pounds, I got a sweet new* crafting machine. When we tried it stuff happened. Although not strictly normal sewing machine stuff. The manual was MIA when the machine was found so it was up to us to troubleshoot the problem. Our mom and us spent a couple hours figuring out that there were several problems to deal with. At first the needle would stitch at full speed without the foot peddle being pressed. The problem was that there are two power cords coming from the machine that plug into a two-headed fixture which ends in a single power cord that plugs into an outlet. The power cords were for the light bulb and the motor and they need to be plugged into the right spot on the two-headed fixture. They weren’t. The motor thought it was a light bulb so it automatically turned on when plugged in. The fixture plugs were labeled “light” and “motor” but the cords were not.
The next problems involved tension and the fabric not being automatically moved along while stitching happened. Mom was able to figure out how to deal with that by using her mom’s old sewing machine manual that was from a machine that was probably made within a few years of mine. So that was very lucky. It was impossible to find the exact model information and date about what year mine was from, but our best guess was mid 1960s. I love old things like that. I like imagining what this machine was used to make. The kinds of clothes that a mother made or mended for her family roughly 10 years after the events of Back To The Future involving Marty’s parents as teenagers.
<The time is exactly 11:11pm. Make a wish.>
A very appropriate accompaniment to the aged machine was a sewing guide written by a young woman intent on bringing back the high neckline, collared, heavy fabric, tea cup length, cardigan, up-dos style of the 40s and 50s. It’s a beginner’s guide and I like it. Thrift shopping and reusing/recycling/upcycling is my jam, and this girl is really into that as well. The projects are meant to progress from easy to difficult and I promised myself that I would do every project in order to get the practice that I need, buuuuuuut I might have to break my promise.
The first project was a pin cushion which is exactly what I needed so that worked out well. I had fun using cotton balls instead of batting because that’s just what was in the house. The second project was a needle book. A stiff fabric cover with felt pages to put your needles in. I was not interested in this project because I only had one needle. A whole book for one needle seemed silly. But I started anyway because I did promise myself. I had to make a few changes right away because the instructions would lead to a 15cm square book but I wanted to be able to fit it inside my sewing tin, so I made it smaller, about 11cm square. Also I did not have fusible interfacing because I do all of my crafts on a budget (of $0). So I used thin cardboard from a microwave popcorn box to make a stiff cover. I like customizing my crafts to point where I just change the instructions. It happens with cooking too. Usually with positive results. Usually. Anyway, so even though I thought this project would be useless I was liking how it was looking by the time I finished. When I did finish I had to explain what it was to my roommate, who had borrowed one of my needles and never returned it. When I reminded my roommate of this fact I got an apology and five new needles! Oh my! So many needles! But where oh where will I put them all? Oh wait. I know exactly where. My now-necessary needle book! So that worked out very nicely.
I have some other projects on the go as well: fixing up some old clothes. I don’t really have a guide for those so we’ll see how they go. I’m optimistic. I think I’ll skip the next couple projects in the book too and get right into a fox cushion. Wish me luck 🙂