Reposted for Lani 😀
Well, it’s like this, you see. Despite having a grizzly old domestic science teacher who didn’t seem to like me much, and put me off sewing, I am not a complete idiot where all things stitchy and fabricy are concerned. I can sew by hand, and know a couple of stitches, and I used to enjoy patchwork, although I don’t think I actually created anything useful, I did enjoy the process.
My Mum and my Gran made sure I learned things like knitting and crochet and how to cook, and I had a passing passionate love affair with lace making thanks to an extraordinary school teacher when I was in junior school. These things hold no fear for me.
Sewing – as in the proper making of stuff, like – scares me to death!!!
Anyway, back in 1996, my mum gave me her old sewing machine. I think I must have had grand ideas about learning to use it and making clothes for the girls. (Hand stitched Barbie dressing gowns made from old sheets isn’t quite the same, somehow, is it) And my sister in law kindly paid for a new foot control thingy and had it serviced for me as a birthday present.
And the sewing machine was ready to use. It was ready to use – in the old coal shed, then in the garage of the next house; and the next house, and the next, until finally some 15 years later, we have no garage to store it in, and so it has to live in the house with us, tucked in a corner of the lounge.
My youngest daughter and I were out shopping about 18 months – 2 years ago and in the bargain bin of the haberdashery dept she spotted a fabric she liked. It was rather nice, I have to say. “This would make a fantastic bag, Mum” she exclaimed exuberantly. “It would,” I agreed.
I had at the time been looking at making some knitted bags, and had even got as far as buying some remnants of beautiful vintage cloth from ebay to line them with – including a very fine wool piece from Liberty…………oh, tis beautiful. The sort of thing someone like me likes to take out its paper wrapping from time to time just to admire it.
Anyway – so bags were on my mind, and being a good mum, I bought it for her, for the princely sum of £3.30 – well over a metre of it, so a real bargain.
I even found a ‘simple’ pattern for a style I knew she would like. I even bought interfacing (wots dat btw ?), some magnetic clasps AND a buckle for the strap.
Fast forward to last summer. Littlun asks me to make her the bag for Yule as she knows money is tight.
Fast forward to the summer just gone, and I get reminded of the present she never got. So, feeling like a very bad mummy now, I decide she will get this bloomin’ bag for Yule, even if it kills me. Hmmmm
So, enter my eldest daughter who did a GCSE in textiles (I much prefer the term domestic science meself, but there you go – that’s progress for you) and she agreed to help. So, a couple of days ago we set aside a whole afternoon and evening to get this darn thing done.
I set about cutting out the pattern under my eldest’s more experienced eye, and discovered the bag needed a lining. Ok, so it was into the craft cupboard to rummage for something suitable. Pink with flowers? Nope. Navy blue? Nope. Black watch tartan? Ermmm….No!!! Oh bother, that leaves…….yep….that leaves my beautiful vintage liberty fabric in a soft pearl grey with a subtle peacock feather design on it. But, it’s en trend, and actually goes fab with the bag material. And coz I am such a good mummy really, that was cut out too.
My eldest meanwhile was trying to decode the 1969 Necchi Lydia model 544. Having made sure it was threaded ok she set about doing a test. The frustration filled the air. Expletives were spit through clenched teeth as time after time the tension refused to right itself despite lots of twiddling.
We resorted to You tube, and found a vid demonstrating how to thread it. Threading the bobbin, the bit we were really stuck with (we changed thread on mum’s advice, you see) would be in another vid. After going through all 1800 of this very helpful lady’s vids, it was clear she never actually made pt 2. Back to the search.
At last we found an excellent video made by a nice chap, who gave good descriptions of the bits the camera didn’t pick up. We were sorted. The next test came out perfect, and we were going to start sewing the bag but we had a crisis – as I discovered my pet guinea pig terribly ill, and she died in my arms about 20 mins after we found her. Nobody felt much like doing anything after that.
Next day, with my eldest at work, and with strict instructions not to fiddle with any settings, I sat at that infernal machine with steely determination coiled tightly around my anxiety, and I began – first step being creating the pocket, with the super special Liberty fabric.
And…………………..the tension was totally out, and after about 3cms of stitches the whole bobbin snarled up and everything ground to a halt.
With scissors in hand, I ventured into the belly of the beast, cut away all the tangled thread, and snapped the bobbin back into place, and then realised…………..I hadn’t got a clue how to re thread it.
Mum!! A phone call to mum brought no relief as it had been so long since she had used it, she couldn’t remember enough detail for me to make sense of it.
So it was back to You tube, and the ever so helpful chappy again. And I understood!! I did!! So I went back, did what needed to be done, and then…………the bloody needle wouldn’t pick up the thread from the bobbin. Mum had made it sound so simple, the chap on you tube even said he wished all machines were as easy as this one!!! EASY ??? NOOOOOO.
I was beginning to seriously believe the jokes I had made about this machine having the soul of a demon, especially as the afternoon wore on.
Instead of going slowly…………..now then, here’s an interesting, but relevant aside – NO ONE TOLD ME there is a doodah on the side that you use to move the needle up and down manually. So there was me, trying to control the foot pad thingy slowly enough, as instructed by both mum and my new online guru………….and instead of going slowly, I find that just to be awkward my machine will only pick up the thread ….when you let the needle go fast !! Of course!!! I should have known, really
Anyway – totally rattled by now, my patience and steely resolve beginning to look and feel a little ragged around the edge, I set to again, and forgot to put the bloody foot thing down onto the fabric!!!! I need a checklist – I really do!!
Once again, I got everything unsnarled, rethreaded the bobbin and tried again.
*takes deep breath*
This time, the bobbin flew – like concorde actually – straight out of its little nook and landed in the hallway behind me about 4 ft from my chair. Idiot here had forgotten to close up the belly of the beast, so it had protested by throwing its bobbin over my shoulder. A demon machine that throws things at me – great!
But still determined, and not quite beaten yet, I rethreaded again, picked up the thread again, checked the foot was down, the belly closed up, and tried once more.
Can you believe this??? Loads of loopy madness on the underside of the fabric. *head hits table*
Back to you tube vid.
Aha – he mentions a wotsit at the side of the bobbin for adjusting tension. I must find this wotsit at all costs and adjust it to the middle setting.
I found it, discovered it wasn’t in the middle and set about trying to move the pin head sized thingy. I tried scissors, no good – too big a point. Same with a screwdriver. Hmmmm – small and pointy – aha!! Cocktail sticks!! After blunting 4 double ended cocktail sticks I finally got the pinhead sized thingy to move – right over to the minus sign. Repeated the process – and it moved right over to the plus sign.
But I want it to go in the middle !!! *SOBS*
I battled with that wretched thing for about 10 mins before I was able to guide it into the middle position.
I dried my tears and began again – foot down? check. Belly closed? check.
Tension sorted? Check (hopefully, coz I didn’t think I could go through that again). Ok – let’s sew!!!
And….finally…….*sigh of huge relief* the damned blasted, stupid, idiot machine actually did what it was meant to do. Thank the starry skies!!!
I now have a beautiful pocket sewn to the lining, and at that point I had to stop, go rescue my Littlun from work, and then make dinner.
I WILL finish that bag. I must, because it’s now a battle of wills, and the machine will not get the better of me. I am older than it, and wiser, by 2 years, and I SHALL PREVAIL!!!
Please expect photos of said bag when finished LOL.
And for a bit of colourful diversion after that entire trauma – I shall post a picture of autumn from the front of our house 🙂