Wednesday, April 27, 2011

News Flash: I Finally Used a Sewing Machine! (and I hated it)

As all of you loyal followers know, I don't own a sewing machine and have never learned to use one. Every quilt on this site, for the last 13 years, has been made entirely by hand. Well, a few weeks ago I made this little purple dress for Gigi and was frustrated with the way the middle joined. The free directions were extremely vague so I improvised, but the seam kept coming apart in the middle gathers and I resewed it like five times. I was getting mad so my husband suggested that I dig out the beginner sewing machine my mom had given my oldest daughter 8 years ago that no one had ever used. I thought maybe he was right and it would hold that seam better so I agreed.

Well I took one look at the directions and my brain froze! So I made Mr. Babyquilts stop painting the kitchen to set it up for me. He'd taken home ec in highschool and claimed to remember how to thread the beast. I found a spool of machine thread I'd bought by accident long ago and we were off. I wasn't very good at it but I challenged myself to make an entire new dress with only the machine.

Here's the little dress I made, a copy of the purple one. Summary? I hated every second of using the machine and kept wanting to throw it out the window and go back to hand. It kept unthreading itself every ten seconds and I really didn't know what I was doing. Plus, to add insult to injury, I couldn't get it to sew over the gathers in the middle and ended up sewing it by hand again anyway!!!! Grrrr..... So guess what, this one comes apart in the middle every time I wash it too. I realize it's probably not the machine's fault, but I genuinely disliked the entire experience and am extremely unlikely to repeat it. You ladies can keep the machines!

At any rate, Gigi loves it and that's what matters. If I have to sew the middle a hundred more times, it will be worth it. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go sew it again, it just came out of the wash. (I only wish I was saying that to be funny!)


Candace said...

I completely understand the aversion to the machine. It took me years to get to the point that I was comfortable with the machine I use; however, I've never conquered machine quilting -- it is the most stressful house of my life, so I end up hand quilting everything or sending it to my momma who is a long-arm quilter.

Karen said...

I admire you for making everything by hand. There is something very relaxing about hand work. I enjoy hand work sometimes too. However I bought myself a wonderful machine and it tackles everything I throw at it. It did take me lotts of projects to get to know it and feel comfortable with using it. Just do what youu like is my motto.

Anonymous said...

Like riding a bike, it takes a few tries to get going. If you are using old thread, that can account for the breakage. Also, if the bobbin is not wound properly the thread can break, it can also break if the tension is incorrect or you are pulling the fabric instead of guiding it when you sew. For the gathers you probably need a stretch stitch that has some give so the so the stitches don't break with stress. There are a multitude of reasons, but another one could be the quality of your machine. I would suggest you take the time to visit a sewing dealer and test drive a few sewing machines. While you are test driving them you will also learn how to thread one properly, etc...
Lastly, if you always express an aversion to the sewing machine your results will probably always be what you're expecting--- a negative one. Give yourself another try and please seek out someone that has a machine and knows how to operate it.
Be positive, give yourself another opportunity and let us know how it!
I just found your site by clicking on someone's side bar. I admire that you sew by hand. If I still lived in Austin, I would have invited you over to try my machine. I bought an ELNA in North Austin, have had it 13 years and I still love it & I received lessons when I purchased it. I also took hand quilting classes at UT Austin through continuing ed, lots of work and not enough time, but enjoyed it nevertheless.
Brenda C.