Day 2: Sewing With A Sewing Machine

Wow. I don’t even know where to begin. I hate sewing. OK, so I don’t really hate sewing, but I just don’t have fun doing it. I was actually kind of looking forward to this project. I decided to make a really simple bag with a lining and shoulder strap. I’d pin the fabric together, run it under the needle and voila! A cute, new, free, made-it-myself bag. No big deal, right? Wrong. Big deal. Very big deal.

My mom, once again, was the one to coach me through this new activity. She is a sewing machine queen and does the craziest things in a short amount of time. I guess, now that I’m thinking about it, she’s the one to blame for my false hope of sewing machine bliss. But anyways… first I had to pick out fabric I liked from the stash in our basement (more like finding any fabric in our entire basement). I picked out two: one that is a cream color and has a texture of flowers on it (which my mom later pointed out, once my bag was finished, was the fabric from our dining room chairs), the other a camel brown which I picked out for the inside lining. Visions of a understated, elegant, neutral, goes-with-anything bag floated through my mind. I then picked out matching thread and my mom and I proceeded to the sewing room. After cutting out pieces of the fabric for the bag, my mom showed me how to thread my thread through the sewing machine. WHAT A PROCESS! There were so many little doo-hickeys and bobble things that it has to go over, around, through. I started mentally singing, “over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house we go…”. No lie. And just to give you a mental image of the fiasco that turned out to be my sewing lesson: while showing me how to thread the machine, my mom bumped the lamp next to the sewing table. She tried to catch it, but because her hands were full, holding up the machine so we could thread the bottom needle thing, she wasn’t able to save it, and it toppled over making a loud crash and shattering the bulb everywhere. Of course this brought forth a burst of laughter from me and groans from my mom. Great. I figured the night could only get better from here. Once again, wrong.

Finally, once the thread was in place, I was given a short lesson on the basics of lining up the fabric ends, pinning them if needed- to hold them in place (definitely needed!), proper placement under the needle, lowering the needle, lowering the presser foot, and on and on. And so I began. For those of you who don’t know, a sewing machine has a foot peddle that you press to make it go. The harder you press, the faster it pulls the fabric through and sews. It’s almost identical to a car’s gas pedal. I love driving, and I love driving fast. Because of the recent weather here, I haven’t gotten to drive much, or at all really, in the past few days. So as soon as my foot hit that pedal, it hit the pedal. It was like I was on a windy, country road on a sunny, spring day. Except that I wasn’t. And now my fabric was sewed unevenly together by a crooked line of stitches that much resembled a windy, country road.  My mom, being one to point out the obvious said, “You drive fast and you sew fast.” I thought, “No big deal, It won’t be that noticeable. I’ll do better on the lining.” Wrong again. The lining, which I ended up cutting too short in comparison to the outside fabric, turned out much like the other: crooked.

At this point, my vision of a beautiful, chic bag has turned into a view of a bag I can throw crap in when I’m headed for the beach or a long car ride. Well, still of use, at least. Now I had to sew these pieces together… which might have happened if the thread didn’t keep coming out of the needle on the sewing machine. My mom wasn’t in the room (moms, don’t you heed those ‘you need to always supervise your child’ cautions?) so I tried to remember the way to get the thread to Grandma’s house, a.k.a. the needle, via all the doo-hickeys and bobble things. Once everything was back in place, I sewed the two pieces together. Wait, at least I think I did. Where’s the thread? I looked over every piece of the machine, trying to get it right so the thread would get to the needle and stay there this time… which it did, finally- once my mom came back in and fixed it after my three failed attempts. I won’t even begin to tell you how this seam turned out. I had given up all hope of this bag looking even half-decent and just wanted to be done with this disaster of a project. I started just sewing random lines so that it could become something of use and so my fingers could get away from the machine and to my laptop keyboard where they could actually produce something to be proud of.

I quickly cut out a long piece of fabric for the strap, folded it over, sewed another crooked line and turned it inside out so I could attach it to my bag. I didn’t have time for frivolity anymore, I only had time for “a job done”. And done it was. Finally. It was a disaster, and I knew it, and my mom knew it (well, she didn’t actually admit it. She told me it was great for my first time. But who are we fooling, really?). Whatever, I didn’t care, I was just thrilled to get away from the machine. I showed my bag to my dad and asked him if he liked it. “Yea, I guess…it’s OK. Do you like it?” (Thanks, Dad) Do I like it? No. No, I don’t.

Looking back, the experience was so awful, it became fun. And funny. My mom and I just laughed through the whole thing because when you’ve hit rock bottom, the only way is up, and laughter brought us there. It was a bonding experience, I guess. So it wasn’t all bad. And hey, my bag might not be elegant or chic, but at least I’ll be matching the dining room chairs.

Tomorrow I’m going to buy lunch for the car behind me in a drive-thru.

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2 Comments on “Day 2: Sewing With A Sewing Machine”

  1. Lisa Hanner Says:

    Sorry about your Mom leaving you. That was my fault. It gave you something more to write about though :)


  2. […] for the fact that I had to go back to the dreaded sewing machine (check out Day 2), this project was actually quite simple.  You cut out the back pockets of your pair of jeans, […]


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