Sewing Machine

Meet my new friend. I call him bro.

mew sewing machine Side note: I enjoy the pet name “oh brother” as well, which alludes to the potential misery and frustration this same machine can cause.

But really, I’ve been meaning to purchase one of these for quite a while.  And this model was only $74 on Amazon (although it’s listed as $82 now).  So for less than $100 bucks, I think the time was right.

Now here’s the catch, I haven’t used a sewing machine in about 15 years.  So I set the thing up yesterday with an aura of calmness, expecting to become angry and frustrated almost immediately.  After I spun a bobbin or two and got the damn thing threaded, I started playing around on scraps of fabric.

test stitchesTo get a better Idea of how the machine stitches worked, I put red thread in the bobbin and white thread on top.  It took a while to get the tension correct, mostly because I realized later that I was using really shitty thread and really thin, flimsy fabric.  As per usual, my “good enough” mentality was already making this harder.

Lucky for me, they just opened a JoAnn Fabrics on this side of town, so it’s about a 7 minute drive for me to go get supplies.  Once I got some real thread I started making better progress.  This cheap-o machine even has built in fancy stitches, which were fun to test drive.

testing fancy stitchesAlso while at JoAnn, I picked up some black jersey fabric with the fantasy of making some kind of actual people clothes.  For the last few months I’ve been wanting a black jersey skirt, not super mini and not knee-length pencil, but haven’t found anything in the shops.  Since basically all I’m asking for is a tube of black fabric, I figured this might be a safe thing to try and sew together.

I followed this basic tutorial, that doesn’t involve  a pattern.  There was really only one major problem, the first time I cut the fabric, I cut it in the wrong direction so that it only stretched up and down (instead of side to side, which is what you need when you’re squeezing your ass into a tube skirt).  But I channeled Tim Gunn and made it work, re-cutting the pieces.  And after only one major fabric/needle/tangle/jam-up, lo and behold, I made an actual garment.

black jersey skirt

It’s not perfect, and it’s certainly not complex.  But there are no raw edges, it has a separate piece cut for the waist band, and it’s suitable for actual human wear.  And not just any human, it fits me because I used another skirt that fits as a template.

Here’s an awful picture to prove it!

IMG_3185I’d say that this cotton jersey stretch material is the way to go when you’re just learning how to sew stuff.  I really can’t imagine trying to fit a non-stretchy fabric to fit properly.  And zippers and buttons and stuff, gah!  Definitely not ready for that.

Thank god this first project actually worked out without any tears or throwing stuff, because I have a TON of things I want to make now.  Curtains…pillows….dog beds…maybe even more people clothes (mostly because I like making jokes all afternoon about being on Project Runway).

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4 thoughts on “Sewing Machine

  1. So cute Amy! I can wait to see what you make next. I took a sewing class at the community college here but never really got past turning the machine on and unjamming it. You’ll be on to zippers (or at least elastic?) in no time. Good luck!

  2. I cracked up reading this post. I think you’re having way too much fun with Bro. But, what a great way to take matters into your own hands when you can’t find something in stores. Make it work.

  3. Pingback: DIY Dog Beds « escape from brooklyn

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