Starting to Sew: beating the machine

Procrastination is purposeful, fraught with rationality and quite frankly, really good reasons.  And so, I did everything but start on the sewing machine.  Sweaty and frazzled, I know why, consciously, not just  subconsciously, I procrastinated;  I would have to LEARN how to WORK it.  It is a new machine.

I bought my first machine right after college with my graduation money.  It was an ELNA Jubilee, metal, substantial with metal bobbins.  It works but I lost the power cord.  The Professor cut the pressor foot cord when he was younger, the tension is off,  and it needs a service.  For the price of replacement parts and servicing,  I could buy a new one, plastic albeit, that does more.  Well, who doesn’t want a model that does more?  Especially if it is a sewing maching, washing machine, or man.  I suckered up and bought it.

Height of procrastination I know, it has been in the box for 3 months.  The ExWild Baby Child would come by and start to remove it and I would screech,  “NO NO, not yet. I haven’t read the directions. ” I just didn’t have the mental faculties to even lift up and open the directions packet, much less actually READ and UNDERSTAND them.

I have cut out the pattern, cut out and ironed on the innerfacing (Oh I’m gonna have to get up and look that up. Is it Interfacing or Innerfacing.  Both could be what I do when I am examining my reasons for getting up in the morning).  Ok, it is INTERFACING, though I am pretty sure either would suffice.  Both have to do with IN and FACING. It’s just the TER versus NER that  confused me.   I think I need chocolate.

It’s time to sew.  A few straight simple seams.  Something I did before.  In college. The kids were out for the evening   and stars must be aligned because that never happens. The kitchen was clean, no one was hungry….I could find more excuses but that would take mental faculties and I was saving them for later.  SO, Henceforth and Wherewiithal, I sighed as loudly as possible, hoping to pass out before I had to READ THE DIRECTIONS.

I did.  I really, really did read them.  Out loud, and very slowly so I could use all the parts of my learning preponderances  (I am not sure I used that word properly in a sentence) to hopefully up the chances I would wiz over the learning curve without impaling myself on a sharp object or fainting from the speed.

The bobbin wound.  Gold thread was whipping around and around.  Hurray. It worked.  When I took the bobbin off the winder, I saw that most of the thread had wrapped around the shaft below the bobbin.  I  jabbed  at the gob of thread with a seam ripper, and picked individual 3 inch pieces off  one by one.  Ten minutes later, I brilliantly realized I could pull off the base of the winder and gracefully slide off the gob of thread.  Voila.

Sweating, shaking, all confidence lost, I then set about to figure out how to thread the bobbin and needle.  It’s not that I don’t know.  It’s just someone switched the machine. Oh that was me.  So, I painstakingly READ the directions to myself, out loud, and to the dog . Grabbing the thread in my right hand, I swooped and dipped and curled until it caught on all the little invisible hooks and levers  that didn’t look anything like the diagrams in the directions.

Tah Dah.  I am prostrate on the floor now but whooping in victory.  I think I am now too exhausted to  finish sewing my 2 hour skirt.  I already spent my 2 hours threading my machine.

And therein is my original point.  It was self care to procrastinate getting out my new sewing machine–figuring it out just about used up all my mental faculties.  I was really just waiting for the right time.

And one more thing.  I wonder if this is one of the versions with a quick set bobbin and self threader.  I would read the directions but the dog ate them.


  1. OK. I’m the original Luddite. Maybe it is hereditary. I just posted a reply with no reply. Anyway, I loved your writing and look forward to more. I have an oldie made-in-the-’60s metal component Singer 401. Bullet proof. I am trying to learn to sew–again. I used to–BC (Before Children). I am trying to learn to quilt and had to buy a “walking foot” and am now learning to walk. Still stumbling around. But, thanks to your blog, at least I don’t feel I am stumbling all by myself. Thanks a bunch! Maybe I’ll have another go tonight.

    1. Stick with me Sherry!! The adventure is only starting. Wait til I get to zippers and hems. I am not an expert so I will be of no help to you at all, but I can FEEL YOUR PAIN and we can commiserate together. Thanks for stopping by, reading and commenting.

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