Sew: lesson #1

Yesterday was a milestone day in domesticity at the Mortroski Midcentury. After purchasing a fancy sewing machine for Christmas (made possible by pooling multiple  Christmas gift checks, Bruce’s company holiday gift, plus anniversary gifts), we finally learned how to use it.

the sewing machine

the sewing machine (that’s my head behind it)

When you purchase a machine at Joann (a US-based fabric/crafting store), you also can take a few lessons for free. Despite our good intentions, once we picked up the machine on the last day of the holiday sale, we never even turned it on, nor read the manual. At all. Oops. We took it out of the box and put it on the dining room table though.

When we headed towards the class, we heard excited chatter. But then when we arrived, sewing machine in hand, silence. Why? A male entered the sanctity of the intro class! But of course, my sweet husband, the youngest of 4 with three older sisters didn’t even notice and made himself at home right away. Our classmates were all women from 8 years old to their late 40s. Most had been sewing for a while in some capacity, even the kids.

Um, not me. If the machine wasn’t a computerized dream with a screen and switches and plugs similar to every other electronic device in the Mortroski Midcentury, I doubt I would have even known how to turn it on or set it up. As a complete novice, I was a bit intimidated as we went around the room, introducing ourselves, our machines (because they were all different), and explaining what projects necessitated getting a new machine. Most of the women were planning to make clothing. The theatrical teen was planning to make a steampunk wardrobe (good for her), the 8 year old clothes for her dogs, the others were going to make clothes for their kids.

Not me. I was there to tackle a personal demon. A failure to learn how to sew at age 10 when my mother sat me down in front of her Singer. Despite being a professional early-childhood educator, her style of lessons managed to make me never EVER want to learn how to sew. And I didn’t. Until yesterday, I did everything in my power to avoid sewing (and ironing but that’s another post). When we lived in Toronto, we would bring our sewing needs along with us to Bruce’s parents’ house. Marge (Bruce’s mom) has a Singer and Bruce would get on it and fix whatever we needed. Yep, I’m lucky.

However, I didn’t ask him to shorten my pants. At 5’2″, I am no clothing manufacturer’s favorite leg length.Tailors love me and imagine putting their children through college on my tailoring needs when I arrive with my pile of recently purchased pants. Before you suggest trying the petite department, I do not have a “petite” body. The Petroskis come from hearty Russian peasant stock. Even with heels, I’m short. So as you might imagine, the sewing machine promises me much excitement: the ability to hem my own pants/skirts WHENEVER I want. No waiting a week to pick them up. We even learned how to do a blind hem yesterday. Fingers crossed that I will not screw up too many new pants in my attempts to tailor. Perhaps I need to pick up any new pant purchases from TJ Maxx or Marshalls until I get the hang of hemming.

Now, Bruce is very clear in what he wants to accomplish with the machine. To him, it’s just a new power tool to add to his arsenal. He is already planning a plethora of projects: patio door curtains for the “lounge” (what we call the Midcentury’s family room since it has a wet bar and an enormous sectional), all new cushions for our patio furniture since current cushions are looking tired, new covers for the 3G Network’s many beds scattered throughout the house, perhaps some throw pillows for the sectional in the lounge. He has no desire to make his own clothing.

I, on the other hand, was just thrilled to learn how to thread the thing, made much more simple than my mom’s 1970s Singer with the addition of an automatic threader. Who knew such a thing existed? We practiced on some small pieces of cloth and learned about which needles to use for which fabric (who knew?), when to replace needles (after every 6-8 hours of sewing), what kind of thread to use (I had no idea there were different types), different kinds of feet (again, who knew). Now, I feel confident in my ability to turn the machine on and perhaps thread it. I mumbled something about assisting with Bruce’s projects, but I was thinking about hemming my own pants.

On our way out of class, we purchased a number of needles, some thread, a mat and cutter, a couple of yards of fabric to practice with, and some bobbins. We also signed up for new owner class #2 which is next Sunday afternoon. But we’re on our way to curtains, cushions and more. And I’m no longer afraid of sewing. Maybe I’ll start by fixing my pajama bottoms—there’s a seam that’s coming apart.

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6 thoughts on “Sew: lesson #1

  1. I love that Bruce has such big sewing plans :). Since I am also “vertically challenged”. My goal would be to hem pants. Let me know what a blind hem looks like

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