My mom has always been one to whip up a curtain, hem the pants, and make my sister and I matching dresses (not in many years thankfully 🙂 no offense mom but you know…we’re big girls now) …Most recently she’s gotten fancy and started quilting! She (and Liz) also made my niece’s full baby bedding set including lamp shade, curtain, diaper holder, and numerous blankets and burp cloths!! A-mazing AND fully committed to help with her next grand-baby’s room 🙂
I’ve always loved helping but am by no means a “seamstress”!! I can cut out and pin a pattern with full direction from mom (constantly checking the “key” because I can never remember what all those arrows and stuff mean), cut, and sew a straight line pretty well but am not super consistent. From time to time I’d bring a project home or ask her to tote her machine with her when she came to visit to help me make curtains, fix something, or just hem my wedding dress (with the help of gma Bev “THE ultimate sewer”) because I didn’t have a sewing machine. I had a hard time brining myself to buy a few hundred dollar machine that I didn’t know anything about including how to thread it! I could never really figure out how to thread mom’s machine and always had to ask her to do it for me so I had little faith in my ability to even use a machine on my own.
BUT my great-grandma Carpenter loving gave me her sewing machine a few months ago before she passed away. This is so special because she was an amazing seamstress and made numerous pieces including quilts of all sizes and designs, clothing, and bears for her grandchildren including my sister and me when we were babies. My mom got it serviced and gave it to me for Christmas this year! I knew it was coming but was still so excited to have it.
After getting it home I started researching… I was determined to figure out how to use it correctly and to learn all about the parts and pieces. The first goal was to figure out how to thread that thing!! Luckily gma Carpenter kept the instruction manual which was written in English and French!..fancy fancy! Via the minimal written instructions and hand sketched pictures I walked myself through threading and loading the bobbin, got the spool attached and THREADED THE MACHINE all by myself!!! I don’t know how it was so hard the last few times I “just couldn’t figure it out” with mom around because it made perfect sense; the thread basically goes the only way that it can… duh!
I ran some practice stitches and then progressed to taking myself through the manual learning about all the parts, what the pressure dial is and how/when to adjust it, how to change the pressure foot and what alternate feet do, how to change the needle according to what fabric is being used, how and when to change thread tension, and looked ahead at overedge stitching, button hole stitching, blind stitch and rolled hemming and immediately felt out of my element and and a bit overwhelmed and decided I’d stick to the basics and call mom when I needed to progress to this “advanced stuff” at the back of the manual!
Note to self…the farther back in the manual, the harder the topic!
I thought I was SET so I went shopping for some fabric to make this cute little baby hat that I found on Pinterest…out of knit… Come to find out knit was not a great fabric for the “teach yourself how to sewer”. It stretches. It was a small pattern. I altered the pattern to add a knot at the top of the head, so I didn’t have fully accurate measurements. I don’t guess I got my pressure dial and thread tension in the best spots because the fabric pulled some while I sewed. Of course we learn by trial and error so I’ll place this project in the “error” category! The first one I made ended up sooo small it might have been good for a doll! So I adjusted and started over. The second one turned out better…still a little crooked and lop-sided but a better size and cute to the casual observer 🙂 I gave it to a girlfriend who was about to have her first baby boy and decided to hold off on another knit project for a while.
I thought I’d go for something more simple for the next project so I decided on a pacifier clip…once again found on Pinterest!! The instructions called it a no-sew but you know…I was in a sewin’ kind of mood… so I sewed where it called for glue. For this project I had to change my thread color. No problem, right?? I’d already taught myself how to thread the machine and the bobbin! I pulled out the instruction book to double check my newly acquired skill. I got all the way finished, had threaded the needle, loaded the bobbin, meticulously ran the bobbin thread around itself just like the picture, had the pressure foot down, and was ready to turn the balance wheel. I turned the wheel a couple times but the bobbin thread didn’t pull through and loop itself around the needle thread like it’s suppose to! So… I tried it again..and again…and again…and again..and you get the picture! I was getting so frustrated!! I read those directions over and over… and over… and just knew that I was doing everything perfectly and so there was obviously something wrong with this dern machine!! I took apart the bobbin compartment and tried again…and again…and again…!! I tried turning the bobbin around, re-threading it, putting it away for a while and going back to it later, searching You Tube, calling mom, face-timing mom, and came to the conclusion that the machine was busted and decided to look for a sewing machine doctor. I decided to re-read the instructions one last time…word for word… and really dissect it to make sure I wasn’t missing anything. It says, ‘Turn the balance slowly towards you until….’. “hmmmmmm,” I thought to myself, “wonder if I’ve been turning it the correct way..” HOLY COW!! When I turned the wheel the correct direction that loop of thread pulled right up and I couldn’t help but laugh at myself and use this to remind me just how important the details can be!! So, all in all this 5 minute project turned into a multi-day event filled with great frustration and learning! The clip turned out super cute and was very simple once I concurred myself!
Hubby and I are busy packing up our house and getting ready to move in a few days so I decided that I needed to finish a couple of sewing projects for 2 of my girlfriends here who each just had baby boys. I found some really cute boy fabric pre-cut into squarishes at Hobby Lobby, picked up some matching minky fabric and ribbon with the master plan of making a few Tag Blankets that I found on….you guessed it…Pinterest! I changed the instructions some though; I didn’t add the crinkle to the inside because I wasn’t sure how plastic would wash in hot water and I sewed it like a pillow to avoid seeing the stitching. I was on a roll pinning all the ribbon in place, lining up the 2 pieces of fabric, and trimming the excess. About half way through the pinning prep of the first blanket I realized that even though the minky fabric is awesome and among a baby’s favorite to feel, it is not the most awesome to sew on! It stretches. It sheds. It doesn’t always keep it’s shape. Dern!! Once I discovered the pulled mink I went back and adjusted the pins throughout…on every ribbon I’d pinned so far “ommmm…” good thing I’ve taken up yoga since we’ve lived here :).
Finally, once all the ribbon tags were pinned it was time to sew! I adjusted the machine settings as needed, changed the thread color without trouble!!, and buggity buggity buggity I was off to the races! The first blanket went off without any trouble and was sooooo cute!! I got it done before Shane got home from work and he was pretty impressed and even said it was “really cute”!! You know it’s pretty dern cute when a man uses the word “cute”! I patted myself on the back and decided I’d make the second the next day…today. The second one started off with better success and I was sewing in no time. About half way through the blanket the machine started bunching up the thread and wouldn’t progress the feed dogs. “Dern!!”, I thought again!! I assumed it was a bobbin problem so I pulled it out and re-threaded it and tried sewing again…and again…and again… each time resulting in the same pile up of thread! “Dern!”, I thought again!! I happened to look up at the spool pin and realized that it was sticking up in the air! I had forgotten to push it down into place which made the needle thread come off of one of the thread guides. Problem solved and error placed in the “learning curve” category! I finished the second blanket and was very happy with the way they both turned out. I patted myself on the back with the other hand and packed away the machine for now. I know we’ll have projects when we start to settle into our home and will be excited to share all the “dern” moments with yall!
Here are a few more pics of these super cute blankets! Just so you know, I have 4 more pieces of boy fabric ready to be made into blankets so if you’re having a baby soon try to have a boy so you can get one of these blankets sent your way and possibly featured on our blog if something goes wrong while making it!! Thanks for reading and commenting!
Rolled up and ready to be delivered!