Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Adventures with the sewing machine


I promised to make Mayhem a Batman cape, complete with pointy ends, just like Batman. But I can’t sew with the boys around. They are not the problem. They don’t bother me. It’s all the obscene language that accompanies the sewing that is the problem.

Don’t get me wrong…I like sewing.


I do.

It just doesn’t seem that way because of all the swearing sewing causes. It’s not the sewings fault, its the inadequate props.

Any sewing project always begins the same way – with the ritual opening cursing of whoever the hell took ALL the effing scissors and failed to put them back where they belong. The curse lasts for awhile and encompasses the whole damn house while I go room to room looking for one effing pair of the dozen or so scissors I know damn well are somewhere in this bloody house and wonder aloud why the hell no one has the common effing decency to replace the freaking scissors when they take them.

The ritual opening curse ends when I at last locate some scissors, usually child safety scissors that I can’t use without getting my thumb trapped in the damn handle.

This is followed by much lamentation, bitching & moaning about my missing quilting ruler and rotary cutter. What the hell people? Who is using my rotary cutter? And where in the name of god did my ruler go?

Things go quiet for a bit while measurements are made and fabric is cut. Then some choice words are uttered regarding measurements and cutting and how nothing ever quite comes out like it should.

I am spatially challenged. I cannot look at things and estimate size, by eye, anywhere resembling ‘somewhat close’, let alone accurate. Some people can look at the object you are sewing something for and say “oh, 2 yards of fabric will be fine” and they will be right. I have to measure, and remeasure, and break out the graph paper and draw a sketch to scale and go online and find a pattern helper and then ask DH what he thinks and EVEN THEN I end up either 6 inches short of material or have a yard too much.

Then the pins come out. GOOD GOD THE PINS! And lots of expletives are heard while things are pinned because it’s slipper satin like fabric & the pins don’t stay put once you get them in, assuming you can get them in because either the damn pins are all dull or the fabric is hard as nails. OUCH! God DAMN it! BLOODY HELL! EFFING PINS!

Silence once again descends while the sewing machine itself is contemplated warily. The mind is searched to recall what was wrong with it last time & was that fixed? Were the wrong sized bobbins finally discarded or must every freaking bobbin be tested prior to loading it with thread?

You’d think I’d have bobbins with black & white thread on them but no, my bobbins are a riot of colors – chartreuse, lime green, burnt orange, 3 shades of purple, grey and aqua. So every time I have to wind up a damn bobbin.

Bobbins are easily wound & even threading the machine is such a habit I don’t need to think about it. It’s just one tiny irritating thing in a mess of larger irritating things.

And oh yeah the light bulb is burnt out and has been for almost 2 years now.

Because Singer is such a rare brand of sewing machine the useless Wal Mart doesn’t carry bulbs for it in the sewing department and my forays into other fabric stores are so rare I never remember to buy bulbs and should I manage to remember the bulb I never remember the model number of the stupid sewing machine. I have two bulbs that are the wrong size that I never returned because I have to drive an hour to do so.

Muttered curses then accompany me on a search for a lamp that will somehow fit on the table yet still leave room for the material being sewn. Once this is accomplished the actual sewing is done quickly and quietly.


Oh look. I sewed the wrong damn sides together! Where the hell is the seam ripper? How about my effing embroidery scissors? WTF people! Can’t you leave me one damn pair of pointy scissors? The opening cursing of the scissors thief/thieves is then repeated until something small & pointy that can cut thread is located.

Fortunately I rejected the idea of French seams because I ALWAYS screw up French seams. I simply cannot visualize how it will come together, despite having sewn them before. So even with the instructions in front of me I sew right sides together instead of wrong sides together. Or vice versa. Whatever. Stupid freaking seams.

Probably I should have used them though because this faux satin is very unravelly.

The pin performance is then repeated with added color because my fingers are sore from last time and my back is started to hurt.

Ergonomics have no place in my sewing room. Tables are too high, chairs too low and I end up hunched over somehow and the lighting sucks so I end up bent at an odd angle trying to see to rip out the black thread stitches on the black poly satin fabric. I can manage about 90 minutes of sewing before my back gives out and I have to go lay down for 20 minutes.

When I was childless, gainfully employed and making quilts I had none of these problems. Scissors stayed put. An hour trip to get a missing bulb or whatever supply might make my life easier was nothing! Neither was the cost. I knew I should have popped for that craft table & chair set up I wanted when I was pregnant with Havoc. That money is long gone now & who knows when I’ll be able to afford such a thing again.

90 minutes was enough to cut the cape out, sew together the two pieces, hem the sides, cut the bottom triangles, pin & sew them on backwards, rip them out and pin them back the right way.

I ought to be able to resew the triangles & then hem them & the bottom tomorrow.

Assuming no one borrows my scissors overnight.

And the thing is…I really do LIKE sewing.

It relaxes me.


Scrapdreams said...

too funny Stacey! We too have multitudinous amounts of scissors and yet can never find a pair when needed. Damn scissor gremlins! But I have two good (expensive) pairs of sewing scissors and my whole family knows that if those scissors ever get caught in one of their hands, I'm likely to chop off the offending hands!

SciFi Dad said...

I once sewed a button back on a shirt.

LizzieMade said...

Oh Stacey, you're a scream! I was sending waves of sympathy though, as I read your sorry tale.. I'm lucky to be fairly good at sewing, having a box where my scissors live, which no-one raids and pins that are still sharp. However, I too have my "issues"... somehow I lose concentration at some crucial moment and - where's the seam ripper / bobbin / black cotton - I have to search for some missing item or rip out a seam etc etc, just like you. My problem isn't spacial awareness or estimating - it's the measuring. I always seem to have a real problem with it, even though I have the picture of what I want in my head, know about stuff like seam allowances etc... I measure, re-measure, re-re-measure, write it down.. then cut a piece wrong! Duh! Still, my efforts seem to come out right in the end, just as yours do.

Swearing is so theraputic. I agree with you - sewing relaxes me!!

Melissa said...

And this is why I don't sew, or ever plan to sew. If it can't be bought at the store - tough luck!

Andrea Chamberlain said...

Well, I sew with duct tape so kudos to you for doing it the right way.

I absolutely love the way you write. You've go such a great, dry sense of humor! And I feel a kinship with potty mouthed bloggers.

Ruth said...

So funny!

Kai said...

OMG you had me nearly wetting my pants from laughing. I so feel your pain! I have gotten to the point of hiding the things that are mine and mine alone for crafting, and I still end up "losing" one thing or another. Having just started quilting, I feel your pain, though... quite literally with the ergonomics and figuratively with the "stress" of getting things cut right. I hope your next foray into sewing the rest of the cape goes without a hitch so you can truly be relaxed!

Helena said...

you are such a great story teller - I was there with you through every trial and tribulation. My recent attempt to sew started with trying to find the pedal for the sewing machine which was mysteriously not attached and then having to buy new bobbins and finally when I sewed the tension was wrong and I gave up.

Carrie said...

lol - sounds a bit too familiar! And woo hoo on the Cape!

Chatterbox said...

What an absolutely delightful post :)
Loved it thoroughly :)

Keep up the wonderful work for I'd love to drop by often on your beautiful blog :)

Mel said...

So what happens when you have to do something you don't like, something that stresses you out???

PS Fabric glue is one of the best inventions EVER!