Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Hello Sewing!

Things are super-exciting around my house right now. This is because I have inherited my Mum's sewing machine! It's a bit of an old beast, but being a Bernina, it is still in great condition and as far as my novice sewing knowledge can tell, sews pretty well too. The model is a Bernina "Minimatic". My mum bought it in the 1970s, and as far as I know, it was quite expensive at the time. I have lots of memories of mum sewing for us as kids. When my sister and I were little, she almost exclusively sewed all of our clothes. She also sewed a lot of her own clothes too. I don't really know anyone these days that would sew the majority of their family's clothing. Probably the main reason is because it's so cheap to buy mass produced clothing now that it's not really economically viable for people to buy patterns, fabric and then spend the time sewing along with running a household, and for a lot of (mainly) women, also hold down a full time job. I also remember mum sewing a lot of our dolls clothes, including teeny tiny Barbie Doll stuff. I don't think I have the patience for those kinds of fiddly jobs! 

The machine has arrived with a lot of accessories! Firstly, the snazzy red hard case, which packs everything inside neatly. It has an extension arm which can be stored in the case. Also a clip on little box to store your scissors, pins and extra bits and pieces you might need while sewing. The major part is something I didn't discover until I was putting the machine away, a treasure trove of extra needles, sewing  machine feet and bobbins! I had gone to Spotlight to purchase new needles, thread and tools to remove the needle. I used all these, and then when I packed the machine up, I discovered a box hidden at the back of the case. I hadn't noticed it before as it was stowed away at the back!

Check out that sneaky stowaway!

Inside the box was everything I had bought! HEAPS of spare needles including denim and twin needles. EIGHT different feet- not including the one already on the machine! Eight bobbins. And all the little tools that are needed for adjustments. I am definitely completely set up for some major sewing now! 

There is definitely something special about this machine. I could buy a new one, a fancier one, an electronic on/off button one, but this machine is just what I want. Maybe it's all the memories of my mum sitting at her sewing desk making things for my sister and I. Or the familiar smell of the bobbin box and sound of the machine whirring away. I think maybe it's that if I own this machine, I own a little bit of my mum too. And that is a very bittersweet feeling as really I'd rather have a new machine and be asking my mum for advice, than have her old machine and not have her. So even if I don't get much use of it, even if it sits in it's case for the next wee while, every time I look at it I will remember my mum. And those are definitely happy thoughts. 

Anyway, my main reason for wanting a sewing machine is actually fairly simple. I want to be able to easily mend or alter clothing for our family, as well as make some simple things for fun. I had a couple of ideas in mind for a few pieces of clothing that I like, but would love if I could alter them slightly. The last time I took something to an alteration service, they charged me $20 for a very simple fix-- something I knew I could do myself if I had my own machine.

The first item for "fixing" was this Staxs tunic I purchased last year. I absolutely love the fabric, but I hated the sleeves! I also find with Staxs clothing, the sizes run quite big, so this tunic was quite baggy on me, making me look bigger than I actually am. All I wanted to do was remove the frilly, flappy sleeves, and make them plain. I just unpicked the frilly hem of the sleeve, took it off, folded a new seam and sewed around. SUPER SIMPLE! And it worked perfectly, the tunic looks 100% better and fits me better without those sleeves. I wish I had taken a "before" picture!

Frilly sleeves be gone!
I'm not a really fancy sewer, I can only do really basic things. If you look really closely, you will see that the seam isn't quite perfect and the thread doesn't match exactly. But as a first go after not sewing anything in at least 15 years, I think it's a good effort!

I got pretty excited about how many things I could alter after such great success with this tunic, that I pulled everything out of my wardrobe that I wanted to change! Another top that I quite like, again has these ridiculous puff sleeves. This has turned out to be a bit trickier due to the amount of volume in the sleeves, a work in progress! 

I am very pleased to be able to write about my sewing adventures now here on the blog! Watch this space!
For now my family heirloom has gone back into her home while I continue creating for the Thorndon Fair. See you again soon!

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