Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Les instructions sont en français...

I spent 6 years of my life in French Immersion, but it has been at least 5 years since I have studied the language let alone spoken or read the language. I bring this up because the only instruction manual I can find for the sewing machine is half French and I am guessing that the other half is in German. I do understand part of what I am reading but it requires a whole other level of learning just to force myself to have the mental capacity to understand what I am reading. If the manual didn't have pictures, I would literally be a lost cause right now.

Since the machine is my mother's, I asked her some stuff and she was helpful in telling me what I needed to do to wind the thread on the lower bobbin, but she quickly walked away without actually showing me what to do. I am more of a hands-on learner, so to have her walk away after an explanation didn't help me a whole lot. I did attempt to read the instructions and follow the pictures but I was unsuccessful:

Clearly, not what was suppose to happen. I ended up calling for my mom to come back to help me, which she did do after I summoned the 5-year-old in me and whined, "¡Mamiiii, necesito ayuda!" For the non-spanish speakers that means "Mom, I need your help." I may be 23, but I still am and will always be my mother's little girl. Anyway, she helped me and the result was a significant improvement:

My plan for today was to make a stitch sampler, but instead it turned into me trying to figure out how to stitch the fancy embroidery in a straight line. I was unsuccessful, but I when I wasn't trying to be fancy I managed to stitch in a straight line and for now that is most important. In the process of taking this photo I didn't realize I cut off the the last stitch line, but it's not any better than the others so I didn't feel it was worth trying to capture.

On a very good note, my mother came home today with some really great scissors for cutting through fabric. I had to cut some of the fabric so that I could have some pieces for several attempts at a stitch sampler and I found that the scissors I had were not the sharpest. I never told my mom this, but it's as if she read my mind and when she came across a great pair at a great price she knew that I needed them. She's leaving for Honduras for almost three weeks in a couple of days and I am already beginning to question how will I fare without her assistance. She raised me to be an independent person so I know I don't need to be overly concerned, but I'll miss her nonetheless. My dad only tends to come into the room to ask me if I'm good enough to stitch him a pair of pants or to fix a hole or two, whereas my mom asks how my progress is going and even though she laughs at my inability to keep a straight line, she always manages to offer words of advice and encouragement.

Over these next couple of weeks I will really need some luck to as I attempt to make a sewing machine cozy with an inner-liner. My friend Jenna says that I should scrap the liner but if I do that the cozy will be incredibly flimsy and it won't have any real structure to it. So, I am going to be overly ambitious and give it a try. I figure the internet will be a useful resource in helping me figure out what to do and if I really need to I'll just go to the fabric store and ask for some guidance.

Wish me luck!

Monday, 23 January 2012


Bienvenidos amigos! This is my blog about my adventure (or possible misadventure) into learning how to sew. I have little to no experience in the art of sewing. My past endeavours into sewing were complete and utter disasters, but I have learned from those mistakes and I have decided that the best way to learn is to start from the basics and ease my way into more advanced projects.

In the past I unsuccessfully replaced an invisible zipper on a pair of dress pants, but I now know why it was such a disaster: I didn't have an invisible zipper foot. At the time, I had no clue that certain sewing techniques required different feet (nor did I know "feet" was a sewing term). This time around I am prepared to learn from the beginning and I have taken what I feel to be necessary steps before I stitch thread to fabric.

Step 1: Books

The Sewing Book by Alison Smith
The first book is called The Sewing Book. From this moment on, this book will be referred to as my sewing bible (or bible for short) because it literally has everything I need to know to get started. The bible is descriptive and more importantly, it has glossy colour photos.

Amy Butler's In Stitches: 25 Simple and Stylish Sewing Projects

The second book is called Amy Butler's In Stitches: 25 Simple and Stylish Sewing Projects. This book has what appear to be simple sewing projects, some of which I am hoping to complete. The one project I have my heart set on eventually sewing is the gorgeous patchwork duvet cover on page 63. 

Step 2: Sewing area

I hijacked the spare bedroom and put in a sewing table that for the last decade has been used as a TV stand in my bedroom. I will post a photo of my new sewing room once I have spruced it up a bit and when the sun is shining. I did take some photos but the gloom and doom of the rain outside does not make for good lighting.

Step 3: Gathering essential tools

A) Bent-handled shears

B) Fabric shears
C) Paper shears

D) Embroidery scissors (will be used for cutting threads and cutting small details in fabric)
E) Hobby knife (includes blades for ripping seams and cutting button holes)
F) Sewing gauge
G) Tape measure
H) Clear rulers
I) Pin cushion
J) Pearl head pins
K) Safety pins
L) Chalk marking pencil
Brother VX-1140
M) Sewing machine

I am fortunate enough to have a mother who owns a sewing machine, but I did go out and buy everything else. I went to Dollarama and Fabricland to get the rest of the supplies. Dollarama was great because nothing was over $2 and I was able to save some money on the pins, rulers and tape measures. Fabricland was more expensive but I was able to buy a basic sewing kit that included a lot of the items I needed. More importantly, I saved money by buying items that were on sale. 

One item that is missing from my list is a container to keep the tools in. Currently, I am using a small yellow toolbox that I found in my house. So far, it is the perfect container because it has different compartments that make it easy to keep the box organized.

During my shopping trip, I took the opportunity to buy some fabric for my first two projects. Since I am starting at the basics, my first project will be to make a stitch sampler. From my past experiences using the sewing machine, I often forgot which way the machine feeds the thread, so I feel like a stitch sampler is the logical first step in getting used to the machine and being able to get a feel for the different stitches the machine can make.