I have been dreaming about having a new hip-bag for my geography class. We are going to start collecting data in the field this week and I really want to have a bag that is more functional than a purse, but smaller and more accessible than a backpack. I found a super cute bag at JCasa *handmade and was all set to try it out (with a few tweaks, like adding a pocket inside, and changing the length and placement of the handle). I cleaned of my Door Desk and Lost Boy got out my (very heavy) sewing machine. I set it all up and even got out the iron to press things.
I started having trouble right away. I replaced my needle (which had broken last time I tried to sew) and it promptly broke again on my first stitch. I spent some time examining the machine and figured out why the needle was breaking and how to fix it. Right, everything is good! No. The thread kept snapping. I couldn't sew even a centimeter without broken thread, knots and lots of extra thread jumbled up on the bottom of the fabric. So I got on the internet and looked up my machine, how to adjust tension, and how to thread a sewing machine. I think I did pretty well. I got the thread to stop snapping. But all of the reviews I read about my machine were very discouraging. I have a Necchi 540, which I got for $20 from a friend who owned about three sewing machines. Two comments on the internet said that Necchi was an excellent brand, but that any machine made after the company left Italy was junk. I think my machine falls into that category (from the model numbers and comments). Sigh. It was already past my bedtime, so I stopped for a day or two.
When I tried to work on my project again later, things were even worse. My needle wasn't picking up the thread on every stitch so all the stitches were different lengths. The thread snapped regularly. When I tried to sew my pocket onto my lining, the foot wouldn't close and the needle wouldn't go through. I felt so dejected. My project is dead.
Lost Boy listened to my despair sympathetically. We talked about how my mom sewed when I was little. He helped me realize that I assumed that since I was now a grown up too (like my mom) I expected to automatically have grown up skills (like my mom). But although I did sew a little, I never spent time with my mom while she was sewing to learn how she did it. Also, my sewing spurts have been significantly sporadic, so I never practiced regularly. Still, I think that the machine is contributing to my frustration. When I used my aunt's sewing machine for a project three years ago I didn't have even a third of the trouble I've had this past week. (Maybe because she was there to coach me?)
I am going to sign up for one of those sewing classes at JoAnns and see if that helps. Also, I know a little shop that will let you trade in your sewing machine for a different one. Hip-bag, here I come!