Growing up, sewing didn’t make sense to me. The fabric was ugly, big four patterns hurt my brain, and it took SO. MUCH. TIME. My mom, aunts, and grandmothers all got it (and were pretty good at it), but somehow the sewing bug escaped me.
Hemming curtains, the annual Halloween costume, and making small adjustments like shortening the neck strap on my painting apron on my mom’s heavy, mechanical Kenmore was the extent of my experience through college. The Kenmore had chronic tension issues and made the process pretty infuriating.
Shortly before moving to Oklahoma to become a teacher, I thrifted my own machine on a whim. It was similar to my mom’s machine, but had a penchant for zinging along when the pedal wasn’t even depressed. I only used it a handful of times before it ended up right back at the thrift store.
Then in late 2014, after watching young students tackle sewing with reckless abandon, I thought I should give it a real go. I bought a Brother cs6000i on Amazon, thrifted a bunch of bed sheets, and made a top using Sonya Philip’s Tunic No. 1 pattern. Independent pattern makers with excellent instructions, a reliable beginner machine, and the online sewing community helped me get it.
Over the next two years, I added several more machines to my collection. An industrial unused Juki I purchased at an extremely discounted price, a Janome, and a Brother Serger I’m still a little scared of.
After nearly 3 years of constant use and the beginner’s mistake of using shitty thread, never cleaning or oiling, and the Kelly Anorak, my trusty Brother became less reliable. It still works, but its maintenance costs more than it’s worth.
With my hobby feeling more like it could be a living, I created a budget and began tracking my expenses in order to save for an upgrade. Initially, it was projected that I’d be able to purchase it after 9 months to a year of saving, but thanks to insurance returning my deductible from a car accident, a stipend from my job, some penny pinching, and a local dealer trying to bring me in to his store (he knocked $500 off the price), I was able to purchase her.
She’s a dream and it was a real struggle to leave my house for work last week. Last night I finished Bernina’s inaugural project – birthday pajama pants for my man.
We’re still getting acquainted, but I can tell she’s the one.
3 Replies to “Moving on up”
Pretty!! I’ve been following your Instagram for some time (as I’m learning to sew too) and it’s cool seeing you become a better sewer! I’m definitely learning at a slower rate :p
Could you give some tips for beginners when you have the chance? 🙂
The best thing I’ve done is to just go for it! You’ll make mistakes, but it helps you learn. Video tutorials are also extremely helpful if you run into a step that doesn’t quite make sense.