Monday, December 14, 2009

breakin' out the ol' spinning wheel

It's been forever since I've touched the ancient sewing machine that I have in my possession (circa 1999 or something like that, its a bloody decade old). Abhorrent for one who gives information about sewing and craft in general to earn their weekly wages. What brought about this sudden Martha Stewart moment in me may you ask? Well weeks ago on twitter, I announced that I was commencing a new project - the project being converting one of my numerous old schoolbags into a simple, casual envelope clutch. It wasn't such a tall order was it? Maybe not if I had bothered to go about it in the right way it would have actually worked.

The beginning: the bag in all its shapeless glory

An example of the questionably acquired illustrations

So this bag was pretty much a sack with a couple of pockets, handles, zipper and drawstring - bought only for its cute-factor as it bore Mickey Mouse sketches (most likely breaching copyright) and its price (I picked it up in a market somewhere, so it was fairly cheap). The zipper was now busted and the lining was all torn as a result of the torture I put it through in my senior years at High School - massive, heavy textbooks and lots of food sure took its toll on my bags, as well as my shoulders and back.

To start things off, I spent quite a while in the blazing heat (it was one of those 40-ish degree days in Western Sydney, and me with my air-con busted) ripping the seams apart with my nifty and ever so trusty seam picker. I never realised that so many stitches were placed in my roughly constructed bags. By the end of it, I had loose threads everywhere - figuring that it would've been wise not to undertake such a large unpicking project on my bed.

I sketched a rough pattern of all the panels I needed with some allowance for seams and such - measuring appropriately and such. Then I cut the Mickey Mouse fabric, stiff interfacing and lining to size. With all this done, I set up the machine - taking quite some time to find an empty or at least less-full bobbin. By this time, the temperature had climbed to 40 degrees and I could feel the stuffiness of the air around me even with the window open, and the perspiration set in (yuck I know). This was about the time when I stopped doing things properly and began cutting corners.

When a seam went crooked, instead of doing the smart thing and unstitching it, i just ran it through the machine again, in line with the widest part of the previous stitch. Needless to say after a while I had very little to work with. I had managed to turn something about 15cmx30cm into a 5cmx15cm scrap of nothing as shown below. The seams went crooked as I simply stopped caring if the stitches were straight and if the sides matched up, and focused on getting the task done. My back was aching (never try to sew for more than half an hour without having your machine on a table, and you appropriately seated) and I was totally over it.

I should have unstitched me thinks as opposed to running it through the machine again and chopping the rest off



Thinking optimistically, at least I reacquainted myself with the activity of sewing, and my sewing machine. Additionally, I was trying to do something productive. Oh well, at least it was one of my less favoured bags. I have plenty more where that came from I assure you, but maybe I should wait until its less hot, or at least when the aircon decides to become functional again to start any projects with them.


  1. I give you an "A" for presentation. From the photo it looks good :)

  2. Oh sure it does! *rolls eyes* I think the familial bond we have is getting in the way of you seeing it for what it is: absolutely terrible.