So you’ve come across yet another sewing blog, just one of the many thousands that are out there. What’s more, you’ve landed on the blog of a relatively new sewer, someone who may well have less experience than you do. So, why should you read? Why should you carry on wading through my wordy ramblings?
Because my blog is different. Yep, everybody says it, but I mean it.
But why? Well, the name might give you a clue, but to tell the tale, I’ll give you some background.
My name is Carly. I’m a physiotherapist (or if you ask my patients, a physioterrorist), a cat breeder (a normal one… Yes, we do exist!), the partner of a lovely lad and a newly fledged sewer. I’m also blind. See? Told you the name was clever! Or awful… You be the judge.
I remember being in school in a Home Economics class and coming across a cupboard full of large, interesting looking cases. “What’s in those?” the nosey younger Carly asked the teacher.
“Oh, they’re sewing machines,” she replied.
Instantly, my interest was peaked. I liked the sound of this. “When do we get to use them?”
“Oh, you don’t. They’re too dangerous, and anyway, if you need something repairing, there’ll always be somebody around to do it for you.”
And thus endeth my fashion design career, even before I’d started!
I don’t know why, but I believed her. Obviously, if this experienced teacher of blind kids said it was far too dangerous, then it probably was. This was strengthened by the fact that the same woman would happily let me, nay, encourage me, to cook with boiling water, spitting frying pans, hot ovens, sharp knives, and wouldn’t bat an eye.
I don’t know why this supposition wasn’t shaken by my mum’s Christmas present request of a few years ago, when she insisted that she’d like a sewing machine. Mum is also in the blind camp. “But why?” I asked her, perplexed.
“Well, um, lemme think… To sew things on?” And she did! Ok, the family gasped and shuddered and exclaimed about how dangerous it was when they watched her sew at high speeds with her fingers really close to the needle, but she still did it quite safely. Perhaps their reaction was why I continued to believe it wasn’t a skill set I could acquire. It’s odd, because normally I question things like this all the time, but with a sewing machine, even seeing my mum use one, it never crossed my mind.
One evening, as I sat companionably with the other half in peaceful domestic bliss (we’re still new enough to the relationship that this does still exist from time to time), he decided to get out his granny’s old Bernina (sewing machine brand for all the non-sewers, of which there is probably 1, reading this). He wanted to sew something up. I can’t for the life of me remember what, but I was surprised. A man? Sewing? But it was really hard! And he was, well, a man! A knuckle dragging, ug-shouting man! They weren’t supposed to be able to do this!
In some trepidation, I warned him to be careful. All I got was a laugh. “It’s quite safe you know,” said he, and then jammed his foot down on the pedal and sewed steadily at a milion miles an hour for the next few minutes.
“Did your granny teach you?” I asked.
“A bit, but I kinda just make it up as I go along. Can’t you use one of these?”
I opened my mouth to reply, then stopped. I couldn’t. But why? If some clutzy man could sew (he’s actually not clutzy at all, but hey, what can I say, I’m a stereotype fan) then why couldn’t I, a woman, the smarter sex, the domestic goddess, do this?
“No,” I said, feeling quite foolish now. “I was always told it was too dangerous.”
“Rubbish” he laughed, and promptly deposited the machine in front of me.
He set me up with a material scrap and the foot pedal. “Now, push your foot down and sew a straight line.”
I tapped my foot on the pedal, then yanked my hands back with a shout as the machine whizzed the fabric scrap out from under me faster than a rat up a drain pipe! I sat back, feeling a little shellshocked. What on earth had just happened! There was no way I was touching that hand mangler again! But hang on a minute. He could do it, and he was a fella! Womanly pride won out over caution. I was going to master this beast. I was gonna teach that sewing machine a thing or two about sewing, oh yes I was!
Tentatively, I pressed the pedal again, and the machine went more slowly. I put my hands to the fabric. Ok, I’ll admit I didn’t guide it. I didn’t have a clue what the term even meant in relation to sewing, but I felt it slide smoothely out from under my fingers. And there, sewed on it, was a very wavey, but perfectly stitched, line!
And I hadn’t sewn my fingers! I hadn’t lost a leg! I hadn’t even nearly died! Dangerous? Dangerous my foot! Hah! Do you see what I did there? Oh, the punns are flowing all right!
The man, (I will come up with a clever, whitty name for him soon that will allow me to moan about him whilst protecting his identity… He is quite dishy and if you knew who he was I’d have to fight you off,) was pleased as punch. Over the next few days, he tried to encourage me to use the machine independently, but I was worried, not that I couldn’t do it, but that I’d break it. It belonged to his granny, and quite apart from it being the most beautiful, solid piece of sewing machinery I’ve ever seen, it had huge sentimental value. But the more I played under supervision, the more my desire grew to know more. I could do this. I wasn’t losing body parts on a regular basis, and the satisfaction of sewing something up was huge!
Sadly, my Birthday rolled around. I say sadly because that meant I got a whole year older. Happily however, Mr man knew me better than I knew myself. Without asking what I wanted, he bought me a thread box, lots of threads to go in it, a rotery cutter and a cutting mat. Food for thought, thought I as I opened my presents. I suppose I’d better voice what he already knew then!
“I want a sewing machine,” I said with much more certainty than I felt.
But now came the next problem. How on earth did I choose one? What special features would I need? I knew there would be something, as nothing is ever fully accessible right out of the box. But considering I knew next to nothing about sewing, how would I know which bits would be accessible and which wouldn’t? How much should I spend? How was I going to learn?
I felt like a fish out of water, and as the day progressed, that feeling only increased.
The saga of my search for a sewing machine and a teacher is a long one, but the commedic value can’t be overlooked. I’ll leave you on the edge of your seats and continue my story in my next post. I might even tell you what the purpose of the blog is then too! now, wouldn’t that be nice?