Wednesday, March 19, 2008

This is the Enemy

Alright. I know it is just a sewing machine. I have been thinking of a project (a secret, will tell ya later) and it involves sewing. The last time I used this machine was in 2001. I needed the help of our babysitter to get it set up. I remember the manual saying "put the bobbin in...." Well, they neglected to show what the heck the bobbin looked like, and I guess they didn't anticipate a complete newbie. So, with help of babysitter, and some blood, sweat and tears, I made some curtains for dear baby #2. Of course they are in the attic now- too babyish for big boy. And today, the babysitter is long gone too. And so apparently is the instruction manual. (As a side note: the three Venuses statue mysteriously gets turned around all the time. Not sure if the boys or dear husband dislike the nude front view or if they do like the back view.)
I got everything out of the sewing box in the attic. Note lack of manual. Note big white plastic thing- no idea what that is. Note sewing box. Did I pick that out? Because it is ugly.

OK, let's take everything out of the box:

I got my hopes up with those folded papers. Maybe the manual. Nope- just blank folded papers. Why do you need folded papers to sew? Found a little box that had directions inside. It is a metal "patchwork foot" and directions for the "patchwork foot." I must have burned the manual after the bobbin incident. This is all very interesting. Apparently you need several white and blue pencils, tiny screwdrivers, tiny oil and a tiny magnifying glass to sew. I am quite impressed with my pin cushion and the fact that it can't be lost, as it is attached by 1,000 pieces of thread to the 1,000 spools in the sewing box. I found out what a bobbin is, because I found a package that says "bobbins." But no manual. Had to go online to order one. It will take a week or so to arrive. Pull out this book:

Published in 1957.
A) my mother gave me this book and I forgot because I have CRS
B) I bought this book at a used book store and can't remember because I have CRS
C) a sweet little old lady patient of mine gave it to me years ago along with the New York Times Cookbook. I know she gave me the cookbook, at least. Probably because either my lack of homemaking skills were evident just looking at me, or I talked about the lack thereof sometime during her appointments.
Probably C. I tend to blab.

So looking at the book, I was trying to remember why I semi-loathe sewing. Remember, I have CRS. Random thought process: I made a dish towel for my sewing badge. That was relatively painless, although the other girl scouts made all kinds of stuff: aprons, doll clothes, ponchos. (It was the 70's.) I took Shop instead of Home Ec in junior high. My mom sewed a lot. Hmmm..... not sure. But then I opened up the book, thinking I should brush up on the basics before the manual arrives. The following are excerpts from the first page:

When you sew, make yourself as attractive as possible. Go through a beauty ritual of orderliness. Have on a clean dress. Be sure your hands are clean, fingernails smooth- a nail file and pumice will help. Always avoid hangnails. Keep a little bag of French chalk near your sewing machine where you can pick it up and dust your fingers at intervals....Have your hair in order, powder and lipstick put on with care. Looking attractive is a very important part of sewing, because if you are making something for yourself, you will try it on at intervals in front of your mirror, and you can hope for better results when you look your best.
Again, sewing must be approached with the idea that you are going to enjoy it, and if you are constantly fearful that a visitor will drop in or your husband come home and you will not look neatly put together, you will not enjoy your sewing as you should. Therefore "spruce up" at the beginning so that you are free to enjoy every part of any sewing you do.

OK I slam shut the book. I know it is not 1957, thank god, but this mentality carried over a little for me. I was a tomboy/feminist/career girl. Now I am ready to embrace all things domestic. Besides, it could be my ticket to fame and fortune, otherwise known as secret mission. But these days I don't have a clean dress. I am not hang-nail-free. Don't even talk to me about lipstick and powder.

But how cool would it be to be able to sew all kinds of stuff?? I would love to hear from people that enjoy sewing, but please don't tell me it is easy. I still have a long learning-curve ahead. And I will let you know how my secret sewing project goes.

In conclusion, I photographed Wilbur, just after he completed his tendu. Sorry folks, couldn't get the camera fast enough to catch the actual act, but that is probably a good thing.

Thanks for listening good people!


Kristi said...

I am completely jealous of ANYBODY who can use one of those things. I tried once in 6th grade home ec and never tried again. It is beyond my understanding.

Susan said...

Oh, Margerie, how I wish I didn't live 1200 miles away. I know what a bobbin is and why you need little brushes and tubes of oil.

I have the same book, but the 1969 version (it was my mom's--another person who never really learned about bobbins). Big changes in 12 years. Mine says "You are about to begin an adventure in creativity: you are going to sew. And you are going to sew well" (sounds kind of like a threat to me).

When I bought my machine, 25 years ago (yikes!), I had a steep learning curve with it. I once picked it up to throw it against the wall but fortunately I remembered how much it cost before I let go.

Sending you good sewing vibes.

Hayley Townley, Breast Cancer Survivor Extraordinaire! said...

I had two of them (sewing machines, not bobbins). I carried them around from house to house, and move to move. They even made it into THIS house, and I finally got rid of them on freecycle. They were old and definitely didn't have the manuals. My next door neighbor Emily sews, and her machine(s) are always set up. If I get the urge to sew, I usually sit down til the feeling goes away. If that doesn't work, I head over to Emily's.

MamaGeek said...

Oh that Wilbur is ADORABLE! I hear ya on the sewing machine. That would terrify me. I can't sew - I can't even do iron on's!