Wednesday, April 9, 2008

My Biggest Headache in Life!


When I was in the 7th grade, Mrs. Morrell was my Home Ec teacher. She was a little old puckered faced crabby lady with crooked pointy fingers, and you had nightmares and anxiety attacks just thinking about her class. It was NOT a fun thing, believe me. To this day, if I think about sewing, I see her face!

And the past few days. . . . .I've seen Mrs. Morrell and her pokey fingers a whole lot!

You see, I REALLY, REALLY want to be able to sew. I want to join all you gals in your swaps and challenges and exchanges and be proud to send you something besides a dishrag or floor mop! And so. . . . .I keep trying.

I've got the apron fever. I want aprons. I bought fabric. I bought patterns. I bought bias tape (whatever for. . .????) I bought a seam ripper. I bought thread.
I bought machine oil, new bobbins, needles, etc., etc., etc.

I sit down to sew. And what do I get? puckered fabric, stitches not right, what looks like chennille on the backside, jammed up stuff with a million gray-black knots, and LOTS of crabbing, complaining, whining, even some tears along with, "Why does this have to happen to me?"

Then I thought, Let's face it. This machine is now 35 years old!!!!! Maybe it is just dying a peaceful death and would like to be left alone. But. . . .I haven't used it that much for it to be dying. And I for SURE can't afford a new one. This WAS a good machine in its day, after all!!!!!

So. . . .by some miracle and a miriad of angels, I still have my little manual that came with the machine and I started reading from the "Congratulations on your purchase of your new Kenmore Sewing Machine!" all the way to "Happy Sewing" on the back cover. I learned a whole lot, believe me.

Did you know you have to clean this thang?????? Oh, I've blown on it once in a while and when I saw some dust bunnies in the bobbin thingy I got those out. But I didn't know I needed a pick and shovel and tweezers and surgeon's tools to clean it!!!! So, that was my first project. I think there was enough greasy dust and lint and hairy looking things in there to make a llama!!!!

Next! Did you know there are different sized needles?????? Wow! I didn't! No wonder mine were breaking all the time. Here I am trying to sew nice quilting weight cotton with a needle meant to sew lightweight hankie stuff!!!!!! So. . . . on my list of things to buy ---- correct needles!

Next! The bobbin! I noticed a page in my trusty old manual that showed how to put the bobbin in the casing with the thread coming out a certain way. I'm not sure I ever did it one way --- I always just plopped it in there and pulled the thread on through that thing. Learned something new there, too! How did I miss that?

Now! On to the oiling! No where in that book did it tell you how often to oil this thing. I know it had been done in 1994. And a few weeks ago, someone told me it might need oiling, so I did get some oil and do it. Ya think??????? But, just to make sure, I did it again, and squirted everything that had an arrow pointing at it in the book. I did realize that last time, I missed oiling two places in the bobbin thing. So maybe THAT will make all the difference. Couldn't hurt, could it!

Ok! Now I pray. I beg for grace and mercy! I knew if this did not work, my dreams of a career as a professional apron maker would be down the drain, the sewing machine would be in the dumpster, and my lip would be so far out a bird could perch on it!

So in goes my practice material. Down goes the foot. And my big toe gently presses that peddle. Oh, THANK YOU, LORD!!!!! That thang just purred like a kitten and the stitches were perfect, no puckers, no pulls, no chennille, and no black, greasy tangles.

So Mrs. Morell???? I CAN SO do it. . . . and I did it ALL BY MYSELF! You can take that old purple gathered skirt I made in your class and stuff it because I WILL make this darn apron if it's the last thing I do and I WILL make a thousand aprons if that's what it takes for me to be able to sew like the rest of these . . . . . .what are they???. . . . . .Apronistas!!!!!!


Lea of Farmhouse*Blessings said...

Cora, you can take the most frustrating situation and make me smile! You are too cute. How I wish that I could sit down with you for an afternoon. I might not be able to help, but we would have fun!

Hugs & friendship,

Kimmie said... make me smile!!! I loved yur little story. Especially where you said your lip would be sticking out so far a bird could perch on it! LOL! I am happy that you figured out the old girl and she is running nicely for you. Keep up the good work! :-)


Juri said...

Cor....we just have to get over this sewing machine terror! I am so glad that you have become an Ace sewing machine mechanic, now I don't have to learn all that stuff....I will just call you when my seam puckers, as I have now armed myself with yards and yards of material, extra bobbins, tons of thread....and approach my sewing machine like it will surely bite me!!!


Pam said...

Oh Cora, I understand completely!
I had a home ec teacher in high school, who sounds suspiciously like your Mrs. Morrell!!! She would frown when I walked in the room. When we had cooking classes, she would go around and turn the oven temps up when she thought we weren't looking, then fuss when our projects burned!!!!

I, too, love the aprons and other beautiful things, and have even started a couple of aprons, but have yet to finish them.
Cora, you have inspired is the day.
Thank you!
So happy that you have your sewing machine up and running, and I hope it all goes very smoothly for you!

Farm Chick Paula said...

Oh, Cora, this is hilarious. All this time, there has been a sewing prodigy within you, and that poor little neglected sewing machine just needed a little lovin'. Take that, Mrs. Morrell!
And if it makes you feel any better, I'm still in therapy over my hateful Home Ec teacher.

Eggs In My Pocket said...

Cora, you made me smile! I just posted on my cooking bog about my Home Economics teacher! I just loved her. She was like a mother to all us girls. Keep on stitching! blessings, Kathleen

nancy huggins said...

Keep up the good work Cora and one day soon you can start giving classes...and if they have problems with their machine...there is some extra income in that too since now you can make all the big bucks they charge to take it somewhere to get it cleaned. I can just see the sign in your yard now. "Sewing Classes and Machine Repairs by Cora" and then you can teach them how to make a simple apron in an hour.
I remember my home ec class also and one of the first things we had to make was an apron without a pattern. I was lucky because my GM had already taught me how to sew so when I whipped right through my project then I could do other students projects (I know..we did cheat a little) but boy did it come in handy when they all owed me favors. That was the good old days. Wouldn't it be fun if I had a picture od everything I ever made? It sure would fill a Huge box.

Dani said...

I am so glad I am not the only one who has trouble with sewing machines....mine is ok now but for years I struggled with a machine with no clue how to go about using my home ec teacher was a little like yours...
Really like your writing style....can so relate..
can hardly wait to see your first apron!

ByLightOfMoon said...

Cora, You are an inspiration to sewing! I also have to tackle my machine to get in line with you at the Apronista. I am so excited about it, and making a apron or two or three....

There is this thing called time and I will tackle this too!

My home ec teacher did not care for my sewing skills much either, especially when we saw how I had sewn my skirt, our project.

We all had to make the same pattern and when I held mine up, the zipper was on the RIGHT side. Now, we all know our zippers go on the left side or back; well, the pleat was in the back, so it was hard to just turn it and wear it sideways as was my plan. I DID trash it and I think I did Flunk that class. and I have not ever been mechanical since.

But, I WILL make an apron and get thru this too.

You are a joy to read as you are a fabulous writer. I also like the bird on lip. Too Funny!

smiles, ByLightOfMoon/Cyndi

Linda said...

I LOVE this post! I would SO copy it and paste it on my own blog.. *lol*

I've got the exact same story (except the teacher, I mean.. we're socialists.. we don't learn to sew, we learn to saw wood and hammer nails in school -none of that unfeminist handicraft stuff-!)

But for me it was my mum.. She has one of those fancy sewing machines which she would NEVER let me touch when I was younger. She always told me to 'practice with a needle and a rag first'. So needless to say, I never learned to sew.

Then, by chance, I received a sewing machine from some old lady who went into a nursing home. Never used it. And when I tried, it would totally fall apart if I just looked at it. (It's a good machine though, great 'made in west germany' brand and all)

And then it hit me (too!) MAYBE I could -like- TRY reading -like- the manual. And now it's more-or-less working for me! Heck, I even made a pincushion and a doll the other day.... I'm learning.. just gimme some time..

We'll be making those aprons before the end of summer, darnit! ;)

Greetings from the netherlands!

Kay B said...

Sweeite - I wish I was there to help you with your sewing!!! But you figured it out for yourself - good for you!!

I didn't have a crabby home ec teacher but a mom who was one of the best seamstresses in the world. She was also a perfectionist and that's how she taught me. It's taken me a lot of years to "loosen up" and now be so worrisome over my sewing.

Let me know how I can help if you have questions.


Cora from Nelia's Primitive Place said...

You have all been so wonderful about my sewing weaknesses!!!!! I'm happy to report that things went smoothly last night as I sewed jelly roll strips together. Nice staight seams --- nothing to get my nerves going! So far, so good! And thanks for all your offers of help. I may be calling on you when I whip out those apron patterns!


Toni said...

Your story is too funny!I too have a sewing machine and would love to learn how to sew.I don`t even have the manual for it.You definatly ispired me though!I think I`m going to take it out next week!
I would love to make matching aprons for my daughter and I!Any patterns that you recommend for a beginner?

Cora from Nelia's Primitive Place said...

Toni, I'm the beginner here!!!!! But. . . I did see at Joann's Fabrics two lines of patterns that were for beginners. One was called "Sewing for Dummies" with a whole line of patterns, and then there was another line called Easy 1=2=3 or something like that. One of them had 3 or 4 different apron patterns. My sister got one and said it was great!


Anonymous said...

Cora, I am so happy that you didn't let Mrs. Morell define who you. Have fun on your new adventure of semesters.

kris said...

Cora, I am dying here laughing my head off!! Only because you sound like me, but I never had a crabby teacher with pointy fingers, LOL! I do get the chenille knotted thingies on the back of my fabric, and haven't had the nerve to bring out my machine and try again, lately! But you are inspiring me.......if you can do it, I think I can too!!! LOL!!

*Linda Pinda* said...

Your words are always medicine to my soul... My Home-Ec teacher was ok, but there are a few math teachers I'd like to revisit and let them know I never needed that algebra formula again... LOL! And the grown-up woman in me sure would like to storm into the guidance counselor's office while they were explaining to the teenage me that I was too smart for pottery classes, etc. "Smart" is following your own heart, and doing what makes you happy...

But you are so inspiring. You always find a way to use those "bumps in the road" as springboards to soar from....

I just saw your apron posted on Apronista... and I AM SOOOOOOOOOO PROUD OF YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It is wonderful and such an expression of "you". I love it so much. Keep on sewing girlfriend. And keep on sharing about all your "adventures". You are a gifted woman.

Love, *Linda*