Sewing machine essentials that I didn't know I needed!

It's the usual story - you take things for granted until you have to do without them!

My Bernina sewing machine is still not back home! Three weeks without her is an eternity when you do as much sewing as I do! The bobbin winder was being a bit temperamental, quite often waiting till the machine had warmed up before it would work, so I mentioned this when I put the machine in for its service. The technician has ordered a new part, but - and here's the catch - he won't know whether this solves the problem until he's installed it! I am picturing this dragging on for quite a few weeks!

Meanwhile my little baby Brother $85 machine came out of its box and is taking pride of place in the sewing room. It has been working hard because I had project deadlines to meet. That's when I discovered all the sewing machine essentials that I didn't know I needed.

I've realised I can't do without a 1/4 inch foot with a guide. I have had a 1/4 inch foot for a long time and many moons ago it lost its self-levelling spring. Eventually I got sick of having to manually lift it up to put fabric under the foot so recently upgraded to one with a guide which makes accuracy very attainable.  Unable to use that Bernina foot on the Brother and without any other 1/4 inch foot, I measured carefully and placed a piece of tape on the machine as a guide and proceeded to align my fabric with the tape. 

That's when I discovered the next essential - good lighting. You see, the light comes from the left so casts a shadow and it is really difficult, well virtually impossible, to work out where the tape begins and ends to align the fabric with it.

Next solution was to draw a line 1/4 inch in on the fabric edge to follow. Discovery three came into operation - I absolutely can't sew on a line without an open toe foot. It is impossible to see the line under 1/2 inch of metal and it is all guesswork and hoping that you are close!

My other essential is a bit of a luxury, but oh how I miss it when I don't have it - the needle up/down function. How many hundreds of times has that jolly needle finished in the fabric when I wanted it out, or out of the fabric when I wanted it in.

I got my calculator out and discovered that my Bernina cost 28 times more than the little baby that is keeping me company at the moment. I guess I can't complain! However, next time someone asks me what they should look for when buying a sewing machine, I am a bit more aware now of the essentials!

In case my worst fears realise and Bernina and I are separated for more long weeks, I hopped online and ordered an open toe foot and a 1/4 foot with a guide for the baby Brother. At least that will go some of the way to helping me sew more accurately in the meantime.

You can see from the above photos that I've been doing lots of hand-stitching, since machine sewing isn't all that pleasurable at the moment.

I've also had time to put a couple more patterns in my store:

Sweet Nothings combining Hardanger and Silk Ribbon embroidery which you can find here.

and Cherished Letters - the cutest coin purse - here

I guess I might catch up on the backlog of paperwork at this rate!

Happy stitching!



Createology said...

Life without our essentials really reminds us of all we take for granted. I have never owned or sewn on a Bernina but have always heard they are the very best machines. Your hand-stitched works are lovely and take me back to a quieter slower time of enjoying the relaxing part of needle and thread being placed in fabric and beads and ribbons. Embracing Creaive Bliss...

gracie said...

Love the patterns...hope your Bernina will soon be back with you and working properly.

Rian said...

I hope your Bernina will be ready to sew soon.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed the handwork pictures. I'd love to sit and stitch with you for an afternoon, though I'm sure you are much faster than I. I hope your Bernina comes home all better and working like a charm. I use my Viking needle up down, too. All I do is tap the foot and the needle will go up (or down) from it's finishing position. I use that feature a lot, and it drives me crazy that my Bernina doesn't do it. I suspect it has a lot to do with what one likes about a machine one uses a lot - I've used my Viking for 20 years and we love each other. =) I'm just glad you have the little machine to keep you sane!