I have been able to sew for 35 years. My mom taught me when I was 5 and I was allowed to use her machine, supervised, from a really young age. For my birthday, when I was 8, my Godmother got me a little sewing kit, and a kit that had patterns and material to make Barbie clothes. I made the clothes and then used the patterns to make more clothes. I have been sewing for a long time. Not always super often, but there was never a time when too much time went by without me making something.
The funny thing is, I have not enjoyed sewing in a long time either. I have been a doll maker for 13 years and these days I make around 150 dolls a year (more or less, depending on the year, but about that). That is a lot of sewing. And that is a lot of time spent doing something I wish I didn't have to do. Sometimes I make things that are not doll clothes; in recent years I have made a lot of bowl cozies, playing card pouches, at least one dress, altered a dress, made a fancy apron and a more simple apron, I've made insulated lunch bags and a really fancy TARDIS tote bag with a ton of pockets. But my sewing machine was acting up off and on for the last couple of years and it made sewing a horrible chore and not enjoyable. Plus I have to pull the machine out of wherever it's current storage spot is and set it all up before I can do anything. Chore.
My suggestion if you are learning to sew, or sew sometimes, is if your machine starts to act funny, bring it in for a tune-up. If you catch things early maybe it doesn't turn into a big deal. Anyway, while my Husqvarna is in the shop, waiting for the backordered bobbin case to come in, I was definitely in need of a backup sewing machine to use. I can't go a month (more actually) without being able to sew. Even if I don't enjoy it, it's part of doll making. I need to make dolls. Because of that, I need to sew, even if I don't want to.
I figured out that in the last month I have tried or used 5 different sewing machines. All of them are Singers. I got a lot of stuff done on my mom's old machine that we figured out is at least 50 years old. I tried to use Crystal's machine and it didn't work out for me. I may have been able to fiddle with it and adjust this and that and get it to work. But I don't have the luxury of extra time. So I went and got the pink Singer from Joann's. And it was horrible. But you guys know all about that. So I brought it back and exchanged it for the Singer Fashion Mate, which I talked about yesterday. That machine is fun to use! Even though I already had my new machine, I went over to visit Yvonne and Deb to try out a vintage machine they have. That one is from the 50's so that is a VERY old machine! Even older than mom's. And super cute. One of those basic machines that is probably going to last until the end of time. But it was another one that would have taken some fiddling with to make it work for me. I brought my invisible thread to try it out, but since the Fashion Mate was so great for me I knew the vintage Singer would have to be basically magical for me to want to have that one instead. It's a really nice machine. But it is not magical for me. But now we know it works for sure, and works well. It will be at the Brimfield flea market the beginning of September if anyone local is looking for a sewing machine that will probably outlive them.
I originally got my Husqvarna from Craigslist and it was nearly new at the time. And very discounted from the original price. I got a huge bargain on a great machine. Technically it is still a "beginner" machine, because it doesn't have a billion options, but it's pricepoint makes it a pretty high end basic machine. While it's in the shop I needed something, almost anything, to make doll clothes. It's not convenient to have to go over to use Mom's machine. I have to have a lot of stuff ready to sew and if I rip something while dressing a doll (it totally happens) I need to be able to remake it without driving over to Mom's house. When I was shopping for my Husqvarna, I had plenty of time to search for just what I wanted, and find the best price. I still had the sewing machine my brother gave me as a gift one year. It was a lower-end basic machine, but it worked well enough to keep using while I shopped. It would have been fine to keep using that one for awhile, but since by that point I was working my way into being a full-time doll maker, I felt I should have an upgraded machine. This time around I just needed something that works. That I don't have to fight with. Plus, I already own a really good machine, and sooner or later I will get it back. I went through a lot of machines and I am really pleased with the Singer Fashion Mate that I talked about yesterday. It is fun to use! I actually want to sew, which I have not really wanted in years! Even as I am writing this post I am thinking about making some saddle pads. I have 5 doll outfits already sewn, I don't NEED to sew. But I WANT to sew and I'm looking for ways to make that happen. It's kind of cool.
Anyway, other than using a slew of Singer machines in the past month, I have actually been doing other things as well. I managed to finish another doll, this one is a nice driving doll. She will be heading to Fabian and will be for sale at The Jennifer Show. She has a simpler hat than some of my driving dolls but it didn't really want more decoration. It has a simple pink ribbon, with a small bow in back, 3 small pink flowers with Swarovski crystal centers and that's it. I like her.
Saturday Ethan, Travis and I went hiking. It was a really nice day for hiking. We have, in the past, been up this mountain. It's an old ski slope and it really is as steep as it looks in this photo. I was glad we didn't do that yesterday. I am not in that great shape at the moment. I need to get back into more walking and working out. And stairs. All of those things will prepare me for mountains.
So we used the access roads, which was great for me because my bad ankle really prefers pavement to uneven surfaces. There were still some really steep parts that taxed my calves and hamstrings, but I was glad we went hiking and pushed ourselves a bit. Well, Ethan rides his bike just about every day, he's in shape. Travis and I have had a fairly lazy summer, lol!
It's back to school time. Today I have a full day of professional development sessions and then tomorrow Travis starts school, but I don't have to work (weird). Wednesday is when the kids start in Ludlow. I am ready and not ready to go back. I am excited a bit and also a bit nervous. In a week everything will be routine again, but for now everything will be new and a bit rushed while I figure out the timing of the morning routine and then figure out where my classes are and the best way to get to them. Wish me luck!