Wednesday, March 28, 2007

When Our Tools Of The Trade Rebel

As crafters we all have our specific essential tools of the trade. Those are the variety of things we depend on in order to make our creations. As a doll maker and pattern designer, my main tool is my sewing machine. Something that I simply can't live without. Or at least I depend heavily on it in order to create and design.

This weekend I found my designing came to a screeching halt. As I sat in front of my sewing machine happily sewing a doll body together, to my disappointment my machine suddenly broke. Well, not broken in the sense of it fell apart but my bobbin casing tangled my thread and in spite of all my attempts to rectify it, it simply wasn't going to work. Talk about frustrating!!

There's not much worse that being in the middle of working on a project and have it all come to a sudden stop. You find yourself sitting there staring at it and scrambling to think of ways to fix the problem so you can finish the task at hand. This is where my patience really is tested.

After taking the machine apart (not something I recommend by the way), I quickly realized that it wasn't going to be something that I could fix. Once apart I also realized my attempt to put the darn thing back together was something of a laughing matter. I quickly realized once it was back together that I still had three screws laying on the table and no clue as to where they should go. That will be the last time I attempt to take a part a sewing machine to say the least.

My machine is a cheaper newer machine made of plastic. I've often thought that the older, all metal machines are likely more reliable as metal doesn't break like plastic does. For years I've desired to sew on a vintage machine. You know those ones you hear about that are labeled as "work horses". The ones that are forgiving when it comes to being overworked and at times neglected by those like me that may forget to oil them.

After pondering my dilemma I decided to look into some of the vintage machines. A Singer Featherweight to be exact. I've always loved those little machines and since I don't need all the fancy stitches that come with the new machines, a featherweight seemed like a ideal choice. Not to mention I have heard nothing but good things about their reliability. Of course the other perk is their portability.

I did a few searches on the online auction sites to see what was available and while I found an abundance of Featherweights, I hesitated bidding on any. The main reason was there were so many factors about those particular machines that I didn't know about. For example, if someone bought it from a estate sale or auction, then likely they wouldn't know if it was service recently or they probably didn't know much about the machine in general. So instead of bidding, I set out to find one that someone knew something about it.

So I started looking at a few web sites that sold these adorable little machines. I found some great information and the sites I found appeared a more reliable source because they specialized in Featherweights. Then to my good fortune I was on one of the message boards I belong to and after posting about my sewing machine adventure over the weekend, a gal I know from the board mentioned she had a featherweight for sale. She's had one herself for many years and swears by them. So of course I jumped at the chance to purchase the second featherweight she had. What sealed the deal further is the fact that she not only was familiar with featherweights, but she knew this particular machine. She recently oiled and adjusted it and has sewn with it. Her confidence in this machine is what sold me on it. I felt very comfortable buying from someone that I know is familiar and a fellow doll maker. As she knows the importance of having a reliable sewing machine.

Here's a picture of my new acquisition. It should be here by the end of the week. As you can imagine, I cannot wait to get it and get back to finishing that doll that is beckoning to me.


1 comment:

Linda said...

Kelle, I'm so jealous. I would love to have the featherweight you just bought. They just don't make sewing machines like they used to. The featherweight is what I used some 40+ years ago when I started sewing.

Linda