Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Take That Moby!

Pie crusts and my sewing machine.

Those have been my two white whales that I've been unable to conquer.

But Monday, I flensed* one of those whales--the sewing machine!

Remember that cape I was commissioned to do for an ex-Michigan-coworker? The superhero cape for her daughter who just got engaged to a guy with a really cool last name that will make her full name seem really superhero-y when they get married?

I had all the fabric pre-shrunk, ironed, cut, pinned and ready to go. As I was cutting around my ghetto-riffic paper cape pattern (made of the front page sections of the Sunday newspaper taped together) I kept telling myself that even if the sewing machine started spinning around and shooting peagreen thread at me, I'd be able to easily hand sew this cape.

Then came the moment of truth. I pulled the machine out of the closet and wiped off the half inch of dust on it.

I checked the threading. It seemed to be OK. Mom had threaded it for me back in I believe 2003 when she came to visit us in Michigan. (It was always that g-damn bobbin that I could never get to function properly!)

I lifted the presser foot.

I raised the needle to the highest position.

I put the cape under the needle.

I removed the first few pins holding the cape and lining together.

I gingerly pressed on the footpedal with my foot...




Ok, so my sewn lines aren't the straightest. And the cape could benefit from a top stitching on the edges (I added that observation just for you Tactless Wonder--hee hee!), but I'm extremely proud of it.

Here's a picture of me modeling it:

JJ Redacted

I redacted her last name. This really sucks because I wish I could show you the unblemished cape--but I'm not about to blog about someone I've only met a handful of times by last name.

You also can't really "get" what those little gold things are either without seeing the finished cape (it's only half finished here) or knowing the recipient's soon-to-be-last-name.

I'm just so goddamned pleased with myself--it's the little things, you know?
It's even got a satin lining.


It was actually kind of creepy--when the end of a corner, I knew what to do--raise the presser foot, rotate the cape 90 degrees, lower the presser foot and continue on sewing. I guess all those years hanging out in Mom's cramped sewing room watching her sew paid off a bit.

Not too shabby for a home-ec dropout huh?

Now, if only I never have to change the bobbin, I'll be set!!!

*Anyone remember Blubber by Judy Blume? The word "flenser" is the only thing I remember about that book.



Blogger Jacquiebean said...

Good Job, Bezzie. Do you have a food processor? Do you want the best pie crust recipe ever? The machine does all the work for you. I promise. Just say the word and I'll send it along.

6:21 AM  
Blogger The Curly Knitter said...

What fun! Good for you for conquering the machine!

6:40 AM  
Blogger Macoco said...

Great cape! Every woman deserves her own cape. ;)

I hate bobbins!!!! That is the same problem I have with my machine. My mom threaded mine about a year and a half ago...so maybe I should whip it out to see if it still goes.

7:19 AM  
Blogger sgeddes said...

Very cool! It's even lined.

It makes me want to get out my sewing machine again. I've always wante dto be able to whip something up like that~!

7:48 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Awesome! I love the pink color! I'm sure the recipient will be very pleased!I really, really want to learn how to sew. One of these days I'll get to Joann's to take a sewing class. It's kind of scary - I always hated anything "domesticated", and here I am crocheting, wanting to learn how to sew and knit, and almost (not quite, but almost!) starting to enjoy cooking. I can actually make "real" recipes now instead of the Hamburger Helper stuff, LOL! Must be the old age creeping up on me!

8:20 AM  
Blogger ZantiMissKnit said...

I knew that had to be a reference to Blubber! Now I have to go and find my old copy of that book. It was one of my favorites in 4th grade.

8:24 AM  
Blogger Miss T said...


And here's the solution to your other problem. Pie crust is my white whale, too, and this method actually works: http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2007/11/cooks-illustrated-foolproof-pie-dough-recipe.html

8:30 AM  
Blogger Dkswife said...

Good for you! The cape looks great!

See you can sew after all! Oh boy, this opens up a whole new world for you. Sewing your own clothing, etc.

8:30 AM  
Blogger Wendy said...

Fantastic! Gorgeous cape. You're a regular Holly Homemaker. I need to break out the old sewing machine and get to work on my "pads" ;).

8:31 AM  
Blogger Amby said...

Ah yes, Blubbery Blubber sung to the tune of "Beautiful Dreamer"...I remember it well!

Awesome job on the cape and on conquering sewing!

9:09 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Fabulous. I'll come change your bobbin. I luv my sewing machine :)

11:46 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

Two important sewing machine tricks that took me a while (and a lot of jammed up threadbarfs) to fully understand:
1. The bobbin has to go in the holder the correct direction

2. When you need to hand-crank the machine to lift the needle, only crank it so it moves in the forward direction. Never try to hand crank it backwards.

If you can master those two things, you will reduce your frustration by at least 80%.

The third most important thing: never try to make do with a dull or slightly bent machine needle. I've learned that this is one area in which it doesn't pay to be a tightwad. A new, sharp needle, properly chosen for the fabric is very important.

Great job! Think of the things you can go forth and sew!

12:03 PM  
Blogger knottygnome said...

awesome job conquering the machine. your story is inspiring me to take the plunge and rethread my serger. well, maybe.

12:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't stress what elizabeth said about needles enough!!! And don't buy the cheap ones. They may be cheaper than the others but you will be replacing them 2 to 3 times more often. And the size is important. the larger the number the thicker the fabric that it can go through. Cool cape!! The girl getting it will really like it. Love, Mom
PS: I have a pie crust recipe that is really easy and is suppose to bake up really good even on/in a yukon stove. It really works good and I changed it from regular flour to whole wheat this year and still got good pies out of it.

12:36 PM  
Blogger Carol said...

What a great way to jump back in the pool! Excellent sewing.

12:42 PM  
Blogger janna said...

I can do pie crust, but I , too, am scared of the sewing machine, even though I come from a long line of sewers (hmm... I guess I mean seamstresses). You've inspired me, except that I gave my sewing machine to my mom.....

12:43 PM  
Blogger weezalana said...

Totally fun! And do I remember Blubber, please! I read every Judy Blume book there was back in the day. Including the oh-so-naughty Forever thankyouverymuch.

1:19 PM  
Blogger Disco said...

Nice cape - I wish it made sense though :-|

1:53 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

Until I bought my machine last year, my only knowledge of sewing was from watching my mom. Mom was pretty impressed that I could sew a straight line, and told me I was a natural. Guess the apple really doesn't fall far from the tree.

Great cape....wanna make one for me? :)

3:58 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Wow! That's really terrific! If you can program your vcr (who needs this if you have dvr?) I'd vote for you for president.

4:04 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

CONGRATULATIONS!!! Bobbins do suck. My machine has an extra level of annoying because it needs "special" bobbins. Grumble.....

4:11 PM  
Blogger Rebel said...

You realize, Bezzie, don't you... that *you* really need a superhero cape!

Glad the sewing machine works. Bobbins can be a pain to work with, but eventually you will need to rethread it. Anyone at a sewing shop should be able to help you with it.

5:14 PM  
Blogger Rebel said...

BTW - my white whale... of all things - Chocolate Chip cookies. It makes me want to cry, I just can't get them to turn out right.

5:16 PM  
Blogger Red Dog Knits - Kristi and Otis said...

sewing and home-ec were the only classes I flunked and I made two freakin' quilts - bite me Mrs. Huff! YOU CAN SEW!!!!

5:30 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

That rocks more than words can say!

Would it make you feel better if I admitted I don't even know what a bobbin is?

5:47 PM  
Blogger Batty said...

You did it! And you didn't even have to get sucked down into the depths of the ocean to do it. Very cool.

6:57 PM  
Blogger Carol said...

That's great! Funny you should mention the movie, we just watched that Saturday! Good family fun donchaknow. If your bobbin runs dry, I'll be happy to talk you through it!

7:13 PM  
Blogger Zonda said...

Yahoo! You did it! Yes, I agree, you need one now! ;)

7:29 PM  
Blogger turtlegirl76 said...

That's so cool. You definitely need one for yourself. Or at least a smaller one for Chunky with a glitter interior and the words "Chunkmaster Flash" on the back.

8:05 PM  
Blogger Tactless Wonder said...

Are they lemons?

Okay, best not guess and out your friend's daughter. I love the cape! And I disagree, no need for top-stitching, it looks awesome as is :).

My pie crusts are actually quiche crusts...and meh, whatever, cupcakes are the new pie, or something :).

9:25 PM  
Blogger Linnea said...

Hooray for sewing intuition! The cape looks great - and now you've really got me wondering about the golden thingies.

Bobbins aren't an issue for me - other than the fact that I only have ONE and I'm too lazy to order more.

2:32 AM  
Blogger Lauren said...

That turned out well. Great job showing your sewing machien who is boss!

9:29 AM  
Blogger Magatha said...

I still haven't lifted a presser foot. After all I went through to get my machine fixed.

I am sewing resistant, which is funny because that age 13 journal of mine is all about "I sewed this and I sewed that".
I used to make everything I wore.

Nice cape. Does it have any superpowers? Chunky needs one, a la, what TG said.

11:36 AM  
Blogger Nancy said...

Very cool cape! Does this mean another Etsy entry? Think of all the kiddo's out there that need to have their very own capes! Halloween will be here soon enough!

11:47 AM  
Blogger Donna Lee said...

I have been sewing for years (I made my wedding dress). I love the cape. One of the next projects I want to tackle is quilting. I am undecided whether to go traditional and do it by hand or go easy and do it by machine.

11:49 AM  
Blogger Olga said...

oooo look at her sew!!!!!! The only two things I've sewed in the last four years were maternity wedding dresses- please DONOT ask.

6:19 PM  
Blogger Ed said...

Fight the machine!!

10:12 AM  
Blogger Alisha said...

Love the cape...great job!

10:42 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home