A few weeks ago in preparation for Me-Made-May, I brought both my sewing machine and serger into my sewing machine dealer's (Sew Right in Queens) for a tune-up/repair. They'd both been making me cry and swear, and they hadn't been tuned up in over three years (mostly because the shop is an hour and a half trip each way by bus/subway combo for a carless woman such as myself.)
When I picked them up Sunday, I was overjoyed to see that they were both stitching perfectly and without complaint. The shop told me that there indeed had been multiple issues and adjustments needed on my old, low-end Kenmore 385.16644 serger (left to me by my wonderful grandmother)... but that my Platimum 730 (bought used from Sew Right nearly 10 years ago) had barely had any needed adjustments.
I just could NOT believe this, despite the neat little stitching sample they'd made with a variety of stitch patterns. I told them that one thing I had NEVER been able to get my machine to do was shir with elastic thread in the bobbin (long-time readers may remember my series of agonized blog posts over this before I decided to just do it the really hard and slow way).
I had recently watched the Great British Sewing Bee Episode 3 where one of the challenges was an adorable shirred-top little girl's dress, and I once again had the earning to SHIR. (Though I was surprised to hear the judges on GBSB refer to it as a "couture" technique, since it mainly seems to be a feature of casual, children's or "easy-to-sew" items.)
So the good folks at Sew Right suggested I sit down and show them what I had been doing... and immediately noticed that I'd been:
- Hand-winding the elastic thread on the bobbin BACKWARD.
- Threading the bobbin thread through the tension area WRONG.
Once I fixed these two things, I sat down with a light scrap of cotton and some elastic thread and SHIRRED THE EASY WAY. In a STRAIGHT LINE. With NO WOBBLING. I nearly cried in joy (and embarassment).
Seriously, it's a wonder that all the garments I've made in the past few years on my machine haven't just fallen apart while I walk around wearing them. (Good thing most of them were serged, actually).
I think this is a hazard of taking really long breaks from sewing and then trying to just get back at the machine and pick things up all over again. I've been sewing clothes for myself for over 10 years, but only in sporadic spurts of inspiration — I'll get really intensely into it, pick up some serious skills and practice my finishing and fitting techniques... and then life gets in the way and the sewing machine goes back in the closet for a while. And then I have to relearn anything that hasn't truly stuck all over again.
Threading the machine is just easy muscle memory, but somehow along the way I must have forgotten the proper way to load the bobbin (it's a little plastic bobbin, not like the metal ones on most machines that I grew up sewing on).
Yeah. So... what's your most embarrassing sewing foul-up?