Sunday, March 25, 2012

Frustration and The Book

First, let's get to Bear Island. I would have sent it to Monica, since she's from that general neighborhood and a fan of MacLean, but I can't get to the post office to mail it, and $75 for UPS service seemed positively outrageous. I'd have sent it to Chan after her kind compliment that I've never steered her wrong with a book, but I wanted to send it to a brand new commenter, Tami, who has relatives up in the Arctic Circle. Tami, I've already contacted you, and I do hope you're going to enjoy this book.

It was sunny and 70 all week, and I wanted to make a dress from a bright floral print I bought in Philly with GMarie and my daughter. Of course, this being the tempermental Northeastern US, I know full right and well that just because it's warm doesn't mean the cold weather is over. So I settled on a fluffy, long sleeved dress, cut and started sewing.

Oh, my aching (expletive deleted). My White serger decided it didn't want to cooperate. So it needs to go to the repair shop. Then, to top it off, my trusty Singer decided to take up breaking thread and skipping stitches - lots and lots of stitches - for the second time in 6 months. So here's where I was on what should be a 3 to 4 hour dress, after spending all day Saturday either working on it or the machines, or stomping around using lots of HBO words in frustration.

Yep. Sleeves pinned in and going nowhere in a hurry.

Then I remembered that the backup Singer I bought on sale from Target for $65 four or five years ago works. It's slow, but it works. So I drafted it to finish the dress. I still need a hem, so there's no finished picture. But the fabric and dress can be a story for another day, after all.

NOW. For any of you out there who sew, I have questions. Is it normal for a sewing machine to only last 9 years, even with gentle and loving use only on the weekends?

And, my dearly beloved, during one of my HBO-word tirades, said to me, "What's the Rolls Royce of sewing machines, and why don't you have one?" Can anyone tell me that?

See, I'm just not that enamored of getting new equipment just for the sake of having something new. Once I learn to use something, I want to use that one forever, confident in the knowledge that I understand it. (Remember? I"m the one whose "new" car is from 1995!)

So....if you know about sewing machines, please, Help!


Sue said...

When I first started working I bought a Singer and I loved it. It lasted over 30 years but when a part broke and I took it to be repaired, the repairman told me Singer no longer made parts for that machine. He warned me not to get another Singer because they had started making parts from plastic and the quality was poor. He told me to get a Bernina, that they were the only company that still made high quality machines with metal parts.

I couldn't afford a Bernina then so I bought another Singer. It never worked and spent more time in the repair shop than at home. Rob saw my frustration and came home one day with a Necchi . I's 25 years old now and works perfectly. I have it cleaned and oiled about every five years. It's a good little machine.

About 4 years ago Rob gave me my Bernina for our anniversary. It their top of the line embroidery machine and I love it, but I'm also a little intimidated by it. It's my first electronic machine and I'm not used to a "smart" sewing machine. My goal for this summer is to make friends with my Bernina, but I'm keeping my backup.

Claire S. said...

Oh boy, this is always a hot topic over on PatternReview - everyone has their faves !
Me, I'm liking my mechanicals - you've seen my herd - they're all mechanical. While the computerized machines are pretty, I don't see myself using decorative stitches much - my first machine, the Kenmore is 20 years old and has 30 stitches. In all this time I don't think I've used more than 3 or 4 of them and that was 'just to try them out'. That Kenmore is also my youngest machine, circa 1990-92 (oops the Singer 110 is actually newer, maybe 2004?). All the others are dated between 1910 and 1954 are all metal and they work great.
My Rolls would be an 'old' one :-) Good luck with your search...

SissySees said...

Can't help at all of course, but you know that. Maybe I'll come back to this post in a year when I can think about starting a new hobby?

I'm sorry you've had a frustrating weekend. Mine has been a mixed bag too, complete with uninstalling and re-installing all of Microsoft Office on my laptop, fighting with the League website to re-load a document I put up in January or February... and it disappeared!

altadenahiker said...

You show excellent taste -- on where to send a book, and how to choose a husband.

gMarie said...

Hmmm - Rolls Royce top of the line machine - well that's going to take you out of your comfort zone. I worked for a Husqvarna Viking Dealer for a few years and consequently have their machines. However I decided on HV before I went to work there. The top 3 are HV, Pfaff and Bernina - in no particular order. You actually have to do your research, find dealers and go sew with them to determine what you like.

I managed to make it to the studio today - which is feeling more like a dungeon. I put winter fabrics away, cleaned up the cutting table, putzed around and finally cut out some flannel pants that should have been a christmas gift. Happy Easter? g

Tami said...

We have an assortment of sewing machines here. My Viking Freesia I have had for 11 years and consistently works well, I prefer the Viking Emerald 118, a good, solid, mechanical machine. My daughter has abandoned two new Bernina's that had tension problems despite repairs for a 1956 Singer 99K. It's sweet that your husband wants the best machine for you, my husband also understands that good tools are important. And thank you for the book! I am looking forward to it.

Mango said...

Old stuff lasts longer, but once you have to replace it, watch out! I am still using the washing machine I received as a wedding present 22 years ago, but have gone through no fewer than 3 dryers which seem to have a shorter life expectancy with each new edition.

I am sure the family had to take cover when those HBO words came out. Ish.

Mango Momma

Mickle in NZ said...

I'm a Bernina girl. The Bernina Nova my folks gave me back in 1983, a fully mechanical, is still going fine. Confess I've yet to use the Bernette thay gave me for Xmas however it is mostly mechanical too.

Mum is on about her fifth Bernina.Her current one is a Quilters Edition with all sorts of bells and whistles - few of which she uses or knows how to! Fifth ? - well, she does sew most days.

Now Mum's mother was a bespoke tailoress and had a Singer, just the one, from her twenties right through her life. It was originally a treadle machine that she had electrified. Nana worked for a tailoring business, doing piecework from home and the treadle was very useful during power cuts in WWII.

I was suprised that Mum didn't keep the Singer machine when Nana died. I later learnt that dear Mum could never work the treadle properly - she could only get it to go backwards!

(btw - even once I start using the Bernette I'm keeping the Nova. And I have a globe serger)

Blond Duck said...

You are the sewing queen!

Sarah said...

Marjie, you sound like the little old lady who only drives it on weekends! No road trips! Lol! But 9 years is not enough out of a machine. My last machine lasted 25 years. And I expect the same from my Husqvarna. My last one was a Pfaff. I think they are both cadillacs.

gemma said...

the only sewing I do is cross stitch, crewel and plain old embroidery BUT a very dear friend is an excellent and award winning seamstress..her machine of choice is Janome. They have a web site. She swears by them and would state that this brand is the Rolls Royce of machines. Check them out and see.

Pat said...

My Singer was a gift from my parents, back in 1965. It travelled to college with me, made countless gowns and numerous clothing/emergency repairs. It then moved to the Philippines, used continuiously while there as there were no store bought clothes to be had. Back in the US, made clothes for all 4 kids...and is still going strong, with only minor tune-ups and repairs. I will be lost when it dies...