Facing Some Fears

I have a bit of an embarrassing confession to make. I’m a little scared of my sewing machine.

Of sewing machines, in general, actually. I don’t know what it is about them. The pointy, stabby bits? The hidden machinery cranking away loudly? The speed and fact that it’s constantly pulling things into the pointy, stabby bits? Scary.


The beast itself. Notice the manual sitting right there? I’ve owned this machine for about 10 years, and I still need the manual in order to thread it and wind the bobbin properly. This is ridiculous.

I’m also kind of scared of my iron.


However, I’m in love with the way the act of ironing smells. And the legs of my grandmother’s old ironing board are a bit of a work of art.

Put these fears together, and you have to wonder why on earth I’d want to tempt fate and make something. I have a wonderful purse that I’ve had for years that used to get a huge amount of compliments. It is small and cute and originally meant to be a knitting bag, but got upgraded to my everyday bag (when I’m actually using a purse, that is, which is not terribly often due to the invention of pockets and my love of those little clamshell credit card wallets). However, due to my overwhelming love for this object and the fact that it is only made of cloth, it has started falling apart, particularly at the handles. This does not elict compliments.


I had a ton of fabric for a Halloween costume that never happened sitting around, plus a copy of Bend the Rules Sewing by the fabulous Amy Karol, or angry chicken, as I tend to think of her. I bought the book forever ago (probably around the same time that I moronically thought I’d be sewing a Halloween costume for myself in one weekend).  More recently, I’ve been thinking about taking the plunge and putting all of these things together into a handmade creation and decided to finally use my day off and make something of myself. School and my new job have made me forget that I am a crafty person, so I jumped right in.

Meaning, I took several days to write ‘make purse’ on a to-do list and didn’t do it until today.  And that the whole thing took me about 3 hours, if we’re counting prep work, trying to find the stupid bottle-thing that helps you fill your iron with water, re-learning how to thread the machine, reordering my Hulu queue, checking Facebook a few times, taking a few deep breaths, and then just going for it.

First, we face the iron and the intimidation of interfacing.


Which turned out to not be so scary when you actually follow the instructions.


Although still a little nerve-wracking in the clutch. Part of what I’ve gotten used to with knitting and crochet is the fact that any mistake can be unwound and fixed relatively quickly. With sewing, there is cutting and stitching, and everything is just that more permanent.  And really, really hot.


I persevered, though. I glued some stuff to some other stuff with my iron. I was quite proud.

Then I cut out all the rest of the fabric. Again, experienced some anxiety during this process, but with my handy drafting triangle by my side, I felt a little more comfortable. But then I had to turn some ends under and press them, an activity that has always made me extremely nervous. As I type these words, I realize how stupid it is to be so intimidated by inanimate objects, but these are the facts.


Again, we have success. Also, renewed determination in the idea that I should probably make this ironing board a new cover.


Then, I sat myself down and faced my demons. Or just a tiny needle with variable speed control. And I sewed.


And then sewed some more.


And I got the miracle of a pocket! And after that, I realized that maybe I might be pretty good at this. Maybe I’m tapping into a hidden talent. Maybe it’s just like baking where all I need to do is enjoy the process and follow the directions in order to make something great.


And then I make a huge mistake and sew the outer pieces together stacked on top of each other rather than with right sides facing. In true Jinger-fashion, I got cocky about my perceived skill in something and then quickly got slapped down back into my place by the crafting gods.

Keep in mind that I am also using a relatively tiny stitch length in order to keep the sewing machine from going too fast and eating my fingers because sometimes they do that in my fantasy world. I spend the next 20 minutes or so getting well-acquainted with my seam ripper.


I persevere again, despite my flailings and the crappy light that the sewing machine floods into my pictures.


And then something happens. Suddenly, I’m finished. And it doesn’t look terrible.


It actually looks pretty awesome.


And it has a pocket!


It holds things in it, just like a purse. It is a purse. I made a purse!


And then had cold homemade vegetable pizza to celebrate.


It didn’t take me long to put all my stuff in it, which is probably just too much stuff, but I was excited. I can’t wait to use it. I’m also excited to try sewing other stuff, but I better keep my seam ripper nearby, just in case the crafting gods decide to teach me another lesson, which is highly likely.


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