I Wish I Didn’t Have to Sew

“If I look at it long enough, I’ll figure it out.”  That was the thought that went through my mind, anyway.  

I sat just a bit longer, staring at the sewing machine.  I looked down at the spool of thread, then placed it on the pin that I knew was there to hold it.  Going with the obvious, I slid on the disc of plastic that holds the spool in place.

It had been a while since I’d sat before this sewing machine, but I’ve done so many times in the past.  It’s been a while, though.  I knew how to thread it, but I didn’t know how to thread it.

So, as I understand it, the route thread takes through a sewing machine is designed primarily to let it leave the spool with an appropriate amount of tension.  It leaves the spool, goes over the river and through the woods, all on the way to the eye in the end of the needle.  It’s the river and woods part that’s tricky.

Muscle memory.  That’s the ticket.  Without a lot of thought, I pulled the thread under the first metal thingy and over the next.  It looked like that nearby slot was a good place to pull through, so through it I went, pulling down, around the tensioner gadget, back up through the same slot, and into the metal wire that was fortunately resting in a position where it was visible.

I had this.

I pulled back down, past the metal bar, and–I was seriously surprised at this–through the wire guide that I just knew sat behind the needle holder.  After I did so, I actually looked to make sure it was there.  Yes, it was.  Wow.  After that, it was a simple matter of threading the needle.  Always start with thread that’s freshly cut.  It’s a lot easier that way.  

Boom.  It’s the little things.

Believe it or not, putting the bobbin in was even easier.  Incredible.

Like so many do-it-yourselfers these days, I was making a face mask.  I try not to dwell on that too much, but making a face mask I was.  I was making that first one for myself, since I figured making a larger one would be easier than making the significantly smaller one that would fit my wife.  I know we’ll be getting a lot of use out of them, so we want several on hand.

I know I learned many things when I was in high school all those years ago, but the two I’m most thankful for are how to sew, and how to type.  Those classes, plus growing up in a family of makers, gave me skills that have served me well. 

I do enjoy sewing, and making things in general.  I just wish I didn’t need the sewing thing for a time like this.

11 thoughts on “I Wish I Didn’t Have to Sew”

  1. I admire that you sew – I can do a lot of things well but sewing is not one of them! I remember calling my mother trying to figure out a pattern and saying “I have multiple degrees and I cannot figure this out. I know all these words but together they make no sense!” The project was a disaster! hahaha Thanks for sharing this story.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your comments, Tammy. I had to laugh when I first read them, because (in a way) you and I are talking about two different things. I’m talking about the act of operating a machine to join two pieces of fabric. You, on the other hand, are talking about reading a pattern! Those are two totally different things, and I am also terrible at reading patterns! Someday I’ll learn that language, but probably not any time soon. 🙂


  2. In a word: Impressive! When I was growing up, my mother made clothes for herself, my sister and me, and many people who were willing to pay her. Her creations were beautiful. Later she worked at a department store altering men’s suits and wedding gowns … and she made my costumes for school plays. I am so familiar with the parts of the machine and the procedure that you describe here, but I could never master the craft of sewing! It frustrated me. My mother had to finish a shirt I started in Home Ec- the neckline was crooked beyond repair and I got a “C” on it. So – I find your venture amazing. Oh, and I’m not good typist, either. My dad made me take business typing in high school – I detested it and once again, did poorly. Yet I function just fine in this keyboard-necessary world … yes, now this face-mask necessary world. I will have to be like Blanche in A Streetcar Named Desire, depending “on the kindness of strangers” to make my masks since I can’t sew, but we can ALL be kind to one another by wearing them. Such a contribution you make here – on multiple levels.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Fran! I suspect, though, that you and I both sew with about the same level of skill. I’m not good when it comes to following a pattern, and it’s not uncommon for things I sew to be “passable,” but certainly not beautiful. Most of my sewing is done when I need to attach a patch to a jacket or backpack. (I saved a bundle of money when I was in the Army and could sew my own insignia on my uniforms.). That said, I can make a serviceable mask. Let me know if you need one!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. A well written post! Your technical descriptions immediately created images for me since we have several sewing machines here. I could hear the joy of accomplishment in your tone (and loved it.) It’s funny how you were surprised at remembering how to do something. I feel that way more often the older I get. I just returned to a crochet project that I left behind a couple of years ago and couldn’t believe I remembered what to do. This experience for me is a reminder that sometimes difficulty is created in the mind. Hopefully, in time, wearing masks will seem more natural. Although, the other day I was out shopping with my husband and I turned to him wearing a mask and for a moment I was taken back and thought, “How did this happen?” Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading, and for your comments! I still don’t know how to crochet, but I’ve tried knitting. I can see how muscle memory will eventually make it possible, but I’m not there yet. Masks are starting to be normal, but I still have to think about them. Hopefully not for much longer, but we’ll have to wait and see about that.


  4. Bravo! I was surprised as well when I remembered how to thread the machine and bobbin. My problem was seeing the hole in the needle! I had to get my magnifiers out to be able to do it without frustration. Oh, well. If we were not this age, we would not have the experience of knowing how to sew in the first place! I enjoyed your post! Very descriptive!

    Liked by 1 person

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