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The Sewing Thread


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#1 Misterioso

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Posted 27 January 2021 - 10:54

We were having a wonderful conversation in the Happy Thread, and it deserves its own thread as suggested by Hedgehog. I really enjoyed reading about your schooldays sewing exploits and am looking forward to more.

 

Here's a place where we can don our Sewing Bee hats and share past and present projects, successes and failures.

 

Ad Libitum, isn't Luskentyre beautiful? When will your jacket be ready?


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#2 AdLibitum

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Posted 27 January 2021 - 11:03

Luskentyre is absolutely stunning! I had the final fitting for the jacket just before the current lockdown was imposed, so it might actually already be finished (or nearly finished) but I won't be able to collect it till they are allowed to reopen. Sigh. It's a gorgeous jacket, the tweed is blue-grey with lots of other colours that you don't see unless you squint at it really closely. The lining is burgundy (it's one of the thread colours in the tweed as well) and it will have my name embroidered on it and a patch of felt under the collar and all. It was my first experience with professional tailoring and it's been marvellous. The way the jacket fits, I mean really fits, is a completely new experience. It'll make it very hard to buy ready made clothes in the future, I have to say.

Meanwhile I'll vicariously enjoy your sewing successes on this thread.
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#3 Hedgehog

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Posted 27 January 2021 - 11:12

Oooh! This is exciting. 

I too remember sewing teachers at school.  In primary school there was a fierce lady who put me off cross stitch forever:  I never knew how to turn the corner on my little sampler.

Then, oh joy! We went to senior school and were let loose on the sewing machines. Lots of people (the non-courageous ones) preferred the hand-powered machines because they felt in control, but I was keen and went on one of the electrics - a Singer straight stitch just like my mother's.  (She hated sewing and was very nervous of her machine - needed the instruction book out each time to thread it!!)  And the rest is history. [It is actually history - I got to Y10 equivalent, and sat in my chosen O level history class - the only thing left on the timetable and was sooooooooooooo bored. I begged very hard and eventually was allowed to do Needlework O level with just 1 proper class, if I did all the rest of the work in my own time.  There were actually 2 of us doing this - we had slightly different timetables, but could make the same lesson ok.]

I too have been making face masks, and am in the middle of finishing some curtains.  Then I have been commissioned by daughter to make a cover for the top of their new piano, and a runner for their dining table.  After that - freedom! I'm taking no more commissions and plan to revamp the wardrobe in between taking my daily exercise, giving piano lessons, and trying to grow our own!  Happy to post pictures once I've made something other than curtains!


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#4 maggiemay

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Posted 27 January 2021 - 12:04

(Copying over from Happy thread, where I will ‘delete’ the original) 


 I spent part of my childhood primary schooldays in Ireland. You each (only the girls of course) had to bring a little tin with sewing and knitting requisites. By about age 8 we had learned to sew hemming, running, top and back stitches. The next year it was plain, French, and run and fell seams, buttonholes and how to do patches

 

Gosh - that rings bells! At least, part of it does. I grew up in the midlands of England - but similarly, by age 8 or 9 we had done most of what you listed up to that point, dorfmouse. I think after that it rather went downhill: I don’t remember any fancy stuff. I do still have a needlecase in blue felt, embroidered with a butterfly, and edged with rather uneven blanket stitch - I remember the frustration of not getting it even. 

We did very little knitting at school, although I do remember a blue ribbed hat, laboriously cranked out in k1p1.  I must have finished it, somehow (or someone did ??) as years later I found it again, undid the knitted tie holding the top, and wore it with a pony-tail coming out of the hole on the crown, much to my mum’s disapproval. 

A couple of decades later I taught myself to do patchwork by hand - which I really enjoyed for a while - and crochet. 

Despite the blue hat, I retained an interest, as my mum was a good knitter, and I picked it up at home and made up things of my own (not so much k1p1 thank you). And yes I’ve made socks on 4 needles, though top-down only - can not get on with the toe-up method. 


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#5 BadStrad

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Posted 28 January 2021 - 12:17

We did a lot of creative stuff at my primary school including applique, textile art, plaiting, macrame, etc. I really enjoyed it. However, I loathed sewing lessons at secondary school (gingham pinny anyone?). As I could already hand sew, mend and make clothes with a machine I found the lessons totally pointless - same for cooking lessons - but I also understood on some level not everyone got to learn that stuff at home or primary school because it was pretty evident.

I wanted to do metalwork and woodwork, ie learn stuff I didn't know how to do and deeply resented being stuck sewing or baking.

I still sew, knit and crochet.
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#6 Misterioso

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Posted 28 January 2021 - 13:26

Yes - I well remember the pinny, although I strongly resisted learning how to sew / cook at home (much to the disgust of my mother and sister) because I was far more interested in music. I did get interested eventually, but not through school lessons.

I also resented not being able to do metalwork and woodwork. They looked far more intriguing, and I was very disgruntled that my sister had got to do them at secondary school, but then a house move meant I attended a different comprehensive - which wasn't comprehensive enough to include those things on the curriculum for girls.


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#7 BadStrad

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Posted 28 January 2021 - 13:33

Yes - I well remember the pinny, although I strongly resisted learning how to sew / cook at home (much to the disgust of my mother and sister) because I was far more interested in music. I did get interested eventually, but not through school lessons.

I also resented not being able to do metalwork and woodwork. They looked far more intriguing, and I was very disgruntled that my sister had got to do them at secondary school, but then a house move meant I attended a different comprehensive - which wasn't comprehensive enough to include those things on the curriculum for girls.

We did actually get to do a whole half term of metal work and another half term of woodwork out of the eighteen half terms that comprise the first three years of secondary school.  I still have the Welsh love spoon that I made when we did wood carving.  Never got to do tech drawing - the teacher wouldn't have girls in his class room (you wouldn't get away with that now!)

 

What model was your old Singer?
 


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#8 Aquarelle

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Posted 28 January 2021 - 18:12

In her youth my  mother had trained as a ladies’ tailor. Just after the war, when I was a small child, she would scour any jumble sale for anything that she could turn into a useful garment –  I was never short of a nice little winter coat. She had a treadle Singer sewing machine for many years and earnt a bit my taking in alterations and making gloves as one of the home workers of the nearby glove factory. As a result I  cannot sew a thing. She simply hadn’t the patience to motivate me (I wasn’t keen) or to teach me. She always said it was quicker to do it herself.  My first memoryf sewing or knittling was a dish cloth knitted  with string on huge wooden needles in my first year at junior school. Mine had more than the required number of loops – actually my loops were really holes. Then we graduated to little bits of green cloth with holes for cross stitch. I couldn’t work that out at all. The next thing was appliqué and I remember cutting out a blue horse and stitching it on to a piece of orange sack cloth. The art teacher drew the horse for me. I can remember thinking it would have been much easier to use glue.

 

Yes, at secondary school we too had to make the famous gingham pinny for use in « domestic science » lessons. Mum made mine ! Then in the second form  at secondary school we were allowed to use sewing machines. I never got as far as learning how to thread the wretched things. I had a friend who did that for me. I can’t  really remember what we were supposed to be making but I have a vague recollection it might have been a night dress. Whatever it was I’m pretty sure mum would have unpicked my attempts and finished it herself. I’m simply sewing illiterate. Occasionally I regret this – mostly when I have to shorten a pair of jeans  - but I have taken to glue for that. Sewing on buttons is torture.

 

If anyone knows of a sewing machine that threads its self  :D I might try again. It would certainly be useful!


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#9 BadStrad

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Posted 28 January 2021 - 18:43

There are self threading machines out there which pull the thread from cone/reel through all the tensioning reels and to the needle, but I have a feeling they are mostly overlockers which are used for that zig-zaggy stitch you often see in sweatshirts.

 

My newest sewing machine has a gizmo that pulls the thread through the eye of the needle, but the operator has to wind the thread around the tensioning bits of the machine to get the thread to the needle.

 

I think most modern sewing machines (except maybe at the rock bottom price range) have a needle threader device built in.  It is a fab invention.


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#10 zwhe

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Posted 28 January 2021 - 19:04

My daughter studying to be a costume designer, and they spent the first couple of days of her course learning how to thread all the machines (and not get their fingers caught in them)! My sewing machine has arrows and pictures on it to show you where the thread should go so that has never been a problem. Threading a needle when I can't see the hole is an issue and can take a long time - I have rubbish eyesight, even with glasses. Sewing at school was really boring - we also made an apron, plus a selection of clothing nobody would ever wear as they were decades out of date. I like sewing, but don't do it much now - I leave it to my daughter!


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#11 AdLibitum

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Posted 28 January 2021 - 20:02

When I bought my sewing machine a few years ago (it's still in its box...) they showed me in the shop how to thread it. It was easy! I remember I had never been able to thread my mother's old machine, but with this new one it is really simple.
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#12 AdLibitum

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Posted 28 January 2021 - 20:04

Zwhe, would one of these big magnifying glasses that stand on the desk so you look at whatever you are doing through the magnifying glass help with the problem? In addition to spectacles, of course.
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#13 Hedgehog

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Posted 29 January 2021 - 11:19

 

 

I think most modern sewing machines (except maybe at the rock bottom price range) have a needle threader device built in.  It is a fab invention.

I agree BadStrad and I'm sure they're useful devices, though I've never got on with mine simply because I'm lazy and haven't really mastered how to use it.  At the moment the eyesight allows me to thread the needle ok, though for some reason my left hand works better than my right! (and I'm really right handed!) 

If anyone is struggling to thread a machine needle, a strip of white paper behind the needle may help you to see the hole of the eye better and consequently make it easier to thread. (My old machine had a white bit on the shank of the foot to help with threading, but my newer machine - with the automatic threader - doesn't have a white bit because they assume you'll use the auto threader I suppose.)


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#14 Misterioso

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Posted 29 January 2021 - 17:17

 

Yes - I well remember the pinny, although I strongly resisted learning how to sew / cook at home (much to the disgust of my mother and sister) because I was far more interested in music. I did get interested eventually, but not through school lessons.

I also resented not being able to do metalwork and woodwork. They looked far more intriguing, and I was very disgruntled that my sister had got to do them at secondary school, but then a house move meant I attended a different comprehensive - which wasn't comprehensive enough to include those things on the curriculum for girls.

We did actually get to do a whole half term of metal work and another half term of woodwork out of the eighteen half terms that comprise the first three years of secondary school.  I still have the Welsh love spoon that I made when we did wood carving.  Never got to do tech drawing - the teacher wouldn't have girls in his class room (you wouldn't get away with that now!)

 

What model was your old Singer?
 

 

I did get to do tech drawing, although I was one of only two girls in the class.

 

My old Singer was a Singer Starlet 354. My new machine is a Brother Innovis A50 and.........

 

IT'S ARRIVED EARLY!!!!! :woot:

 

I haven't sewn a stitch yet, but I'm already well impressed. It has a collection of 7 feet (including a monogramming foot and buttonhole foot!), a built in needle- threader, a choice of 50 stitches, the option of using a double needle (I didn't know those existed) and also an option to use a foot pedal or just start sewing at the touch of a button on the machine without the foot pedal. A set of 5 machine needles is included and a whole collection of other attachments. I have a 66 page manual to read through. :blink:  But that's okay - one of my reasons for choosing this machine is that it came with a written manual rather than having to look up the instructions online. :)  I got a bit confused with the Feed Dogs Position Switch :unsure: as I don't have any dogs, but I have identified them now. :lol:  Although it's slightly larger than my old machine, it's not as heavy - another plus point. My old Singer didn't have any other feet, and when I tried to buy one because I had a lot of blind stitching to do, I was told that a blind stitch foot didn't exist for that model.

 

I should have done this years ago!


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#15 Zixi

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Posted 29 January 2021 - 17:29

Oh, you are in for a treat! You'll soon get used to it. The 'button' instead of a foot pedal is very odd to start with - if I remember correctly. But once you get used to it; it's brilliant. To start with I wondered if I was actually sewing as button-holes - for example - don't seem to need much input! You'll love it! Happy sewing! :) 

Pssst - If you had some plastic recorders you could make recorder bags for them!  :rofl: 


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