Monday, June 9, 2008

Sore fingers and flying needles = thimbles and a new beast!

Ok, clunky heading I know, but sometimes I spend more time thinking up a title than actually writing a post. So there ya go - big clunky heading and I'm just going with it. So anyway, what does it mean? Well, I've been having myself a few 'learnin's' of late.

Learnin' number 1.
Lots of hand stitching leads to a sore thumb and a sore finger.

I'm sure if I was a better hand sewer I would probably get a sore thumb OR a sore finger, but given my probable lack of technique, I get both.

This was the first bag that started the problem. I love how it turned out, and it's now in the shop. All reclaimed/recycled materials except for the thread, and fully reversible.

I really enjoyed making it...even the hand sewing..apart from the pain bit, that became gradually worse by the time the last buttons were being sewn on.

The second bag (not finished yet - not even 'blog finished' as Jodi would like to say) is being done in little spurts as I attempt to build up a callous. So far, it's not working, and this morning I remembered this post about thimbles from The Purl Bee, and decided I need to get myself some thimbles asap. I think the goat leather one is the one for fact, I'm wondering if I could just make one out of a recycled piece of leather clothing...or suede...I have some thrifted suede fabric in my stash. Would that work???

OK, anyway.

Learnin' number 2.

Trying to make a low-end Janome domestic sewing machine sew through 11 layers of fabric (including upholstery fabric) leads to much machine jumping and needles flying in all directions.

Also much unpicking and double stitching to ensure durability and fastness.

This is the last bag I have subjected my poor little domestic machine to. It all worked out well in the end, but that last lot of top-stitching around the top took a LOT longer than it should have. This bag is also now in the shop, and I really can't mention it without also acknowledging the lovely Bianca from Hollabee and her gorgeous fabric. The hand screen printed Autumn leaves on the natural linen/cotton blend was a dream to work with. Even my husband noticed it and commented on how nice it was. So textural, and it washed and sewed up really well too.

But anyway, back to the bag, and the beast it has led me to. I finally found a second hand industrial walking foot machine.

And boy can it go!!! If I want to, I could now go into the horse saddle-making business. Saddles anyone? No? OK, I'll stick to bags then. Once I learn how to tame it that is. I am still at that 'break into a little sweat before I actually start sewing' stage. I can't believe a sewing machine can have so much power - at the moment it feels more like riding a motorbike than sewing...but I'll keep you posted on how I'm going. Oh, and if anyone has any tips on using an industrial sewing machine I'd love to hear them. I have learnt how to 'feather foot' the pedal, and I have also learnt (the hard way) that I have to hold down the threads every time I start to sew (because of the walking foot action), otherwise everything gets tangled in the hook. But any other advice would be gratefully received :)


Rachel said...

I really like the fabric you used for the second bag - beautiful!

Hot Fudge said...

Wow Bec, you really excelled yourself with this excellent post. So many stories, and those beautiful bags are worth all the sore fingers, let me assure you. You don't wear a thimble? I can't even sew on a button without one.

And me envious over your industrial sewing machine? Perish the thought! It sounds like a great ride and I'd love to hear more of your experiences with it.



Ali said...

that's an impressive-looking beast Bec! Looking forward to seeing more beautiful bags with buttons (and no more sore fingers?)
Ali :)

CurlyPops said...

OMG those bags are fabulous!
I have the same problem with my janome when it gets to about 6 layers and I have also had a couple of flying needle incidents....scary (I'm just glad I wear glasses so at least I'm not going to lose an eye)!

Anonymous said...

The bags are gorgeous. Hopefully worth all the pain!!

Sharon said...

Your bags are beautiful! No advice- except keep your fingers out of the way!

BigCat said...

She a beautiful beast indeed. Can't wait to see what you and she create when you have gotten to know each other.

That's so funny what you said about creating titles for your posts. I do that all the time. It has me thinking that we could have some fun around Blogland with a title posting game. I shall ponder it some more.

Jodie said...

Yikes...she is scary......crazy scary..........but she'll learn to love you I'm sure.

Hey Harriet said...

Sorry I've no advice as I can't sew. & after reading your post, sewing sounds a little too dangerous for my liking. I'll stick to the safety of painting. Less injuries!

The bags are beautiful!

JustJess said...

What a fantastic machine Bec! How about a saddle bag!?

Nikki said...

Congrats on your graduation to the industrial sewing machine!!! Believe me, when you get used to it you will NEVER want to go back to a domestic machine!!! I'm very jealous of the walking foot.... You'll be able to sew ANYTHING!!!

Yes - feather-foot it and fingers out of the way!! I have a gorey story to tell about a needle and the middle finger of my left hand. Perhaps another time...

Kara said...

Oh I am so envious - I would LOOOVE this machine! You go girl, the bags are fab!!

Corrie said...

wow that is very industrial looking! i think I'll stick to my janome for the time being !

lovely bags by the way

Sherrin said...

beautiful bags, Bec! and wow on the sewing machine... looks like an awesome beast to have around... hopefully said beast will be a good friend soon!

Levin (and Emily) said...

i love your bags.
i get sore fingers from hand sewing but it's a 'good' sore.
good luck with the industrial sewing machine - it looks a little scary to me...

Melanie Gray Augustin said...

Gorgeous bags, but sorry to hear about the sore finger and thumb!

I'm so jealous of your new machine! Where did you get it, if you don't mind me asking? I'm going to be buying a 2nd hand industrial one when I get back to Brizbvegas next year. I'm going to be watching out for all the tips you get on it too.

Sharon said...

Hi Bec!! My small person picked your name out of the mixing bowl, you've won the apron giveaway! If you email me your postal address I'll send it on to you! X
irisandlily at hotmail dot co dot uk

Net said...

wow the sewing machine is amazing! I love that you said it was like riding a motorbike! I've never tried an industrial machine - it sounds brilliant!

Your bags are gorgeous!

Florence said...

Goodness Bec, that is some sewing machine! How must almost make you want to sew a saddle, just because you can. The bag looks beautiful! x

bettyninja said...

Love that top purse fabric! So simple, but still has that retro feel to it. I love it! That sewing machine is killer. I really need to keep my eyes peeled for a great industrial one.

I wish I had been sewing years ago when our local backpack maker went out of business. I should have bought their machines!