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Wales, United Kingdom
Documenting one couple's attempts to live a more self-sufficient life.

Friday 29 July 2016

Uncovering the sewing machine

A few weeks back, over on Eco Cat Lady's blog, we were chatting about how quite a few of us feel we ought to enjoy sewing, but don't. My sewing machine is in the spare room and has been getting buried deeper and deeper over the months, so as well as emotional obstacles to sewing (I'm not as good at it as I want to be), there've been physical obstacles in the way, too.

Then last week I picked some blackcurrants - bear with me, this is related. I stewed them and strained them and decided to make jelly from the juice, and wanted something to put lemon pips in (for extra pectin) so I wouldn't have to pick them all out at the end. I've been thinking for a while that it would be good to have a drawstring muslin bag for this purpose, like a large re-usable tea bag. If I had the right bit of fabric, this should be a very small sewing job.

I decided to give it a go. It felt like a lot of tidying up for a bit of sewing so small I could do it by hand fairly easily, but better to do the big tidy with this job than have it get in the way of a bigger project. The combined Big Tidy and Big Sewing Project could well prove too daunting to tackle at all.

Step one was looking for fabric. That brought quick success, and a sense of smugness at being proved right over the de-clutterers. Whether it's worth keeping a cupboard full of fabric for thirty years for the sake of having exactly that piece to hand when I wanted it... well, I suppose that's debatable, but I like having stuff available.

Then I had to tackle all the junk in the middle of the room. No, I'm not showing you a photo of how bad it was. I would then have had to face just how bad it was. I moved things around. I can't say the result is exactly tidy but the stuff is no longer all over the sewing table.

I was rather pleased that I could remember how to thread the machine and adjust the settings and tension in the right direction to stop the thread looping up at the back. In fact, when I watched a nice, even line of stitching emerge from under the machine foot, I was thrilled. I guess my anxiety about sewing incompetence had been building up. I may never be as skilled as my mum was, but you know, I can kind of do this.

And so I have a little drawstring bag, useful for suspending lemon pips in boiling jam, and spices in chutney, and I'll probably find some other uses for it. More to the point, the sewing machine is now accessible, both physically and psychologically.

One drawstring bag, for culinary purposes.