Let’s kick it back to Home Ec circa 2001.
As I tend to do with any big purchase, I research extensively, sit on it for a few months, rinse and repeat. I’ve been wanting to tackle some upholstery projects, dabble in making clothes, and fix existing clothes for a while. I just have a very Depression-era way of handling money and I hesitate to spend money on myself.
Then I got a bonus and thought: to hell with it. (I did responsible stuff with half of it, the rest was for fun.)
I still sat on the idea of buying a sewing machine until earlier this week. I was just having a very bad day, and I tend to treat bad days with either sleeping or retail therapy, mostly the former.
It was a rage purchase, but a useful one
As soon as I left work, I went to a fabric wholesaler, that also happens to house a sewing machine dealer and repair business in the front. In my
extensive research, I read (in the comments) that most sewers preferred doing business with an independent dealer rather than a big box store. I’m jumping on that bandwagon because my experience at Mr. Sewing Place was awesome.
I met a woman named Patricia, who asked me about what I wanted to make and what my budget was. She steered me to a Babylock BL9, a brand and model I hadn’t heard of. I don’t remember the sewing machine I used in my 7th grade sewing class, but my mom owns a really old Singer. Unfortunately, I had read the new Singers weren’t so hot, and the spool pins loaded from the side, which meant I could only use small spools of thread in order for it to fit.
Patricia explained the advantages of the BL9 to me, what she liked about it, and even showed me how to not only load the bobbin, but take it apart whenever it jams. After a 45 minute conversation, in which we talked about home flipping, horses, and city living, I had the Babylock, a zipper foot, and new bobbins in hand.
I’m literally geeking out
I carted a big box home and my husband, JR said, “oh dear,” or something to that effect. I started playing with the BL9, while he kept saying “be careful” over my shoulder. It was kind of cute.
Here’s what I like so far:
- It’s mechanical.
- The thread loads on the top, and I can push the spool pins down to travel.
- It’s really easy to thread in general, from bobbins to the needle.
- It has all the stitches I need, and none of the extraneous stuff I don’t understand.
- It’s light, but sturdy. I live in a 700 sq ft apartment, so I don’t need something huge either.
As of now, I’ve got a growing list of projects to tackle. Searching through Pinterest can be frustrating at times, because I don’t need useless little sewn trinkets. I donated or sold half of my belongings prior to getting married in an operation I nickname “The Great Purge,” so I’m not trying to accumulate clutter.
Here’s a couple of things I hope to work on in the near future:
- A tortilla warmer. I can’t find a fabric tortilla warmer that doesn’t have chilis or sombreros printed on it. SO STEREOTYPICAL, STOP IT.
- A cover for my sewing machine. Naturally.
- Reupholstering our living room sectional and armchair. Yikes. I got a couple of professional quotes for the armchair in $500 range, so I was like, nope. We paid $30 for the armchair and the leather sectional was free, courtesy my neighbor’s front yard. I’m ordering an upholstery book and obsessively watching Sailrite’s tutorials.
- Curtains, probably. My siblings and I joke that all my mom knows how to sew is curtains. (She knows more than that.)
- A simple pattern, like this top.
And because I’m a spreadsheet geek, I’m going to try to track how cost-effective sewing is over the long term. I only took one math class in college though, since it’s not my strong point, so we’ll see how this goes.