The Machine

20080531 - Sewing Machine

I have a sewing machine that I inherited.  It’s about 40 years old, and it’s a serious piece of machinery.  It stays in the closet most of the time, and when I think I want to use it, I lift all 50 pounds of it on to the dining table.  Then I sit there and look at it, and try to work up the nerve to actually sew something.

I have a lot of plans for sewing, lots of ideas for things to make, but it’s hard to get started.  If you ever spend time reading crafting blogs, you come away with a lot of new project ideas.  They look so simple and nice.  It’s a lot easier to collect ideas than to do them.  Reading and planning are in my comfort level, but implementing?  Not so much.

I’ve sewn stuff before.  Mainly mending torn seams or sewing hems on curtains.  I’ve even made a few gifts.  I’m always a little nervous to give something handmade.  I think it’s the idea that my gift might be relegated to “It’s the thought that counts”, or even scarier, “What was she thinking?”  (By the way, if you ever receive a gift from me that you don’t want or can’t use, please donate it.  I don’t want to add to clutter.)

So here I am this weekend, once again getting ready to face the machine.  Working up the nerve to cut into a piece of linen.  Reassuring myself that a finished project is better than a potential one.  Hoping that I’ll like it when it’s done.

About Rachel

I write about practical tips that will help you simplify at home. Connect with me on Pinterest and Twitter.


  1. A few months ago I stumbled upon a blog out there titled “Done is Better Than Perfect”. That’s been my new mantra. I’ll add to that: “Some Progress is Better Than None”.

    In the past few weeks I’ve managed to clear out my craft area enough to SEE my sewing machine. By the end of the summer, I hope to actually sew. LOL

    That’s a beautiful portrait of your monolithic machine!

  2. As a crafter w/ a wall of fabric, I’ll give a hearty Here Here to “a finished project is much better than a potential one”. (I’m working slowly on reducing my stash. Grocery bags used the most fabric of my stash use projects so far.)

    You can do it! And you must show us what you get done. ;)

  3. Judy Haley says:

    “Reading and planning are in my comfort level, but implementing? Not so much.” story of my life.

    A sewing maching is a nice thing to drape your coat over when you take it off. It ranks second to the weight bench, which is also not used for its intended purpose.

  4. I’m more afraid to cut fabric than sew. I can always rip seams, but I just can’t figure out how to get the fabric back together. :)

    It usually turns out ok, and I’m sure yours will, too.

  5. oh i can so relate! i’ve had a sewing machine for over 20 years, and i still get nervous when i do more than mend. i do make a few little crafty things, but always think they don’t look quite right when they are done. but i’m working on it. and you can too. lets cheer each other on =)

    gail´s last post…Caffenated Randomness

  6. I know this post in blog-years is soooo old, but I find it interesting. I have a mother who learned to sew during the depression when she was very young. She was tasked by her mother to make hems in the flour sacks that they repurposed as dresses. To this day I have not met a better “hemmer”. (On a crunchy side note – I’d love to make dresses out of flour sacks for my girls today. I am under no illusion that this is a choice and not a necessity) My first sewing machine was a seventy year old singer with one stitch. My in-laws gave me another slightly younger singer at about 40 years old. I finally purchased a used Husqvarna with more than one stitch about 7 years ago. Your inherited machine is a FINE machine to start on and no one needs to know how many times you ripped seams or started over from scratch. My 10 year old son is showing an interest and I am happy to start a year long quilt project with him this winter…all of his choosing. Jump in and make a splash no matter how awkward. It’ll be fun!

    • Now that I’ve had the machine for a few years, I’ve come to appreciate how well made it is! It has lasting quality that is so hard to find now.

      I too have romantic ideas about old flour sack fabric.

  7. I totally understand this entire post and every comment. I have a few older machines, and they are awesome. This morning I was sewing on the one my husband likes. (Newer, plastic, if I had paid more than the 25 bucks I paid for it in the thrift I’d be broken-hearted) and every time I go over a seam it sounds like it is going to die…

    For all I know it will sew for years, but it sounds like it is going to die every single time. My old machines, though – no problem. If I wanted to sew Asia to Africa, and could find a way to squish them under the presser foot, we’d have a new continent…