In January I bought a new sewing machine. The mini-machine that I could lift with two fingers and use only for straight stitching suddenly wouldn’t work. Diligent searching on the Web for the simplest machine I could find led me to this one:
The Singer Simple is a very easy to use sewing machine with many features seen on higher end machines.
· 18 stitch patterns including a 1-step buttonhole
· Drop feed
· Needle threader
· Adjustable stitch length
· Free arm with accessory storage (screwdriver, seam guide, seam puller/brush, needles, bobbins, spool holders)
· 4 snap on feet included (ZigZag, Buttonhole, Button, Zipper)
· Dust cover
· Manual in English/French/Spanish
· Easy bobbin winding
· Front loading bobbin
· Horizontal threading
My goodness, 18 stitches! Perish forbid! I didn’t want that complexity. I didn’t want to have to learn how to use it. But, unable to find a simpler machine, I ordered it.
Just now, I noticed that I was supposed to get a dust cover with it. I didn’t. Since January, it has been parked under my floor stand that holds the Elizabethan panel that I have yet to begin stitching. It’s been there since January, too. A trash bag keeps the dust off the machine, and a sheet of plastic protects the panel.
Two weeks ago, I needed to alter some clothes—just seams, and decided it was time to use my new machine. For two days, a couple of hours or more each day, I tried to get that machine to stitch—without success. In the end, I did the alterations by hand, in MUCH less time than I’d spent futilely trying to do it by machine. The Singer Simple.
The next time Ann, our housekeeper, came, I asked her, “Do you know anyone who uses a sewing machine?” “Oh, yes,” she replied. “A lady I work for does a lot of sewing, June Parr.”
While Ann was there, I looked up June in our Resident Directory and found her, right address, right person, and even an e-mail address. So naturally I sent her an e-mail. It said, after I introduced myself:
It’s been 30 or 40 years since I’ve used a real sewing machine. In January I replaced the mini-machine I had, that I could lift with two fingers and which sewed only straight lines forward, with the simplest machine I could find–the Singer Simple. But I simply (pun intended) cannot get it to stitch.
Evidence to the contrary, I am not mentally impaired, as you can see if you check my blog (link below) and Ann will vouch for me. I do complex embroidery. Nevertheless, I am completely at a loss as to how to use this machine.
If you would be willing to come show me what I need to do, just to stitch a straight line, I would be very grateful. At any time that is convenient for you.
After Ann asked her whether she had checked her e-mail, June saw my message and phoned me, leaving a message on my answering machine something like this:
“Every time I tried to Reply to your e-mail, I hit Delete; and I’m not mentally impaired either!”
I returned her call and we made a date for her to show me how to use my Simple sewing machine. When she arrived, I had the machine set up on my desk, with a spool of thread and threaded bobbin, all set to go, and the instruction manual with which I had labored.
Without a glance at the manual, June proceeded to thread the machine, apparently exactly as I had done and as the instructions showed.
But then she sewed a line of perfect stitches. How did she do it? I was astonished.
Here’s the secret. Can you see the shiny metal part inside the slit?
The thread, as the arrow shows, must wind around that metal bit. But that bit shows only when the needle is in a certain position. In other words, you have to use the hand-wheel to get the bit into visible position. All I ever saw was this:
Just an empty slot.
Now June, who owns an expensive Bernini and has been sewing and selling her creations for decades, was really impressed by this Simple machine. As she studied the stitch options, she kept exclaiming about what a great little machine this is and how much I would love using all these different stitches.
She also demonstrated how to do blind hemming.
My goodness, no more herringbone hand-stitched hems for me! (If I can actually learn to do it this way.)
Thanks to June, I have done some alterations using the sewing machine. By the way, it has an automatic threader that is a great wonder and so much fun to use. I think I will get to love this machine. And I’ve made a new friend.
June is not very adept at using her computer and the Internet, so I’ve been to her apartment to try to help her.
I think we’ll be seeing more of each other.