Saturday, April 17, 2010

Meet Ms. Bessie

This is Bessie, my Singer 5825c sewing machine. I don’t know a lot about her background, as I can’t find much info about this model online, though she appears to have been meant for ‘school use’. I’d like to think that means she was meant ‘to take a licking and keep on ticking’ just like a Timex watch, which might be necessary with me at her helm. My mother-in-law bought her for me sometime between 2001-2003, but I am not sure of her actual manufacture date. Like I said, it’s tough to find information about her, and what little I did find was specifically about the 5825, which is a little bit different (though very similar) to my girl.

I really wanted to sew, but I was terrified and didn’t know what I was doing, so while I played with her a bit when I first got her, she mostly sat in my closet taunting me. Finally, I took a sewing class in October of 2009 at a local fabric shop, making a tote bag and a pair of pajamas for my husband. I was excited to sew, had a tiny bit of confidence after the success in the classroom, and so I got out Bessie and gave it a whirl at home.

It wasn’t pretty. I couldn’t get her to thread correctly, and drama ensued. Broken needles. Bird’s nests of knotted thread. Loud cursing in various languages. Bessie’s manual is awful so it didn’t help much at all. I was convinced she just sucked and wasn’t going to work, and I needed a different machine. You know, like the fabulous Bernina that my sewing class used. The fabulous $8 million Bernina (yes, I'm exaggerating, but it may as well be $8 million right now, since it isn't in the budget!)

Due to a really rough time in my family, the sewing machine got put away for a bit until I was less overwhelmed by life. The turning point was us buying a Kindle. I know, I can see the perplexed looks out there – how could a Kindle motivate my sewing? Easy – I needed a cover for it, I didn’t want to spend a lot of money, and I wanted something that I liked. So, I decided to break out the sewing machine and make a Kindle cover myself! And, by extension, to give Bessie a proper go again. How could I forsake her, when I barely gave her a chance? How did I know she was the problem in this relationship?

I’ll talk about the Kindle cover in another post, since this is about Bessie. What a difference this time around! Oh, there were certainly some moments where she was *this* close to going out the window, but they were much fewer than before. Threading got much easier, and took fewer tries to get it right. Bessie and I will keep courting, and see what happens. She’s not as fancy as a lot of machines out there - she's only got 5 stitch types and not a computer chip in sight - but she’s mine, and I’m going to give her the benefit of the doubt. At least for now.

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