This Means I Should Drop Everything and Go to the Beach, Yes?

Is this the most tragic thing you ever did see?

Last Stitches


Well, what if I told you that what you’re seeing here is the death of my sewing machine?

Okay, sure–my sewing machine stitching its last stitches is probably not high on your list of Things to Cry About Later. But it does leave me with a dilemma.

I’ve been working on some maternity clothes for my sister–a couple t-shirts, a couple of skirts, and a dress. All knits. I had mostly finished one tee and partially finished the second tee when the motor on my machine started locking up every few stitches. Normally, this would be caused by threads being tangled in the bobbin case. However, in this case, no tangled threads. I tried rethreading the machine multiple times, rethreading the bobbin, cleaning every tiny bit of lint I could find, changing the needle, using different stitches–nothing helped. This is the same thing my machine was doing back in February when I had to take it in (for two months!!!).

More topstitching than I normally do.

More topstitching than I normally do. I have since learned that a longer stitch is so much more attractive. 

So, here’s the dilemma: I could take the machine in to get fixed again, but I have a problem with getting the same issue fixed more than once. If they couldn’t fix it the first time, how can I expect them to fix it the next time? This time, of course, my machine is no longer under warranty, so that means I’ll have to pay who knows how much for what I think is only going to be a temporary solution.

Option 2 is to get another inexpensive “starter” machine just so I can keep sewing for now. This is good because not only am I working on clothes for dear sis (who, let’s face it, will only be pregnant for so long) but I am also starting a new job in a few weeks and I have no appropriate clothes to wear. Of course, the downside, as I have learned, is that cheap starter machines aren’t always the greatest value if they’re going to start falling apart within the first year. Also, if I buy a new machine, that’s a lot of fabric that I can’t buy.

Like this super-delish navy cotton knit. Perfect for a maxi skirt which would be perfect for the new job.

Like this super-delish navy cotton knit. Perfect for a maxi skirt which would be perfect for the new job. Also, Neville thought this tee-in-progress was a primo spot for napping. 

Option 3 is to just suck it up and wait it out while I save up money for a decent machine. I do have friends who will let me borrow their machines that they don’t use. So, that will keep me sewing for now. I just hate having someone else’s machine for that long.

While I’m waiting to get my hands on a working machine, however I go about it, I do have a lot of planning and organizing to do. Maybe I’ll magically become a better blogger and actually get some posts up.

In the mean time, I’m might just perform a small autopsy. I’m pretty good at taking things apart. You hear that, machine?? I HAVE A SCREWDRIVER AND I KNOW HOW TO USE IT!


18 thoughts on “This Means I Should Drop Everything and Go to the Beach, Yes?

  1. Oh no! The death of a sewing machine is indeed a sad thing. As it has been mended once and is doing the same thing just a few months later I would be tempted, like you, to take a screwdriver to it and perform home surgery.
    Have you considered looking on ebay for a temporary fix?

    • That’s a good idea.
      It is pretty sad–especially since it’s been a while since I’ve sewn anything and just as I’m getting started again, there goes my machine. . .

  2. Oh, NOOOOOOO! How awful! I bet you could get a good machine for not too much money. I have the Janome Magnolia 7318 and I think it cost me $250? It’s mechanical, which I prefer as I fear computers and just know they’re about to rise against me, but I love it! Janome has some really good machines at very fair prices. I’m sure there are other brands that do as well, but I don’t have any experience with them (just this machine and my sister’s Brother, which I can’t recommend).

    • I have heard good things about Janome–and I’ve found several good candidates on Ebay. If you had asked me a year ago, I would have been all about Brother machines, but now? Nope. At least not their basic machines.
      Thanks for the tip!

  3. that stinks! Especially in the middle of a project. How about a combo of 1 and 3? Borrow your friend’s machine while you get yours fixed. If the repair estimate is significant, look at a new (or new to you) middle of the road option. I also have a base level mechanical machine (a viking 116) and haven’t had issues. Joann has them on sale every other week.
    I feel your pain on a different level. I finally got some sewing mojo back and my iron is leaking brown crud all over the place. Have to wait for the amazon fairies to deliver my new one before I can continue.

    Good luck!

    • I think I will definitely be borrowing a machine for now. I feel that if I have something to work on temporarily, I’ll be more sensible in picking out a new machine.
      I hope your old iron didn’t destroy anything! That’s such a pain. In my experience, I never know there’s a problem until after I’ve already got a puddle on whatever I was trying to iron.

  4. Have you tried using a vacuum cleaner on it -using the hose and nossle? It fixed a similar problem with mine. There must have been something stuck in the bobbin area. Fingers crossed.

    • Hmmm–it’s worth a try! But I have pretty thoroughly checked all around the bobbin case, so I don’t think it’s a thread-related issue. At least my machine will get clean!

  5. I need a sewing machine. Ashli has one and is able to whip up all sorts of fun things.
    I’m really good at using hem bond. I’ve made four sets of curtains and hemmed up countless maxi skirts and dresses using this incredible substance. But, that doesn’t help you with your machine problem. :/

    • You should get a machine. You could get away with something very simple since you probably won’t be using it excessively.
      I didn’t know Ash could sew. Good for her!

  6. It’s definitely going into my cry about it later list! How horrible!

    Personally, I would save my money for the machine of my dreams and borrow friends’ machines until you get your new one. You deserve to have the best you can afford considering how much you sew and love to sew! 🙂

    • That is a very good point. I DO need a decent machine and buying something I won’t like a few months from now is a very silly thing to do. I think I will definitely borrow for now. If I feel pressured to buy a new machine immediately, chances are I’ll do something stupid like charge a $600 machine on a credit card (I’m not a fan of credit cards).

      • I know what you mean, credit cards are evil. But I financed my machine on 0% for 6 months and now I’m totally paid off and the machine is mine. Mwahaha. Totally think about it.

  7. I’d recommend getting a reconditioned Bernina (a basic one) I have had a Bernina since I was 18 (40 now) and he has served me well (including some intensive years as a textile design student in the 1990’s).
    Good luck with your machine and your sisters pregnancy too!

  8. The death of a sewing machine is a very sad thing. I think shoemakers elves cry every time one dies. 🙂 I think you are on the right track with the borrow and save route. Do Not Buy Cheap Brother! Having killed two of those myself, I regularly warn people away from them. If you open it up, you’ll likely find you’ve stripped one of the very cheap plastic gears. That’s what happened to mine. Sadly, those gears are stupidly expensive to replace. My last brother sacrificed itself on a piece of quilting cotton and I gleefully replaced it (after much research) with a Janome. Best decision EVER! Take your time, research. I’m researching my next upgrade and taking my time about it. Saving my pennies for just the right machine. I know it will be worth it and that my beloved Janome will go to my daughter when the time comes.

    • Thanks for the encouragement!
      I am very suspicious of Brother machines now. Granted, mine was very cheap, so that probably was the main problem. I just had no idea I would be sewing as much as I have!
      I’m thinking I’ll probably either get a Janome or Bernina. It depends on what I can find in my price range.

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