A few months ago, I hauled out my sewing machine to work on some projects for a few new babies that were due in my world. I posted on social media a photo of Ingrid learning on my machine, which led to this series of comments from some friends:
(If it’s hard to read, it’s a friend asking if she could have lessons with Ingrid, and others chiming in.)
Now, I am NOT an expert seamstress/quilter/anything, but I have dabbled in sewing for years. I actually got a machine when I was a kid that never worked right, ever, so I gave up, and then when I quit smoking over a decade ago, I invested maybe $100 in a very, very basic mechanical Brother machine at Walmart, and with that and fabric from Marden’s, I channeled all of that “oh my god, I want to smoke” energy into making quilts, which I gave away as I made them. (And it worked, by the way, so if you are looking for a distraction to quit smoking, I highly recommend it.) When I was expecting Ingrid, I made her a quilt using flannel in a citrus theme, because I craved citrus with her, and because orange and lime are good gender neutral colors, as we didn’t find out before delivery what we were having. Then it sat dormant for about 4 years, when I was expecting baby #2, and wanted to make a quilt for the new arrival. I started with the Brother I’d had all along, but was becoming frustrated, and I ended up buying a new machine on Amazon when I was about 36 weeks pregnant – the Brother CS6000i. At the time, it was $200 (which was what I had just earned from a blogging gig), but now I see it for under $150 regularly (and see that the XR9500PRW is basically the same machine with a few more stitches, so if I were buying now, It would be worth the extra $10 or so, I think.) It was such a huge leap forward from the basic machine I started with. Anyway, I made the blanket for the baby that ended up being Willa, and now I had TWO kids, and, yeah, the sewing machine went back to the basement, for, oh, about 3.5 years. So when I pulled it out, and shared this pic, it started a conversation!
Pretty quickly, people were chiming in that they had a machine but didn’t know how to use it, and we’d all run into there being a lack of classes or events that worked with any schedule other than “retired grandma.” I suggested we try to form our own sewing club and crowdsource what we were trying to learn, and the idea took off.
Our first meeting was in November, at a friend’s home — she had a big enough space and enough outlets to accommodate us, and I brought a box of wine and some cheese and crackers, and the Social Sewing club was born. It was great! We laughed, and we chatted, and most importantly, we got people actually using their machines! Note: If you are having a problem with your machine, we’ve learned that It’s Always the Bobbin.
We’ve met twice more since then, and have meeting number four next month. In addition to getting others sewing, I’ve rekindled my love of sewing as well. I made some projects for those new babies, and have one in progress and one on deck for myself. My dining room has been taken over, which just makes me long for a dedicated space even more, but… someday. And even better, I have no babies in my future to stall me for another four years! In fact, now the babies want to help me with my projects, which sometimes works.
I know that social media so often gets a bad rap, but it’s important to remember what good can come from it. I had NO IDEA that any of these people were trying to figure out their machine, or had given up on figuring out their machine, until I posted that photo. And others may not have had any idea that I liked to sew until I posted.