I came home from soccer practice last night to find my sewing machine sitting on the kitchen counter, all my sewing supplies moved out of the storage room, and Jim in a very foul mood.

The long story:  he had ordered some magazine clips from Cabelas last week, and when they arrived they were something so simple, anyone could make them using some heavy nylon fabric and elastic, and a sewing machine of course.  He decided that rather than paying $8 a piece, he would return them and make his own.  Maybe even make enough to give to his friends.

A longer story: I have a sewing machine that has worked wonderfully for years.  The only drawback is that it’s not a heavy duty machine, but I’ve managed to hem a few pairs of jeans in the past, so it was no big deal.  I personally didn’t have a need for heavy-duty sewing capabilities.  I used to sew a lot.  I’ve made crafts, stuffed animals, Santa’s, rabbits, placemats, etc.  I made lots of baby clothes for Trevor, even a canvas & fleece coat, overalls, and several Halloween costumes.  But I haven’t done any recreational sewing in probably 7 years.  All my recent sewing has been repairing clothing.

About 4 years ago, the shelf the sewing machine sits on collapsed- or tipped.  Not sure.  All I now is the sewing machine made a 4′ drop and although it appeared to be working after, it was never quite the same.  I took it in to the Vac’n’Sew shop, they said it had a limited life and that it would split any day now- not worth repairing.  Be warned that it will probably break in the middle of a project!  This was probably 3 years ago.  It will sew any light-duty project, but certainly can’t handle denim any longer.

Back to the Home Ec story.  Jim is frustrated.  Sewing something so simple is not as simple as it should be.  The machine is seizing up.  By the time I walked in, he had spent an hour messing with it.  Of course the first part was setting up the machine in the first place, and threading it.  He exclaimed, “I took Home Ec in the 7th grade” then muttered something about how not much has changed with sewing since then so he should be able to figure it out.

I stepped in, hoping that maybe the way he threaded the machine was causing the problem, but no.  My machine just could not sew through a piece of folded over elastic.  It would seize up each time.

His response…..the machine is out in the trash.  He’s fed up with it.  

For the past four years, Jim has been showing me things that need sewing repair, but I haven’t had the right machine to do it.  Heavy canvas tents, heavy canvas or denim clothing, leather belts, neoprene, all kinds of odd fabrics.  Every time my response is, “I don’t have a sewing machine that can do that.”  It frustrates him.

Two years ago I went shopping for a new sewing machine. Found the one I wanted.  It was $800 on sale.   I used to really enjoy sewing, and have grand visions of someday sewing more again, so I was looking at the really fancy machines that have all kinds of beautiful stitches.  But I also needed a ‘heavy duty’ machine.  This one, they assured me, would work beautifully for all my needs.  Even sewing multiple layers of denim and heavy duty canvas.  I didn’t end up buying it though, because the reality is that I really don’t do any sewing anymore and I couldn’t justify such an expensive machine.  Mostly I don’t sew due to lack of time.  But I think it also might be because my sewing machine was a nightmare to work with after it’s accident.  Simple tasks were no longer simple.

Jim announces “Go buy a new sewing machine!  You have 4 days to get one.  And it better sew anything.  Even 2×4’s.  And pick up a white fabric pen/pencil while you are at it!” 

I was laughing.  Mr. Manly Man sewing, first of all, but then complaining that I didn’t have the right tools for his job (the fabric pencil).  I went to open my sewing caddy and the drawer jammed and he starts spouting off about how crappy the organizer is, too.  So I suggest I pick up one of those, also!  Yippee— a massive shopping day at Jo-Ann Fabrics!

Anyway, I don’t think I’ll go for the $800 machine.  I really don’t need any fancy stitches right now and don’t see me picking up any seamstress work or craft-making in the next 5 years.

I think I’ll start out on craigslist and see if I can pick up an older heavy-duty singer.  As long as it can do straight lines, zigzags, blind hems and button holes, that’s all I really care about at the moment.  Oh, and it must be able to sew through a 2×4.

Suggestions anyone?