The Machines in my Life…

I am not adverse to using the odd machine.  I am permanently attached to either a laptop or sewing machine (as, I’m sure are most of you reading this) and I broke the bread hook on my Kitchen Aid making too many batches of bread last year.  It’s not that I don’t love the long way round, I always do a little hand kneading and on occasion bake cakes the old fashioned way instead of the throw it all in a mixer method, it’s just that like most people I have a busy life and trying to fit it all in can be a bit of a squeeze.  

I am also a bit of a perfectionist and this includes my sewing.  I hate raw seams (unless it’s intended of course) and so spend a long, long time working out construction that hides everything, double stitching seams and pushing my machine to it’s zig-zag limit.  Linen cat and bunny dresses are fully lined in white cotton, the internal seams on the tweed trousers are bound in bias binding etc, etc all to achieve a finish I can be proud of but at the cost of lots of extra time.  I have pined after an overlocker since I was a student where we had a room full of industrial machines at our disposal including (now antiquated) overlockers.  I was a student a rather a long time ago and overlockers cost an insane amount back then, had to be industrial and were impossible to thread.  Things have changed so much since then and I decided the time saved made the purchase worthwhile so it was in high squeal, hand clapping, jump up and down on the spot (you get the picture) excitement that I unpacked my lovely new Bernina 1150 last week…then packed it up again after discovering a crack in the hand wheel and waiting patiently for the replacment to arrive.  It did, it was bank holiday weekend, I was not allowed to play 😦


When I did sneak some time to unpack my new purchase I suddenly had a mild panic that I had wasted a lot of money and for some reason I also felt a bit sad.  I have been using the same old beloved Bernina 1001 sewing machine since my Gran bought it for me during my Degree course (ex-display and even then cost £400…I still have the receipt).  She knew I couldn’t afford one myself, but as I planned to specialise in costume design in my final year (I did a Theatre Design Degree) I really needed a machine so she kindly bought me one.  It’s not fancy by modern machine standards but it has served me well over the years and I have no intention of changing it.  

The first sewing machine I ever used was a manual hand turning one that had belonged to my Great Aunt (see photo).  It’s cool, I still have it and it still works (I took it to primary school where I used it in sewing lessons, yep, we had sewing lessons how weird is that!?).  I also used treadel sewing machines at home (I wasn’t brought up in an episode of Victorian Farm, we just had two old treadle machines in the attic, no idea why, they had probably always been there) and so it feels a bit like cheating to use an overlocker at home, despite designing and making many costumes using them, but ohhh how nice it is.  I spent yesterday zooming around linen cushion pieces at such a pace, leaving a lovely tidy edge with no fray.  I’m won over and once I have understood the Krypton Factor like instructions there will be no stopping me. 

A thing of beauty

The new over locker came from Jaycottes.  This model (Bernina 1150) costs pretty much the same everywhere and I couldn’t find any ex-display  models I fancied.  They were very apologetic about the hand wheel being cracked, it had come direct from the manufacturer and Jaycottes arranged a next day swap.  I feel happy that I have an overlocker that will last me for years, making it’s price well worth it.

3 thoughts on “The Machines in my Life…

  1. my mum keeps telling me that i need one of these!! when ever the sewing machine i use has a mad five minutes…(or days!!) i resort to one i have which is a NECCHI…my nanny brought it for me from an auction!

    • i don’t think you need to have an overlocker to make lovely things, i think if you are making a lot of large scale stuff (like cushions, clothing etc) it helps to keep everything looking professional, but otherwise it takes up space and costs a lot!

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