Thursday, August 14, 2008

Inspiration from Beyond

Not to be crude, but my students tease me that all my mostest favorite finds when it comes to sewing tools are from folks who are, shall we say, no longer with us. I'll break this up into a number of posts, since it's kinda a long story.

Let's start with Sandra (**angels in background sing in unison: "Sandra!").

When my husband and I bit the bullet and decided that as long as I was going to stay home with our dozens of children (his term; sometimes his counting is faulty) that we'd start a business, I knew right away that the only thing I'd be motivated enough to do unsupervised for eight hours a day was sew. I also knew that my 1967 Singer behemoth of a sewing machine wasn't going to cut the mustard, and that I'd need a serger just to make things saleable. So I did what any right-thinking young lady would do: cashed in the whole life policy my mom took out when I was 10 and used the start-up money to troll eBay for a great used machine at a huge discount.

I knew I wanted a Husqvarna Viking, partly because they have a sterling reputation (Martha was not yet schilling for them at this point, but the reputation was already in place), but mostly because of what you see above: the automatic buttonholer. I make no bones about the fact that for 2/3 of my sewing career I avoided buttonholes like the freakin' plague, because mine were mediocre on the best of days. With this little gadget, I get to pick the button, and the machine does ALL the rest. I actually teared up the first time I used it--NO LIE.

So I searched and marveled and laughed at all the Designer I ads on eBay where the husband had purchased the machine for his wife and she "never used it, not one stinking time" and he put it up for sale for $2500. I needed something a step down, as my payout was modest, but still wanted a Viking. I found one, complete with a slew of prizes, and a serger thrown in all one package, for a solid price--high, but fair, and within my budget.

I won the auction, outbidding a single other bid. I guess the glut of Vikings on the eBay market worked in my favor--but those fools didn't know what they were missing! I'm in Atlanta, the seller was in Columbia, SC and gas at this point was under $2 a gallon Shipping was looking to be around $110, so I emailed and asked if I could just drive my wagon over and pick it up. The seller was thrilled to be saved the trouble, and said if I did that, he'd throw in a bunch of other boxes of books and etc for FREE. I think I was already putting the key in the ignition by the time I hung up the phone.

My girls and I drove over, and we loaded the car DOWN with boxes, machines, and a folding cutting table strapped to the top. We drove home, I unpacked in glee. I did notice, though, that between my two machines I had only one foot pedal, and that I had 400+ spools of thread organized by color family into acrylic boxes, but only one bobbin. I was already getting to know Sandra, and I could see that this was NOT a situation of her devising.

I emailed again. He wrote and told me no worries, must just mean there's another box in the storage unit, and if I wanted to come get it he had a motorized sewing table he'd throw in for $100. I peeled out of our driveway.

Got it all home, had more stuff than I can possibly know what to do with, and in all my years of Gidget Sewing (to quote the great film, "You can learn anything from a book," hence "Gidget Sewing"), I have never learned as much as I have from going through Sandra's boxes, saved in disturbingly organized fashion over a lifetime of loving to sew.

Next post, I'll fill in some details of what all I discovered, and what I learned. With a little armchair analysis of who this Great Sandra was, all for the price of admission (read: nothing). Too many toys/tips/insights/words to include all on one day!!

Happy sewing, and may you all find an inspiring Sandra!

1 comment: said...

Such a fun and well-written post. Now, if only I were half as organized as Sandra.