The sewing room in 2007 is a pile of UFO's and mending -- all things I have no real incentive to start except that they are hanging around my neck like a pile of bricks. All of the UFO's are things I want to have, but the excitement with which I began has faded as interruptions have placed them further and further from memory. If I start something new, I fear that I will be ultimately only adding more to the UFO pile and the burden of their presence will become oppressive.
So I have vowed to work through my past projects, although I may give myself little breaks; sewing rewards I might say. If I complete a certain number of things I can make something new. Hopefully the successful elimation of old projects, the addition of new items to my wardrobe, and the occasional new project will keep me going.
With all of this in mind I was ready to dive in. I wanted to finish the Simplicity jacket first, but G ripped the lining out of his favorite pair of windpants and I naively agreed to fix them first. As usually happens when I really want to be doing something else, the job was not as simple as I originally thought. The windpants ripped because the lining fabric at the bottom of the leg was shredding. The knit lining from the knee up was fine. I found some lining in my stash that is a little heavier than the average bemberg, and although it was not white like the original lining, it was a perfect color to coordinate with the outer shell of the pants. So I washed the bemberg and removed the old lining pieces from the pants, using them to make a pattern for the new pieces.
It was when I began to sew that the trouble began, turning what should have been a half-hour's project into a prolonged siege:
I decided to use the Elna simply because I was too lazy to unthread the Bernina, which was still threaded for the Simplicity Jacket. I hadn't used the Elna since I brought it home from the shop in November so I set it up, and ran a short seam on some scrap fabric. All looked good. I put the lining in the machine, and started sewing. As I moved down the seam I saw a large puddle of oil growing next to my fabric. Then I noticed oil running down the needle. To say that I was annoyed is putting my reaction very mildly. There was a big oil stain on my lining fabric right at the seam line and oil all over my machine. Obviously the person who repaired the machine over-oiled it. So I got out more scrap fabric and started seaming randomly. I got nice even stitches and lovely oil lines all over my fabric. It got better, the oil seemed to stop, I stitched faster, more oil poured out, it splattered like a spray gun on me and all around my sewing table. This was not fun! Eventually however the oil supply seemed to have been exhausted and I was able to sew, half an hour later.
I began stitching the lining to the wind pants. The machine jammed. I fixed it and started again. About a foot of seam later the machine jammed again, the thread popped out of the upper tension device and made a big tangle. I had trouble resetting the tension. This was the same problem for which I had originally taken the machine in for repair. Three more times I dismantled the machine, cleaned it out, reassembled it, and started over.
Eventually I had to give up. I unthreaded the Bernina, transferred the bobbin thread from the Elna bobbin to the Bernina bobbin, and finished the job. The pants look beautiful. G is probably the only man at the gym whose wind pants are lined with Ermengilda Zegna lining fabric.
I wonder if anything had been done to my machine or if the shop had simply poured oil in it and charged me $50 for the privelege. Admittedly I had had second thoughts. When I took the machine in, at the recommendation of the closed Elna dealer who used to repair my machine, the repair person said they didn't sell or usually work with Elna's and they were just taking them as a favor. She did not sound encouraging. Naively, I gave her my machine anyway. Now I regret having done so.
The top piece of the upper tension device on the Elna definitely looks broken. I went to the Elna website and found that the closest dealers are all in NYC since my local dealer closed last summer. Crown Machine on upper Broadway still sells and services Elnas. I used to take my machine there before I had a local dealer. I see an excuse for a trip into NYC in my future.
G tells me it is silly to go in to NYC just to take a machine to the shop, we should go earlier on a day we have a concert and drop it off. (I will still have to go back and pick it up eventually). If I go in by myself I see this as an opportunity to get into all kinds of trouble in NYC. Besides, Crown machine used to fix the machine the same day, I could drop it, wander around, and come back at the end of the day to take it home with me. It could take longer if they needed to order more obscure parts, but most of the time it was a one day job. I wonder if they still do that. It seems worth a try. A day of fun and getting to take my baby home the same day sounds soo much better than dropping it off late in the afternoon and having to go back to pick it up another day. I know G will never go in early in the morning on a concert day, just to drop off a machine; he probably also thinks I can wait a month and pick it up the next time we go to a concert. Ha!