Monday, March 31, 2014

Sewing and Sewing Machines

While cleaning the apartment I was reminded of my collection of fabrics and scraps that were just sitting in the closet gathering dust. So I decided to revisit sewing.

I find sewing to be a uniquely frustrating hobby. This time around, I spent hours on a hand-drafted, perfectly functional t-shirt. From a technical perspective I should have been pleased--the garment was the right size, it was symmetric, and the stitching was neat enough. But unfortunately the aesthetic was...very ugly. The fabric was a heavyweight stretchy khaki colored cotton blend from an old xxl men's polo shirt, which sported a small bleach stain. The goal was to reuse it to make a large sized men's t-shirt. Somehow I managed to make it into a large sized women's t-shirt though, with a tapered waist and boat neck...a very large, weighty, khaki colored, women's t-shirt with a bleach stained, sized for my boyfriend. I threw it away and then threw a small tantrum. Sewing has that effect on me. I hate it.

But hating even more the idea of being bested by this infernal craft, or perhaps just a glutton for punishment, I decided to revisit the men's t-shirt idea again this morning, this time using a more traditional fabric choice (gray thin jersey knit cotton blend from an old full-sized bedsheet set). Everything looked right, since I wasn't cutting any corners, well except maybe one corner was cut...The use of cheap thread.

Sometime in the past I acquired a lot of cheap thread that pills up and snags easily. But it was the closest color to the project fabric and I wanted to use it and get rid of it (not being one to waste). Unsurprisingly the thing snagged in the mechanism, causing the machine to stall and then default into error mode (nice feature on digital machines by the way, to prevent them from ripping themselves apart). The end result of this was to break the automatic needle threader though.

This was as good an excuse as any, I figured, to open the machine up and clean it and learn about it and revisit my project idea to try and interface with it so that I can upload custom stitches to it via USB...the good news is that the motherboard seems to sport a 4 pin serial pinout! So now the t-shirt sits forgotten, pins in place along the seams, while the machine sits in two parts on the table so that I can poke at it with a multimeter and try to get a USB-to-serial interface between it and my computer.

Katniss the cat of course had to inspect the work in progress.

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