Hand Stitching v. Sewing Machine

The kid has recently unearthed her American Girl dolls from her closet. She doesn’t really play with them as much as she uses them to help her in newer interests and hobbies, such as movie making and designing dresses by hand.  I only had to help her a few times with pinning shirt sleeves and dress seams together, but this was apparently enough to give her the notion that I knew what I was doing.

This is her completed creation from a few days ago:


However, yesterday after battling with dropped sewing needles, lost fabric scissors, and the fact that she’s had no instruction whatsoever, Elle broke down and asked me for help. But it wasn’t help with hand designing or sewing that she needed, or wanted, for that matter. Elle actually asked me to set up the sewing machine for her and show her how to use it.

That’s when I had to inform her that back at Gwinn Middle School, I had been banned from using the sewing machines in our school’s Home Economics classroom because, in a very un-Midas-like fashion, I had broken every single one I ever used. Our year’s big assignment was to stuff and sew an animal pattern, like a teddy bear or a butterfly-shaped pillow. I chose a Scottish terrier. And for some unknown reason, every foot-pedaled machine I sat down to use ended up breaking down. All of them were put out to pasture because of user error and there was clearly nothing wrong with those sewing machines until I came along. Eventually, a teacher’s aide was asked to show me how to handstitch every seam of that little Scottie.

And that is why I am so good at sewing by hand.

My mother owns a sewing machine and uses it often.  She also has an insane amount of patience that I do not possess when teaching Elle certain things. One day, I’ll get those two together and my mother can teach her everything there is to know about sewing pieces of fabric and creating a fashionable design from scratch. In the meantime, I’m available for fixing the wounds of ripped up teddy bears, the split crotches of pants, and my dog’s torn squeaky toys.


4 thoughts on “Hand Stitching v. Sewing Machine

  1. Aw, those school memories can really scar. I remember similar bad experiences at school where I’d sit down at a home economics sewing machine and it would just knot up before I’d even touched it. It really put me off sewing completely until last year and I’m tentatively learning it now. Do you sew everything by hand or have you ventured back to a machine?

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