Although I was taught sewing by my Grandma when I was small, everything I made was by hand. When I decided, aged 21, to treat myself to a machine, I remembered how straightforward the Bernina machines were at school. Despite the battering they had, nothing ever seemed to go wrong and the girls in the know would make a beeline for them. For my budget, a second-hand basic Bernina was just what I wanted. However, at the shop, presumably someone was on commission and I was seduced into buying a new machine of a different brand with more features than I could ever want.
My relationship with that machine was very damaging. We never got on right from the start. I assumed it was my fault and possibly a hereditary thing? My Mum appeared to require therapy after a session with her machine also.
So for almost twenty years, my machine only came out sporadically. Armed with my Quick Unpick, I cursed my way through a few home furnishing projects. Even when I studied textiles I shied away from it and it was only when I got to an exercise on machine embroidery that I dusted it off. That was the day the relationship ended permanently. Shortly after I took it for trade in. Though I kept silent about my experiences, the shop owner wasn’t keen to take my old machine. Sniffing my desperation and a potential sale, he eventually agreed to swap it for an embroidery foot to go with the entry-level Bernina 330 I’d coveted for so long. What a relief to be rid of the bedevilled thing – and my new machine has been an absolute joy!
My dilemma was that the kids, seeing how much fun I was having, wanted to be in on the act. I wanted them to have machine confidence that I never had, but I wasn’t prepared to let them loose on my baby just yet. I found a mini machine from John Lewis with decent reviews, and decided it would be fine for them to learn some skills on before I could trust them on mine. Though it can’t cope with thick layers, it’s been ideal for making little items like purses and lavender bags and it does look pretty cute!
Today was the first day of the school holidays and the younger girls were at a sports camp, so unusually it was just the eldest at home with me. We decided to flick through my magazines to find something new she could make on her machine and found a reversible headband in Issue Four of Simply Sewing magazine. She made a great fabric choice from my stash (two cotton prints from the Sherwood collection by Henley Studio for Makower UK), learned how to use a rotary cutter and did so well controlling the lines of stitching. A very successful project I reckon and hopefully the family curse has been well and truly broken!