Injury report

I have good news and bad news: the good news is my sewing machine arrived in record time, my printer is set to arrive any day, and I have nearly all the notions needed to begin sewing my first projects and sharing them this week.

The bad news is I got stung by a bee and have a massive spider bite (both on the same foot!) after a weekend with friends upstate. Normally, I wouldn’t expect such pesky insect bites to truly sideline me, but these ones are pretty bad! Standing on my left foot hurts so, so much and the only way to stop it from itching is to set an icepack on it 24/7.

That being said, I do expect the swelling to go down within the next 2 days and then we will really be off to the races. In the meantime, I’ll likely round up some of the first projects I plan to make and source some fabric. There seem to be at least two good fabric shops, both about 20 minutes walking distance from my apartment. Hopefully if the foot is better, I can stop by this week.

More to come 🙂

Buying a sewing machine

The most important thing on my sewing journey in undoubtedly acquiring a sewing machine. I was both excited and daunted by this process, as there is so much information and opinions on the internet. If you want to learn more about my decision making process—great, you’ve come to the right place! If you just want to know what I bought, then SPOILER ALERT! I purchased a used (more than 50% off retail) Singer Quantum Stylist 9960. Here’s how I got to the decision:

I began by reading Wirecutter, one of my favorite places for electronics and appliances recommendations. They recommended a well-priced Janome machine as their top entry level pick. I don’t disagree that this is a good machine for beginners, which I kind of am. However, it’s out of stock and I’m really interested in something that can be more of a “workhorse”. I plan to pickup quilting again and I’m dying to make a denim bustier top (similar to this one). Unreasonable? A little. But the thought of buying a machine that couldn’t handle denim well didn’t sit right with me.

I attempted next to see what some of my favorite “sewfluencers” were using, but nothing felt definitive and everyone was using different gear and perfectly happy for it. There was no single silver bullet sewing machine. It’s absolutely true that you can go very, very far with a sub $100 machine. At the same time, I do want to grow with my machine and not need an upgrade later on.

I then found this list from Sewing Land which was a lot like the Wirecutter one but struck me as more trustworthy. The site has Sewing in the title, ok! Their editors pick was the Singer Quantum Stylist 9960. I watched the product video and was quite smitten with a lot of the features: lettered embroidery options, LED screen, tons of feet options included, automatic threading…the list goes on.

I was not smitten at all with the price of the machine. Amazon had it listed for over $600. I know that many of the machines on the Sewing Land list clocked in around $500-$700 but a part of me felt that this was unreasonable for me to pay, given that I haven’t sewed a lick in 10+ years. Long story short, I found a used but “like new” machine on eBay for $300! Hoping for the best as it arrives next week.

Stay tuned!

(Editors note: Upon re-reading this post the next day, I realized the machine is also available on the Singer website for under $500! Hoping I didn’t make a mistake buying used :/ Also, there are tons of review videos on YouTube like this one I probably should have watched before purchasing. Going to watch that right now!)

Picking up a new (old) hobby

We’re about 4 months into quarantine, isolation, or whatever you call this life-altering worldwide pandemic where the best bet for keeping your friends, family, and self safe is to interact with as few people as possible. It feels like it’s been a lot more than 4 months. It feels like it’s been 4 years. No, scratch that—it feels like it’s been 40 years. It was only late March when it seemed like everyone was searching for packets of Fleischman’s yeast for their new sourdough making hobby, yet that truly feels like that happened in an alternate life. Time moves differently now.

With no end in sight (experts say that a readily available vaccine could take 12-18 months in the best case scenario), I’ve decided to pick up a new hobby: sewing. I hesitate to use the word “new” because it is something I have done before. I flirted with quilting in high school (very cool of me!) and had taken some group sewing lessons at a local sewing shop. While I can confidently thread a machine, I’ve never made a garment that I’ve actually worn. How cool would it be to make clothes that you actually wear? I’ve followed a few accounts on Instagram and Youtube of home sewists that have me super inspired to start making things. 

I’ve also decided to document my journey here and also hopefully on YouTube. I want to get into the regular habit of writing and video producing and also think it could be helpful for others who want to start sewing from square one. I’d love to share any resources, tips, tricks, and even setbacks along the way. I don’t have a set schedule (yet!) but lets hope that writing this post can keep me accountable! 

Next up, purchasing a sewing machine…

(Image courtesy of Purl Soho)