Failing at your own business–Seamstress

sew she did

So with my new acquisition of a singer treadle sewing machine (See Dirty and Ragged?), I was all impatient to get started. Unfortunately, my schedule didn’t allow me a chance to get right on it and my machine languished a week without me touching it. Finally, vacation started and I jumped right in with both feet. I was going to make millions with my new machine. Well, I wasn’t really aiming for millions, just enough to pay for the thing, it was rather a luxury item after all.


Loading the bobbin!

So I sat down and determined to figure out how to use it. I spent 40 minutes trying to thread the needle. Then another 2 hours trying to figure out how to load the bobbin. I had to give it a rest after that. When my husband came home from work, I begged him to look at the machine since I was near tears. What could I be doing wrong? He said that his grandmother Sofia always put the foot down before fishing for the bobbin string. He did that and VOILA! It was ready to sew. DUH!

Well, I had enough for that day, but I was up and at’em early the next morning. I found that morning was not the time to sew. I had strategically placed my machine in the back room, giving me plenty of light and room to work. However, it’s an east facing room and entirely too bright for morning sewing. Sigh. Oh well, I had to wait until the afternoon and did the less exciting chores in the morning.

Finally, after lunch, I cleared my schedule to begin. My goal was to make a few pillows out of scraps I had been collecting from our old clothes. Pillows seemed an easy project, I’ve had some experience with making and selling those at Ye Olde Crappe Shoppe.


My make-shift bandages

So I pinked and pinked and pinked until I had blisters on my fingers. After a few hours work, though, I had a nice pile of usable rectangles. I realized I may have gone a little overboard when my husband starting hiding his pants from me afraid I’d cut them to bits. Time for the next step.


Piles and piles of pinked fabric

I picked a flower patterned group and a contrasting solid beige color for my first pillow and sat down at my machine, raring to go.

It was like I’d never sewn before. I bent the needle, didn’t pin appropriately and had the fabric move, had to rethread 40 million times, sewed the wrong sides together, had the thread bunch up, had to rip out the seams and start again, and tore the fabric piece. Maybe it was time to rethink my plan for world domination through sewing.

I did finally get the hang of it and produced a pillow. That was enough for that day!

Over the 2 week vacation period, I spent nearly every afternoon in the back room, cutting and pinning and stitching. My son said that he’d heard me cackling with glee on several occasions. My husband started complaining about the big mess I was making (that’s what he calls all my projects). It was amazing!  I could go as long as the light or my legs held out. By the end of the week, I had oodles of completed pillow cases ready to be stuffed.


Some of my scrap pillows!

Only, I didn’t have any stuffing. As the whole point was to earn money without spending any more, the pillow cases were lovingly folded in my great Aunt Tootie’s hope chest (the one she bought when she married the tugboat captain from Virginia that I brought all the way to Mexico with me). And I moved on to other projects.

I hemmed my work pants and jeans. This is an essential part of my wardrobe because, although most Mexican women are 2-3 inches shorter than me, all Mexican made women’s pants are 5-6 inches too long for me. So I hem. That saved me about $500 pesos. Then I made a bed skirt, curtains and blanket for my son’s room remodel. That saved me some money too. I went further and made new covers for our pillows and restuffed them, adding a pinch of lavender for freshness. It was like having new pillows and saved me $100 pesos per pillow.

Well, I suppose that saving money and making money are essentially the same thing. All in all, my treadle sewing machine was a good investment after all.




Filed under Employment, Homesteading

3 responses to “Failing at your own business–Seamstress

  1. Pingback: Surving an EMP Attack in La Yacata | Surviving Mexico

  2. Pingback: Ladykiller’s room remodel | Surviving Mexico

  3. Pingback: Sewing and sewing | Surviving Mexico

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