Do kids still take home economics and shop in school? I remember learning to sew and solder, sauté and saw in middle school (5th to 8th grade). I loved all of it and often cranked through projects so quickly that I would have to start a second or third in the time that most students were still working on their first.

In college, a boyfriend, gave me a sturdy Kenmore sewing machine for Christmas and I was ecstatic. The relationship didn't last but the machine served honorably as I honed my sewing skills and broke a fair number of needles in the process. During a long-ish stretch between relationships, I sewed so often a neighbor in an adjacent apartment complained that the sound kept them up at night.* When we moved to Oregon, we just didn't have room to move the machine and I offered it to my friend, Julia, who has since put it to good use.

It's been about 5 years since I had a machine of my own and probably 10 since I've sewn regularly. The past decade has been the era of knitting for me and the past couple of years, I've really started to miss making clothing for myself and toys for my pups.

Cue the tax return. After paying an extra mortgage, making sure that everything else was up to date and combing the internet for reviews and ratings, home came this bad boy.

Sewing Machine

It's a Brother Innov-ís 80 (details here). Consumer reports gave it, and the 40 model glowing reviews and other sources online seemed to feel the same.

The local Sew and Vac shop had it in stock for $100 less than the price Consumer Reports listed and that pretty much cinched it.

I immediately hit the local fabric shop where, lucky me, all Simplicity patterns were on sale for $1.99. The result?**

Simplicity 2655_13

Black and white, a good combo in this household.

And when I was done with that, I immediately busted into another skirt pattern.

Vogue 7301_01

I'm just dreaming about what I'll do next, though it may be a few weeks before I can really indulge. I have to complete some deadline work. But when my work for pay is off to its intended destination, I have some freshly laundered fabric ready to be cut and stitched into something bright and summery.


I have to admit, there's something really appealing about cranking out a project in a day or two instead of a month or more. Of course, nothing will usurp my love for knitting but for all those things that knits do poorly (I'm looking at you pants) sewing sure has its charm.

I'm not sure how many of you are tailors/seamstresses/sewists/whatever we are calling it these days, but if there's interest, I'd be happy to do a review of the features of the machine and included accessories. Just leave a comment and let me know.

*I worked the swing shift at a newspaper and I spent time not sewing, either playing Final Fantasy or watching cartoons. I lived a very glamorous single life.

**There may have been an incident, with a zipper and a needle and almost a week while the machine recouped at it's store of origin. Let us never speak of this again, or not until I decide to tell you about my track record with busting things I'm really excited about having just bought.


Oooh, pretty! I like that it's set into the table. Mine slides all over the place.

When I started sewing, I immediately thought - "OH! I don't actually have to make the fabric!" It felt like I was buying the parts of a knitting project and just seaming them up.

I tried skirts and a top when I first started sewing and they weren't all that wearable. I haven't tried since then, but you have officially inspired me. Those skirts are gorgeous!

I have 3 sewing machines I use regularly plus one vintage and one antique. I definitely go in fits and spurts of sewing and other endeavors.
Now I need a housekeeper so I can have more time for them and the dogs. I guess I need to win the lottery!

I learned to sew when I was a kid and made most of my clothes for myself before I got married. Then I had children, who change all the controls every time I get up to press a seam, and needless to say I have not done much sewing. A couple more years and I'll be sewing again. I do miss it. It was my love before knitting.

Fabulous!!! Nothing says spring to me like making skirts. My office in Philly was two blocks from fabric row - hello, a-line, flirty skirt. Now I'm in Maine and I have to order fabric by mail (no dress fabric stores near where I live). It's all very Little House in the Big Woods, except Pa doesn't give me fabric from his trip to the big city. Joel at the local post office hands me the packages instead. :-D

I covet your sewing machine table, btw.

I'd love to see and hear more about your sewing projects. I too love the quickness of finishing something in a day or a weekend. I'm not actively looking for a new machine, after all mine was top of the line in the 1950's when my great grandmother bought it. I'm afraid something newer might be less durable...

Congratulations on the new baby! I hope the two of you have a long and joyous life together!

I'm curious about where you found the brown fabric with the pink dots, but I'm sure you're not surprised by that. ;^)

I love sewing and can't wait to get back into it again (working on a move/settling into new job = no time for projects). I can't wait to see what you come up with.

My mom had a Singer sewing machine that she used all of the time when I was a kid. She made her own dresses and tops. I watched her cut out patterns and everything else but I am not good at using a sewing machine. I recently bought a one thinking that the new machines are a lot easier to use. I just wanted to sew simple things, nothing complicated. I immediately proceeded to knock the timing off. I just got it and I had to take it in and get it fixed!!! I promised myself that I would be more careful and guess what I did about two weeks ago? Uh huh, I knocked the timing off yet again. I guess I am doomed to never really sew. Sewing machines just make me crazy!

I bought my Brother (also a Limited Edition Project Runway machine!) last year. I just pulled it back out and started making little tote bags. I can't wait to sit down and really focus on a skirt or a dress.

I would love to read more details about your machine!!

ooh, I see a serger in your future! I LOVE mine..projects are even faster, and oh so pro looking and hold up so well.
I have my grandma's antique sewing machine and I love it.

Yay for sewing AND knitting! Your review and comments on the machine would be cool. And thanks for the pic of the new addition nestled in its table. Suddenly I understand why I need (and not just want) a truly proper sewing table.

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This page contains a single entry by Marnie published on April 11, 2011 7:41 PM.

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