I was a more than a little afraid of buttonholes. The need to sew two parallel lines of closely spaced stitches and then snip a hole in your work without cutting any of them, or, most importantly, the little bars of stitches at the top and bottom. It rather brought me out in a cold sweat. My gran assured me that the buttonhole function on her sewing machine was fool-proof and that, once I'd tried it, I'd never be afraid of buttonholes again.
I found some scrap yarn and tried. It started well but then the stitches began bunching and eventually the machine was just jogging on the spot. I stopped and tried again. Same thing. I fiddled with the tension settings. I fiddled with the pressure on the foot. I fiddled with the feeddogs. The machine seemed stiff. I oiled it. It helped a little but not much. I tried doing some simple straight sewing. The machine laboured. It clunked. It whirred. Then it jammed.
Oh. As one of the characters in my daughter's favourite TV programme say, "That is not very good".
I dismantled the bits of the machine that I could get to but nothing seemed to co-operate. Clearly this called for someone who actually knew what they were doing. I rootled around on the internet, hoping to unearth a sewing machine repair shop. There were a few, but none particularly close to my corner of London and none who would collect the machine from me, and the closest one wasn't answering the phone. Just when I was resigning myself to a drive into Battersea and to not doing any sewing for a couple of weeks while I tried to fit in driving back to collect the machine again, I spotted a link to a mobile sewing machine engineer. The site looked presentable enough and he seemed to have lots of experience, plus a good reference (albeit a few years old now) from a local shop. What the heck. I gave him a call.
Which is how on Thursday evening, a little Lithuanian man was sat in my study, servicing my sewing machine (Hubby insists this sounds like the start of a porn film... I think it is the term "servicing") and how, on Thursday evening, I was finally able to do this:
|You might not have noticed the buttonhole in the middle of the cow's head on the pocket flap...|
Of course, I'm still a way off actually completing anything. This is probably why, rather than starting another project when I hit the buttonholes of the dress, I should have bitten the bullet then, but hey-ho. I did try to remedy that last night by sewing the buttons on the dress. Unfortunately, I discovered that I mis-measured and my buttonholes are slightly too short, so there will need to be a little jiggery-pokery tonight to fix that and I will need to remind myself of Tim Allen's mantra on 'Home Improvement': "measure twice, cut once". But the important things are (a) I conquered my fear of buttonholes and (b) I think they look pretty good. I'll finish the dress so that Baby Bird can wear it tomorrow and hopefully by next weekend, she will be skipping about in a pair of crazy cow print trousers. The material is pretty bonkers I will concede, but I love it and firmly believe that if you can't dress in bonkers prints at 18 months, I don't know when you can.