SOZ.

GUYS.

I hate to flake on ya, but I gotta.

I’ll say it fast – there’s no blog post for you this week.

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I haven’t had time to write one… BUT I have a good reason!

A couple of months back, we decided to start selling masks in the Etsy store. We trundled along for a little bit, with a manageable amount of orders. It was nice to be back at the sewing machine again, even if it was for ‘work’. The husbeast has been furloughed so he’s got spare time on his hands to do most of the mask-making, and I helped in the mornings/evenings/weekends around my ‘real’ job.

Then BoJo announced that masks would be compulsory in shops, and HOLY SHITBALLS WE GOT SO MANY ORDERS. We were working so many hours every day to get the orders out the door. Dry shampoo became my friend for when I had to have video calls at work (I looked like a total slob), and takeaway food was called into action more than once. I barely brushed my hair for about a week.

It’s slowed down a bit now, but we’re still pretty stacked. Which is why I haven’t had time to write a blog post (even with my newly reduced posting schedule 😂). I’ve done no reading of my books, no (personal) sewing, no studying for a Data Privacy exam I’m meant to be taking and I’ve made no progress on the quilt that I started which I was so enjoying.

AND – in the midst of the craziest few days, my sewing machine broke. FFS. I mean, REALLY 😩 It just died. Once I realised that there was no way I was fixing this myself, I put it to one side and got out the ‘backup’. The backup is the machine I had before I upgraded to the one that just broke. Well now, about half a second after putting my foot down to start stitching, I was like WHAT IS THIS 😨 It sounded like a jackhammer, didn’t feed very well, the bobbin sounded like it was spinning out of control. My neighbours are gonna just love me sewing with that at 6am. I guess it’s like driving a Ferrari and then downgrading to a 1960’s Mini. It didn’t even cut the threads for you at the end of a seam! (I know, I know 😜)

But, it was the only backup, so I’d live with it until my main machine got repaired. Or at least, I thought I would live with it, until I noticed that something was WAY up with the tension – when I was pivoting at corners of seams, the upper thread was going all loopy on the underneath. DO NOT DO THIS TO ME WORLD. Panic started to set in, with the order queue getting longer at about the same rate as my machinery was letting me down. I figured out after a while that I could get around this carnage by not fully lifting up the presser foot to turn corners, but it was a faff I didn’t need right now. 

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After a couple of days I put on real clothes and took my main machine to a local repair shop, who then called me to say that they thought it was a problem with the motherboard (really? seems mechanical to me…) and that I should take it to a Brother dealer for repair. Because I needed an immediate solution, I decided now would be a good time to upgrade my machine, and so bought a new one from Bedford Sewing and Knitting (more on that later). It was delivered the next day – thankfully – so I was able to at least carry on getting the orders out the door. Normal sewing service (on my shiny new machine) has thankfully resumed.

In the meantime, I rang around to get a second opinion on my broken machine, and all the places that could likely fix it were over an hour’s drive away (despite the closest one being like 12 miles or something – that’s London driving for ya), so we spent Friday morning schlepping along the entirety of the South Circular (and back) to get to a place in Battersea which proved to be worth it because they’ve since called me to say it’s seized bearings and my machine will be alive again next week. 

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So yeah. That’s been my last three or so weeks, which has been absolutely intense – I’m looking forward to catching up on some sleep, and actually having an evening or a weekend. And of course, writing the blog post I owe you 😜

I hope life is good in your little corners of the world, and that if you’ve returned to work you’re keeping safe 💜

Until next week ✌🏻

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18 Comments

  1. Lodi
    July 26, 2020 / 7:27 am

    Well…that was like somebody else’s blog post, but too short for yours! I will look forward to seeing more, and wish you trouble free time ahead.

    • Sarah
      Author
      August 4, 2020 / 6:30 pm

      Haha, you know I love to ramble! I should be back on track now 💜

  2. Fiona MacDonald
    July 26, 2020 / 8:34 am

    That’s still a blog post, though shorter than your usual! I think mask making is a bit of a curse. I’ve made a few, before and since they became compulsory in shops here, and my scraps box is still yielding enough fabric to make more, but I flippin’ hate when people (relatives of course) give you honest feedback about the fit, etc. The thought of ramping up production to fulfil orders sounds like a nightmare! Good luck with that enterprise!
    Fiona in Aberdeen.

    • Sarah
      Author
      August 4, 2020 / 6:32 pm

      I mean, I *guess* you could call it a blog post, but it didn’t count as one in my book! 🙃 Thankfully mask orders have calmed down now and I’ve got some free time back. I’ve definitely got fabric to make loads more masks, but maybe it won’t all be called into action. Ooh yes I’m not sure I’d be welcoming unsolicited feedback… I’d probably tell them they can always go buy one from a store if they prefer 😂

  3. sheila
    July 26, 2020 / 9:07 am

    I feel your pain because my posh Janome went on the blink after I broke a needle in it.I couldnt understand why as I retrieved the broken bit. So out came my old Toyota work horse but like you say it wasnt in the best of health.So (just before lockdown) my OH took me to John Lewis and bought me another Janome .So then things started to go back to normalish and the menders are a 5 minute trip from home so I took both injured machines to them. The man rang me to say that I had smashed the thingumy that the bobbin race sits in on the Janome and the Toyota just needed a huge service .So to end my saga I now have 3 perfectly working machines .

    • Sarah
      Author
      August 4, 2020 / 6:34 pm

      Aw, Sheila! Well at least you now have three good machines! I’ve broken so many needles on mine… it’s a tough old beast 😂 Although I think I did break a needle the day it died, so maybe that had something to do with it 🤔 Maybe I should stop sewing over pins, haha!

  4. Kat
    July 26, 2020 / 10:14 am

    Oh I feel your pain! I offered to make face masks when they were compulsory on public transport…I ended up making over 500 and now hate the sight of them lolll! While my machine didn’t break down, I am widowed with 3 young kids so I still had to attend to their needs. I was absolutely frazzled! Though all that said, I am glad I did it as it paid for Child 2’s senior school uniform!

    • Sarah
      Author
      August 4, 2020 / 6:36 pm

      Wow 500 masks! That’s insane! I’m not even sure how many I’ve made, I don’t think I want to know 😂
      But like you say, the extra money definitely comes in handy… although I’m slightly glad I’ve got a bit of free time back now! 💜

  5. Emma
    July 26, 2020 / 10:33 am

    Oh, Sarah! What a bugger! Wearing of a mask, all the time, is mandatory, here in Melbourne, Australia, at the moment, and we have a VERY LOW number of cases in comparison to anywhere in the UK.
    I’ve started sewing some for myself, (I made a very impressive, three, over three evenings :o>). I need another four at the very least, so I have two, or three, a work shift, while the others are washed and dried.
    I’ll make two for Mum, as she’s pretty much mostly at home.
    Wishing you all the best, and really well done, for being one (two!) of the sewists, stepping up to help with a need. xx

    • Sarah
      Author
      August 4, 2020 / 6:38 pm

      Hi Emma!
      Wow, you guys have to wear masks all the time? Is it winter where you are? It’s summer here and that does NOT help with wearing a mask 🥵 Three is good! It doesn’t matter how long it takes you 🙃 Aww that’s nice that you will make them for your mum too 💜 Erm, I forgot about washing them… I guess I had better make myself a couple more! 😂

  6. July 26, 2020 / 12:44 pm

    Deep breath, and tomorrow is another day. Enough platitudes, hope this week is better. Looking forward to the next blog post. Get some rest.

    • Sarah
      Author
      August 4, 2020 / 6:39 pm

      I’m pleased to report that mask making has calmed down considerably! The machine is back home with me, alive again, and I’m actually getting some evenings and weekends back – yay! 💜 I’ve even found time for a bubble bath 🤩

  7. Sara Nalley
    July 26, 2020 / 1:55 pm

    Sarah, congrats and kudos on the mask making thing!
    I made about 200 so far for donating, and about 50 for family.
    I do not like them, Sam I Am. Assembly line methods were brought out for my first time, ever, and I got faster, but that type of sewing was not “me.”
    I am a part of a huge local volunteer group making masks for law enforcement, nurses, doctors’ offices, etc. the leader of which wisely and frequently reminded people that our home sewing machines are NOT made for mass production-assembly-line style sewing for hours on end.They are intended for sewing of and on, Maybe actual sewing hours a total of three hours per day.
    When I was making masks I was actively using my machine about six hours, and cutting/ironing/tieing laces the other three hours per day.
    The point is, unless your new machine is a certified industrial machine intended for ten hours of sewing on it per day, be careful. You’ll kill the new one and your old one again if you push it too far and too long per day.
    Love those babies carefully. They are your close friends. ❤️
    Sara 😁

    • Sarah
      Author
      August 4, 2020 / 6:43 pm

      Hey Sara! Your advice is spot on… I guess our machines are not cut out for that level of activity. Mine had seized bearings, from a few years of heavy use. I’m pleased to report it’s back with me, fixed, and mask making has reduced to just a fraction of what it was. So I think the drama is over now, and my machines can take a well earned rest 💜
      And you’re absolutely right… assembly line sewing is the WORST! 😫
      Well done on 250 masks – that’s immense!

  8. tinkole
    July 26, 2020 / 3:44 pm

    Any post from you is better than no post! Sorry about the machine, that usually costs a fortune 🙁 could have included some pictures of masks, though, they must be super pretty.

    • Sarah
      Author
      August 4, 2020 / 6:44 pm

      Aw, no I didn’t post a pic of any masks did I! I’ll make sure to do that 💜

  9. Barbarags
    July 27, 2020 / 1:22 pm

    I haven’t got rid of my old ( over 50 years) sewing machine because I dread just such emergencies. It may only do 2 stitch types, straight or zigzag, but it punches through layers of fabric that my newer one cannot tackle. Look forward to your next blog whenever it arrives in my inbox.

    • Sarah
      Author
      August 4, 2020 / 6:45 pm

      Ohhh no don’t get rid of the machine!! Keep it in case it’s ever needed, you never know what will happen. They don’t make ‘em like they used to, do they 🤔

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