Sewing machine novice

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It was a big moment earlier this year when I let my daughter, Freya, lose on my sewing machine for the first time. She is 11 going on 15 (she thinks). It was like, I imagine, letting your child drive away in your precious car for the first time.


I nervously hovered about, dreading a bent shaft or other unfixable (by me anyway) terminal problem requiring a trip to our local Singer sewing shop and finally giving in to the machine engineer for its overdue service resulting in me being machineless for a whole week.

During the next couple of hours she learnt how to thread the machine and wind up and load the bobbin ( the right way round).
Through many, many abortive efforts she eventually remembered to put the foot down before starting to stitch and not to cut the thread to short after a line of stitching, requiring endless rethreading of the needle.
Pedal control was soon mastered. The variety of stitches was showcased although I rarely use more than 2 myself.
We dug out the manual to trouble shoot various issues ( it never goes wrong when I use it!). Together we learnt to check the bobbin case for loose threads, check and check again the correct threading of the machine and adjust the tension.
She was reminded endlessly by me, ‘Under no circumstances do you FORCE IT or PULL IT! And if it makes an unusual noise STOP IMMEDIATELY!!!!’

Then she wanted to sew ON HER OWN!!! A purely terrifying moment, you’ll have to agree.

So I retreated from the room and paced around down stairs.

There were many abortive projects, many due to her skills having not yet caught up with her imagination. We had to have rules about which fabrics she could practice on after murder scenes of prized fabric assassination were discovered across her bedroom floor.

I had to learn to ‘take turns’ on the machine!

I had to learn to stop getting frustrated after constantly have to rethread the machine with my colour after popping down stairs to iron a seam!

I seriously considered a second machine at one point but then we would have to of built a second workbench in lieu of a bed or a wardrobe.

I was secretly smug when Freya came home from her first textile class at school and delighted in telling me that, ‘Mummy, they have exactly the same sewing machine as we do and I knew how to thread it and do the bobbin and everything!’

And so after many hours of whirring upstairs in our study/sewing room these are a couple of things she has made!!!!!!

An appliquéd cushion.

And this !

A cover for her school planer, and look, it has a zip!

Now when we wander around gift shops and craft fairs for a nosey (yes, I am guilty of it too!) she squeezes my arm and whispers, ‘Mummy, we could make that.’

Thanks go to takingtimemakingtime for her post about her daughters first cushion which inspired this one.


  1. That is awesome, congratulate her for me, I let my 8 year old twins try sewing on my machie this year, it was a bit stressful because you forget what it is like to use a machine for the first time. Just don’t let them turn the tension knob LOL!


  2. Thank you so much for linking to my blog. Your daughter has done very well! Isn’t it great to see them learning these skills and growing in confidence.


    1. Took me a few days to work out how to link but got there in the end. Yes it’s great to pass on the knowledge to such a keen pupil. Just hope it lasts!


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