July 25, 2014

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A Stitch in Time

A new interest: As you sew, so shall ye reap!

My wife has started a new business on the side.  She's doing alterations and sewing, and she loves it. (I suspect it's a love-hate relationship, but that's another story.)

My purpose is not to advertise for her, but to explain how this is a long-standing benefit that I've taken for granted.  And in this economy , it's forcing us all to dig deep into our resources and skills.

This starts back in college, as I vividly recall accompanying the young lady on the city bus system out to the mall to visit a Wards store and pick up a sewing machine. This might not seem like much to you.

But on a college kid's working wage, it had been literally months and years that she saved up and scrimped for this machine.  My role was that as 'pack mule', defender, and company.  It wasn't that large, or bulky, but the young co-ed just wanted someone else to carry it and make sure she stayed safe on the cross-town journey with a brand new machine.

She still has that machine after all these years. The skills that she put into practice have paid off nicely as far as alterations for clothes, repairs, Halloween costumes and stage play props.

I never gave it much thought , but the machine and her skills were just always nice to have... Particularly when she modified her own wedding dress, let it out, tailored it and saved hundreds if not more on a sale dress! ( We know how to save money when it counts!)

Just last Fall, my wife started taking in customer alterations for a dry-cleaner and tracking the expenses and income.  To my great surprise, she cleared a hefty sum in just one quarter, but didn't produce a profit.  I was worried until I understood that she had just ordered another new machine-- an embroidery machine that could be programmed to monogram and custom print logos, lettering, etc.  The cost of the machine was almost exactly the amount she had raised

Last night, I got my chance on the machine, and grabbed an old towel that has seen better days. The bleach-dyed towel was intact, but a great test piece to practice lettering.  Corner by corner, we (I mean "I") programmed the machine to print the name of the local charity, in pink thread in the bare strip across the towel.  After five attempts, we had four really nice examples, and one experiment that taught me a lot.

I envision doing a handful of towels to donate to my favorite charity.  She envisions doing custom logos for corporate clients.  And she wants me to line up some new polo shirts for our trip abroad to execute as first samples.   I had a good time, and shut down for the night.

This morning, I noticed my favorite work pants had almost lost a belt loop. Since last night I had used the zig-zag sewing function to mend a rip, I was feeling confident that I could also re-attach the belt loop and save it. ( ...However, last night, I had also sewed my pants pocket to the leg in error.)

This morning I started sewing with the same black thread, and then it happened.  With a crunch, the needle snapped off, midway up the shaft.  I was terrified. I had broken her new business's main tool.  I text-ed her and asked if I could replace the needle.

She says she's got lots and can handle it tonight. With a sigh of relief, I replaced the dust cover and shut down the machine.  Who knew sewing could be so...challenging!  But my wife loves doing it!

Later that morning, I found the replacement needles and her stash of broken ones (they aren't that uncommon) so I knew I could do it. With a little guidance, I got a more sturdy needle in place again!

So If my pants droop, you'll know I haven't mastered the sewing skill quite as well as I thought.

In the meantime, watch for some new logos on my polo shirt!

 

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