So I've been singing the post title to the tune of Tom Petty's "Learning to Fly" all day today. Because we are actually trying to learn how to sew on a Singer. This is something we've talked about doing for a while now; if you have kids, you know that sometimes mending and tweaking clothes can't be avoided. Besides, dh (dear hubby) and I both grew up around women (yes, mostly women) who did a lot of sewing. I still have one relative who is sewing for a living, and she's pretty darn amazing. Delicate, hand crocheted snowflake ornaments? Yep, she can whip those out without thinking. Needles to say, we'd been considering finding a used sewing machine so that we could at least do and learn some basics. I'm not completely helpless; I know how to sew on a button, darn a sock, that sort of thing, but nothing more complicated than the small time.
As luck would have it, a few months ago a friend of the family had a garage sale and dh went over to help do the heavy lifting. Guess what he found? You got it...a Singer sewing machine! They sold it to him for a song (wow, that's a little pun), and he brought it home. He'd been warned that we'd need a new needle, but other than that, the last time it was used it had been fine. So, dh did what he does best, researched the heck out of the needle situation, and we purchased an appropriate one. We sat down in anticipation of using it, thinking of all the things we could do when we figured out the machine. DH plugged it in, spooled the thread, put a piece of cloth under the machine's foot, pressed the pedal...and went a few stitches before it hung up. After much trial and error, and much bunching of thread and gnashing of teeth, we struggled through to make some very crude bean bags for a kids' project. We haven't really managed to do much else with it.
Just a week ago we were talking to a woman in our homeschool group, one who knows way more about these things, and she said she'd had the same problem with her Singer machine. Turns out, it's a dust build up and apparently it's a pretty common issue. Sometimes it can cleaned out, sometimes not; if not, the machine is basically a paperweight. So guess what we're going to be doing in the next few days? We're going to be looking up instructions for how to take the machine apart to clean it, or if it's even possible. Because really, now that we have a sewing machine, we've got so many little ideas in our heads of things we can do - and things that need to be done - that going without one would be difficult. Especially for my poor pants which need another hem.