Sewing and driving alike?

You know how it is when the “muse” hits? Well, it just hit me. Sewing and driving are a lot alike. Particularly machine sewing. Now, here’s where it’s funny: I don’t drive. Never wanted to learn how, either. Yet, I “drive” a sewing machine on a fairly regular basis. Allow me to explain.

Roads and stoplights

Driving has a few basic rules of the road: stop at red lights, drive close to the speed limit and don’t go off the road. Okay, for sewing, it’s stop to take out pins, go slow on curves (especially small ones!) and don’t go inside the seam allowance. Well, if you’re like me, you mark the seam allowance for a nice line to follow, have pins galore to keep it from shifting and try to go slow for better control.

Take this little piece for example: the blue line (water soluble pen) is the “road,” the butterfly pins are the “stop lights” and it’s so small going fast would probably ruin it!

Similarities can be scary, right?

So, sewing and driving are a lot alike, right? Follow the line, take out pins and go slow. Follow the road, stop at red lights and obey the speed limit. Good advice for both, right? Just because I don’t drive doesn’t mean I haven’t read the rules. I think it’s a fitting comparison, but that’s my opinion.

What was that little thing?

Wondering what I’m sewing in these images that’s so small? Would you believe that’s the trigger guard of a pistol?

Yep! It’s the trigger guard of a pistol that’s the right size for the plush action figures in the shop! There’s always a magnet inside so the plush action figures can “hold” the weapon magnetically if they have magnets in their hands. Why was the stitching barely visible and a little shiny? Well, instead of regular polyester thread that matches the fabric (and sometimes breaks), 4lb fishing line is used. It looks a lot like invisible thread, but it’s much, much stronger meaning it can handle being played with. Everything sewn uses 4lb fishing line for extra durability.

Fishing line warning!

Now, hold on sewists, before you jump on the fishing line train, a word of caution: fishing line is very stiff and does not stretch. It took a good number of broken needles and argument with my machine before finding a way to make it work. Even then, it still finds ways to mess things up from time to time. Notably, slipping out of the upper tension looper and causing “bobbin art” in the middle of a seam!

Most particularly, plastic bobbins really hate fishing line! While I can’t speak for all machines, I do know many modern machines use plastic bobbins. Fortunate for my older machine, it can use plastic and metal bobbins. Too many plastic bobbins were broken while winding that the discovery of being able to use metal ones was a huge blessing! Just be warned, if you want to use 4lb fishing line in your machine, you’re in for a lot of trial-and-error. The result of stronger seams isn’t a bad thing, but it may take a long time to get it right.

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