Monday, February 06, 2012

Mending Monday

 I  have a question for all the people out there who know how to use sewing machines.  Mostly ladies, I assume, but guys too.  I don't care why you know how to use one.  I need to learn how to use my "old but not ancient"sewing machine.  I admire skills and this is one I don't have.

I hate to admit it, but my legs are short from the waist down and I can't find pants with a 28" inseam and a fat waist.  I'm tired of rolling up pant cuffs so that I don't walk on them.  So I need to learn how to use a sewing machine to reduce all my 32" inseams to 28".

I have a sewing machine, but it is as foreign to me as a snowblower is to someone who lives at the equator.

1.  Its a Montgomery Wards sewing machine, model UHTJ1933, serial number 148 10910
2.  I couldn't get it to work right when it was new 25 (or more) years ago.

All I want to do is cuff up a few dozen pants.

So, should I just buy a new one that is more "idiot friendly"?
Or should I learn to use what I have?

Cost is not an issue, but it IS important to me that I do things myself.

Can someone help me figure out how to use this thing or tell me what to buy?


Rachael G said...

I would get a new one they don't cost the earth for a basic one! There are loads of tutorials on line, on blogs, you tube etc.
Mine is a Brother sewing machine, I am not a professional seamstress,so I can't really advise alot, as long as it does the job and that is all you need

Milo and Alfie Marshall said...

Shortening trousers is not as simple as it seems ~ my advice would be to get them done profesionally by a seamstress. They don't usually charge much and the result will look as if they were made that way.
You could ask around for the name of a good seamstress, or check out the local paper, or put a card up in shop window saying seamstress wanted.

I'm not trying to suggest you wouldn't do a good job yourself But if you've not had much experience with a sewing machine or doing alterations, you will have to practice to get it right.

In our town there is a skill bank. People "swap" their skills to help each other out. So for instance someone might do sewing for a person who hadn't got that skill ~ and in return that person would spend an equal amount of time doing something they are skilled at: e.g. gardening (or doing whatever their skill is ~ in exchange). Good huh?

The mom xx

Shaggy, Scooby and Scout said...

Rachel (above) has a good idea. You can find tutorials on the internet for most everything. "How to hem pants" must be a common search. Maybe if after your first try the machine seems balky, go for a new one. Improvements have been made in the interim and you'd buy a basic one anyway since don't need it to do all those fancy stitches.

Cheysuli and gemini said...

We bet there are easier machines on the market now. However, I think Milo and Alfie are right. The woman is also short and needs hemming. She can't do her own pants because although 28" may SEEM like the right length, sometimes it's a little off depending upon the fit and so a seamstress or even another person can pin them up to that length and then have you try them on and make sure it's even. You can often find trades or someone who will do it for just a bit of money.

Brian said...

I say let the cats lay on them, at least they would be properly furred!

Megan said...

Another thought is to do the stitching by hand. Buy some fusible tape to hold the hems in place and then secure it with hand stitches. You will find tutorials on the internet or in a basic sewing book from the local library. Tackle the least-loved pair of pants first! LOL

Sydney, Australia

Luxington said...

We don't have any good advice here, my mom is in the same boat as you! Been thinkin' bout tryin to learn this skill for awhile now, but for some reason it's a lil intimidating. I'd like her to learn it... then there might be some more strings around for me to steal.

The Cat From Hell said...

Some drycleaners offer hemming services. But if you really want to do your own, sewing machines are actually a pretty easy piece of equipment. Do a search on line and you will find the basics. Personally, I use the fusable tape and an iron method of hemming my pants.
Nellie's Mom

Sparkle the Designer Cat said...

I'm afraid my human is not the one to ask for advice here - she has used sewing machines, but you should see the crooked seams and misshapen clothes that resulted! These days, if she needs anything done, she takes it to the tailor at the dry cleaners and they come back looking like they should.

The Island Cats said...

I have an old sewing machine that I bought at Sears about 30 years ago. It still works great...and for hemming pants, it works great. Your machine is probably good enough for hemming too...all you want is a machine that sews a straight line, right?? Look on is a great resource for "how to do videos."

Others have suggested fusible tape for hemming...just iron it on. That also works great too.

Now I'm too lazy to hem my slacks (and I just don't have the time!) so I have them done by a tailor who does it pretty inexpensively.

Island Cats' Mom

The Island Cats said... more thing. A couple of years ago, I went out and bought a new fancy dancy sewing machine...and I've yet to figure out how to use it! I still use my old 30 year old machine!!


Derby, Ducky said...

If mum really needs to shorten she either hems by hand or takes them to the alteration lady.

PS. don't they sell them with a shorter inseam?

Katnip Lounge said...

I gotta weigh in with Milo & Alfie's Mom...pant hemming is a PAIN. By all means, learn to use a sewing machine, just not by hemming pants! I used to sew a lot, and this is one project I take to the dry cleaner's.

Sweet Purrfections said...

Our mom is less than 5 feet tall, so all of her pants are too long. However, she's resorted to wearing shoes with heals rather than hemming the pants, even though she knows how to sew and use a basic sewing machine.

Truffle and Brulee

Natalie said...

I've done a fair amount of sewing and I have to second (third?) those who said to get pants hemmed professionally. That said, I recommend iron-on hem tape if you're not as concerned about the appearance of the hem--it gets the job done and is easy to do.

Regarding the sewing machine, I'd recommend just getting a new one. Basic ones are very affordable these days. I went to get mine fixed a while back, and they said it would be cheaper just to get a new one.

Katie Isabella said...

Mne cost me 10 bucks a pair to hem. I too have a 28 inch inseam. (I am 5'2" tall.) I try if at all possible to buy petite length. I am no good at all at sewing. Wish I was. xox

DesertRose said...

It's not a big deal to have your trousers professionally hemmed, but if you really want to do it yourself, get somebody to help you because you will never get the hems pinned correctly on your own body. You need an assistant (a human one, not a feline one--sorry, Iza, Ayla, and Marley) to pin them so they hang the way you want them to. The actual hemming is pretty easy; it's just a straight seam across the bottoms of the trousers.