I went to IKEA and left with a sewing machine

I went to IKEA and left with a sewing machine

All you professional sewers are going to laugh at me. I’m almost too embarrassed to admit this to the fabulous Ms. Pillows A-La-Mode who can sew anything and everything.


Yes my first sewing machine ever is from IKEA.

You know I love IKEA. I have way too much IKEA in my home.

But above all places to buy a sewing machine, that is probably the last store I would have said would have bought one from. Then again they do sell meatballs on the same floor as couches.

His name is SY.

That’s right I said he. Guys can name their cars Shelby, Marley, Mercedes and Eleanor. I can pretend SY is the understudy for Tom Ford. Deal with it.

SY’s been sitting in my house in his box since July. I haven’t even cracked the seal off his box. Lots of dust.

Then one day my blogging buddy Cheryl from It’s Two AM wrote this taunting motivational entry challenging me to join her in Elsie Marley’s Kids Clothing Week Challenge.

The challenge in Elsie’s words is as follows: “The idea is that we all have the urge to sew clothes for our children, but we don’t always give ourselves the time to do it.  If you commit to sitting in front of your sewing machine, or tracing patterns, or cutting fabric, for one hour each day, then at the end of the week you will have some very well dressed kids.”

Did I mention that I have NEVER ever used a sewing machine?

Not even sat down at one. Pushed a pedal. Threaded any sort of dial or knob. Let alone knew what a bobbin was.

It was my January 2012 New Year’s resolution to learn how to sew. That’s partially why I bought the machine.

Yet he was still in his box.

It’s October.

So Cheryl challenge accepted. This is for you. The tale of what happened when Alex finally took out and tried her IKEA sewing machine (which for the record in case anyone is wondering, gets some really great reviews on ikatbag and Coco’s Loft and Badger Lane.)

I brought the box to the kitchen.

This should be no problem at all.

Ok it’s out of the box.

When do I reach for the glass of wine?

Instructions. Ok. So far so good.

First instruction.

How to wind the bobbin thread.

Successfully done.

Next step. Insert bobbin thread.

Find hidden compartment full of bobbin cases etc.

This is where all hell broke lose.

First it took me a good while to figure out (as there are 3 main threading steps in the instruction booklet) that the first step – a.k.a. the threading the bobbin thread – is to wind the thread that you will be using in the bobbin that is UNDER the needle area.

See below.

IKEA generously gives you an already inserted bobbin full of thread. Which added to my confusion.

By the time the light bulb moment had occurred where I realized the first thread wind was to be used in the bobbin in the same area as the bobbin with the thread in it, I had bigger problems.

Basically even though I also successfully gone and done step # 2 – threading the top thread and needle – I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to pull up the bobbin thread.

I warned you.

Never operated a sewing machine before in my life. And now I am completely embarrassing myself on the world wide web.

It turned out this was because of one simple yet painfully obvious reason (which if I wasn’t in mid angry fit I probably would have noticed the answer in the instruction tutorial and even the hand drawn photo in the instruction booklet vs the 10 You Tube videos that I managed to google in the meantime that didn’t help me at all) and that was that I was putting in the bobbin casing back in upside down.

So yes if you’re wondering, you can close the bobbin case with the case the improper way and stare aimlessly at your machine thinking what fresh algorithm hell you are in.




I finally get this.

First attempt at sewing ever…(using scrap fabrics)

Ends up like this.

Second attempt at sewing went better.

Then the bobbin casing thread got jammed.

I remember once a long time ago reading on a forum about advice on choosing a sewing machine, where a sewer couldn’t emphasize enough how much she would recommend a sewing machine with a drop in bobbin and how it changed her sewing.

I get it now.

3rd attempt at sewing.


Oh yes a stitched line. Finally.

And wait, in the subsequent attempts…

There is hope after all.

Alas by this time it was 4 hours later and that means I had used up about 4 “days” worth of the kids hour a day clothing challenge and had sewn 3 lines across a scrap of an old pillowcase.

I was calling it a day.

And found some whiskey never mind wine.

So Cheryl I couldn’t complete an item of clothing but you did get me to actually to use a sewing machine for the first time in my life and I’ve already bought the pillowcase that I am going to try to make my first piece of kids clothing with – a skirt.

Or maybe I’ll swing by and get some cool dish towels and finally try Lil Blue Boo‘s idea of a dishtowel skirt that I have been wanting to do forever.

But either way, thank you Cheryl.

A different kind of Pandora’s box has been opened and for once, I’m really glad.

But I am so not even trying your knitting right now…