Saturday, July 18, 2015

The Sewing Decision I Should've Made Years Ago

I finally bought myself a second bobbin case.
Unbelievable, I know.
That this is my very first Second Bobbin Case, I mean. 
Which I've desperately needed for YEARS.

It's not that I was stingy and didn't want to buy one, but Pfaff bobbin cases aren't the same shape as the generic Singer styles that you can easily find on the notions wall at JoAnn, or on typical online sewing resource sites. And I didn't want to drive all the way to the nearest Pfaff dealer (where "nearest" is used in the very loosest sense of the word) to buy one. 

And then I found one on amazon. That didn't cost an arm, a leg and a vital internal organ.

Why have I needed an official Second Bobbin Case?
Answer: tension.
Specifically, when I am on a project that requires two very different bobbin tensions, which are particularly fiddly to get absolutely perfect, it is heartbreaking to have to switch back and forth between the two states, un-setting the one to get the other, and then doing that in reverse, repeatedly.
Example 1: sewing velcro and regular fabric in the same project
Example 2: topstitching vinyl and seam-sewing regular fabric in the same project

I cannot count the number of times I've sat with my tiny screwdriver (or fingernail) poised over the tension screw of my Single Lone Bobbin Case, peering at my pathetic sketches of the Screw Position For Topstitching and scribbled upper tension numbers in order to undo my painstakingly-perfected tension setting and thinking, "if only I had a second bobbin case, I could designate this one The Regular Cotton Bobbin Case and the other one The Topstitching Through Vinyl and Leather Bobbin Case and I'd never have to touch these stupid screws."

And now, I don't have to do it (so often, anyway).
I should throw a party, I'm so happy. 

That said, I should confess that I also need several sewing machines set up in my sewing room, in the following configuration:
  1. Industrial lock-stitch machine threaded for bottomweights
  2. Regular sewing machine 1 threaded with white, set to regular tension
  3. Regular sewing machine 2 with topstitching thread, set to topstitching-vinyl/canvas tension
  4. Regular sewing machine 3 with lousy needle for sewing through plastic, paper, velcro and heavy interfacing
  5. Regular sewing machine 4 threaded with whatever color thread for current WIP
  6. Serger 1 set to 4-thread overlocking
  7. Serger 2 set to 3-thread rolled hem
  8. Serger 3 set to coverlocking

I know people whose fantasy sewing room has color-coded fabric and a huge spool rack and pretty walls adorned with embroidery hoops featuring their grandmother's handiwork, and baskets and fabric bins containing their WIPs and charming stuffed animals and yarn. My dream studio, on the other hand, just has natural light and a veritable arsenal of sewing machines, all set to specialized functions simply because I'm too lazy to repeatedly toggle tensions and needles and feet and thread. I don't care if the walls are painted, and I'm quite happy to have all my WIPs strewn over the floor like shrapnel under which I have to exhume my pedal each time I need it. 

Tomorrow I shall repent of my covetousness.
But today, buoyed with hopeless optimism from my Second Bobbin Case acquisition, I shall fantasize without limitations.

Also, just so this post isn't only about MeMeMeMe and what I want, here are two photos of the most recently finished Time Warp Zippered Bag -

technically, the most challenging bag I've made in this series so far, because of that offset in-seam faux welt front zipper. Had to stop multiple times to rethink and even unpick. But then, bags are only fun to sew if there's thinking involved, right? Otherwise, we might doze off from boredom and stitch through our fingers or something. Which I've done. 

So yes, the zippered bag tutorial series is still happening! I want to finish all the bags first, so I can have all the material to organize into something methodical and that will make sense to you guys. 

P.S. Thank you to everyone who weighed in on my Owie Doll Kit survey in the last post. I appreciate all the feedback, and I'm in the process of negotiating the next round of kits with Take&Make. If you've been wanting a kit and didn't get one in the first round before they all sold, keep checking back because we have more coming!


  1. Wow, that bag is gorgeous! And looks very challenging. :)

    I've never had more than one bobbin case. The idea never entered my mind. Now it has....

  2. Oh my goodness, that is brilliant. It never occurred to me to get a Second Bobbin Case!

  3. I should've had a second bobbin case for my old machine, but only because my son, who was 2 or 3 at the time, stole mine and took it in the bathtub where it immediately became rusty. I still got another 10 years out of it, though.

  4. I could designate my upstairs machine for certain sewing and my downstairs machine for other types of sewing, but I know I would be overcome by laziness, so a second bobbin case for BOTH machines may soon become a necessity, once I allow your post to infiltrate my brain! Cute bag, BTW.

  5. Makes perfect sense to me.
    Guilty of never changing the thread even though it is easy to do so. I would like a second pfaff bobbin case though so I can be lazier yet.

  6. I want your dream sewing room! I hate fiddling with tension.

  7. I just bought a second bobbin case two weeks ago, so I can run cotton perle through it and bottom/top stitch without messing up the tension adjustment ("which way do I turn it, no, other way, noooooo, turned too many times...."). Mostly because I got a note from the gal who tuned up my machine TELLING me to stop screwing around with the bobbin case tension.

    And this bag! Dang! So many gifts in one post! Such swell design, such sound print choice/placement!

  8. Love the bag! I've wanted a 2nd bobbin for fiddling with but I'm just too cheap! But really the Bernina accessories are pricey. I've also wanted their new red bobbin for thick threads, yarn, or ribbon. I wish I had the space to leave my machines all out. It would be so convenient.

  9. IF my sewing room is ever finished, I hope to have machines set up the same! Makes perfect sense to me. Congratulations on the second bobbin case.

  10. I... had no idea bobbin cases had tension. Oh dear.

  11. Ooh, that chocolate bag is a dream!

  12. Oh WOW. What a terrific bag. Thanks for sharing the photos. I don't think I'd try it myself so it's nice to have yours if only virtually.

  13. I keep meaning to get another bobbin case. I think I looked at the dealers one time and decided I needed to save up. I'll check Amazon.

  14. I bought a second one when I bought my machine. The dealer suggested that I have a second one adjusted for mono-filament thread since he knew I planned on doing some machine quilting. I was so glad he suggested it, because over the years it has made life so much easier.

  15. Oh! This may be only the second time I'm jealous of a modern machine! I have an Elna Supermatic in avocado green from the 70's that I utterly adore, but it doesn't use a bobbin like that. I am afraid to adjust the tension actually! (That and automatic buttonholes. Oh you automatic buttonholes!) Other than that I ADORE my machine. It has lots of different cams for cool stitch patterns. I have almost every foot I can think of. It's made of almost all metal parts, so it's heavy as sin, but it's a workhorse! I love it so much.


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