Tuesday, July 20, 2010


As I said in the last post, I've been doing TONS of sewing lately. While I love sewing, I hate doing it for long periods of time. More specifically, my neck and back hate doing it for long periods of time.

A lot of the canvas bags I'll be selling at the Renegade Craft Fair and on Etsy have sturdy seatbelt webbing handles trimmed with grosgrain ribbon. I'll be honest, the primary reason for this is that it allows me to stock a single color of webbing (black) but then alter it to match the bag. While it's pretty easy to sew the ribbon to the webbing (i.e., it's no double-welt pocket), it requires sitting in the same (painful) position for a long period of time. You just can't rush that thick seatbelt webbing through without making the machine all kinds of mad at you. Last week, I mentally prepared myself to sew over 100 yards of the stuff in order to make handles for multiple bags. Did I mention that each of those 100 yards had to be sewn twice (once on the left and again on the right)?

After the first 14 yards I said "Enough!" Within two minutes I jimmy-rigged a guide system on my sewing machine where the webbing fed itself through at the proper place and I was able to just sit there with my foot on the pedal. And after about three minutes of that, I thought "Why sit here at all when I've got better things to do with my time?" and put a weight on the pedal and walked away. In other words, I trained my sewing machine to sew by itself:

By "walked away," I mean I walked two feet over to the ironing board and got some ironing done while keeping an eye on the whole rig, pausing only to shoot videos. (And yet this garbage was the best I got. Go figure.) While the first side was already sewn in this red batch, I later figured out how to make it do that part, too.

And I know my mom is going to see this and call me to talk about how horrible my Bernina sounds and how I need to get it serviced asap, but she only ever sews on cotton, not seatbelt webbing. That's just the way it sounds. Like a machine gun. Or a sewing machine breaking. Okay?

Of course, the big question is, will the bags still count as handmade?

(Oh, and apologies for my thread-filled office floor as there's been a lot of thread-trimming going on around here. I am always walking around with bits of thread all over me as if I have eight cats with thread-fur crawling all over my apartment.)


  1. Are you kidding me?! I think the folks at Bernina are going to want to see this, stat. I just hope when they make a movie of it, Will Forte will not be playing you.

  2. This is basically one step away from a Rube Goldberg. So you can always fall back on that if crafting doesn't work out ...

  3. This is AWESOME. I love that you filmed it.
    However... the thought of thread-fur cats gives me the heebie jeebies.

  4. I always knew you were a genius. This just confirms it, yet again. Wish I could make it to the craft fair to see the spoils of your splendid craftiness!