Confessions of a Broken Sewing Machine

My sewing machine is broken. I’ve “fixed” it twice now, but each time it breaks again. It’s not allowing me to “fix” it this time. This leaves me with the biggest urge to sew that I’ve ever had. I think things always work like that. What “they” say is true: you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. I could take it in to get fixed, but I’m stubborn and believe wholeheartedly that it will magically work one day. Please come back to me sewing machine… I miss you.

So I’m left with a hankering for some sewing, but without a machine I’m limited to the sort of projects I can take on. While I can visit my mom and use her machine, it’s much more convenient to start and stop at your own pace within your own home. I’ve been keeping an eye out for projects that are “machine-free” or are adaptable to be. I’ve found a few, but am having a hard time deciding on what’s next. Maybe you can help me out.

Around the quilter blogosphere and, of course, Pinterest, I’ve found so many (err…too many) quilts and projects that make me absolutely giddy. When I first saw this quilt on Pinterest, I knew it was going to be my next project. That was like 10 projects ago. Whoops.

Credit: Blueberry Park

I don’t know what I love most about this project. The colors, the hexagons, the hand quilting… I just want it now. It looks like she used a half-hexagon ruler, but I think I could just use larger English Paper Piecing (EPP) pieces and get the same effect. PLUS—I could do all of the EPP by hand. This is a definite contender. It would look gorgeous in one of our upcoming fabric lines. Did I pique your interest?! Good, because it will be worth the wait. Promise.

Then there’s this guy:

Credit: Citta Design

A plethora of hand quilting, but too beautiful to not be worthwhile. I wouldn’t necessarily use the same colors. Perhaps one of our lighter neutral Quilter’s Candy Solids, such as Parchment, for the background with a fall palette of stitches on top.

The third option would be to simply piece by hand. While I love my machine (when it works) for its ability to keep projects moving along quickly, I have a deep respect for the roots of this craft and would like very much to participate in the same way that my grandmother and great grandmother did. I’ve mulled over the idea of hand piecing different block designs as a possibility and really enjoy the thought of it. While it would take a lot more time, I think it would be nice and relaxing to try out different techniques and blocks by hand. Particularly this giant one that’s been all over Pinterest and was featured on Sew Mama Sew.

Credit: Amy from Badskirt


  1. Barbara J Heidemann - January 31, 2014

    I love to sew and it sounds like you do too. If you don’t fix your machine, than look for a new one. Just think of all the fun and time sewing you will miss! I enjoy being away by my self and creating. It is a stress-reliever!

  2. Deb Praus - January 31, 2014

    I am amazed at the amount of people who only have one machine. I have new machines and vintage machines. They all have their use but will always satisfy the “urge”. I got a second when when my main machine was in the shop many years ago and now have a new Pfaff, a Juki TQ98, a Singer 301(my personal favorite but don’t tell the others),a Singer Touch n Sew(mostly for buttonholes) a Singer Rocketeer and a Singer Featherweight(was Grandma’s)and a Viking Husquvarna 6690. There is no excuse for me not to sew!
    Look for a good used vintage machine as your back-up, I can always get those to work and am able to do most maintenance on them. And they just purr along!

  3. Cindy B - January 31, 2014

    I’m with Deb. I don’t understand a quilter having one machine. All I did was put the word out I would like to have a used sewing machine and in a matter of a few months I was turning down machines! I took so many to the local 4H and Scout troops they said no more please.

  4. Susan Hoopes - January 31, 2014

    You can always find an inexpensive machine at Walmart, your local fabric store, or some other store. There are many Good machines out there that cost less the price of a simple repair. I can’t live without a sewing machine! But while you are waiting to purchase a new or newer machine, you can always do some applique, English paper piecing, or other hand project. 🙂

  5. Sarah Craig - January 31, 2014

    Definitely, pick up a new/old/vintage machine! In the past year, I’ve added a Singer 99K to my harem of machines – a 1905 Singer treadle, a 1907 Singer 115, a 1954 Featherweight, a more current Singer, and my Juki TL98Q. Granted, collected over a period of many years, but all work and get used at one time or another. There’s never any down time from sewing here!! That Singer 99K only cost me $30 at an estate sale, and its previous owner must have loved it dearly – it was manufactured in 1946 but runs like it was made yesterday!! Hard to beat a deal like that….

  6. QuiltinGram - January 31, 2014

    I like all of your ideas. I do EPP, hand piece, appliqué, cross stitch, embroider, etc.

  7. Mari - January 31, 2014

    Great story Katrina! Such a dilemma though. It would drive me nuts not to have my sewing machine! Good options!

  8. Teri - February 3, 2014

    I know how you feel! My last machine was a “lemon” and nothing is more frustrating than sitting down to sew and having problems!! My heart goes out to you 🙁

  9. Jenni - February 4, 2014

    I’ve seen that Citta Design before, probably Pinterest. I love it, I’ve been wanting to do something like that too! That’ll sure satiate your sewing craving!!

  10. Ann - February 4, 2014

    Having just finished (well almost) my first hand-piecing project, I have to say I really enjoyed it. It is relaxing and travels well. I am also revisiting an old crazy quilting project. I like to keep my hands busy in the evening or on a car trip… Like my grandma said “Busy hands, happy heart”. It would be a great time to try some hand-piecing while you are deciding about your machine. Enjoy!

  11. Eugenia Read - February 6, 2014

    There are options for you. All is not lost. Check with your local quilting club maybe someone has a machine for sale. Ask your local quilting store or even the fabric store if they know of an individual who repairs sewing machines from their home. This should help to keep costs down. Also ask the local quilting or fabric store if they know of an individual who has a machine for sale. Check the thrift stores in your area. You may even be fortunate enough to find one with its own stand. I have a vintage Singer (since age 12) that originally belonged to my parents. It is 75+ years young and still works. I had it overhauled a couple of years ago by an individual who worked from her home. I have retired it because I was using my sister’s vintage machine but the foot pedal quit working and was not worth repairing. Then my husband bought me a brand new Brother quilting and embroidery machine for my birthday last year. I have been quilting up a storm and learning everything I can about quilting. I love it….my own sewing room, a new machine, a large stash, a lot of new tools,a new Oliso auto-lift iron, a homemade quilting frame (from thrift store), a bookcase full of books and magazines on quilting. I’m a very happy quilter!

  12. Joy - February 18, 2014

    So sorry Katrina.. But you do a lovely job of hand piecing it doesn’t appear you need a machine. 🙂

  13. Katrina - February 18, 2014

    Haha… thanks Joy!! 🙂