Sew What?


If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you might recall Butterick 4790. It’s a reprint of a 1952 pattern, 6015, often referred to as the “walk-away” dress, nicknamed because it was claimed that you could start the pattern after breakfast, and walk away in it by lunch.

Unless, after stitching down the first dart, your thread snaps and winds itself around an internal component, bringing the whole enterprise to a halt.

I have had a sewing machine for 15+ years (currently a Singer 5160), and this has never happened before. I mean, sure, thread snaps all the time, but to see it wound around the doohickey that controls the take-up lever; well, that’s new to me. There’s no thread in my way, and I could ignore it and rethread the machine, but when I turn the hand-wheel, the tension feels off. I’m afraid of it either seizing, or snapping the snapped thread further and winding it around even more internal components.

The screws that hold the machine together are recessed. Recessed farther than my screwdrivers will reach. So, in lieu of paying a shop take apart the machine simply to unwind a piece of thread, I went to Home Depot and bought a longer screwdriver. I undid the five screws on the back of the machine. The screw on the right, near the power supply. The screw on the left, near the needle/presser foot. After all that, I was able to remove one small piece of the housing, but still couldn’t reach the offending thread. I don’t want to cause any further damage, so I guess I’ll call around and see if I can find a shop that will cut me a deal on what I know is a quick “repair.” (One local shop has a $95 diagnostic charge!)

In the meantime, I am unable to “walk-away” in my dress. And the sewing portion of my Halloween costuming is on brief hiatus (public thanks to Big Red for offering up her machine while mine is under the weather).



Filed under fashion, Halloween, sewing

9 responses to “Sew What?

  1. cute pattern. hope your machine is back in working order soon…and without costing an arm and a leg.

  2. At one point my foot plate was not adjusted correctly and I had this problem A LOT. I became pretty damn good at disassembling my machine. You might want to look online for diagrams or information on troubleshooting your problem. May save a ton of $.

  3. Mamie

    That’s terrifying. I am so scared that will happen to me. :) Good luck to you!!

  4. Ooooh, what a handy link! Thanks! Of course, I’ll report back if it helps this particular problem.

  5. Ahhh, the travails of sewing machine innards. I hope it’s working again soon! :)

  6. Big Red

    Halloween is getting closer and closer… offer still stands should you just need something to get you by. I promise you will not fall in love with my machine, thus making your Singer jealous. It’s also 15+ and a very very base model. Utilitarian, but not fall-in-lovable.

  7. Pingback: The Old College Try « shoes and pie

  8. Nick


    I have a “walk-away” grain sack that you can use!!!

    You feed the grain to the pigs for breakfast, and walk away in it as a dress (or shirt, or hood, or shorts… depending where you want to cut arm/leg/head/eye holes) before lunch!!!
    It is casual enough that you can wear it back out to the barn to feed the pigs dinner, yet formal enough to wear later that evening out to Bingo, or the Mosnter Truck Rally…

    You can even soak it in fiberglass resin and use it to patch the holes in the floor board of your old Ford pick-up….

    Oh, I can read your mind, and yes… the grain sack is fucking awesome!

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