I never had any lessons when it comes to sewing. I played around with my mom’s foot operated sewing machine when I was young. I never really made anything but just stitched pieces of fabric together. Unbeknown to me, I had just taken my first step in learning how to sew.
The real test came when out of sheer boredom, I bought a ready made pattern and sewed a jacket for my friend. My first attempt was really messy but I did manage to piece a jacket together that did not fall apart. From there onwards, I got better at the domestic sewing machine and when I went to study pattern cutting at Central Saint Martins, I was introduced to an industrial sewing machine. It took me quite a while to get used to the speed but eventually, like driving, I got the hang of it and took my sewing up to a professional level.
However, there was always this one machine that I have never dared to touch. An industrial coverstitch machine. I have heard stories of the machine’s temperament and how it would make any sane person crazy. One day I saw a colleague of mine using that machine with relative ease and my curiosity got the better of me and I asked if she could offer me a tutorial in using this machine. She gladly offered her help and assured me that if I know what I am doing, the machine is very easy to operate.
To start off, I drew a T-shirt pattern and cut it out on a cotton jersey. After overlocking the seams, the time finally came for my lessons on the coverstitch machine. I was shown how to align the needles near the seams and how to remove the thread once the stitch is completed. I tried it on some scraps and eventually moved to the T-shirt I have just cut.
I did spend 15 minutes struggling with the thread but eventually, I got the hang of it and overstitched the hems and the neckline.
I was pretty pleased with my first attempt and so was my colleague. The stitch looked very well finished and I was glad that curiosity contributed to my learning!
I have always maintain that T-shirt are so cheap that I would rather buy them than make them. This lesson has completely changed my mind and with a good T-shirt pattern, it doesn’t take long to knock a T-shirt or two out.