We expect children to learn all the time; encouraging them to explore new interests and pick up different skills. But along the way – as we grew up and our responsibilities piled up – learning something new is no longer such a priority. Some of us have of course retained that inquisitiveness; they are always on a roll and on top of their game. They continue to learn, for fun or to improve themselves, or to have new career options.
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I was given my late grandmother’s 80-year-old sewing machine recently. It’s a beautiful inheritance and keepsake, and we display it in the living room. It has also been a good conversation piece among our visitors.
But the problem is I can’t sew.
My mother, a sewing enthusiast, tried to teach my sisters and I how to sew when we were teenagers. Unfortunately, her efforts were futile.
But when my grandmother’s antique sewing machine fell into my lap, I felt I should learn to sew. Several friends and colleagues coaxed me to sew. Some said sewing was easier than my other hobbies of cooking and baking.
Star2 recently initiated our Keep Curious project, which encourages readers to explore new interests and learn new skills.
So, I decided I’d embrace the spirit of the project, and learn to sew.
I signed up for an express sewing class at Maker’s Habitat (makershabitat.com) – a creative space that hosts sewing and craft workshops – in Plaza Damas, Kuala Lumpur.
I did Needle Noobs, an introductory course to sewing.
Sewing instructor Ng Ching Ching started off by explaining the nooks and crannies of an electric sewing machine.
She also gave me a step-by-step demonstration on how to thread a sewing machine and wind a bobbin. She also taught me about the different presser foot.
My next lesson was to sew straight lines. On the instructor’s electric sewing machine, sewing a straight line was easy enough. Upon passing this test, I moved on to Super Starters where beginners are guided on their first project. I had the choice of learning to sew a shopping tote, drawstring bag, tissue box cover or zippered pouch.
I chose zippered pouch as I needed a new toiletry bag. Plus, I wanted to learn how to attach a zip.
After selecting my material, Ng taught me how to measure the fabric for my project. I then cut the material accordingly and proceeded to sew my bag.
Sure, it seemed unnerving in the beginning but once I got the hang of sewing, I realised it was pretty straightforward.
Having Ng with me to patiently explain the steps in making the pouch helped tremendously.
I still made a few mistakes along the way but the best bit was I could unpick and start again.
It took me about two and a half hours to complete my masterpiece. Now, I have a pretty zipper bag to keep my makeup.
I brought it to work today and my colleagues were even more thrilled about it than me. They were very encouraging, and some have asked me to stitch zipper bags for them too.
I’m happy to have overcome my fear of sewing. I intend to visit a haberdashery shop over the weekend. Hopefully, I can pick up a few tools to kickstart my next project, maybe sew a pillow case or drawstring bag. I hear that there are countless tutorials on YouTube for whatever I want to sew.
I’m sure Granny is smiling from above.
Her sewing machine will not merely be an ornamental piece.