Monday, April 5, 2010


So the table was piled with shade fabric and lining all cut and ready for sewing to begin.

There are all kinds of fabrication techniques used in the workroom, and a lot of different sewing machines.

For sewing rings on shades, there are two options- sew on by hand, or sew on by machine.

To sew by machine, you need a zig-zag machine that does not have any computer electronics in it.  You need just a plain old ordinary domestic machine, nothing fancy, as long as it does zig-zag and also can lower the "feed dogs."

I've always wanted to look up the term "feed dog" to see where it came from, but I haven't yet, so I can't tell you why that's its name, but what it does is move the fabric from front to back as you sew along.  When you disable it, the fabric stays in one place and that's how rings get sewn on.

Well, my little machine's feed dogs wouldn't stay lowered.  I took the machine apart and figured out how the mechanism works, but couldn't figure out what was wrong.

So I did what I always do when something doesn't work- call husband!  John, world-class troubleshooter, improvisor, fixer, and figure-outer.  The foremost qualifications of a successful audio engineer.

We examined the machine and saw what had to happen, but couldn't figure out exactly what part wasn't working right in order to improvise a repair.

The little metal thingie that was supposed to move the other metal thingie over wasn't holding, but nothing appeared to be broken.

So we tried to think of a way to disable the feed dogs.  Duct tape wasn't going to solve anything in this case, but in the world of problem-solving, the runner up to duct tape is cable ties- and I had a thousand of them, in all different sizes.

Two of them side by side fit perfectly in the little space where the metal thingie is supposed to be pushed over to- isn't that great descriptive writing- and voila, it's fixed!

At least long enough to finish up these shades.  John says he only wishes he'd used the blue ones so they'd look better in the photo.

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