However much you might want one, you don’t need a bike-powered sewing machine to take care of your sewing needs.
You might need one after the collapse of the industrial economy and the end to cheap fossil fuels, but let’s leave that bleak scenario for another day.
In the meantime, for an inspiring option watch a short video of a tender love story about a hybrid bike-sewing machine:
These two hands
Lacking such a machine, what you’ll need for sewing is will. Willpower, that is. You need this especially when the economy is not so bad that you still think in terms of disposability versus inconvenience. Or when you wrestle with leisure time versus personal productivity and leisure invariably wins.
Yes, you’ll need willpower.
I remember when…
Used to be that people everywhere, or women mostly, sewed everything. And when they didn’t, when they bought ready-mades from the store, at least they altered the garments themselves. Certainly they fixed items passed down to another family member, or when something wore out.
But along came the fossil fuel age, and with it the cheapening of both labor and goods.
Before long, instead of retaining a respectable stance on reusability, as soon as anything showed the slightest sign of wear, it was pitched out to “the poor” or to the poor old trash can.
People have even stopped using their old rags as, well, rags. Why bother when the Big Box Stores stock plastic-wrapped rag packs and paper towels for any of your rag-job needs? And now in Kute Kountry Kolorz!
And that, my friends, is the marker of a very decadent society with little if any consciousness about where things come from and the cost, financial and otherwise, to people and ecology.
A stitch in time saves nine
Sew…we should do something about that. And that thing is good old fashioned sewing.
Rips, tears, unraveling hems and missing buttons need not mean the end of a beloved clothing item. Just sew it up!
If you don’t know how to sew, fret not. It’s easy. Stick thread in needle, tie knot, weave needle in and out of the fabric until whatever you need to sew is fixed. Or if that sounds gawd-awful crazy complicated, pursue these strategies:
- Ask your mom.
- Ask and old-timer who remembers back when “all the girls sewed.” People love to share their knowledge.
- The Internet is nothing if not the world’s biggest how to manual. In fact check on e-How.
- Take a sewing class. Choose your fave, like quilt making, basic sewing, upholstering furniture.
- Read an easy and inspiring (fun) book on the subject. Here’s one by Amy Butler. And a hipster one. Or one for kids.
- Start a sewing circle.
- Learn to sew by teaching—help a child earn the Girl Scout sewing badge.
Knowledge can never be taken away
In the coming energy decline fixing your own damaged possessions or paying/trading someone to do so for you will be all the rage. Get a leg up now by learning this valuable skill either for taking care of you and yours, or for putting that shingle out one day and being open for business. You might find that someone else’s free range eggs are the perfect price for hemming up a dress.
As for now, taking a moment to sew saves not only nine stitches, but nine bucks…or more!
You can also do my favorite thing which is exploiting child labor. I don’t mean in the insidious outsourced-to-a-sweatshop-in-China sense. I mean right at home. Your own kids. Teach one of them the basics of a straight seam and button shanks or enroll them in a class at the local fabric store and voilà, they have a new skill to help fulfill a bigger role in the family economy. Trust me, it’s good for them.
And get a thimble. Getting pricked hurts.
–Lindsay Curren, Lindsay’s List