Help a dude remember how to use a sewing machine.

I’ve been looking all over for a good red vest for Halloween. However, none of the stores seem to have anything like I want. Last night I decided to go out and get some fabric to try my hand at making the damn thing. I have a nice sewing machine that was my mother’s. Problem is I haven’t used one in 20 years or so.

So I need some help. A lot of it will be in how to set the machine up since I can’t remember what all the parts are for. Mainly what’s the point of the small metal bob(?) that’s under the needle? Does it have to be the same color as the thread I will be using?

Then I need help in making a simple vest, no zipper, buttons or anything like that, just some arm holes really and keep the ends from fraying. I asked one of the local dry cleaners if they could do it, but they said it would be $100, I know I can do it for a lot cheaper then that.

What other kinds of tips can you offer up? Since I’ve said I wanted to try this my wife has been saying I can do all of the mending of the kids clothes. I’m planning on going as Captian Feathersword so you can get an idea of what I am trying to do.

Hm. First, if the machine hasn’t been used in 20 years, you should clean and oil it as well as you can before using it. If you don’t have the manual, you can probably find it online. That will also give you a nice schematic for threading the thing.

The bobbin underneath the needle should match the thread. You will have two threads on your finished seam, which twist together at each stitch. If your thread doesn’t match reasonably well, you’ll probably have a little dot of unmatched thread at each stitch.

For making the vest, you should probably go down to JoAnn’s or wherever, look at the Halloween patterns display, pick out the family pirate pattern, and use that vest pattern. It will cost a couple of bucks, because it will be on sale. It may want you to do a lining, but you don’t have to if you’re not looking for anything classy. You’ll just have to turn in the raw edges and sew them down.

The machine itself is not 20 years old, I haven’t touched any machine in that long. Though it is a few years old so I will have to look it over and see if it’s ok.

Will making a vest be that difficult then? It’s been a long time, but I don’t remember having that hard of a time doing it when I was in middle school.

You could probably wing a vest, especially if you have an oversized t-shirt to use for a pattern. Although looking at that picture, I’d probably just buy a cheap oversized red t-shirt and alter it. Hell, you could probably do that with just some Stitch Witch or whatever that seam glue stuff is called.

You’d just have to cut off the sleeves and collar binding, cut out a section of the front so it hung open, and then turn under the raw edges. Probably faster than trying to relearn to sew after all these years.