A friend's little boy had a third birthday party yesterday, and she requested a Thomas the Tank Engine drawstring bag to store all of the Thomas bits and pieces he was (hopefully) going to receive. "Sure!" I said, thinking, "I've made a drawstring bag before*, this'll be a piece of cake!"
So off I toddled to the anti-best fabric store in the country to pick up a Thomas motif. Of course, they didn't have anything like I was after, so I improvised with some other less-ideal-but-still-Thomas fabric.
Having got what I needed, I promptly put it aside until the night before the party. Enter sewing machine crisis. I don't know about you, but I seem to have tension issues. I can't work out whether it's the top thread or the bobbin, but every time I think I've got it sorted, I bugger up the start of the next project. Fortunately I still had a friend's machine that I borrowed while mine was in for a service (yes, that was a couple of months ago but apparently she never uses it!?!). I KNEW this machine works properly!
Or not. Apparently the tension thing is me, not the machine. I managed to replicate the problem almost exactly! So after several unsuccessful attempts to avoid swearing, I took a deep breath, checked the instruction booklet, rethreaded the machine and tried again. Fortunately for everyone's sake, this time it worked. I'm not entirely sure what was different (maybe I'd twisted the thread around the needle the first time(s)?), but we ended up with a satisfactory drawstring bag.
It's a tad smaller than expected, but that's what you get for not thinking about seam allowance. At least I have enough fabric left over for another one if required!
The moral of the story? CHECK that the machine is threaded correctly, especially that the thread isn't twisted around the needle. Oh, and start it the night before the night before the party next time!!
*From Heather Ross's Weekend Sewing