About a decade back, I 'inherited' my mom's dear old sewing machine. I think it is a 1972 model. Thanks to the internet, I was able to check the model number and stuff. We live with this all pervasive internet all the time. I have also learnt that it is called a treadle sewing machine. For about two years, I would just clean it, get a service guy to service it and look at it now and then and remember her. By now, the service guy had visited more than 5 times. He strictly told that a machine is meant to be used and not just left idle. I told him my mom never allowed us to touch the machine. We could only sit and watch her stitch. Once in a while, she would ask for help for threading the needle. But, being a person who follows orders and generally gets dominated, I started to think more about his stern remark. And so, the sewing saga began. Eight years of crazy experiences with a piece of metal and wood and motor cannot be filled in one post. But I think I will start with my travails with the straight stitch. A stitch should run straight. Simple logic. Nothing to naysay about it. It is when you try sewing one, that the pain of failure hits you. I initially started with the drawstring that you use in pajamas and shalwars. I would see my mom just zip through her machine and stitch one in a few seconds. Easy project. First you need the fabric. There was some left in her stash - which I had preserved and used to cut out square pieces and use them as wipes or waste cloth. Many people asked me to throw it away and move on. But they desisted after they saw my angered reaction. It used to be an inexplicable reaction..I gave away all her clothes, sarees, threw away her diaries, old crockery - but her fabric stash? There must be something useful to do with it. Anyway, the drawstring project took its birth peacefully. I just cut a random piece of fabric, random size and just folded and stitched it. Voila, it was ready. Wait, it was uneven and wobbly at the edges and I had forgotten to 'enclose' the edges. The needle seemed to have danced away happily along the edges.. bravely climbing back after falling off the edge. There was a gap somewhere. So I just sewed on the gap with force. Much like ironing a stiff pant. Was happy. Until I noticed a wrinkle along the folded edge. I glared at the piece I had created. If I was in a fashion school, I would have failed miserably. It was time to call the experts in the family. My sister told you shouldn't run the machine at such high speed that mom used - since you are a novice and need to learn how to control the speed. A few more tips from her left me awed. All this for a drawstring? After about hours of research and practice, I learnt about bias, fold, measurements and tools. And this called for a visit to the local thread and needles store. I gave the man a list I downloaded from youtube. He asked me if I was planning to open a boutique. A drawstring boutique? That would be a new one, I mused. I was ready with the hip rulers, set squares, wooden rulers, threads, needles. I even went to the interior gully market and found a footer that matched this model. The zipper foot, I think it is called. By now, I was excited and had dropped the drawstring project. It was fun and turning out to be a stress buster to shop for all things small and big for my mom's machine. Needless to say, I had a basketful of drawstrings of various sizes and colors. Of what use are they, when everyone wears a legging or elastic waisted pajama pants. It was time to obsolete this project. And like the Eureka moment, I suddenly realised I could use these to create drawstring bags! That would be an easy project. Just take her fabric squares and sew the sides. Easy? You think. Think twice!