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Today's installment: Life as a mechanically-inept person.

This morning, the sewing machine needle hit a pin in the fabric and jammed. The pin was stuck underneath the feeder teeth and bent upwards.

Alarmed, I removed the pressure foot. The holder and its screw fell off. Set aside the screw.

Tried wiggling out the pin using needle-nose pliers and a hemostat leftover from my college hippie days. (Don't judge.) Just yanked off the plastic pinhead. Threw it away. The pin wouldn't budge. Had no tool to remove the metal plate to look underneath.

If I take the sewing machine to a repair shop, it will take three or four months to get it back. I considered options.

From Bad to Worse

With wire cutters, I cut off and removed the part of the pin that was stuck in the feeder teeth and bent upwards. To my horror, the rest of the pin fell inside the sewing machine, out of sight.

Then I couldn't replace the pressure foot holder. Aauugh! There was nothing in the instruction manual. As a leftie, most screws go on the right.

Weak with Relief

After 15 minutes of frustrated fumbling, I discovered the screw goes on the left. Hooray! Tested the sewing machine on a fabric scrap and miracle of miracles, it works beautifully.

This is how far I got on the jacket today. That's the under-collar sticking up. All seams have Hong Kong finishing.

Tomorrow I'll take in the sides to fit me around the waist and hips.

That's enough for today. I'm emotionally exhausted from the struggle.

LiterateHiker 9 Mar 25

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Loved your story ,most women are very mechanically inclined ,they just do not allow themselves to experiment ,If they do they start finding ways with ordinary items around the house to turn into tools and can get the job done, with a great deal of satisfaction that they have,,One of my best scenarios is that women make excellent mudders for drywall and become very skill full quickly,why because they already had that skill but in a different form ,spreading icing on a cake,,some women very skill full ,really not much difference between the two,,lot of home skills easily turned into trade skills,,happy it turn out so good for you 🙂


Thank you!

My parents and their friends drove to a cabin in Upper Michigan for ice fishing. Water pipes were frozen. The men were stumped.

Undaunted, my mother thawed the pipes with her hair dryer.

Yes one of the most common ways but men usually are macho and get the gas torches out and burn the house down just to make sure they are thawed fully lmao


Nice work!


OOh, the memories I have of jammed sewing machines! You WON this, and are exasperated now but should feel great to start in again tomorrow. And, those beautiful seams, wow!


Thank you for your insightful and supportive reply. I appreciate you.


You fixed it, you are not inept.


You are going to need someone to take you for good eats after all this is finished.


In the future if there is a wad of thread you may be able to break it up with a seam ripper then remove the pieces with the hemostats The throat plate can be taken off with usually 2 screws to give full access to the bobbin area. In re to screws, righty tighty, lefty loosey. Check on youtube for your machine model and how to do a thorough cleaning and maintenance and you may be able to fix it.

MizJ Level 8 Mar 25, 2020

Be pround, you clearly are sufficiently mechanically inclined if you got it working


You keep claiming to be 'mechanically-inept' but these anecdotes make that less and less believable. Ha, ha.
Your sense of drama makes things sound like you're always an inch from catastrophe, but you're always confident enough to keep pitching -- and (maybe it's a natural tendency to not be a complainer, but...) somehow things seem always to work out for you in the end.

Lol. Shenanigans again. 😎
BTW. I think a lot of not being 'mechanically-inept' is just being patient -- along with being willing to keep your head and to keep trying until you discover and do the necessary.
It sounds to me like you're ok. Ha, ha. 😎


Hiking steep trails often gets me in dicey situations.

I am a good problem-solver. Ex-boyfriend Willie hated when I told this story:

Willy sold equipment that cleaned air, water and effluents such as cow poop. One Friday, Willy and I were heading to Wenatchee from Vancouver, WA. We stopped in the town of Bingen where Willy had sold water purifiers to the city. The water system was having problems.

While Willy did a "10 minute fix," I walked uphill in the mountains, did yoga and meditation. When I returned to the building where Willy was working, I felt calm and happy.

Willy was beside himself, swearing loudly and furious. He had reached in to turn a screwdriver, and as he withdrew his hand, he hit a switch. Water poured into an air hose, shutting down the city's water purification system for the weekend. The factory back East was closed until Monday.

"Where is the hose?" I asked. He showed me a narrow hose with drops of water inside. "If we can evaporate that water with hot air, would that work?" I asked. "How would we do that?" Willy asked suspiciously.

"I have a hair dryer in my suitcase," I said and pointed to an electric outlet. "I can form a funnel out of clean paper to direct hot air into the hose. I always carry a pad of paper."

"The cord won't reach!" Willy argued. "Let's see, shall we?" I replied.

It worked perfectly. We were out of there in 10 minutes.


You own a hemostat that is "leftover from my college hippie days". Let me check my plausibility meter....


My first husband was a medical doctor. I got the hemostat from him.

@LiterateHiker I got mine from my College Hippy days also...but they were used for a roach clip... ;p ...still have them.


Yes, my doctor ex-husband used hemostats for a roach clip.


As did I.


It doesn't sound like you're mechanically inept to me. A trick for your missing screw: turn the machine upside down on a plain tablecloth or bed sheet. Another tool to add to your toolbox: a magnetized screwdriver.


Thank you for your great ideas.

I carefully set the screw to the side.

@LiterateHiker As a trained Field Engineer, I would stick them to my forehead with superglue until use.


Glad you finally sorted it!

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