Buy ALL the Machines! A chat with The Tipsy Pincushion

You can find Bekah at the Tipsy Pincushion on IG.

The picnic dress is by Lila and June

Jack USA makes various  buttonholers, industrial lockstitch and specialty machines

Here’s an IG link to a video of the machine’s maiden voyage

Read Full Transcript

BUY ALL THE MACHINES! A Chat with the Tipsy Pincushion

Lisa Woolfork: Welcome everybody to the Stitch Please podcast. We are back once again with another fantastic episode. I'm your host, Lisa and I am talking today with Miss Bekah Havens and she is known on Instagram as the tipsy pin cushion. And I think maybe her under handle was something like the sophomore sewist or something, but don't let that fool you. There is nothing sophomoric about the kind of work that Bekah Havens create. And also, she has this wonderful email handle and its missbehaven. And I just thought that was like not her real name. And so, when I was going to interview her, I was like, oh, well, what's your real name? Your name really can't be missbehaven. And she's like, well, actually it can, because my name is Bekah Havens and you will see a bit of her missbehaven in our conversation today because she cat fished me. And so, we will certainly talk about her catfishing me, but welcome to the program, Bekah. I'm so glad to be able to talk to you in person finally.

Bekah Havens: Thank you so much Lisa it is very nice to finally chat.

Lisa Woolfork: So, one of the reasons that this episode is called by all the machines is because Bekah Havens have so many different types of sewing machines, types, and forms that I had not seen. I thought I had a lot of machines. I have a couple of sewing machines I have a Serger, I have an overlock machine. I have a friend that has a blind hemmer, but I don't do that much blind hemming so I didn't need a designated blind look at her, you see her going, ooh, as the list, this woman has so many amazing machines and I will talk about that, but I just want to get started at first talking about your sewing background Bekah, how did you get started in sewing and why were you calling yourself why do you continue to call yourself the sophomore Sewist?

Bekah Havens: I have been sewing only for a couple of years, maybe three whole years I think would be maybe this fall. And I mean, it's a constant learning process so I always feel like, you know, like a total newbie at each new project. I did sew a little bit when I was little, just literally for like two weeks, I had got my hand on my godmother's machine and it came with some patterns. I think I was like 10 and I was so excited to learn how to, sew, you know, we were in a country house I thought like, this is such a country thing to do like I'm going to sew my clothes. And I followed the pattern and I was so proud of myself. And then I realized like, what I had made was like a vest for a toddler it was so small. I was like, I can't fit into my little patchwork vest and I never sew it again.

My great aunt was an incredible, seemed stressed who used to send me little outfits for Halloween and such. And my aunt was a quilter and was never into garments, but so sewing was sort of always around, but I never really dove into it. And I don't know, one day I saw a pattern online and I got super inspired and just wanted to try and thought, darn it. I'm going to pull out my aunts like very old 1980s, hand me down the machine and give it a try. And I absolutely fell into a sewing rabbit hole that I'm still in. I can't get out.

Lisa Woolfork: That is-- I think that's an awesome way to describe it, the sewing rabbit hole because I feel like you are, you know, I mean, I find it really hard to believe that you have only been sewing for three years.

Bekah Havens: Yeah.

Lisa Woolfork: That doesn't, it doesn't seem like, I mean, I know that there are certain phrases to describe like an ambitious beginner, confident beginner, but I feel like even those terms are not suitable for you and the stuff that you create. And yeah, so I was just like, I'm just trying to figure out how this is where the sophomore and this comes in, but I love your idea about describing how you approach every project as a new project. Every project is kind of like a new learning process.

Bekah Havens: There's just to learn I just, I honestly like I had this sort of vision, right? So, I want, I learned maybe its four years, but I don't think so. I think it's coming up on three and I had this vision that like within four years I should have a mass enough skill to feel, you know, very confident. So, I started off with like, oh, I'm a freshmen sewist, you know, I'm a sophomore sewist, I was going to proceed to be senior. You know, I sort of treated it like a, like a college experience.

Lisa Woolfork: Yes okay

Bekah Havens: And for me, jeans were the end like to, sew a pair of jeans that-- to sell a pair of jeans at all seemed insane. But to also have them fit was like this whole other level. That was my pinnacle goal of sewing. I did not expect to hit that this quickly, but you also got to think like, I've got a lot of free time, you know like I don't have kids, I'm a nurse, I work 12-hour shifts that gives me four whole days to go completely bananas in the sewing room. And it's been like that for like three years like it's just, my days off are spent sewing non-stop

Lisa Woolfork: And that's it's the way that you describe it and that makes sense that, I mean, I really liked that way that you mapped on your learning onto this kind of four-year program. It's almost liked a four-year program of self-study.

Bekah Havens: Yes

Lisa Woolfork: It's true and so for me, if you are like at the end of your third year, you know, haven't been keeping like the super tight track of it because it's not like you were like mapping it out like a university curriculum, but you were able to kind of track your progress based on the way that your skills advanced, you know? And so, the idea that you've been able to go farther faster than you imagined seems to suggest that your, you know, your personal course of someone's study has been really successful that's what it sounds like to me.

Bekah Havens: Well thank you yeah, I think of it as a success. I mean, again, there's so much more to learn but I just felt like a progression of skills. And then for me graduating to like fabrics that are more difficult, but using the skills you already owned or, you know, mentally owed seemed like the way I was going to approach this. So, I feel like I put a lot of technical skills under my belt and they're all still very messy and sometimes they're sloppy, but at least I can sort of recognize the terms and know what they mean. And I still sort of in this holding pattern of easier to sew fabrics, which are not necessarily the fabrics that are best for any given garment. Right? I just, that to me is my like junior sewing, junior-level sewing for me is I am now branching out into rayon's and things that are just ridiculous. It's like sewing water, you know, and it's much harder for me.

Lisa Woolfork: Yeah, I remember you when you were trying-- you were working on I think a Zadie jumpsuit and you were putting either binding on or something. And when you gave that 10-sell fabric, the finger fell out laughter, I don't know if you have a pinned in your Instagram stories or pinned in your highlights, but Oh my gosh, I felt that in my spirit you were, pinning and pinning.

Bekah Havens: It just kept moving

Lisa Woolfork: And then you got to the end and it was like four inches of extra or two extras. And you gave that fabric, the finger.

Bekah Havens: I was so done

Lisa Woolfork: I was like, -- she was like, that's it, and I have had it with you,

Bekah Havens: But it feels so good though 10 sells are so amazing, but it is just the pits to work with.

Lisa Woolfork: It does it's a recalcitrant fabric.

Bekah Havens: It's naughty.

Lisa Woolfork: It is naughty, it is noncompliance. It absolutely is all of those things that you're describing. One of the things I love about the way you were describing some of the skills you've acquired, the skills you like to practice is something that I recognize that you shared that you and I share in common and that you seem to have the same love of fussy cutting that I do. I have a deep and abiding intense love for fussy cutting. I love making sure that my seams are precise. I love making sure that my patterns meet in the way that I want. I just spent I don't know what felt like I was like, I can't even estimate how much time I spent-- I put an invisible zipper in a dress that was made with a bunch of circles. And I wanted to make sure that when I zipped the back of the dress up, both halves of the circles would meet to form a complete circle I didn't want this weird oblong. And so basically, it's not that hard. You take your circle, you divided in half, then you add five, a seam allowance on the other side and cut it that way. And you're done, right? Perfect sim Sam's done. So, I threw the invisible zipper in didn't base, it just threw it in and one-half perfect. Right? The other half I took that thing apart. I was nudging it up, nudging it down based sewing un-sewing. And at one point I was like, do I really care that much?

Bekah Havens: Do I care? Yeah.

Lisa Woolfork: Do I care that much? And it turns out that heck yeah, I care that much

Bekah Havens: Yes, you do.

Lisa Woolfork: I really do care that much. And so, I finally got it together and finally, you know, the dress, the entire dress is like, the skirt is five panels. There in the front two in the back. And every single one of those patterns has the dots all going in the same direction on the same line. And when you zip it up, --

Bekah Havens: [Inaudible10:37]

Lisa Woolfork: I know, right? So that's what I noticed for your I think this is an Ikea fabric that you're using for the--.

Bekah Havens: Oh, yeah, the orange slices?

Lisa Woolfork: The orange slices, which I totally love. And actually, the dress out of speaking of that I made is also Ikea fabric it's bedsheets.

Bekah Havens: Aww

Lisa Woolfork: So, I took the sheets it's a duvet cover, duvet cover with a pillowcase so I could get basest out of the pillowcase and I could get the dress out of one half of the duvet.

Bekah Havens: Oh, nice

Lisa Woolfork: And so, I had that same like the feeling of like satisfaction when you-- I think this is one of your posts when you said, I think you've marked it not bad because you had those layers so perfect for the big orange slices, and then you got to match up--.

Bekah Havens: It worked

Lisa Woolfork: And you sewed them perfectly. They matched and then you put on the skirt and during what you called it?

Bekah Havens: Yeah, Master crotch theatre right there.

Lisa Woolfork: She called it Master crotch theatre because the way that the curves of the slices and then the little dots, it just, -- and when you called it, the presidium a crotch presidium I fell out laughing

Bekah Havens: That fabric I've been trying to use that fabric for literally three years. We don't an Ikea friend of mine who went home to her hometown and was inside the Ikea and was like taking some pictures and sending. And she was like, do you want any of this stuff? And I was like, oh yeah, I get it I couldn't touch it. I didn't realize how large the print was and it turned out to be this basic canvas with this enormous pattern on it. And every time I tried to use it, I couldn't, it's not symmetrical like it's every six feet it's a repeat like it was just impossible. I think I ended up; I used a chunk of it for-- to make a cover for my Serge. That's as far as I went with it. And then the skirt pattern came and I was like, oh, goodie. I can, I can make this sort of symmetrical on both sides because it buttons up the middle.

And then when I cut the pieces, I was like, this looks like a stage with curtains and it's just opening over my crotch. And I was like, I've never really made a bold move to try to pattern match before because I find it very difficult and sometimes you just want to bang out a garment and I wanted to bang out this garment. And I was like, there's no banging out this garment because this matching situation is crazy. But the pockets were the best feature of the skirt, right? It's the Fiore skirt from the closet case. And it's got, just got these neat curved patterns set at an angle and there's just no way am I going to be able to do this. And I walked away from that for probably three weeks before I got brave enough to cut those pap pockets. Even cutting them, made me nervous, sewing them on there was a whole other situation and they're still like, I am so proud of me on that way because the two sides of that skirt may look sort of symmetrical, but it's not that print those little orange pips and seeds are just, they are all kinds of wacky. And I was super proud to get that accomplished. I'm not sure the next time I'm going to try that again.

Lisa Woolfork: It looks wonderful. And I may, I really,

Bekah Havens: Thank you

Lisa Woolfork: Again, once again, I'm shocked that you say that this was your first-time pattern matching because I've been really, you know, jazzed about pattern matching for almost my entire sewing career and what you were doing was almost exactly what I do. Do you know? And so like, it's just like, I just thought you were, you know, we had been doing this awhile and of course, you stack it up, you do the pen and you flip it back, you're checking it, you cut it, you go. And that's what I thought you'd done. And you know, which you ultimately obviously did because it was, that's really good,

Bekah Havens: It did work I mean, sometimes it's just like, wow, that landed on the first try. And it's like, you know, you feel like a gymnast with a dismount. You're just like, oh,

Lisa Woolfork: I know, right?

Bekah Havens: 10.0

Lisa Woolfork: Guess what 10, 10 like throw my hands in the airwave them like I just don't care. I mean, seriously, I have had those. Did something like that I just, I don't know what it was I forgot-- it was something obviously that I was sewing and me just kind of zip zoom then I was like, ooh, look at that.

Bekah Havens: Look at that

Lisa Woolfork: That looks perfect and deliberate. And it was neither I did not intend for this to turn out so well. So

Bekah Havens: Accidental perfection is the best kind,

Lisa Woolfork: Accidental perfection is the best kind absolutely. So, I want to talk about why I wanted to talk to you about all the machines. And one of the things, one of the reasons that I wanted to talk about this with you is because I think you have a lot of different kinds of machines and you not only have like home sewing machines, like many of us, have, you also took the step to go into doing industrial machines. And I remember following you through this journey or this process, you're thinking process as you were, I think this might've was it a year ago or since.

Bekah Havens: It was about a year,

Lisa Woolfork: It was about a year ago. And so, I remember you were making something with buttonholes and your sewing machine was being a pain in the neck and it was not doing right and it kept messing up the buttonholes and you were getting upset and frustrated. And I was like, well, I think she just needs to get, you know, a machine that does better buttonholes. Like I got a baby lock. I love mine. I press the button, I put the button in there, I press the button, it sews, the buttonholes I have yet to have a problem with button holes and that machine. And you know, so buttonholes, aren't a problem for me. All I do is put the fabric under there, put a button in it, press the button, and go. And so, when you took a different approach and you said, I am going to buy a buttonhole machine and I was like, why on earth? If she says she's a sophomore sewist she's been sewing for what 2 years now.

Bekah Havens: That was a bold move

Lisa Woolfork: And then she's about to get an industrial button holder.

Bekah Havens: Button holder yeah

Lisa Woolfork: And I hardly even know what that is. And like, you know, then it's like, well, I've been sewing 20 years and I ain't got no button holder you know how she was, she needs that, -- she's going to be opening up a buttonhole shop.

Bekah Havens: It was a Rabbit hole fell it

Lisa Woolfork: And you were doing this research and then you came up in this so this was me like being like petty Patty and being like, I don't know why she gets to have one. I ain't got one blah, blah, and blah. I was showing some friends once you finally got it. And you finally got it set up. And I watched one of those videos and I showed some friends, some sewing friends, we watched that thing and y' all--.

Bekah Havens: It's inspiring.

Lisa Woolfork: When I tell you, this machine is nothing like I had ever seen before. You know this, when you start, you can say things like, Oh, this machine is fire, but this machine actually.

Bekah Havens: Actual straight fire yeah

Lisa Woolfork: Actual laser cutting.

Bekah Havens: Fire.

Lisa Woolfork: Fire, actual fire, you press the button. Well, I can't even explain it. I'm going to let her explain it. But what I saw was she sat down, she pressed the button in three seconds, and there was a buttonhole. And then there was smoke coming out of -- not only did it, so the buttonhole, it cut.

Bekah Havens: It cut it

Lisa Woolfork: With a freaking laser. So, you got to tell us about company Jack or I think that's who you got it from.

Bekah Havens: Yeah it was a Jack

Lisa Woolfork: I hadn't heard of them.

Bekah Havens: Me neither

Lisa Woolfork: So, tell us about how you fell down the buttonhole machine rabbit hole and came up with a Jack.

Bekah Havens: Okay so, this was a long journey, but I'm going to give you the reader's digest version of this journey. So, my first machine was my aunt's like the late eighties Kenmore and it was a great machine and then it just gave up the ghost. It just wasn't, it couldn't do it anymore and it was very slow and I decided I wanted to keep sewing. So, I purchased a really nice mechanical is it Genomes or Genome? I don't even know how to pronounce it.

Lisa Woolfork: I think its Genome.

Bekah Havens: It's a genome okay? Non-electronic non-computerized Genome machine it's called like a Magnolia, something it was wonderful still has it. And it would, I was sewing these garments and then it came time to do the buttonholes for things, and it just could not do it. And a sewing machine. Remember by all the machines, a sewing machine came across my plate via the Facebook marketplace. And it was a much more advanced Genome machine. It's actually a quilting machine. It's the Oh, what's it called? A QCP 8,000 something or another right? It's 10 times the machine I originally had and at an incredible price and I could not resist it because I like machines I also like a good sale and I bought it specifically because I assumed this will certainly be able to just do buttonholes that I require, right. Since this is an upper-level consumer machine and boy howdy, was I wrong? It just couldn't do it. And I thought it was me and I tried, I changed all the variables. I tried the wonder tapes, I tried stabilizer, I tried everything, I trimmed my scenes back further, and I greeted them I did everything you're supposed to do. And it just would botch 60% of all buttonholes and I was --

Lisa Woolfork: Let me tell you what was so frustrated. And I know everybody will, many people have been there. I can say, I have been there many times you do a sample buttonhole on your sample fabric. And then you put your real fabric in there and the machine is like, ha-ha bitch

Bekah Havens: Ha-ha destroyed. And I was like, I want to make sure it's I can't make shirts. If I -- I was scared to, sew one buttonhole sewing six or seven was out of the question. Right? And it was really frustrating and I was on Instagram, you know, because obviously, you know, Instagram's got the best sewing community ever. And I, someone in New York and I wish I could remember who it was had taken their jeans, that they had sewn to the garment district and paid someone else to do a buttonhole and I was like, wow

Lisa Woolfork: Yes,

Bekah Havens: That because that's done a no home genomic, nothing that is some serious industrial situation. And I saw the machine in action and it was just this giant honking metal beast. And I was like, well, I certainly can't have one of those in my house, but I want to know if there's a consumer version of a buttonhole machine. I mean, there's, serge's, there's the blind hem. Why not? Right?

Lisa Woolfork: That's right.

Bekah Havens: It turns out no, there really is not a, I mean, someone could make a lot of money with this concept of a, you know, a home Sewers button holder, doesn't exist. And again, Instagram provides partly because our phones are always listening to us. So, it's sort of started dumping these you know, other posts in my lap of a company called Jack and I'd never heard of it. And it, you know, they do industrial sewing machines. It turns out they are, you know, one of the larger industrial machine suppliers basically on the entire another side of the planet, right? So, these gigantic garment factories that make most ready to wear clothes, a lot of them are using this company's machines and it looked as if they wanted to sort of taking a turn into commercial, into consumer sewing. So, they do have, you know, lock stitch machines for really decent prices. I just, you know, I would love to have one. I just can't justify it.

Lisa Woolfork: Jack if you listen you can send us the [inaudible21:52] and we will be so [inaudible21:56]

Bekah Havens: Every so grateful.

Lisa Woolfork: We really awesome people Jack, Jack you just have to bet to know us well and.

Bekah Havens: Hashtag, all the same, you know,

Lisa Woolfork: Yeah, exactly, and Bekah really loved the machines. I would love them too if I had one so. I will put my address at the end of the episode.

Bekah Havens: And how to contact me, well, they already know how to contact me because I had a prolonged back and forth with their representative when I found out they had not one, but two different industrial button holders for sale to the public. And one of them was computerized and one was not. And after much back and forth and much hemming and hawing about it because I mean, I can't lie. That was not a cheap machine, but as I said, I don't have kids, I don't travel. I don't do much. I have a lot of free time and all I want to do is sew and the buttonholes were ruining it for me.

Lisa Woolfork: A 12-hour shift is no joke.

Bekah Havens: Yeah, it's no joke.

Lisa Woolfork: On three days off four days. I mean like you are putting in the work when you're there. So, it's a work hard and plays hard and we're not going to let buttonholes get in the way of that.

Bekah Havens: Oh, and they were getting in the way the buttonholes were breaking my heart and ruining my, peak, my garments. And I was just like, you know what, I'm going to do this thing. And I did that thing and it took weeks to ship because it came straight from China and it was unbelievable to put together because the computer components are just mind-blowing, it's just wires everywhere. But when I fired that thing up and it sewed perfect keyhole buttonhole, my mind was blown. It's got a, -- I mean, it's sort of terrifying, right? It's this huge metal thing it's got this incredibly sharp knife. You do not want your fingers near this thing. But it blows out buttonholes in any shape you want in a second, it's crazy. And it's just liked my little, you know, industrial sewing corner of my, of my sewing room. And it makes me so happy I've never regretted buying that thing.

Lisa Woolfork: I am so glad to hear that because I can tell you're delighted with it because you know you, but you were able to solve a sewing problem that you had and to do it in a way where you don't have to ever worry about it again.

Bekah Havens: That's how it feels.

Lisa Woolfork: You know? And so, like you might have said you have some tensile or whatever, and it's really irritating and frustrating. You're like, oh my gosh, the last thing I want us to slide, slip, and slide the fabric underneath this presser foot. But you don't have to worry about that. If you want to do a buttonhole and you pop it under there and off it goes, I have seen it in action and I feel like it would probably even be better demonstrated if they recorded a video and like 50% time and like slid it down, slowed it down to like, you know, half speed.

Bekah Havens: It's shocking.

Lisa Woolfork: It's hard to even watch like I'm like I blink and I missed it.

Bekah Havens: It's gone.

Lisa Woolfork: You know? So, not only what, like for mine, of course, it takes more time so like I said, I love mine. I put the button in, I press the button, the buttonholes there [inaudible24:58], but then I take it off. I always put freight check on the front and back of my zipper and I'm sorry if my buttonholes. And then I let it dry and then I use my buttonhole knife. And I press down with the knife to cut it. Bekah Havens: And hope you don't cut through it.

Lisa Woolfork: It will definitely, well, I have a little board that goes underneath it so I can press through it But I'm always hoping that I'm like going straight down and I don't like lean in one direction or next myself in the chest with a buttonhole knife.

Bekah Havens: Try explaining that to an ER, nurse

Lisa Woolfork: Exactly, right? Are you sure you don't have substance abuse problems? I do but that's not why we are here okay. We're not here to talk about, you know, my issues. We are here to talk about this buttonhole that tried to kill me as nothing with when I drink or if I drink.

Bekah Havens: of course, not

Lisa Woolfork: This is not the situation we find ourselves into today nurse. What we are doing is trying to. -


Bekah Havens: Fix me.

Lisa Woolfork: [inaudible25:56] a big hole in my chest because buttonholes are stupid. And I wish I had got cat fished into an industrial sewing machine like missbehaven has told us to do

Bekah Havens: I'm telling you; I mean, it was the three were definitely moments where I had regret because it was terrifying. I mean, it's like it showed up and weighed like 250 pounds. Like it was unbelievable to put together.

Lisa Woolfork: Oh my gosh it's like getting a new roommate

Bekah Havens: My husband looked at and he was like, you've got to be kidding me that this is what you bought. And he, because he's the one who had to put the whole thing together. I mean, he and I spent a couple of days trying to figure this out and you know, it's got this giant manual that is just it's I mean, it put Ikea manuals to shame. It was just like arrows and it was just crazy

But we got it, and it threads like a regular mechanical machine.

Lisa Woolfork: Okay

Bekah Havens: Which thank God because the threading is no fun you know, when threading is bad, it's it makes you want to cry, but it threads fairly easily. I do I always do a practice or two you know, I make my little dummy mock-up of like, well, this is the number of layers of the thing I'm about to make. And I'll just do a test one and then I just go for it. And it's just like Bing, Bing done, done it feels so good. And the regret was brief only because I was like, dang, I really only does one thing, is it worth it, for one thing, you know? But I just felt so happy with the machine that I had that I didn't want to upgrade my sewing machine again, just to get buttonholes and potentially have it failed. I'm also one of those people that have like 20 single-use kitchen gadgets. So, this is just kind of who I am.

Lisa Woolfork: You say my lemon zester, my lime zester.

Bekah Havens: Right yogurt machine, a mixer a [inaudible27:40] like this is just what I do. So, now I do it for sewing.

Lisa Woolfork: That is incredible. So can you talk about some of the different types of buttonholes that you can do with that machine? You mention the keyhole was the first one and so like, what are some of the other ones I know we know that you know, the machines have different types, you know, you want a keyhole for a certain type of opening you want one that's squarer. What kind of things have you been really excited about to find in the new machine?

Bekah Havens: This what's cool about it and it was very overwhelming at first because it will literally do anything you tell it to, but in your sort of having to have a, you know, you have to know what measurements you want, et cetera, et cetera, it can do the buttonhole you want down to, you know, the density on each side, you can make all four different if you want, it will make a keyhole buttonhole, it'll make a violet, it'll do rectangles, it'll do ovals, It'll do rectangle on one end and oval on the other end, it'll do round.

It'll do round on one end and Keyhole on the other. It will do any combination of any hole you want. I think the maximum size maybe an inch, a whole inch, like it was just shy, like a coot button hole barely is as big as it'll get and it'll get as small as an around the islet. So, figuring out those dimensions was, was hard for me. Just interpreting the instruction manual, it was not easy for me, but it's got a lot of pictures which helps. And it came with a few pre-sets. So, what I'd been doing was sort of tackling the pre-sets and tweaking them to how I want it. So, then you can save them just like a memory, you know, a larger computerized machine and name them. So, I've got like missbehaven jeans, buttonhole, missbehaven shirt, button, because I'm a total dork like that missbehaven cuff buttonholes slightly smaller than the shirt buttonhole. Like just it's absurd in the wrong colour code. It's ridiculous. It's awesome.

Lisa Woolfork: Incredible and like the way you approach the machine, I'm looking at one of the videos, it looks like you're sitting at it almost at a side angle, like rather than--

Bekah Havens: Yes

Lisa Woolfork: Face the front of the machine with our shoulders square, with the, you know, with the wheel on our right and the, you know, but yours is totally different, it's almost like you're almost perpendicular.

Bekah Havens: You're completely perpendicular. Which this surprised me for some reason I'm not sure why, but because part of my, you know, research rabbit hole was like find every YouTube video of this machine. The only YouTube videos of this machine are from manufacturing companies in South Asia. And so just watching multiple videos of this thing, making piles of shirts, like it's so wild, like, so you know, and you do sit at the front, right?

So, it's sort of, it feels odd, it honestly feels like it's going to eat you because you're just like, you're just approaching it, head-on, you know, it's like, you are not the master of this machine, this machine, can you just get yah? That's what it feels like looking into the mouth of a monster. But it's kind of benevolent monster and.

Lisa Woolfork: It makes a good buttonhole it doesn’t make you cry or break your heart. So

Bekah Havens: Exactly, yeah, and you just--, it honestly operates very much like a plain sewing machine. You know, it's got a presser foot, it's got a foot pedal and you just slip the thing in it automatically closes it. You push the button and boom, it just, it does it. And then it releases the fabric like the presser foot automatic.

Lisa Woolfork: Wow, I mean, that is, really incredible. I want to take a quick break and we'll be back. We can talk about some of the other machines that you might have or might be leaning toward thinking about getting as well as some of your favourite upcoming projects, current projects, talk about your jeans sewing. And we had to tell everyone how you catfish me so, hold on everybody. We will be back we're going to take a quick break and we will be back in a bit.

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Lisa Woolfork: Welcome back everybody to the stitch, please podcast the official podcast of black women stitch. And I'm talking today with Bekah Havens who is also known as the tipsy pin cushion on Instagram. We've been talking about by all the machines because she has this amazing industrial buttonhole machine. And one of the questions I was going to ask Bekah is, has this experience with the industrial sewing machine made you think seriously about getting other industrial sewing machines? I know some people really like or prefer industrial sewing machines because of the strength and power of the machine. I've seen some that come with like chutes that they have chutes of like I think like maybe it's for their sergers or they're over lockers that when rather than gathering it in a little basket as we have for our sergers the fabric goes down into a shoot, the trashcan that sits at your feet and it just goes down in there. The presser feet, all these things look different. I didn't know if when you were going down your buttonhole, rabbit hole, did it make you think like, well maybe I want to try to get another industrial machine another, you know.

Bekah Havens: So, the machines that I do have, right, I've got that the, my beloved Genome like whatever quilter, 8,900 or whatever it's actually called. And I do love that machine very much. It's fast enough for me. It does what I needed to do except for the buttonholes. And then the other machine I use for sewing is a like a late fifties' singer 99.

Lisa Woolfork: Okay

Bekah Havens: It's a three quarter, three quarter size machines. And it's wonderful for Denim. So that's its primary usage. I don't try to like, sew thick denim seems in layers on that quilting machine because I'm just terrified of destroying it. And so those, that's it for me for just sewing. I'm very tempted to sort of consolidating and only need the one machine. If I had like industrial access to the machine, it would perform both duties, but I'm a bit of a sucker for a decorative stitch and I don't use them often,

But that quilting machines full of them. And every once in a while, I just, I love being like, Ooh, a scallop rainbow stitch on a pocket. Like I get to do that, you know, and it sort of keeps me from wanting well, it doesn't keep me from wanting it, but it keeps me from requiring in quotes an embroidery machine or something that can do, you know, more detailed embroidery work. I'm tempted by those things, but it's really so unnecessary for me at this stage of my sophomore sewing career those two sewing machines served me well. And then I do have a, -- you had mentioned baby lock before I have a baby lock Serger. That is also my life, my love, my everything. And it does all the things I needed a Serger to do. I came across again, fell into my lap and old Husqvarna Viking, a cover stitch. Do you want to talk about a threading nightmare? Holy Toledo.

Lisa Woolfork: I am looking at it, I see that the Husky lot, 99, 36, it's a [inaudible36:43] is it challenging?

Bekah Havens: Oh, that machine, well, I'm used to the baby lock, right? So, I'm very used to like your Serger you just approach it very gently. Talk to it nice and like hit a button and it’s like flop it sucks up the thread and you are done.

Lisa Woolfork: I do love that baby lock self-threading Serger y'all I mean, it's really--

Bekah Havens: It's fun.

Lisa Woolfork: its fun and it's not frustrating.

Bekah Havens: Nope and that's what I want Sewing. Right? Like I don't want to be frustrated this is my happy place.

Lisa Woolfork: Habitat--

Bekah Havens: Yeah, I don't want to get so frustrated that I walk away, which is what had happened originally with the buttonholes. I don't want to experience that again because it makes the, it just makes it no fun. And as much as I wanted a cover stitch machine, I could not justify a self-threading one because those are terribly expensive and I don't sew enough knits to really justify it.

Lisa Woolfork: Right, that makes sense.

Bekah Havens: Yeah, but this one will, and I had bought up button holder I mean like that's sort of way they shot my wide on the large purchase with the button holder, but I, this one came into my lap at a very reasonable price and steel really? I could not say no. And I've threaded it once because it took an hour and a half. It's extremely challenging, you know? And of course, after I purchased it when I went on the internet and looked, everyone said the same thing, they were like, this is the crazy town to threading, you know? And they were right. So, everything's getting hot pink cover-stitching because I don't want to ever change the threat again. Everything is hot pink, that's it

Lisa Woolfork: Oh, my gosh oh, my God. You know,

Bekah Havens: And that's it for me and machines.

Lisa Woolfork: Well that's not actually it because look at her, see y'all missbehavens is absolutely right because I know that you and I have a machine in common that's a bit of a gem.

Bekah Havens: Do we?

Lisa Woolfork: Yes, we both have a simplicity bias table.

Bekah Havens: Oh my God, you're right, that does count as a machine. I was thinking that is more of like an accoutrement, but you are right. That actually is a super special little machine that we have in common I am thrilled to own.

Lisa Woolfork: That I am telling y'all if you ever see one at an estate sale or somewhere at Goodwill or somewhere and where some-- a person is you know,

Bekah Havens: Selling it and doesn't know what they have.

Lisa Woolfork: Doesn't and they're like, I don't like bias tape. I don't want this thing.

Bekah Havens: Right

Lisa Woolfork: Well I think yeah if you ever see one of these, it's a little tiny thing. It's about the size of a full-sized tissue box. And what it does is that it takes strips of bias and you just roll it on. It feeds it in, it, folds it and it presses it.

Bekah Havens: It's an amazing

Lisa Woolfork: And it is so amazing. I bought mine maybe seven years ago from Joanne's because simplicity at the time was still selling them. And then I kept seeing some of the notions for it on Tuesday morning, which is a shop here in the U S y'all, who that sells all types of like overstock goods, that in all different, it's kind of like a [crosstalk], right?

Bekah Havens: Like an odd lot

Lisa Woolfork: It's like an odd lot so it's a lot like an odd lot, and they divided into sections. Like they don't have grocery as big lots has, it's more like they have luggage, they've got cooking, they've got craft things, they've got bedding. They have just tchotchkes, you know, --

Bekah Havens: And they have the pieces to the Bias machine.

Lisa Woolfork: Yeah, they had tips, I bought like five different tips.

Bekah Havens: Oh, that's nice

Lisa Woolfork: They had a thing that you can use to roll it on. And so, the upshot of this y'all is that what it saves you from is using the manual bias tips, where you move that metal pointy thing along, and your iron kind of follows it some people--

Bekah Havens: And burn your fingers off.

Lisa Woolfork: It helps your fingers. When I first got mine, I think I did something similar to you. I see that when you got yours you made you instantly made a mountain of [inaudible40:52] 12 yards of the rainbow sky [inaudible40:55].

Bekah Havens: 15 yards of that stuff.

Lisa Woolfork: Not only did I make 12 yards, I made 12 yards out of like 25 different fabrics. So, I have like actual, if I have, I don't know, 75 yards of bias tapes that I have made in my house right now, if I have 75, I got 200 because I went bananas. Do you hear me?

Bekah Havens: Yeah open your own Bias shop.

Lisa Woolfork: I am telling you, I just loved it. And so, you're using yours for Hong Kong finishes. So, tell me about how you came across that bias tape machine because those are scarce as hen's teeth.

Bekah Havens: I honestly do not know where that came from because I got that as a present for my husband for Christmas. And it was the kind of, so when we do gift-giving, we make each other, we've been married for quite some time. So, like surprising each other and stuff. We make little lists of like five or six items and all and exchange the list. And then like a minor surprise when you opened your gift on Christmas. And that was on my list. I never, in a million years thought he would find it. It was just, I, you know, we each put on like one major item and like six smaller items. That was my major item. And because I knew it would require a hunt and dammit, he found that thing. I was, that's the first Christmas surprise I've had in a long time.

Lisa Woolfork: That's like speaking your love language.

Bekah Havens: Yes, my love language is Bias tape. Who knew?

Lisa Woolfork: Before we get into talking about the, I want to talk about like your Mardi Gras dress and with [inaudible42:41] your project. So, here's the thing with me and miss tipsy pin cushion. This is what happens when you follow people on the internet, you know how your parents--.

Bekah Havens: This is going to be about the taping, isn't it?

Lisa Woolfork: This is not about the taping; this is about the catfishing. That's what this is about. Let's just say what it's really about. So, I was following her on Instagram and she had this beautiful picnic dress. It had this it had a bias, -- it had a bodice that was gathered and one of them, and it had spaghetti straps that were adjustable. And one of the reasons I liked it was because you didn't have to wear a bra because it was lined on the inside. It held everything in. And it was just really pretty. And it was like, gosh, that is a nice dress, why don't you tell me more about it? So, she proceeds to tell me that this is the, I think it was called a picnic dress from somebody, somebody, and me being apparently the copycat I am was like, Oh, well I like dresses like that. And I love that silhouette. And I love the bodice and you know; I can make those spaghetti straps pretty easily. Because I've got this notion that I love it's great for making straps, blah, blah, blah. I'm going to get this pattern. So, I get the pattern, I pay my actual US money for it. And it arrives in my email and opened it up and I proceed to look and I'm looking to the left and look into the right. And I did not see an AO format.

Bekah Havens: [Inaudible44:17]

Lisa Woolfork: Exactly [inaudible44:20] and I'm looking, I'm telling you Bekah I was so confused that I wrote to the pattern designer. And I was like, excuse me miss the AO format pattern needs seems to be missing from my order. And she was like, oh--

Bekah Havens: Oh no.

Lisa Woolfork: I'm sorry we don't have-- and I told her, I said, as I tell anybody, I cannot tape patterns because it reduces my will to live. So, I am not able to tape a pattern together. Like I can't do it because it's like, you know, it's a life-threatening condition. So, she was like, she explained to me that you really only had to take the bodice piece together as she gave the dimensions. Because apparently there are some people out there that are taping that skirt together, which is a giant rectangle.

Bekah Havens: Nobody should do that

Lisa Woolfork: And I was like, wait, what now?

Bekah Havens: Yeah

Lisa Woolfork: And so, yeah, so she was very kind and was like, no, yeah, you only need to worry about taping the bodice and that was maybe six pieces of paper and I live with that not that I've forgiven you, but I can probably live with that, so

Bekah Havens: But it's worth it, it's such a good bodice. I like you love taping PDFs together. I know people love the immediacy of it. I just, even with a giant cutting table that is, you know, the appropriate ergonomic height and with the sharpest blade in the universe, I still don't want to do it. I don't like doing it. I don't like cutting them. I don't like taping them. They're never lining up properly because I get lazy then they're crooked. Like it's just it's, not for me. And think it was you, you had introduced me to a PDF, right? This is the incident that spurred me discovering that.

Lisa Woolfork: Yes, I am glad you put that on the record because I gave you actually helpful information.

Bekah Havens: You did, actually, you saved my life.

Lisa Woolfork: I told you about-- I did and in exchange you catfish me, in exchange for me, giving you useful and helpful information to help make your sewing like better. You gave--

Bekah Havens: I ruined it

Lisa Woolfork: Me information that made my life hard so I don't know what kind of friendship this is supposed to be, but I'm just saying

Bekah Havens: I like to think of it, now hold on now. I like to think of it as that I introduce you to a six-page pattern for a bodice that is great in the summertime that does not require a brassiere. I like to look on the bright side of that exchange

Lisa Woolfork: Well that's fair because I have worn that dress because I do love it and it is so great.

Bekah Havens: t's a great dress. That is the-- it's called the picnic dress it's by a Lila and June. She has a couple of dress patterns and I believe a skirt pattern as well I think it's a wrap skirt and they, yes, they do not have AO's so you just got to go for it. But yet no, it breaks my heart. When I see people taping things together and they taped 60 pages of it and 40 of it is a square gathered skirt-like, don't do that to yourself. That's just silly.

Lisa Woolfork: Yeah

Bekah Havens: You know how to cut a rectangle, your know-how,

Lisa Woolfork: Exactly you deserve better in life.

Bekah Havens: Yeah, nobody needs that.

Lisa Woolfork: Step into the light. And so, you've been a lot of fun costuming so one of the great things about I think living in New Orleans is what I've been able to introduce from talking to some folks like Patrice J bridal, who is from New Orleans and now lives in St. Louis is that she says that there are so many special occasions growing up in this community. And so, one of the things I thought was so remarkable was Mardi gras dress. I believe it was this--

Bekah Havens: Thank you

Lisa Woolfork: Gorgeous yellow dress that you worked on. And you said one of the keys to that dress was your overcast foot, which I thought was interesting because since you'd have a searcher and you have a cover stitch, you have these things, but you kind of resort it to the overcast foot. What made you choose that rather than, you know, one of the other machines, you have?

Bekah Havens: A couple of different things. So, I had that pattern had this insanely large floats. It had, it was this double layer of, I mean, it probably was enough flat to wrap around the world twice, but when you gathered it, it was, you know, across the front of the shoulders and around the back. And the edge of it needed to be either a rolled edge or somehow finished. And it was this sort of poly knitting that I was using. And I, there is a rolled him foot and setting on the, on the baby lock serger that I adore. But this stuff, I didn't want to make it any shorter and I didn't want to cut it.

Lisa Woolfork: Right.

Bekah Havens: And I didn't want to cut it unevenly. And also, probably there was hot pink in the serger and I probably didn't see, it did not want to fix that either. And I remember this, you know, the genome 8,900 QCP quilting monster has a ton of feed. Most of which I don't use, you know, I use the regular presser foot and the zipper foot and sometimes the stitching of the dish fudge, very major favourite of mine. And I remembered it had an overcast foot.

Lisa Woolfork: Oh my gosh that [inaudible49:35] is incredible.

Bekah Havens: Oh, I love it. That is a true foot of the people. I mean like, God bless people who want to like slip stitch their bodice linings to the waist. No, thank you. I will stitch in the dish that stuff every time,

Lisa Woolfork: Every time.

Bekah Havens: Yeah

Lisa Woolfork: And so, the overcast foot came, it was like the real MVP you said because they allowed you to do something that you thought you wouldn't be able to do. Do you know?

Bekah Havens: I taught I was going to have to leave it raw, just because I was like, I'm just stuck with this length of this I didn't want to shorten it. You know, accidentally with a knife of the serger and I mean, you can lock it, but then you still it'll get caught or eat the net and it'll get bunchy, but this was perfect that overcast cast foot is, was a real surprise. I'd never used it before and it worked perfectly on the first go. It just, it has a funny little inset with a funny little brush thing and just the three just loops around in this perfect. It very hard to describe it, like mechanically the thread like it makes the stitch wraps around the end, comes up and just kind of keeps wrapping, but not as tightly as a rolled edge if that makes sense.

Lisa Woolfork: Right

Bekah Havens: That it holds it all together so it never unravelled. And it looked really cute. I used a contrasting thread and looked adorable and I think going to use that foot a lot more often

Lisa Woolfork: And the finished project. And again, y'all, I urge you to check out the tipsy pin cushions Instagram page, because she's got a really beautiful set of photographs of her in this dress. Which is, I don't want to spoil it because I want you all to go check it out. It's really a beautiful yellow dress.

Bekah Havens: Thank you

Lisa Woolfork: And the shoulder setting is just really, really beautiful.

Bekah Havens: I love that dress.

Lisa Woolfork: It's a lot to love. I mean, it really is it's a real piece, you know, it really is. And you can tell that it's made with love and you can tell that it's the celebratory piece for Mardi Gras you can, all of the things I think that you were hoping for with that dress definitely came to fruition.

Lisa Woolfork: So, I think that's really a big coyote.

Bekah Havens: Thank you

Lisa Woolfork: So, we talked about some of the favourite projects that you've worked on. Can you share what you're working on right now and what you think you might be doing next?

Bekah Havens: Right now, I am doing two different things. I will like pre-pandemic I was doing one thing and then I kind of got side-tracked for the reasons I'm about to explain that are going to make a lot of sense. So, I sew a lot of dresses you know, it's easy to get sucked into pretty dress patterns, they're fancy, they're beautiful you just, you know, you get this opportunity to make a dress fit you properly, which is always amazing. You don't necessarily get a lot of wear out of them though. Because I don't have that many special occasions right. So, I wanted to really work on like a capsule wardrobe of everyday clothes that maybe will be less exciting, but that would get more wear. And that's where the orange slice comes in. The orange slice skirt was, was a piece of that capsule and then the pandemic kind of happened and we were all sort of, you know, thrown for this bizarre emotional loop and everything was turned upside down and the world kind of went bananas and I instantly was like, I must sew the fanciest ridiculous dress, I can. Like I need the fantasy.

Lisa Woolfork: [Inaudible52:54]

Bekah Havens: Yeah, totally bring on the fantasy time. So, like I am back in fantasy land, I'm actually working on a, it's a Gordy charm pattern called the Liz dress. And it's just a total, you know, 1950s bombshell movie star looking bodice.

Lisa Woolfork: Yes

Bekah Havens: It just cleavage and --, you know, beautiful shoulder straps that are very wide. And it's got 6 billion pieces and it's underlining it boning and all of the things. So that's what I'm actually working on now.

Lisa Woolfork: Oh my gosh, I cannot wait. Does it have any buttons?

Bekah Havens: It does not have any buttons but you know what it has?

Lisa Woolfork: [Inaudible53:30]

Bekah Havens: It has a locked zipper, which is something I've never been able to do properly. I always just end up chickening out and throwing in an invisible zip because that's just the zippers I know how to do, but this time I'm going to make the commitment and try to do it properly and get a nice vintage looking locked zipper on this thing.

Lisa Woolfork: I do not think that a lock-- I did not think to put in an invisible zipper is somehow a cheat because personally, I like the way I prefer the way invisible zippers look.

Bekah Havens: I do too

Lisa Woolfork: I just prefer it, I know it's like, well, I guess if I have these skills, I should do this lock zip, but I just don't like them. I just don't think--

Bekah Havens: I like the way it looks

Lisa Woolfork: I like the way they look, but you know, if you want to preserve a pattern, if you want a pattern, repeat in a certain fabric and you want to preserve that look and I guess because maybe I just loved fussy, cutting so much. I just, and it's also surprisingly easy to put in an invisible zipper. Like

Bekah Havens: I find that they're easy too, I honestly use, and I almost never put in regular zippers. I almost invariably put in an invisible at first it was the first zipper I learned how to do it was just the, you know, I, I, when I started sewing, I had a book that had projects in stages. And when it got to the stage of like, now we're going to make a dress and it's got a zipper and it's an invisible zipper. And I was like, okay, you know, like I, it didn't, -- I didn't perceive them to be more difficult than anything else. I now perceive them to be easier. But the pattern is designed to have this lock zipper. So, I'm just going to let go and let zip and try it.

Lisa Woolfork: You are going to do it and you're going to do it well, just like you do everything else.

Bekah Havens: Oh, thank you

Lisa Woolfork: Or you're going to find an invisible-- you're going to find a lock zipper machine. And then that's another thing that I can learn from me when you buy that lock zipper machine. That's going to come from thousands of miles away.

Bekah Havens: It's out there somewhere

Lisa Woolfork: That weighs 250 pounds. And your husband's going to be like, what the heck.

Bekah Havens: What you doing?

Lisa Woolfork: Bekah this has been so much fun.

Bekah Havens: This has been a blast

Lisa Woolfork: I am grateful that this was able to work out y'all we have, we had so many ups and downs trying to get this conversation going. But as I said, I knew it was going to be totally worth it. Can you tell us Bekah where people can find you on social media? Do you have other pages or do you concentrate most of your sewing stuff with the tipsy pin cushion?

Bekah Havens: I do all my entire sewing life and journey is solely on Instagram because that community is just, I mean, it kept me going. It's just, -- you shout out for help, help arrives. You see inspiration all the time. It's just a 24 hour a day, worldwide sewing Bonanza. And I love it. So yeah, my tipsy cushion account at Instagram is where I do my whole sewing life.

Lisa Woolfork: Excellent. Well, I will include links to that in the show notes, so people can follow you and follow you there, your sewing journey. And I think I would like to make sure that you feel fully promoted from sophomore sewist to junior sewist.

Bekah Havens: Oh, do you think I am ready?

Lisa Woolfork: Well, I mean, this is your program. I mean, I feel like you had, you said you wanted to have it as a four-year thing and you said maybe-- I feel like you could be pretty much senior. I think anyone who was like, you know, rocking a buttonhole machine qualifies as senior, but you don't feel that way. Let's just go ahead and say, junior.

Bekah Havens: Junior all right

Lisa Woolfork: You're in your third-year junior in your curriculum and we will check back in with you when you hit that senior year. I cannot wait to see what machines you own by that point.

Bekah Havens: All of them.

Lisa Woolfork: All of them. All right thanks so much this has been a wonderful chat.

Bekah Havens: Thank you, Lisa. It's been great.

Lisa Woolfork: Okay bye, bye.

Bekah Havens: Bye.

Lisa Woolfork: Okay, so

For joining us for this week's episode of The Stitch Please Podcast the Official Podcast of Black Women Stitch, the sewing group, where black lives matter. There are a variety of ways that you can support the program and you're doing it right now by listening to the Podcast, it does help us grow. Another way to do that is to rate the Podcast, review it, and subscribe to it. All of these things are ways that you can support the podcast without having to spend any money at all. If you would like to spend some money to support us, there are ways to do that as well. You can make direct donations to our Patreon site for monthly contributions, as well as one-time contributions to PayPal Cash app or Venmo. And finally, we have another cute, very adorable way for you to support The Black Women Stitch project.

It's a pin, a P I N enamel lapel pin. That's very cute. It's about two inches wide and one and a half-inch tall. And it's of The Black Women's Stitch logo. And that is $15 with free shipping to the U S. And so, if you drop $15 in the PayPal, Venom or Cash app accounts, and then send me your email, not email, if you send me your mailing address to my email, either at blackwomen', or you send me a direct message on The Black Women's Stitch Instagram page, we will put the pin in the mail to you again, free shipping, $15 for the pin. And all of this goes to support The Black Women Stitch project. Thank you again for joining us this week, come back next week and we will help you get your stitch together.

Hosted by Lisa Woolfork

Lisa is a fourth-generation sewing enthusiast who learned to sew while earning a PhD in African American literature and culture. She has been sewing for more than twenty years while also teaching, researching, and publishing in Black American literature and culture.

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