• Disability Dilemma

    Posted by deann-r on October 8, 2021 at 2:00 pm

    Creating things is a passion of mine. When Mom makes a quilt or sews together new couch cushions I want to do it as well. If you know how sewing machines work, they operate with a foot pedal. Not impossible, but also not practical using your forearm to control it. Years ago while browsing through a sewing center we came across a sewing machine that’s operated with a start/stop button. A dream come true! Using every penny from my savings, plus a little help from Mom, I purchased the sewing machine. I haven’t looked back.

    As my disability progresses my projects are fewer and far between. Not only that, to keep projects manageable I keep them small. Because I need assistance periodically, my sewing machine is at Mom’s house. That way we can work on projects together. It’s actually been almost a year since I had my machine out, but I want to make coasters for Christmas gifts. I’m a bit hesitant because honestly I don’t know if it’s something I can still do, but I want to give it a shot.

    With the machine set up and ready to go I press the start button. Nothing. Thinking I just didn’t press it hard enough I asked for a pencil with an eraser. Pressing it harder with the pencil, still nothing. Feeling defeated I’m thinking maybe it’s me. Asking Mom to press the button I expected it to take off, but nothing. Full disclosure, the start/stop button is temperamental after an incident involving my hand slipping on the joystick. But it’s never not worked.

    Mom whipped together a handful of the coasters for me. Although I chose the colors and patterns a piece of me is bummed I didn’t make them myself. Here’s my dilemma. Do I spend the money servicing and repairing the machine not knowing if it’s even something I can do anymore? For the limited amount I’d probably use it I can’t really justify fixing it. However, knowing I’d never sew again if I don’t is kind of devastating. But then again life goes on.

    Has there been a hobby you’ve sidelined because of your disability? What made you decide to hang up your hat?

    deann-r replied 2 years, 8 months ago 4 Members · 4 Replies
  • 4 Replies
  • viola

    October 8, 2021 at 2:31 pm

    Oh, DeAnn! I hate to hear when things we love stop working. I’d say don’t give up just yet on sewing overall. Perhaps you can find another sewing machine with an option to add a sensitive to touch switch to it (Would this be a start: https://www.thesewingdirectory.co.uk/sewing-without-a-foot-pedal/)? Do you have a friend who’s handy with mechanics? Maybe they could install one for you to a used sewing machine…


    I’d hate to see you miss out on an activity that brought you joy. Another idea would be to design sewing patterns on your computer for your mom (or whomever would be doing the sewing) for things that you would have liked to sew yourself. These are just ideas so whatever you decide I support ya!


    All the best,



  • blake-watson

    October 8, 2021 at 3:19 pm

    OMG I feel this. I don’t have an idea of what fixing it would cost but I think if you feel like you can potentially still press the button then you should consider doing it. Even if it turns out you can’t use it, you could still potentially use it with help. I don’t know, it seems better than the alternative of giving up on it altogether. That said, sometimes just moving on to another thing is a good move. On the whole, I like to do things that I know I can do rather than struggle with things that are difficult for me to do.

    I’ve lost a lot of things over the years. Some of them I did struggle to keep up until finally giving up on them. One thing I really miss is handwriting. When I was a kid in high school I would collect pens. I enjoyed doodling and writing in notebooks. I also miss typing on a physical keyboard. Even though I just spoke this sentence into existence faster than I ever could have typed it, it just doesn’t provide the same satisfaction as the tactile feedback of keys and the nice little clicking sounds.

    I feel the same about creating things. Over the years my particular outlet of creation might change somewhat but I think I would be devastated if I could ever create anything at all. I don’t know what it is but making things is just extremely important to me.

  • dennis-turner

    October 8, 2021 at 9:20 pm

    Not skilled with electronics, but replacing that button/connection should be simple and reasonably affordable. Look for a fix it person. When I was a kid they were almost in every town.  It might not be a perfect fit, but should be obtainable.

    I also hate losing the ability to do those things I used to love doing. Sometimes I can modify the hobby, but somethings just have had to go. I loved to do small carvings, but no longer have the hand strength for it.

    I continue to do what I can.

  • deann-r

    October 11, 2021 at 9:16 am

    Thanks for the words of wisdom as always!

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