And Sew On…Reigniting Passion

Life is funny.

You can love something so much all your life and yet one day you wake up and find yourself in a rut. Tired. Burned out. It’s not that you–and by you, I mean me–hate what you’re doing. You still love it way down deep inside, it’s just not quite the same anymore. What used to hold so much excitement now feels lackluster and dull.

Shhhh….I’m going to tell you a secret. This happened to me with sewing and quilting. YIKES!!!!

Don’t get me wrong. I still love it.  I’m not leaving. I plan to be around for a long, long time.  But the same old stuff just wasn’t lighting me up like before.  I felt like something was missing. I needed something….more.

But…what?  I reflected a long, long time. I resisted an even longer time.  And then…I surrendered. Meet my new best friend, Buelah.

  • B – is for Brave, together we will bravely explore new territory.
  • U – is for (virtually) unbreakable…quite literally, she is an industrial machine.
  • E – is for exquisite stitches sewn, strong and straight.
  • L – is for love, my love for creating beautiful new items out of old stuff that would otherwise go into the trash.
  • A – is for able, because together we are.
  • H – is for happiness and the joy that has been returned!

Buelah is a Juki DU-1181N, single-needle, straight stitch, top and bottom feed industrial sewing machine. She is truly a WORK HORSE! She comes with a high capacity M bobbin, has her own Servo motor, and can sew up to 2,000 stitches a minute (not that we ever get close to that!). She has a max stitch length of 9mm and even has her own sexy knee lifter that can lift her presser foot up to 15mm.

Right about now you’re probably asking what on earth possessed me to purchase this machine. The short answer to that is: Bike Tubes.

As you may–or may not–know, I love recycling UP-cycling old bike tubes (and other things) into useful items. Yes, it’s true. I was able to sew bike tube on my domestic machine…but not without a lot of fiddling, prepping and babying because that machine was NOT made to sew rubber. Buelah? Well…she sews rubber like butter, baby. The truth is that–before I made the decision to get Buelah–I knew I was killing my domestic machine. That made me really sad. So I realized what I was doing was really limiting myself not doing the sewing/work that I crave the most because of course I couldn’t bear to kill my domestic sewing machine. I love her.

What have I created so far?  These are just a couple items. Several more prototypes are in the works.

UP-cycled Bike Tube and UP-cycled Bike Map Cell-Phone Wallet/Pouch gift I made for a dear cycling friend from the southern part of New Mexico
Inside of the UP-cycled Bike Tube/Bike Map Cell-Phone Wallet Pouch.
The patch pocket is an original block print by Tammy Schurr, my very dear friend and Adventure Cycling Event Director/Tour Leader.
Minimalist UP-cycled Bike Tube Zip Pouch
Minimalist Zip Pouch
Lined with UP-cycled DenimJeans

Sew what’s the point of all this?  Here are 3 points I can share right now: 

  • Exploration of my passion to recycle/UP-cycle old materials into something new, useful and beautiful through sewing.
  • Diversification of business for SewThankful. I will be sewing and selling a limited number of finished UP-cycled bike related items. Many bike friends and associates have asked me to sew and SELL my creations. This will be a new adventure and I am excited to see where it takes me.
  • Vehicle for development of new Sew TracyLee Designs patterns. The patterns will be adjusted and written for sewing quilting cottons and traditional fabrics.

What do you think?  I’m interested in your constructive thoughts and comments.  Please feel free to share below but note that in order to prevent spambots and junk I have to moderate each comment so it may take a little while for yours to post.

11 thoughts on “And Sew On…Reigniting Passion”

  1. Congratulations on finding your mojo again! What a great use for this fantastic machine. I’ve been avoiding my sewing room for a year or so…it gets the mess from all the rest of the house shifted into it, and it has become so cluttered that I cannot find anything in there…so I have given up my dream hobby. I even have a long-arm my DH got me the year I fell and broke a vertebra in my back hiding somewhere in there…My goal was to clean the whole room out in January and get busy on projects I have bought the materials for but put aside until later, and them my embroidery machine broke and had to go in to the shop for repairs. What’s the upside? you ask…well it will be gone for at least 3 weeks, and I can use that time to reorganize even more!!! Now to find that tool that changes ‘can’ into ‘will!’…I KNOW it’s in here somewhere! Merry Christmas, and thanks for getting me going, too!

  2. What a great idea! If I had the space I would also consider an industrial machine because I love to sew “outside the box”. Upcycling requires a bit of extra creativity, and you certainly nailed that!

  3. So great to hear you have a new skill and are back in the “groove” always enjoy hearing about your biking trips and your recipes are good too! Keep it all coming please!

  4. What a fabulous idea! Not only are you making use of materials that might end in a landfill, they look great. Good luck with your new venture. Glad you got your mojo back.

  5. I love that you have purchased an industrial sewing machine to use for your upcycled rubber tire tubes projects! I am a retired high school math teacher who use to head for the commercial garments classroom during my planning period when ever I was caught up with all my paperwork and sometimes when I just needed a break from that same paperwork. I was enthralled with the industrial machines and what the students could do with them. I never got a chance to sew on them–insurance and liability held me back–but I would have loved to try sewing on them.

    love the projects you shared here and especially love that the rubber will get a second life before eventually heading to Mount Trashmore.

  6. Hi- I really liked pouch made from tires. My friend who is a cancer survivor and took up biking to help keep herself fit, would love this pouch. She loves anything that is about bicycles. You mentioned you might sell these?? What would you be selling these for? Can you drop ship?

    My machine would never be able to do this type of heavy work.


  7. I have never sewed on bicycle tubes, but a lot of other things, (Tennis wind screens). I was born and raised in NM and raised my children there, but would be interested in buying the one with the NM map. I now live in Indiana, and miss good Mexican food, the blue, blue skies and of course, the mountains. Thanks, BP

  8. I love it!! I’m a recycler and think it’s wonderful that you’re using trash to make treasures. Keep on creating!!

  9. I love it! I have also debated an industrial machine for many moons. I absolutely LOVE your upcycled projects! YAY for finding your sew-jo again! ❤️❤️❤️

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