Sewing a Labor of Love

Kathy Roberson is no stranger to the sewing world. She’s been sewing as a labor of love for members of her family for years. But when her granddaughter wanted a complete revamp of her bedroom, she knew she would need a well-equipped sewing machine to get the job done. After some research and coaxing from her husband, Kathy embarked on her DIY journey with a little help from Sailrite®. And she’s here to share her heartwarming story with us!

Q. What’s your history like with sewing?

For years I dreamt of having an industrial sewing machine. In my young adult life, I worked at three different sewing factories and knew what they were capable of. When I was 40, my husband and I refurbished a 1978 Toyota Corolla for our then 16-year-old daughter’s first car. We borrowed a portable industrial machine from a friend to sew the covers for the seats. 

From that time on I searched for a machine that would compare to it. (Wish we had the internet then!) I found a few cast-off factory machines, but there was always something to keep me from buying one. I’ve had a couple of well-known machines that worked on regular home materials fairly well. But they struggled to sew pillows, curtains and light upholstery projects. They would also break multiple needles with each project. 

My very expensive computer machine quit a couple of years ago and for a few months, I didn’t have a machine for the first time in my life. I finally bought a $100.00 machine to do simple mending jobs with. I have two sergers also that I enjoy and thought I would be fine with them. 

Some of Kathy’s sewing work.

Q. What led you to choose Sailrite?

Our granddaughter wanted her room updated because it was a little girl room and she is now a college student. We could have hired someone else to make the Roman Shades, but she wanted Gran to make them. So here I sat with yards of material and a sewing machine. I wondered whether the machine would make it through the simplest seams that the curtains would require. 

Imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon the Sailrite website. I was so mesmerized with the videos and products I found! I read tons of testimonies from people who were so happy with their machines. My dilemma was this: I will be 75 years old soon and my husband is 79, and I am wanting a new sewing machine! When I approached the subject of the machine, his response was, “YOU WANT WHAT?” I said, “It is a wonderful machine but if you are not on board with me getting it, I understand.” I didn’t cry and beg him to understand, but I wanted to!

I could not quit watching the videos on the Sailrite website. Like I said before, the videos just mesmerized me! I guess he caught me watching the videos one too many times because one day all of a sudden he came into my computer room and said, “Kathy if you want that machine, just order it!” I excitedly asked, “Are you sure?” You see, in our 55 years of marriage, we never buy anything that costs over a couple of hundred dollars without being in agreement. He answered, “Yes, you have wanted a machine like that for a long time.”  Happy is a calm word for the excitement I was feeling when I ordered my Sailrite® Ultrafeed® LSZ!

Kathy’s custom Ultrafeed table sewing space!

That very day I ordered the machine and two days later it was here. When the delivery truck pulled into the drive, I hurried out to meet the driver, which happened to be a lady. She opened the back doors of the vehicle and pulled out the first box and then the second and as she was helping us get them out, she said, “You are going to love this machine! I have one just like it and I love mine.” I asked her what type of things she sewed on hers and she replied, “Everything!  After a week of working, when the weekends come, I am sewing. I love it! It will sew anything. I sew for myself and my grandchildren! I just love it! I am here to tell you that you will not be sorry for buying this machine!” She sure eased any qualms that I could have had in buying the machine!

Q. What was your experience like using the Ultrafeed for your project?

We had no problem putting the machine together. I put the Monster® II Balance Wheel on it but thought that the handle was supposed to stay on the balance wheel. When I began using the machine, it shook more than I thought it should. I had watched the videos and thought I knew everything! My husband told me that the handle might be causing the machine to shake, but I wouldn’t listen to him. I contacted the website and they wanted me to film a video while sewing to see the shaking. I did that and then they told me that the handle was not supposed to be left on the balance wheel while sewing. It was only for sewing when you were sewing manually! Uh-oh! But how nice to have my problem solved so quickly. The Sailrite customer service could not have been any nicer to me. I took the handle off and have not had any problem with it shaking. Just injured my pride a little!

Sewing the Roman Shades and pillows on my Sailrite Ultrafeed LSZ was like cutting soft butter with a sharp knife. I never broke one single needle! It went over the thickest parts with no effort at all and made the project so much fun to sew. I have made curtains with welting the bottom before, but I’ve never ever enjoyed it like I did when I made these curtains. I watched the Sailrite videos for making welting and it was so easy with the LSZ. I didn’t have any issues or broken needles like I’ve had with the other machines in the past. I love it!

The way the Ultrafeed LSZ feeds the material to keep both top and bottom even is wonderful. The larger window shade had to have a seam in it. I had cut the material so that the pattern would match when seamed. My experience in the past is, no matter how close you cut to get the pattern right, the real test comes with how the machine feeds the material. 


In the picture where I am pointing to the seam, you can see that the Ultrafeed LSZ fed the material really well. I was so pleased after I got the seam finished and opened it up and the pattern was perfect! Unless you are close to the shade, as I am in the picture, you cannot tell where the seam is!  That seam was only sewn once. I was amazed because in the past I have had to rework things multiple times until I got it right. 

Q. What’s next for you in the sewing world?

My husband took a folding table we had and cut a hole in it and made a box so that the Ultrafeed LSZ would set down in it. That way I have a larger table area and if I need the machine to be portable it will just lift out. I made the skirt at the end of the table and the pockets at the front so that my notions would be handy as I need them. Under the table, I can store other sewing notions, thread, material, etc. Now when I need to sew, all my “stuff” is in one place! I LOVE IT!

Kathy’s granddaughter loved her new and improved room.

I haven’t decided what project I will try next, but I am confident that whatever it is, I have the machine that will sew it! I love my Sailrite LSZ machine.


Who We Are

Sailrite is your one-stop DIY shop! We are a passionate crew of do-it-yourselfers who strive to equip you with the supplies and how-to knowledge you need to tackle your next project. Do you want to learn upholstery, leatherwork, canvaswork, hobby sewing, bag making or more? We have the fabric, tools, hardware, sewing machines and notions you need to master any DIY. And even if you’ve never sewn before, our tutorials and how-to videos are designed for beginners and experienced crafters alike.

Start your DIY journey today:

32 thoughts on “Sewing a Labor of Love”

  1. What a wonderful story Kathy, just goes to show that age is no barrier when doing what you love. Fantastic work. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I’m happy for you that your husband agreed on purchasing your machine. You look so happy in the photo! Great work on your project

  3. I love all your stories but this one really hits home. I recently came across this website and fell in love with the machines. I too will have one someday. You did a wonderful job Mrs. Kathy. I look forward to seeing your next project.
    Thanks for sharing.

    1. Melodie Claxton, I am looking forward to reading ‘your story’ here after you receive your machine. I’m believing with you that it will be soon. Thank you for the compliment. I have material for another window treatment, but this time it is not a large window!

    1. Thank you Lisa Martinez! I’m believing with you that will get to purchase one soon so you can begin creating all the things your heart desires to!

  4. Kathy should (in my mind anyway) make sure she teaches her granddaughter to sew and then, when she doesn’t need it anymore, give it to her granddaughter! Hopefully many years from now…?

    1. Catherine, I would love to teach my granddaughter to sew. And I plan to when she has the time. She has said she would like to, so I look forward to sharing with her and instilling in her a desire to create with this wonderful machine! Thank you for your comments!

  5. I too feel so silly wanting a new sewing machine. I am 73 and have several home machines as well as overstitch and serger. none of them do well wi th leather or heavy canvas. I have been flirting with the fabricator for a few years and now just hoping it will go on sale someday soon. Your work is lovely. stay safe in this difficult time!!

    1. Hi Ellen,

      If you aren’t already signed up to receive Sailrite emails, be sure to do so! We often run storewide sales and sales specifically on our sewing machines. By signing up for our emails, you’ll be the first to know when the Fabricator is on sale. At the bottom of our website in the blue footer section, enter your email address and select which emails you want to receive from Sailrite.

    2. Ellen, I hope you saw the sale on the machine this past week and are now enjoying your new machine. I am so happy with mine! It is good to hear that someone knows how I felt regarding the age and ordering it. Thank you for the compliment and I hope ‘my story’ has encouraged you to place that order!!

  6. So proud of my sweet cousin. Kathy is married to my cousin and I’m very proud of him also. He gave her a wonderful gift. She is so talented with her sewing. Her granddaughter’s room was little girl sweet, but now it’s all grown up college girl. Great job, Kathy. Love you bunches.

  7. I am 82 and my husband is 83, like you we were mesmerized by the sail rite videos. I attempted to make a leather journal cover with my top of the line Babylock sewing /embroidery machine and kept breaking needles. I knew a sailrite would do it, but at my age and with this already very expensive machine, I felt silly and guilty wanting another machine. We have a fairly good stock of soft leather that I knew would be of no use so disregarding age and fancy machine, we ordered the sailrite. Now trying to learn exactly how to work it well. Filling the bobbin and inserting the needle did prove a challenge for these aging eyes, but sews the leather like butter.

    1. Hi Doris,

      We’re thrilled you are enjoying your Ultrafeed Sewing Machine. If you have any questions regarding how to operate the machine, the Guidebook that comes with your Ultrafeed package has all the information you need. There is also an Ultrafeed Setup & Use playlist on our YouTube channel. And, you can always call or email us — we’re happy to help our customers get the most out of their machines!

    2. Doris English, I love your comments of feeling guilty and silly and hearing how you were mesmerized with Sailrite’s videos, like I was. I hope you have ordered the new feed dog that Sailrite has for the soft leather. I ordered it for sewing regular lighter materials and it works WONDERFUL! It wasn’t hard to change. It works great with the masks that I have been making for the hospice office. I know I’m going to enjoy my machine even more than ever with it. It is a challenge to learn new things at our ages, but we need things to challenge us and keep our mind off COVID-19. Happy sewing to you and your husband!

    1. Jessica Roush, after reading your story, and seeing the beautiful pictures of your work, I thought my simple window treatment would never make it to the Sailrite blog!! When I was growing up my brother-in-law had horses that he let me enjoy riding. I baby-sat my two nephews and during the summer days after we did our household chores we saddled up their ponies and the gentle old mare that I was able to ride and rode the hills of TN around their home by the creek! What fun. One of my nephews is a horse trainer. Being a horse lover myself, made your blog extra special to me. Thank you for complimenting my work!

  8. Kathryn , Your story was so sweet and interesting ,,,You sure make us proud down in This neck of the woods . You’re so talented ,the Roman shades ,you made ,are beautiful … Wish you were closer ,Chris ,my son ,is building a house and needing someone to make drapes and shades ,,I loved your story ,,and I love you .❤️

    1. Thank you for reading “my story” Sherry Peters! Christy already has brought me several yards of material to make a Roman shade for her bedroom, but I’m not interested in doing window treatments for an entire house right now!! I wish I could see Chris’ new home. Post some pictures on Facebook when it is finished. I love you comments and I love you too! <3

  9. Your story makes me want to learn to sew. I’m glad you got what you wanted because you deserve the best.

    1. RJ Dunn, Oh how happy your comment makes me! Thank you for liking ‘my story’ and for saying I deserve to have the best. Sailrite is the best machine for me! If you are not watching the Sailrite videos, I hope you will soon, because they sure made me want to begin sewing again. Thanks again for your comments!

  10. Wonderful story and beautiful results! I too have debated over the past several years about getting a ultrafeed because of my age . However at 69 years I thought- ” Why Not” ! So a few months ago I purchased my machine and love it. My first project was making 20 large tote bags from heavy duck fabric for the rescue mission. It sewed everything with such ease and I was so very happy with the end results. Living at the lake I have a lot of different covers to sew and maintain . My oldest son has been watching all the wonderful Sailrite videos and he’s excited to start sewing lessons this summer so when I can no longer sew he can take over! My only regret- I wished I had bought it sooner!

    1. What a wonderful story you have Janet Rose Elwood! I would love to see your bags. I recently ordered the new feed dog for my Sailrite, and I love it. If you ever sew lighter-weight material you might consider ordering one. It isn’t hard to change and it is amazing how well it works on the cotton material. So glad your son is watching the videos and is interested in sewing. He will enjoy your machine when you can no longer sew but in the mean time you will get to enjoy it together. blessings to you both. Thank you for your comments!

  11. Kathy, you are so very talented. John and I are so happy you got your “dream machine”. I have seen your talent at work so many times, and you will only get better. You and George are so very special and we love you so much. Keep up the good work, and remember you can exhibit your talents anytime for me!!!

  12. Thank you Jean B. Burns for your sweet comments. You and John are sweet friends and we love you too!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *