Monday, June 3, 2013

Finding the right sewing machine fit, Part II

Yes, a second part.  I suppose it is more of an update.

I was fortunate to have a lovely friend that is a collector of Singer 221 (Featherweight) machines.  She was able to steer me in the right direction for acquiring one of the little darlings.  My plan went slight awry when I found myself with a pair of them instead of just one!

I LOVE this little sewing dynamo.  It is lightweight yet feels very sturdy, and it is simply adorable.  Sure, it doesn't have the capabilities of the modern machines, but what it does, it does beautifully.  I used it to put together most of the top of a baby quilt for a friend of mine that is due in July.  It was just a joy to use.

Now, here are some of the downsides to vintage - vintage finds can smell.  Thankfully, my dear friend is as smell averse as I am, so she did an amazing job de-stinking the case.  It can also be a test of your nerves to get the machine adjusted to perfection (bobbin case tension, top tension, belts, etc).  Did I get very frustrated getting both machines adjusted perfectly?  I certainly did, but I did not give up.  The time and effort was worth it.  It is also handy beyond belief to be married to a guy that is very mechanically inclined.  He likes to take stuff apart and tinker with it.  Could I work on this machine myself?  Yes, I know it could because there are some great references out there, but my hubby has been enjoying tinkering with it.  He tweaks it, then I test it to see how it sews.  Rinse and repeat as necessary.  (As a side note for anybody attempting this, please look into buying Dave McCallum's book - The Featherweight 221 and I.  I bought the book and DVD set.  It has been a wonderful lifeline when working on these machines.)

Do I see myself collecting more vintage machines?  Eh, maybe.  I would like a Featherweight in less than perfect condition so that I can get it all fixed up myself.

With all of that said, will I have times when I grab the vintage machine instead of my fancy highly computerized machine?  Yes, I already have!  Something bigger, newer, and more expensive is not always better.  I've said it before, but pick what works for YOU and what you are going to sew.

Piecing the inner section of a baby quilt using my 1961 Singer 221 (Featherweight)

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