Friday, January 10, 2014

My Featherweight

Last year I was at a sewing weekend, trying to do some shirring on Gertie's Shirtwaist Dress (which I love). My Babylock was having issues sewing with the elastic wound in the bobbin. My sewing ladies told me that machines with computerized tension can be picky that way, and that I should try to find an old Featherweight to use for tasks that require a more straightforward tool.

I mentioned to The Man that I'd been advised to track down an older Singer. Among his many talents, he is a flea-marketeer extraordinare. No matter how exotic the item, he can track it down and strike a bargain that leaves the seller wondering what just hit them. So within a week, he'd found me my Featherweight.

My baby
Judging by the serial number, it was made in 1950. That's even older than me, and it's in way better shape than I am.

Pretty plaque

Look at the adorable little on-off switch. Doesn't it look like a tiny gear shift?

It came with the original carrying case, the owner's manual, and lots of attachments. I even have a tube of vintage grease.

Some of the attachments are utterly terrifying.

This is the ruffler. Doesn't it look like it's just waiting to chew my fingers off?

This little guy folds and applies bias tape! This is the first one I have to figure out. I'll be putting bias tape on everything that can't outrun me.

I think this one is an adjustable hemmer
 I really want to spend an afternoon playing with everything to see how it works. Tanit Isis is my hero. She's not afraid to roll up her sleeves and take these vintage machines apart to see what makes them tick. I'll be referring to her posts when I begin my experimentation.

I figured the first thing I made should be a vintage pattern. I hunted through my small but growing collection and decided to try McCall 7741.

Love the jaunty scarf on red beret lady
I was quite nervous going in, but the pattern turned out to be pretty easy to put together, and the instructions (all one page) were very clear.

Unfortunately, the finished garment requires a level of expertise in ironing that is beyond me. All those tucks and pleats go caty-wumpus in the wash.

If you like to look at pretty vintage sewing machines, you might take a ramble through my friend Carol's web site. She hunts down, refurbishes and sells some really nice sewing doodads.

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