Awhile back I’d posted about finding an antique Graybar sewing machine at the thrift store.
Part One is HERE if you’ve not read it, and the other two in the series follow. ( not really a series, just a post that would have been too long had I not broken it up :)
Basically it was iron, extremely heavy, and if I’d wanted to sew with it I’d have had to invest in some repairs. In the end I used it in a display in my living room, which is shown in part three of that story. It is a little sweetheart of an antique …..everytime I look at it in the living room I smile.
After that I wondered what all the fuss was about in regards to Singer Featherweights ( aside from the fact that they weighed far less than the machine that I had purchased at the thrift store :)
Oh, I was aware of the history of them; I just wondered what it was like to actually sew with one and everyone that had a Featherweight seemed to be in Seventh Sewing Heaven, especially quilters.
So I started shopping around online for them. I found a wide variety of prices. I chose something in the middle range and it was from a shop owner that restored old machines. I thought that I’d be safer paying a bit more for a machine that had been worked on or checked over and I’d have no troubles that way. ( In the lower range were people that said they did not sew, did not know if the machine worked well; better have it serviced once you received it…and those were still 300.00 and upwards. )
I waited anxiously for close to two weeks before it arrived and was so excited when the package showed up at my door! :)
Here is the case that houses the machine. And it smells! Yes, after a bit of research I read here and there that they all smell rather musty …
I opened the case and carefully, and dare I say lovingly ….took her out. I noted that she was made in Great Britain. These Singer Featherweights have serial numbers and from the number you can research online to find out the year, or range of years when they were manufactured. My Featherweight was produced in 1962 from what I could find out, in Scotland. So I chose FIONA as her nice Scottish name.
I also went onto the Internet to download a manual. I printed it out, and prepared to thread the machine. Wait a minute…there was no spool holder ? Surely they didn’t make these old machines without spool pins? After confirming that mine should have a spool pin and conferring with the seller, and more Internet research, I discovered that the pin had broken off in shipping, which was common, and that I could buy a replacement pin online.
I found the pin buried in the bubble wrap. For the moment I went and purchased some super glue….glued the pin on, and waited a day for it to really hold. Meanwhile I ordered the replacement pin and cover unit and hoped that they’d ship it soon. The seller credited me for the cost.
Here is my crooked glued pin and I was finally ready to roll…. I had some nine patch blocks that I’d been working on here and there and couldn’t wait to sew more with this new-old machine! :)
And she sewed happily ever after……
Yea, right. Nope, the pin broke after a day of sewing and the pin-replacement shipment didn’t arrive for what seemed like ages.
But while the pin was holding I was happy. It had been so disappointing to have to wait to try her out…now I could finally do so.
I finished up the nine patch on my regular machine.
Later on once the replacement spool pin cover arrived and I could sew on the Featherweight again, I ran into another issue. I had a thread jam and with these older machines that is a much different story than just popping the bobbin out of a newer one. I spent as much time on the Net looking for visuals and instructions about what to do as I did taking things apart and putting them back together. Quite the learning experience :)
Here is the old fashioned bobbin area. Behind that you have to remove some things which I did, but I still couldn’t get all of the thread out so I had to go in from the bottom of the machine. Meanwhile there is a tiny tiny little screw to deal with that I almost lost. I was not really a happy camper during all of this.
Finally all was working as well as it possibly could, and the stitches were perfect, the tension was perfect and I was doing some piecing.
Lovely Fiona Featherweight…
And she sewed happily ever after….
Of course not. The sluggish since the day I got it foot pedal stopped working completely after a few hours of sewing. I did tear it apart and take a picture but the advice in regards to what to do with it on the Net was conflicting. GREASE things. DO NOT GREASE THINGS….you could start a fire. SO, I have ordered a foot pedal.
Basically I’ve had my Featherweight for a good month or more, and have been able to sew without issues only for a short while, yet when I am sewing on it, it is fun. However? I certainly appreciate my regular Singer machine much much more now :)