Friday, August 28, 2015

Featherweight Skill Series - Needles, Fabric, and Pressure Control

Thank you for coming to my Featherweight Skill Series! There are thousands of us who love our little 221s but need or want a little more "know-how" on using them to their fullest potential. I hope my posts and videos will help you get more know-how and confidence in using your beautiful Featherweight. Enjoy the classes!

Class #4 - Needles, fabrics, and pressure control

Class supply list:
Your fully threaded sewing machine with all purpose thread, any color that would look nice with your fabrics; the straight stitch foot; needles - sizes 11, 14, and 16; two 10" squares of each: a lightweight fabric (sheers or silk), a medium-weight fabric (cotton), and a thick fabric (denim or canvas)

Let's get sewing!

First, we'll talk about needles. 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Grab my Button

Let everyone know you are taking the Featherweight Skill Series! •Featherweight Skill Series


Friday, August 21, 2015

Featherweight Skill Series - Straight Stitch Foot

Thank you for coming to my Featherweight Skill Series! Whether you found the series in a web search or from my Facebook group, welcome! There are thousands of us who love our little 221s but need or want a little more "know-how" on using them to their fullest potential. I hope my posts and videos will help you get more know-how and confidence in using your beautiful Featherweight. Enjoy the classes!

Class #3 - Using the straight stitch foot

Class supply list:
Your fully threaded sewing machine with a bright color threaded on top, the straight stitch foot, four sheets of paper, three 10" squares of fabric, a pen.

OK - let's get sewing!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

We Have the Power!

It's almost hard to believe that people used to sew exclusively by hand and by sunlight or candlelight.

Can you imagine doing all your sewing without power? Let's imagine a walk through time. 

I went to the articifer's day at the historical Saratoga Battlefield where re-enactors demonstrated the work of tailors and seamstresses of the late 1700s. 

These people were hard at work making corsets and skirt aprons and men's uniforms. Their hand work was impressive! They said a shirt could take up to 30 hours to make where a shoemaker could cobble a pair of shoes in half that time. Clothing was precious. Tailors were an important part of society.

The small blue wallet in the first picture housed their tools of the trade, mostly needles and pins. I wish I took a picture of their version of a pair of scissors! It was very interesting to see how far we've come in the craft. 

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Featherweight Skill Series - Threading the Machine

Thank you for coming to my Featherweight Skill Series! Whether you found the courses in a web search or from my Facebook group, welcome! There are thousands of us who love our little 221s but need or want a little more "know-how" on using them to their fullest potential. I hope my posts and videos will help you get more know-how and confidence in using your beautiful Featherweight. Enjoy the classes!

Class #2
Class supply list:
Your sewing machine, a filled bobbin, a spool of thread

Let's get started threading our machines!
First, we will tend to the bobbin assembly.
In our last Skill session, Winding the Bobbin, we had a nicely wound, properly filled bobbin. Let's get it in the bobbin holder.

Hold the bobbin with the thread coming over the top and towards your right hand.

Take the bobbin holder in your other hand with the opening facing upwards. You will see a small slit in the edge of the holder. Have that slit facing towards you.

Set the bobbin into the holder, thread is still coming around the front and to the right. Hold the bobbin and holder between your finger and thumb.

***The bobbin should go into the holder easily. If you have to force it at all, it is probably loaded with too much thread. Stop, take it out of the holder, and unwind some of the thread. Try loading it again. Once it loads easily, continue.***

Slowly drag the thread to the left along the top edge of the holder until it falls into that little slit in the edge of the holder. It will stop at the edge of a small metal strip.

When it's in the slit, keep some tension on the thread to keep it in its place in the slit.

In my picture, you can see the thread is in the slit just to the left of my pointer finger and then coming back towads my middle finger.  
(the thread on the left side of the bobbin holder is the thread attached to the sewing machine, not part of the bobbin or holder so don't let that confuse you)

Now gently pull the thread into the channel under that small metal strip; that strip will hold the thrad in tension.

Now test the bobbin placement: if you pull the thread coming out of the bobbin case with the open side of the case facing you, the bobbin should turn counter-clockwise. 

Many bobbin tension settings do not need adjustment. If your machine has been sewing correctly up to this point, your bobbin tension will probably be fine at this point. If it has not been sewing correctly, there are other things to check. See the lesson on Understanding Tension.

To set the bobbin case into the machine, place the center of the bobbin over the pin inside the bobbin assemly. Just gently press it in as far as it will go and until it stops.

Then pull up on the finger of the bobbin holder to let the unit set fully into the machine.
Let go of the finger when you feel it snap into place and as it moves in a little farther.

Try to turn the bobbin holder after it was set in place. It should not turn or fall out. If it does, do the prior step until it is seated into the machine.

Now that wasn't so bad, was it? Are you breathing? Just think, "We're half way done!" Let's go on to the upper threading procedure!

First, turn the wheel until your needle is all the way up.
Your spool of thread is still in place after winding the bobbin. Keep the thread in the hook and let it come down to the tension dial.

Use both hands to bring the thread into the tension discs from the right side. You will see the discs near the back of the dial assembly. Make sure the thread is inbetween the two discs.

Lead the thread under the dial and then up and around to the left side.

Gently pull the thread so it goes past the small metal pointed part on the top of the discs. This will keep the thread guided while feeding through the discs. As you pull the thread to go around the point, there's a thin, springy wire to the left of the metal point will move so you can get the thread around the point. Be sure to keep the thread underneath that wire.
See here how my thread goes down into the tension discs, comes up from the center out of tension discs, is threaded past the metal point, and then under the springy wire. That's how it should look.

***Upper tension settings are easily changed by turning the dial to a higher or lower number. Higher numbers mean the tension is tighter and lower numbers mean the tension is looser. Experimenting with the dial's settings to get the tension you need is a normal part of using this machine. You don't have to be afraid of doing this!***

There's a rod above the tension assembly. Set your thread behind that rod. Then bring it through the eye on the small head in the channel on the left side of the machine.

Bring the thread down to the thread guide next to tension assembly. It will pop in place when you pull the thread from the back and towards the front of the guide.

There is another thread guide under the side cover plate. It is a rod that can be threaded from the left side just under the cover. You will see the end of the rod and can place the thread on top of that end and then pull the thread forward for it to get into place like this.

There is one more thread guide just below the needle set screw. It looks like a flat rod with its open end on the left side of the guide. Bring the thread on top of the open end and pull in downwards and to the right to set the thread in place. This will help keep the thread on the right side of the needle to properly line up with the eye.

Your needle's eye opening sits facing right to left (not facing front to back like the modern machines). When you set the needle into the machine, the flat side of the needle goes on the left (remember that by thinking NFL = needle flat left).

When you thread the needle, you have to thread from the right side of the needle through to the left side, otherwise the bobbin hook will not catch the needle thread correctly. This is how the threaded needle should look.

OK! Let's take another breathe-break! Maybe get up and stretch a minute. You're doing great!
Only one more step to go!

Hold the thread back away and to the left when you start turning the balance wheel towards you....

after the needle starts to come up, the bobbin thread will appear under the foot. That's what we want!
When the needle is moving upwards, rotate the thread around to the front of the machine until it's being held towards the bobbin winder tension discs, and gently pull as you continue to rotate the wheel until the needle is all the way up. The bottom thread will pop right up through the foot where you can easily grab it with your fingers.

 Bring both threads to the back of the machine behind the foot. 

Now your Featherweight is ready to sew!

Practice threading your bobbin holder and upper threading pathways until you don't have to think about it so hard. Try to visualize the steps when you are away from your machine, like when you're driving or washing your hair. Eventually, this will all be second nature to you!

Join my Facebook group to post your pics and community discussion!

In the next session, we will go over some simple stitching with the regular foot. See you there!

Featherweight Skill Series - Winding the Bobbin

Thank you for your interest in my Featherweight Skill Series! Whether you found the courses online or my Facebook group, welcome! There are many of us who love these Singer 221 machines but need or want a little more "know-how" about them. I hope my posts and videos will give you some of that know-how and more confidence to use your beautiful Featherweight! 

Class # 1
Class supply list:
your machine, an empty bobbin, a spool of thread, a pair of scissors

Let's get started winding a bobbin!
First thing to do is turn this knob counterclockwise so your needle doesn't move while you are winding the bobbin.

Press the bobbin winder down until it rests on the wheel and turns when the machine is running.

The bobbin usually has some holes in it that can help with starting the winding process. Bring the end of the thread through a hole and set the bobbin onto the winder pin. 

Your spool and thread should look like this-

The thread runs from spool, over to the hook, down and into the tension discs, then up to the winder through the hole in the side of the bobbin.

Slowly run the machine while holding the thread end until you have a few passes on the bobbin. Snip off the tail of thread outside the bobbin.

Here's a short video of my bobbin being wound.
If I notice the thread is building up on one side in the bobbin more than the other, I use my finger to gently guide the thread to where it needs to go. No pressure is put on the thread, only a nudge to help it stay evenly wound.
Continue to wind the bobbin until it's pretty full. No thread should be bulging above the bobbin sides. An overfilled bobbin will not load easily into the bobbin housing, could get stuck in the housing, and will prevent the bobbin from turning properly while sewing. If you think too much thread is on your bobbin, simply unwind it until it has the proper amount on it. It's better to have a lesser amount of thread than too much.

I was happy with this loading level.

I like to snip the thread above the tension discs. It holds the thread neatly in place until I'm ready to remove it.

Now your bobbin is filled with thread and ready to be used in the machine!

But we're not done with this process yet! 
Don't forget to pull up on the winder... It should not be spinning while you sew...

...and tighten the wheel all the way clockwise so your needle will be able to move again!

If you ever obtain a bobbin with thread on it, like one that was in a purchase or wasn't a bobbin that you wound with your thread, I recommend that the thread on it not be used. It could be old and weak and your stitching will not be a strong as it should be. Simply unwind the thread out of the bobbin and load fresh thread into it as needed.

Have a bobbin that is bent, looks warped, or has rust? It is better to not use them at all. Just like a warped record, it will not turn well in the bobbin case and will not release thread properly. Use bobbins that are nice and flat and rust-free.

Go through all your bobbins and make sure they are clean, flat, and free of old thread. Then wind some bobbins for your next sewing project or practice pieces that you want to sew. Having two or three wound and ready to go is handy. That way you don't have to stop in the middle of a project in order to wind a bobbin.

Join my Facebook group for posting your pictures and community discussions!

In the next Skill Session, we will load our bobbin into the machine and do the upper threading. See you there!

Singer Slant Buttonholer - Retro Pink in Torpedo Case

I was in the antique store with heightened senses looking for new sewing treasures. Then I saw it. The pink torpedo case!

It was a retro buttonholer! It was complete and clean and looked like it was never used. 
I had to have it!

Off to home I go with it tucked under arm. 
Upon closer examination of the main unit, I saw this engraving-

Monday, August 3, 2015

Christmas Puppy Bow Tie

Sasha did some more modeling for me. We're getting ready for Christmas!

She's such a good sport!

Does your puppy need a bow tie? Let me know!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Featherweight For Sale - SOLD!

People love these beauties! They're wonderful to take places due to their manageable weight. And when they are clean, like this one is, that shine is irresistible!

I have a June 11, 1937 Singer Featherweight that is available and ready for a new home!

The first thing I did was clean her - she got a deep cleaning inside and out. No more goo on her gears. No more grime on her bed. After an oiling and wax, she shined up beautifully!

The decals show some wear but Are now protected under four layers of wax. There are a few bed blemishes, but they are character marks!

The tension assembly was very clean. No rust inside there! I cleaned up each piece and it works great.

Adjusting both the upper and bobbin tension settings, this Featherweight finally got dialed in!

Even the bobbin got cleaned up. There was a huge piece of lint inside and it was set way too tight. Now it's clean and releasing nicely!

Oh, how we love that beautiful scroll plate! 

She just shined for her pictures!

What is that? I know; it's not vintage. But the original belt, which does work, has cracks, so I got this brand new belt. However, I have also included the original belt in the box so you can have it if you want to find one that looks more like the original. This belt will last longer than a leather one. You can decide whether or not you want to use it. Would I use it? I would.

She fits beautifully in her box.

This is a tall box with the accessories housed in a tray on top. 

The book looks barely touched. I love the fact it comes with the "inspected" paperwork from the NJ factory. 

All the accessories and feet listed in the book are in the tray and I've included a few extras as well. There are the feet, a seam guide,two screwdrivers, five extra bobbins.....

...needles, a tube of lubricant, an extra light, the awesome little oil can with some oil in it, the power controller, an extra felt spool pin washer, the key for the case, and the original motor belt. 

The box is complete - no missing parts.

The base of the box needs some gluing.

Get ready to show up at your next quilting club meeting with this beauty!

If you ever wanted a Featherweight, here's your chance. She sews great and needs nothing. 

I'm asking $425 for everything, plus shipping if applicable. I accept credit card payments through PayPal. I'm in the Albany, NY area and could meet you locally if you can come get it in person. Please leave a comment for me if you want to take her home!

Want to learn how to maintain your vintage machine? I teach classes on that!