Sunday, September 2, 2012

Sewing With an Old Friend

Earlier this week, I reacquainted myself with an old friend -- my Singer Featherweight:
I originally purchased this about five years ago on eBay. When we first started going on extended trips to California in the summer to visit family,  I wanted to have a small machine to take with me on the plane so I could set up my West Coast sewing retreat!  I didn't want to pay too much, and I wasn't particularly interested in buying a mint condition Featherweight.  They are stunning when you find one in pristine condition, but I just wanted one that would sew well, and I could happily live with the cosmetic imperfections.

I can't remember exactly how much I paid for it, but it was between $150 and $200, which included shipping.  It happens to be a Centenniel Featherweight (according to her serial number, she was born in 1951, which was Singer's 100th anniversary).  She is missing her special Centenniel medallion, but her decals are in good condition.  The case was definitely in rough shape, and she didn't come with many accessories, but she does sew a great straight seam.  I'm happy I purchased her!

I originally bought a Featherweight carrying case to take as a carry on for plane rides.  I was still waiting for it to arrive the day before we were flying out, so as a last minute purchase, I bought a cooler bag and filled it with bubble wrap.  Of course, when I got home from buying the cooler bag, I found the box with the one I ordered on my doorstep.  However, I ended up liking my cooler bag more (it was just as sturdy and less expensive) so I returned the fancy one and kept my substitution!

She travelled back and forth with me for three years, until I finally decided to purchase an inexpensive Brother machine that I could leave out in California.  Certainly not as long-lasting and durable as the Featherweight, but I do appreciate not having to drag the extra carry-on anymore. 

Although I still bring out the Featherweight occasionally, especially if I need a portable machine, I have to admit that I'm very spoiled by my Viking Sapphire 830.  So, I've been neglecting the Featherweight as of late.  However, earlier this week, my Sapphire foot pedal broke, so I pulled the Featherweight out, dusted her off, and did some sewing with her.  Even after being neglected, she still sewed a lovely seam.  Although I replaced the foot pedal on the Sapphire the next day, I haven't put the Featherweight away yet -- I need to do a little sewing with her to keep her in good shape!

If you're thinking of purchasing a Featherweight, you should definitely have this book in your library.  It's an excellent resource, and there are some great testimonials in the book that speak to the Featherweight's durability.  In fact, I am amazed that this 1951 machine continues to sew beautifully, while my expensive sewing machine's plastic foot pedal had to be replaced after only seven years (and by the way, the replacement cost of the foot pedal was close to the price I paid for the Featherweight machine!  Ridiculous!)

Anyway, in my last post, I mentioned that I would explain the impetus for the immediate quilt room redo.  The Sapphire foot pedal broke in the middle of sewing bindings on a couple of custom order quilts.  I managed to finish sewing most of the bindings on the Featherweight, but when I ran out of bobbin thread and couldn't find my spare bobbins, I decided that I would attack the layout of the sewing room immediately!  (Probably not the best decision when you've already reached a level of frustration, but I feel like it was meant to happen that night anyway!)

In the next post, I'll share some pictures of recent custom orders.  In the meantime, here's one to leave you with:
More Central Park loveliness!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Kerry,
    My neighbor/friend is an avid sewer. She always raves about her Featherweight as she travels a lot to visit her granddaughter. I learned to sew on my grandma's old metal Kenmore machine and it is still my favorite.
    Hope you are doing well!