Vintage Singer Featherweight Tips and Tricks

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Vintage Singer Featherweight Tips and Tricks - In Color Order
Happy Wednesday! Today I want to share a few of my favorite resources, tips, and tricks for Sewing on a Vintage Singer Featherweight 221. I was very lucky to find a featherweight under the tree this past Christmas from my parents. It is in beautiful condition, and had been picked up with it's original case, accessories, and even the loan agreement. You can read a bit more about that story here.

I had it cleaned and serviced at my local sewing machine shop after I got it, wanting to make sure it was in true working order between I started using it. I don't regret having it serviced that first time, because I really felt like it needed to be seen first by a professional. However, since that first cleaning I've serviced and cleaned it myself. Now that I've been using it pretty heavily for the past 5-6 months, I want to share my experiences with you all!

Vintage Singer Featherweight Tips and Tricks - In Color Order
Ever since my machine returned from it's first tune-up, I've been using it almost exclusively for piecework. Nearly anything that was just simple piecing, since March has been done on my featherweight. That includes the majority of the projects that I made for my Quilt Market booth this past Spring!

I continue to use my Janome Horizon 7700 for anything that requires a walking foot, like bags with interfacing, shirring and for all my quilting. I wouldn't trade it for those things for sure. But for pretty much everything else, I'm preferring the featherweight. It is so easy to use for piecing, and creates amazing stitches. In addition, it is so lightweight and it takes up such little space so it's great for traveling.

Vintage Singer Featherweight Tips and Tricks - In Color Order
Two resources that have been really helpful for me is Featherweight 221: The Perfect Portable And It's Stitches Across History by Nancy Johnson-Srebro, and The Featherweight 221 and I by David McCallum. Nancy's book is all about the history of the featherweight, the different models and accessories. There is part of the original manual in it as well, but in general it is more of a commentary on featherweights rather than a how-to manual. It was really interesting, I read through most of it in one sitting!

David McCallum's book is a true how-to guide. It is a comprehensive guide to care and also repair. I turn to this book every time I need to oil my machine. It has very clear, easy to read diagrams for where to oil and how often each spot should be oiled. Only the front of each page is printed, so you can use the backs of the pages to take notes. I keep track of each time I oil my machine to make sure I don't oil it too often or not enough.

I highly recommend both books, but if you only buy one, buy The Featherweight 221 and I by David McCallum.

Vintage Singer Featherweight Tips and Tricks - In Color Order
You don't need much to take care of regular maintenance on a featherweight. These are some of my favorite tools:

I always have compressed air on hand to use on all of my machines. It's great for getting dust and lint from hard to reach places, like under the needle plate and in the bobbin case.  I seem to keep buying this one by 3M, it lasts a while. Early on I picked up a non-abrasive car wax to protect the surface of the featherweight and keep it nice and shiny. This butter smooth wax has worked great and doesn't have a strong smell. Make sure to test any wax on a hidden place first.  I buff it on with a microfiber cloth.

Unlike most of today's machines, featherweights need oiling on a regular basis to make sure it's running smoothly. I oil mine after every 8 hours or so of use.  Not all parts of the machine need oiled that often though. Once you get used to your machine, you'll be able to hear and feel when it needs oil.

I really like the Zoom Spout Oil*. It has a thin spout that comes way out of the bottle, making it easy to get hard to reach places. You only need a tiny drop in each spot, and this oil makes it easy to control the oil. I use q-tips to clean up any excess oil. You'll also need Singer Motor Lubricant for the gears and motor.  Before you start sewing again, sew through some scrap fabric to make sure everything is running okay and to let any excess oil run onto the scrap instead of your project.

*Update: I recently started using this oil pen, which makes it even easier to deliver one drop at a time. I absolutely love it, and it's refillable!

Vintage Singer Featherweight Tips and Tricks - In Color Order
Once the machine is all nice and clean, it's back to sewing! I use Schmetz Universal Needles in my featherweight. They work great in all my machines, I like not having to order anything special.  The needles go in sideways and you thread it from right to left. I only use Aurifil cotton thread in my featherweight. It feeds so smoothly through the machine, and it only seems right to treat it to the best thread!

Vintage Singer Featherweight Tips and Tricks - In Color Order
Like all machines, featherweights have their own quirks when it comes to actually sewing. I like to use the stock foot that came with the machine to do all my piecing. It's super skinny which makes top stitching really nice and the 1/4" guide is easy to see. You can buy a 1/4" foot for your featherweight, but I don't have one for mine.  I don't ever use the 1/4" foot I have for my Janome, so I probably wouldn't use one for this either. I'm not sure why, I just don't like using them!

One of the biggest tricks that helped make things easier for me, was learning how to loosen the hand wheel so that the needle doesn't run up and down while you wind a bobbin. Before you start winding, hold the large wheel in place with one hand and turn the small wheel towards you until it loosens.  Wind your bobbin and turn it back until it locks in place when you're done.

Vintage Singer Featherweight Tips and Tricks - In Color Order
I do have the original carrying case for my featherweight, but I decided to create my own set of accessories for travel and storage.  I wanted something cuter and also a little more functional. You can read more about my featherweight travel set here. Want to make your own set? Check out my Sew Portable Travel Set Pattern! I also have a tutorial for a patchwork mat to match!

I'm not a featherweight expert, but I've definitely learned a lot using it these last few months. I'm looking forward to stitching up lots more projects with it!

I hope this was helpful to some of you! Do you sew on a vintage machine? What are your favorite tips, tricks, and resources?

Nordika Interviews and Teaching

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Nordika by Jeni Baker
Nordika, a photo by Jeni Baker on Flickr.
Happy Tuesday! I can't believe it's already the end of July, this summer is flying by.  Things are about to pick up and be crazy through the end of the year, so that's part of the reason why this was a quiet month on the blogging end.  Just trying to catch my breath while I can! I'm looking forward to heading home for a little vacation in a week or so and then things will be back to normal.

I've got three interviews to share with you about Nordika from around the web this month! The first is over at the lovely Village Haberdashery. The next, with my friend Julie at The Intrepid Thread.  Finally, today I'm over on The Jolly Jabber. Between the three you'll find out my hidden talent, how I got started designing, the inspiration for Nordika and lots more on my creative process!

Drawstring Bag Workshop by Jeni Baker
Drawstring Bag Workshop, a photo by Jeni Baker on Flickr.
I had the pleasure of spending this past Saturday at Gentler Times Stitching in Naperville, IL teaching my Drawstring Bag Pattern! It was a lot of fun and so cool to see everyone stitch up their bags in Nordika!

Nordika Mini Quilt by Jeni Baker
Nordika Mini Quilt, a photo by Jeni Baker on Flickr.
Speaking of teaching, I've got a new class at The Sewcial Lounge! We're trying something different for the Quilting Basics class. It's now a one-session class and we'll be making simple mini quilts (sample shown above)! This way, if you're not sure you are ready or interested in making a larger quilt, you can get your feet wet with a mini! We'll still cover all the basics from piecing, basting, quilting, and binding.  We're holding it next month, on Wednesday, August 28th from 6pm-9pm. For more information and to sign up see here

While we're still on the topic of teaching, I have one more tidbit to share. The official Sewing Summit class schedule is up! You can see it here.  You might notice that I'm teaching more the one class.  In addition to HTML Basics for Beginners, I'll be teaching a class on Equilateral Triangles.  I've started collecting inspiration and resources on Equilateral Triangles over on Pinterest. Here is a little more information about each class:

HTML Basics for Bloggers with Jeni Baker: Friday 3:30 – 5:30 pm
HTML is the major language used to write websites, but most blogging platforms allow users to create and design a blog without knowing it. Regardless, even an elementary understanding can be useful, and help you take your blog to the next level! Join me in this class as we break down the basics. We’ll cover how to improve your blog or start one, common coding for sewing/quilting bloggers (available afterwards on a sample blog), and resources for design, and more advanced coding.  There will also be plenty of question and answer time, so come ready! Information covered will be applicable to all platforms but will focus on Blogger and WordPress.com.

Triangle Quilt Top with Jeni Baker: Saturday 1:15 – 3:15 pm
Equilateral triangles are a great shape to work with in quilting, and they’re not hard to use! Triangles can be used as a building block for creating other shapes as well, like hexagons and diamonds. In this class we will explore different ways of cutting equilateral triangles, and learn straightforward piecing techniques all while working on a fun modern quilting project.  You may choose to work on either a mini quilt or a larger quilt in this class.

Hope to see you in class!

Notebook DIY
Notebook DIY, a photo by Jeni Baker on Flickr.
I absolutely love graph paper. It's one of my favorite things.  I especially love graph paper composition notebooks.  They are a bit hard to find (unless you want to pay $8 each on Amazon!) during non-back-to-school time, so I always make sure and grab a few this time of year.  I decided to use Diane's tutorial for covering one of them with fabric! So of course I made a Nordika one! I thought the plaid worked well for a graph paper notebook!

Clean Sewing Room by Jeni Baker
Clean Sewing Room, a photo by Jeni Baker on Flickr.
After I closed my vintage sheet shop this month (which deserves it's own post), I spent a good week reorganizing and cleaning my sewing room again. I think I've finally found a good place for everything.  It's always being shuffled around since it's a small space to make sure everything fits well. Now it's time to make a mess again!

George
George, a photo by Jeni Baker on Flickr.
George bun, wanting pets!

Today I love the..
Smell of: Fresh morning air
Sound of: Birds
Taste of: Diet Coke
Sight of: Mostly clean apartment
Feel of: Sleeping in

Good Things about Today:
- Getting things done!
- Having the laundry room to myself.
- Wearing my hair in a braid.
- Cool enough to have the windows open.

Favorites

Friday, July 26, 2013

Favorites by Jeni Baker
Favorites, a photo by Jeni Baker on Flickr.
1. Ever think of a quilt while working on another quilt and have to stop everything and make said quilt? Yeah, me neither., 2. Darling by Freckled Whimsy, 3. Cascade finished quilt top, 4. improv curve mini quilt, 5. Lumos/Nox, 6. DSC07646, 7. star block, 8. Round II, 9. So here's my #Sistersquiltshow2013 #sisters2013 #pmqg quilt. It's called #sticksandstones look for it at the Portland Modern Quilt Guild Showcase area. #firstpeek

Every week I go through my favorite photos on Flickr, and choose nine sewing/quilting related projects to showcase here. These photos and projects are not my own, you can find the original images and creators by clicking the coordinating links! If for any reason you do not want your project featured here, please email me and I'll remove it!

Happy Friday!

Nordika Video + Free Quilt Pattern

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


Happy Day! Nordika has official launched! It made it's way to stores last week! Yay! I'm getting so excited seeing it popping up on Twitter and Instagram (I'm @jenib320 on both!), I can't wait to see what you do with it!

To get you inspired, I have a few really lovely things to share with you!


First, there is a free quilt pattern for Nordika! It's called Fly Home! It's a quick and easy lap sized quilt using flying geese! I hope you like it! You can find it here, on the Art Gallery Fabrics website!


And now, the moment you've been waiting for (I know I have!), the Nordika video! It was filmed by the seriously talented Katarina Roccella! The video is so spot on, it's like she somehow read my mind. It's exactly what I imagined for Nordika! Katarina shot the video in Serbia!! Isn't that so awesome? My head is still spinning, it's all just too cool! Thank you Katarina!

Make sure and check out Katarina's website, she does really beautiful work!


Okay, now how about lots of photos? This looks like such a magical place!












For lots more photos and inspiration, see the Nordika page, here.

I can't wait to see what you dream up with Nordika!

Favorites

Friday, July 19, 2013

Favorites by Jeni Baker
Favorites, a photo by Jeni Baker on Flickr.
1. P7137529, 2. Dillon's Quilt, 3. The Polka-Dot-Cafe Apron, 4. Wiggle and Dash, 5. Roundhouse, 6. For Anne, 7. petals, 8. All pieced, 9. Lucky Stars BOM July

Every week I go through my favorite photos on Flickr, and choose nine sewing/quilting related projects to showcase here. These photos and projects are not my own, you can find the original images and creators by clicking the coordinating links! If for any reason you do not want your project featured here, please email me and I'll remove it!

Happy Friday!

All Tied Up Quilt and Catch Up!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

All Tied Up Quilt by Jeni Baker
All Tied Up Quilt, a photo by Jeni Baker on Flickr.
Happy Thursday! I have a bright and cheerful new quilt to share with you today! This is All Tied Up, featuring Color Me Retro! You can find the pattern for it in the July/August issue of Quilty Magazine!

Quilty - July/August Issue by Jeni Baker
Quilty - July/August Issue, a photo by Jeni Baker on Flickr.
Quilty - July/August Issue by Jeni Baker
Quilty - July/August Issue, a photo by Jeni Baker on Flickr.
It's funny and interesting to get used to working on things that can't be shared immediately.  This quilt was sewn up back in February, right when Color Me Retro was hitting stores! I'm glad I get to share it with you now though, because there hasn't been tons of sewing going on lately!

There is a kit available for this pattern on their website, here.  You can find a copy of this issue on newsstands now and on their website, here.

Half-square Triangles
Half-square Triangles, a photo by Jeni Baker on Flickr.
I have done some sewing this week! A few half-square triangles!

Lawn Staple Dress by Jeni Baker
Lawn Staple Dress, a photo by Jeni Baker on Flickr.
Thanks to everyone for your kind comments on my newest Staple Dress! The winner of the paper pattern is #128, Shannon!

Wild Black Raspberries
Wild Black Raspberries, a photo by Jeni Baker on Flickr.
It's that time of year! My very favorite, wild black raspberries, are in season. Yum. I love how pretty they are too!

George
George, a photo by Jeni Baker on Flickr.
George bunny!

Today I love the..
Smell of: A new candle
Sound of: Mad Men
Taste of: Pizza Brutta
Sight of: George!
Feel of: A/C

Good Things about Today:
- Spent the day sewing at The Sewcial Lounge
- Happy mail!
- Delicious lunch at Pizza Brutta
- New minion toy!

Nordika Launch Party!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Nordika by Jeni Baker
Nordika, a photo by Jeni Baker on Flickr.
Happy Wednesday! It's been a slow week around here, and that's just fine with me. It's nice to have a little quiet, although it would be nice if the weather would be a little more cooperative. Looking forward to a little break from the heat this weekend!

In better news, Nordika is hitting stores this week! I've been updating the Fabric page (found in the tabs above), with a list of shops carrying it.  Let me know if you're a shop that's ordered Nordika and I'll list you there too!

Nordika Launch Party by Jeni Baker
Nordika Launch Party, a photo by Jeni Baker on Flickr.
Last Friday we had our Nordika Launch Party at The Sewcial Lounge! Thank you to everyone who came, it was a lovely time! I managed to remember to take some photos!

Nordika Launch Party by Jeni Baker
Nordika Launch Party, a photo by Jeni Baker on Flickr.
Nordika Launch Party by Jeni Baker
Nordika Launch Party, a photo by Jeni Baker on Flickr.
Nordika Launch Party by Jeni Baker
Nordika Launch Party, a photo by Jeni Baker on Flickr.
Nordika Launch Party
Nordika Launch Party, a photo by Jeni Baker on Flickr.
To see lots more photos of Nordika projects, see the flickr set here.

Nordika Launch Party by Jeni Baker
Nordika Launch Party, a photo by Jeni Baker on Flickr.
Nordika Launch Party by Jeni Baker
Nordika Launch Party, a photo by Jeni Baker on Flickr.
A big thank you to Sara of The Sewcial Lounge for hosting this party! You can find Nordika in stock in her online store and local shop!

Happy Sewing!

Favorites

Friday, July 12, 2013

Favorites by Jeni Baker
Favorites, a photo by Jeni Baker on Flickr.
1. Machine Pieced Hexagon Quilt Top, 2. Letters meet AMH - Tops finished :), 3. Improvised diamond quilt top, 4. Kissen, 5. Quilt top made by the Magnum PI set of the Modern Stash Bee, 6. P1030159, 7. La Passion, 8. Quilt for Boston, 9. Boys Nonsense Quilt Blocks

Every week I go through my favorite photos on Flickr, and choose nine sewing/quilting related projects to showcase here. These photos and projects are not my own, you can find the original images and creators by clicking the coordinating links! If for any reason you do not want your project featured here, please email me and I'll remove it!

Happy Friday!

Nordika: Color Matching

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Nordika Color Matching by Jeni Baker
Nordika Color Matching, a photo by Jeni Baker on Flickr.
Happy Thursday! It's almost time! Nordika is nearly here! It should be arriving in your favorite shops next week or the week after! I pulled all the matching blenders, solids, threads, and floss this week to create a one stop resource for you!

Art Gallery Pure Element Solids: 427 Spiceberry, 405 Cherry Lipgloss, 438 Coral Reef, 421 Honey, 435 Banana Cream, 412 Tender Green, 403 Fresh Water, 424 Mirage Blue, 410 Ash, 430 Moonstone, 413 Caviar, 433 Snow.

Art Gallery Squared Elements: 600 Watermelon, 602 Honeycomb, 604 Seafoam, 605 Turquoise, 606 Shadow, 607 Noir.

Art Gallery Oval Elements: 913 Cranberry, 921 Mustard, 911 Golden, 920 Mist, 900 Peacock, 918 Blue Lagoon, 927 Silver Drops, 930 Licorice, 919 Cookies n' Cream.
 
Art Gallery Nature Elements: 125 Antique Gold, 105 Mimosa, 118 Caribbean Blue, 100 Ocean Breeze, 108 Moonbeam, 120 Charcoal.

Art Gallery Floral Elements: 513 Honey Mustard, 520 Custard, 508 Aqua Haze, 530 Moonlight.
 
Art Gallery Lace Elements: 1301 Cherry Lace, 1300 Gold Lace.

There are tons of great blenders from other Art Gallery collections that match Nordika as well: Color Me Retro, Rhapsodia, Luxe in Bloom, Rock 'n Romance, Tule, Splendor 1920, Reminisce, Rhapsodia, Legacy, Legacy, Color Me Retro, Tule, Urban Mod, Indian Summer, Reminisce, Textures, Textures, LillyBelle, Urban Mod, Rock 'n Romance.

If you're still looking for a few extra prints to add to the mix, the entire Minimalista collection by Art Gallery In-House Studio would be a great match!

Aurifil 100% Cotton Thread: 1103, 2230, 2435, 2140, 2115, 2830, 1148, 4093, 2600, 2620, 2630, 2024, 2692, 3910, 4150, 4654, 4652, 4670, 4668, 4662.

DMC Embroidery Floss: 150 Ultra Very Dark Dusty Rose, 891 Dark Carnation, 352 Light Coral, 976 Medium Golden Brown, 3822 Light Straw, 369 Very Light Pistachio Green, 964 Light Seagreen, 3848 Medium Teal Green, 648 Light Beaver Gray, 535 Very Light Ash Gray, 310 Black, White.

I love being able to stretch a collection with blenders! I hope this post was helpful!

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