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Thread: Are Singer Feather Weights Really That Great?

  1. #26
    Super Member Gramie bj's Avatar
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    Have heard a lot of good thing about FW but I don't think I'd use it that much, no zig zag, hard to see small parts, My eye's aren't what they once were LOL if it is really light do you have a problem with vibration when more than one machine is working on a table, like at classes? I like a large space to move my fabric around on or rest my hands on as I feed fabric through the needle. I think most people use them mainly for classes, not enough room to quilt on, or so I have been told. I don't have a big fancy computerized machine. My old girles do everything I ask of them straight stich, and zig zag every one is a little diffrent but I have learned to get a good 1/4 seam on them all. I take my 12 year old Janome for classes, yep she is heavy but I can still lift her on and off the table with no problem. I have a rolling cart that everything fits into so it is only one trip from car to class. I also like to use the same machine from start to finish on any one quilt top.

  2. #27
    Power Poster twinkie's Avatar
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    My DH collects Antique and Vintage Singer machines. (We have a few that are not Singers) I love my Featherweight and use it constantly. You can purchase a zig zag attachment for these machines and that will allow you to do machine applique. Another asset for these machines it they are sooooooooo easy to maintain and service. I sew a lot and use the featherweight exclusively and my DH can keep this going with no problem. I have probably put approx 600 hours on this machine and it is a 1955. I can't say enough about them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dolphyngyrl View Post
    They are really great straight stitch machine, but if you do a lot of applique they really won't be useful for you so it depends on what type of quilting you do. From what I hear the straight stitch on those machines far outweigh the straight stitch on newer machines
    Last edited by twinkie; 04-23-2012 at 03:31 AM.

  3. #28
    Super Member lovelyl's Avatar
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    I use my FW all the time and take it to classes and retreats. Never had problems threading or seeing any of the parts and my eyesight is not so good. It threads very easily. Never a problem with it "bouncing" on the table when sharing a table with other quilters. It is my "go to" machine even at home. I just love it!
    That being said, I do love to applique and have to check when taking other classes to see if a stitch other than a straight stitch is required. So I ended up also buying an inexpensive machine to take when special stitches are required. It cost about the same as a FW, but I don't think it is the type of machine that would be able to be serviced or cleaned regularly due to cost. One service call and cleaning would cost almost as much as I paid for the machine new! And it has the craziest blanket stitch that makes it harder to applique. I have had it 3 years and I am starting to have some problems with it.
    My advice would be to figure out what type of quilting/sewing you love to do. If it is piecing, consider a FW. If it is applique or things that require special stitches/features, I would go for a modern machine. However, I would "test drive" the modern machine to make sure it has the stitches you want (no crazy blanket stitch) before purchase. And I would purchase the best one I could afford - one that can be serviced in the future.
    Good luck - it is a tough decision. Let us know what you decide to do.
    Linda
    There may be times we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest. - Elie Wiesel

  4. #29
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    I really like my FW for traveling. I also have the table that it fits in so sometimes for straight piecing I'll switch to it when I'm home. It makes such a happy sound when it sews!! I didn't realize there was a zigzag attachment..I'm going to check that out!

  5. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaciqltznok View Post
    just remember, TINY is the key word when it comes to a FW..meaning it is hard to thread, change bobbin, etc, if your eyes are not what they used be or you have fingernails! I find them too small to my liking. I bought a small lightweight Janome Gem silver instead. MOre options, including FMQ, thread play, etc and I can SEE what I am doing!
    To each his own. I have two FW's and have no difficulty threading or changing the bobbin etc. and my eyesight is not that great. I take mine to quilt camp, guild meetings and use it at home. I have a Janome MC6500 P which I love but it does not stitch through multiple layers of fabric like the FW's do!! They are tough little ladies and mine have several attachments that came with them too.

  6. #31
    Super Member Aurora's Avatar
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    I have a FW, don 't really like it. Also have a 301a, which goes everywhere with me. Zig Zag is not an issue with me as I prefer to hand applique.
    Aurora

    "A dying culture invariably exhibits personal rudeness. Bad manners. Lack of consideration for others in minor matters. A loss of politeness, of gentle manners, is more significant than is a riot." -Robert A. Heinlein

  7. #32
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    I have two of them and I love them I don't sew on anything else, but I do have a quilting machine on a 14' frame so I don't quit on a little machine. I just bought a new serger, the brohter runway project and I love it too, I just love sewing machines

  8. #33
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    Featherweight

    Quote Originally Posted by Valerie Ann View Post
    I have a birthday promise of a new machine to take with me to class as my Bernina is just too heavy. I continue to read about all the hype surrounding featherweights, but really, are they that great? Or, should I consider another machine (light and portable) for class use? Help! Seeking Advice...
    I love my Featherweight - don't get to sew like I'd like to though. Personally, I think you should get whatever you want! One of the sewing stores here will not let you bring a Featherweight to a quilting class, which I think is ridiculous. Bottom line is: what do you want?

  9. #34
    Super Member jlm5419's Avatar
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    Featherweights are popular for good reasons. They can be pricey, but sometimes can be found for very reasonable prices. Since most of the sewing I do is straight stitch, the featherweight is fine. However, for zigzag or specialty stitches, I use another machine.
    jlm5419-an Okie back in Oklahoma!
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  10. #35
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    FW

    Quote Originally Posted by Wintersewer View Post
    I've had my FW for years now. I got it at a garage sale for $20, and it only needed a little work, which I was able to do myself. I've only used it a couple of times, and plan to sell it at my garage sale this summer. I much prefer my modern machines. I have a nice collection of vintage machines, but I almost never sew on them.
    If you do put it up for sale, I am interested. I want one for nostalgic reasonsl Is there a way for you to contact me through the forum. I don't think it qould be smart to put my private email address in the public forum.
    Last edited by JSKY; 04-23-2012 at 06:08 AM.

  11. #36
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Janettat, if you click on the colored named to the left of the person's post, you can send a PM (private message) to that person. She may not see your message, and that way you can send a message to her.

    Check "notifications" at the top of the page; if you have received a message, there will be a number next to it (number of new messages). That's how you can tell if she replies to your PM.

  12. #37
    Super Member patdesign's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Valerie Ann View Post
    I have a birthday promise of a new machine to take with me to class as my Bernina is just too heavy. I continue to read about all the hype surrounding featherweights, but really, are they that great? Or, should I consider another machine (light and portable) for class use? Help! Seeking Advice...
    I have owned and used Featherweights since 1961, yes they are undoubtedly the finest portable straight stitch machine out there, lightweight, tons of reasonably priced accessories, all mechanical (no computers or plastic) and easy to maintain and service. Yaaaa!
    pat design

  13. #38
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    I bought a featherweight because I think they're cute. I brought it home, tried it out and haven't sewn on it since. With needle up/down, being able to move the needle side to side, fancey stitches, we've come a long way. I like all the bells and whistles. I think it's fun to have a featherweight but I surely wouldn't want to sew on it all the time. I have a Janome 6500 that I love and a Janome Platinum for classes. The Platinum and the featherweight weigh about the same, about 12 lbs.

  14. #39
    Super Member AZ Jane's Avatar
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    LOL, I'm new to quilting but have managed to collect 5 machines so far, only one with auto-threader. I found a serger threader at Jo-Ann's. It is like a regular needle threader but way longer and it makes it much easier to thread all my machines. If you are having trouble seeing that tiny, tiny hole I highly recommend them. Here is a picture but I have seen them in other colors.
    Name:  $(KGrHqQOKjgE1tMeZ5u,BNuCTeSlqg~~_1.jpg
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    Better to do something imperfectly, than nothing perfectly.
    Done is better than perfect.

  15. #40
    Senior Member Sally J's Avatar
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    I love my Featherweight and take it to classes and open sews most of the time. However, there many small lightweight machines now made by every brand to do have more features. That being said (I haven't tried the other small machines) it is a pleasure to sew on my Shelley Ann Featherweight. The sound is like a cat's purr and it makes such a great stitch. I got a lightweight bag to carry it because the original case is so heavy and awkward for me. You should test drive the other machines and see what you like but try a Featherweight before you make your decision

  16. #41
    Power Poster sewbizgirl's Avatar
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    I don't know about "great"... but they make a nice straight stitch, are simple to use, and can be carried anywhere. If those things fit the bill for you, then you might need one. It won't tear up and wear out with heavy use like the modern plastics...
    http://www.etsy.com/shop/sewbizgirl
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  17. #42
    Senior Member MdmSew'n'Sew's Avatar
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    I love using my FW, even when not going anywhere. I took it to a class a few years ago and everyone else was putting on their walking feet and cursing under their breaths. The guy sitting next to me owned a quilt shop and had a machine with just about every bell and whistle on it. He couldn't get it to go through 4 layers of fabric plus two layers of fusible fleece (we were making lined tote bags with french seams), but my little machine just kept on going, never skipping a stitch or breaking a thread. I use my Kenmore for the fancy schmancy stitches, etc., but for everyday utilitarian sewing, give me my little FW every time!
    He who cuts his own wood is warmed twice, but she who makes her own quilt is warmed forever - SLR 11/7/2011

  18. #43
    Senior Member AnnieF's Avatar
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    I have a FW and a Janome. In my quilt studio, I have both machines set up to stitch whenever I'm in the mood. The Janome is my go to machine quilter but the FW pieces just about any quilt I make. It actually sounds like it's purring as you sew along.

  19. #44
    Super Member Rose_P's Avatar
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    I wouldn't trade mine for piecing, but I wouldn't trade my other machines for what I use them for either. I have my mom's Elna Supermatic, and if I could keep only one machine, that would be it, but I also love my Bernina 830 Record that is about 40 years old. The Elna stays set up all the time for the stitch I like to use on bindings, and the Bernina has an excellent walking foot for straight line quilting. If I want to do FMQ, I use the Bernina, but the Elna does that, too. I think the throat area is a half inch smaller than the Bernina's.

    I have old eyes, but haven't noticed that the FW is any harder to thread than the other machines. If you hold a white card behind the needle's eye you can see it much better.

    If someone is going to buy the machine for you make sure they understand that you mean a vintage Featherweight in working order. I think there is or was a modern machine that went by that name, but isn't the same thing at all. Ideally you should try the machine to see if it's a good fit for you. Nobody else can really predict that. I will say that I have noticed that people who do piecing demos at quilt shows almost always have FW's. They can't be beat for reliability.

  20. #45
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    Wow! So much to think about...any more opinions? Thanks!

  21. #46
    Super Member grandme26's Avatar
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    I just bought a FW, took it to the repair shop for a new cord and general check over. it is in perfect condition and I will be using it in classes. I agree, my Bernina is way to heavy to carry around without help. I also have a Brothers that is lighter in weight but I really do not like it.
    Grandmeto6 aka Judy

  22. #47
    Member lklos303's Avatar
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    Singer FW

    I do all of my piecing on a FW. Love them. Have even had to replace a motor. Lois

  23. #48
    Super Member wordpaintervs's Avatar
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    anyone want to give me a feather weight machine (giggling and saying yeah-right-sure-uh huh, I'll do that-its in mail, maybe the second Tuesday of next week) as I sure can't afford to get one otherwise. I just love looking at these ladies, and wishing one was mine! HUMMMMMMM wonder if I coud barter for one, and then again, only my writing and making of dolls for sick kids could be a barter. No other skills. OH WOE IS ME. (Laughing at my silly self)

    I love coming to the forum, even though I'm such a novice. Keep up the good work on here everyone. You are all jewels!

  24. #49
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    I, too am a machine junkie with an Elna, Babylock, Bernina &the FW. I use my Bernina for my everyday sewing, classes, retreats etc. However, we have an RV & when we travel I love to take the FW. It takes up little space, can be set up & taken down in no time & I don't have to worry that any jostling will mess it up. I take only simple piecing projects with me so the straight stitch is sufficient. They are definitely work horses! But, as many others have said, it is most important to sit down & sew on a variety of machines, then choose the best quality you can afford &the one that suits YOUR needs the best.

  25. #50
    Super Member nhweaver's Avatar
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    They are perfect for machine piecing, the stitches are perfect, they are easy to work on, have a very quiet clicking sound when you sew, and I find it very relaxing. No other stitches, so applique and zigzag are not able to be done. They are lightweight, compact, and accessories are easy to find. The prices have syrocketed, if you look you will find one.

    I lovve all mine,
    If life gives you lemons, make a margarita.

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