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Thread: Are Singer Feather Weights Really That Great?

  1. #1
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    Are Singer Feather Weights Really That Great?

    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...

  2. #2
    Super Member Dolphyngyrl's Avatar
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    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

  3. #3
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    They are lightweight, amazingly cute, extremely reliable, and have a great straight stitch. The only time I would consider taking a different machine to class is when a zigzag stitch is required.

  4. #4
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    It depends. I have a featherweight, and it does do a great straight stitch, but I am always worried it will get scratched up or dropped or damaged in some way. Most of the time it stays packed up in its case. When I use it, I miss having the option of needle-down and being able to adjust the needle side-to-side the way I can with my Bernina. When I was younger, the nostalgia really appealed to me; that has lessened as I've gotten older and my focus has changed more to getting things done.

    Personally, for taking to classes, I would prefer something in the Janome Jem series -- especially if it has needle-down. I wouldn't have to worry about it getting scratched or damaged and could just use it to death!

  5. #5
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    My sisters and I sewed on Featherweights until our teens, then we got new machines. We kept the black Centennial FW that originally belonged to our Mom. I borrowed it from my sister a couple of years ago, remembering right away how to thread it. I love the quality of the stitches and the markings on the SS plate. To me, having the narrow feed dogs on a straight stitch machine makes narrow seams on small pieces easier. I sew on a vintage Bernina 830 and a Singer 15-91, so I'm not used to having computerized features, but I would buy a FW in good working condition in a minute if I had the money.

    I would add one of the new LED sewing light kits and buy an extension table.
    Elizabeth

  6. #6
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    I bought one last week after watching Craigslist for awhile. It really is that great. Great 1/4" seam, straight stitches, and oh so cute. Since its all metal it's really not that light, but it is easy to carry if you get a case in good condition. I'm really pleased with mine. I don't have a fancy Bernina to compare it to though. My other machine is a brother, so IMO basis for comparison may be different than yours.

  7. #7
    Super Member AliKat's Avatar
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    I love mine. I carry it in a tote bag to keep the weight light. the downsides aren't usually that important for a class" no needle down, no moving the needle position, no fancy stitches. but just perfect for a class.

    Many friends only use their FW's to quilt.

    ali
    Have fun quilting! If it isn't fun, you will miss a lot.
    ali

  8. #8
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    I use my FW for classes and always take it even when I take my Janome Jem for when I need different stitches. It has come in handy so many times for when my or someone else's machine decides to not sew. It's simple for everyone to use, even a beginner sewer. I keep it in the hard case and sit the case in a regular machine rolling case. I have the white (celery) one. The white ones are actually smaller then the black ones! I can get a perfect stitch with any type of thread on the FW. It's not picky about thread types. I use the Singer needles made for the FW. The other needle brands are just a smidge longer and doesn't give a perfect tension stitch but not many notice that difference. One con: The light cover gets very hot. I seldom turn it on and use a sewing lamp.
    Got fabric?

  9. #9
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    Consider this. If your Bernina decides to 'take an extended break', would you be happy with the limitations of a Featherweight for more than just a class? There are many lightweight, inexpensive, very capable sewing machines on the market with way more functions than a Featherweight. Personally, cute, nostalgic, vintage, and hype are not what I look for in a sewing machine investment.
    The Earth without art is just "Eh".

  10. #10
    Super Member Daylesewblessed's Avatar
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    I like my FW a lot, but I love my 301. It is just a little bit heavier, quite a bit less expensive, and the slant needle gives me much more visibility. Unless I put the FW on a phone book, my line of vision to the needle is blocked by the tension dial.

    Dayle

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    I have my grandmother's FW, purchased new in the early '30s. It was my favorite machine for everything...until I found my Elna Supermatic. Much easier to piece on, has it's own table (the case unfolds to be the table), and uses cams for a variety of stitches. I hate to admit it, but I much prefer the Elna!

  12. #12
    Super Member annesthreads's Avatar
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    I love my FW and do much of my piecing on it, especially smaller projects. But I probably wouldn't take it to a class - I'd worry about it getting damaged, and its simplicity and lack of features would be a disadvantage for some classes. I don't often do classes, but when I do I take my Janome 4800 - a bit heavy to carry, but not too bad, and then I've got all the features I could need (except free motion quilting, for which that machine is a lemon, but that's another story...).

  13. #13
    Super Member QuiltNama's Avatar
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    Love my FW and use it all the time. At home and for classes. I also have 2 top of the line electronic machines (kenmore-made by New Home), and a selection of older Singer machines. Can't beat the stitch it makes and it is perfect for classes.

  14. #14
    Super Member irishrose's Avatar
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    Interesting points. A FW heavy? 12 pounds?? The 301 at 16 pounds is my choice for the reasons given above. Trene, I'm surprised your Elna wlll quilt. Mine won't which is why I have the 301. That auto adjusting presser foot and the zigzag plate are two of the reasons she doesn't quilt well. I do love that machine and have used it for almost 40 years for everything imaginable, but the 301 is my piecer, my FMQer and my class machine.

    FWs are adorable, that's for sure. What does the 'new' anniversary one weigh?

  15. #15
    Member kittyannart's Avatar
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    I use to have one but hardly ever used it because of it only having straight stitch capability. I feel for the money the FWs are commanding you could do better with a different machine. I replaced my FW with a modern Singer Quantum Stylist 9960, it is an excellent machine. The 9960 was produced after the Pfaff/Viking/Singer merger and sews extremely well. Has needle up/down, multi needle position and even an auto thread cutter. I couldn't lug my big Viking Designer to classes anymore, just too bulky and heavy. The 9960 isn't small but is of lighter weight than the Viking. Amazon has them for a good price with free shipping.
    Happy Seams to you, until we meet again!
    Ani

  16. #16
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    I have a FW, a 301 and several modern machines. I took the 301 to retreat with me. I don't do classes. The nice thing about these machines is their durability. You aren't going to knock the timing off with a little jolt and you have no electronics to worry about. The straight stitch is perfect.

    BUT, if you already have reservations it probably isn't the machine for you. I do love mine but I love having my modern machines, too. I think I am a sewing machine junkie!

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    Irishrose - I don't quilt on my Supermatic, I don't machine quilt at all. I piece on it, and hand quilt. No objection to machine quilting, just a skill I haven'tlearned yet!

  18. #18
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    I love my FW. Its great for classes, because it is light weight. I have the case so don't have to worry about it getting marked up or hurt. I have a Bernina and a Janome and I really like them too, but would never want to be without my FW.

  19. #19
    Super Member Charlee's Avatar
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    I love my FW and can't think of another machine I'd rather "take along" or one more portable in my herd. That being said, find one and try it out before you make your own decision....some folks just don't like them...
    One day, you'll only be a memory for some people. Do your best to be a good one.

    http://charleeturner.blogspot.com

  20. #20
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    I have featherweight and a Europro that I believe is lighter than the FW. Both travel well, so it depends on what I am going to work on will determine which one is going with me. I do not use the FW black carrying case though, I have a traveling case with wheels. I agree you should try out a few machines. You know the FW is going to last, but it may not be the machine you want.

  21. #21
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    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!

  22. #22
    Senior Member AnitaSt's Avatar
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    I love my FW, as do so many others. I bought it because I didn't want to try to take my Bernina to classes and retreats...it's too heavy and too expensive to go lugging it around! I use it only for piecing or small quilting...quilt-as-you-go...projects. It's my backup when the Bernina is in the shop. And it's straight stitch is fantastic.

    Ease of maintenance is important to me too....you can learn to maintain it on your own. There are wonderful resources available through the web. And it's very straightforward mechanically.

    And, for me, it's sentimental....it makes that old-fashioned sewing machine sound and reminds me of how many women sewed on those little darlings!

  23. #23
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    I have a Bernina White Pearl to take to classes, but we just bought a FW. It's cleaned up and running and I will probably take it sometimes. I like that the White Pearl is a slightly downsized version of my Activa 640. If it needs to be in the shop I can still pop on the walking Foot and do binding with the White Pearl as well as everything else I need.
    Cheryl Robinson
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  24. #24
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    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.

  25. #25
    Super Member BluegrassGurl's Avatar
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    Love my FW!! I use it all the time for piecing. To me, it is very light weight and easy to move around. I have 2 other electronic (Brother) machines that I use for FMQ, zig zag, etc. Have had my FW for about a year and just simply would not be happy without her now. She is a gem. ;-)

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