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First Time I Have Seen a FW Clone

First Time I Have Seen a FW Clone

Old 09-09-2015, 11:20 AM
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Default First Time I Have Seen a FW Clone

Today at an estate sale I saw a "Little Giant" sewing machine. The profile looked very much like a FW, and so did the box. The badge said "Los Angeles". The bobbin case was a little deeper, and the bobbins were completely different. Does anyone know anything about this model?

See the 4th picture in this Craigslist ad:

http://lubbock.craigslist.org/gms/5212792917.html

Last edited by Daylesewblessed; 09-09-2015 at 11:24 AM.
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Old 09-09-2015, 02:31 PM
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It is cute!
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Old 09-09-2015, 02:41 PM
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There were a few brands of these knock-offs. Alpha- Sew was the last company I think that tried to market them. The problem was, while these machines *look* like a Featherweight, they don't *sew* like a Featherweight.

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Old 09-09-2015, 02:54 PM
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The Alpha Sew situaton is another great example of just how impressive the early machines were.

The reason that the Alpha-Sew machines did not take off is that the quality is SIGNIFICANTLY lower than even modern Singers. That is in the modern world where computer controlled milling machines can make parts to within .0001 inch or better... Imagine the committment to quality that was required around the time of the US Civil War to make machines that 150 years later are still smoother than a machine made 3-5 years ago.

Sad....
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Old 09-10-2015, 02:45 AM
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nothing compensates for poor craftsmanship
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Old 09-10-2015, 05:59 AM
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Now that I have a FW and have been sewing on it, I would be really interested to get my hands on one of the Alpha-Sew machines or this Little Giant, just to experience the difference first-hand.

I've heard of Alpha-Sew and seen them for sale (not in person though); this is first time I've heard of Little Giant. I wonder how many other FW copies there are out there?

Did you find out how much they're asking for it? I've been surprised to see how much people want for the Alpha-Sew machines. In some cases, a good bit more than what you'd pay for a real FW!
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Old 09-10-2015, 06:12 AM
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Sewnoma, the price tag said $225. I couldn't tell if the estate sellers knew anything about it or not.
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Old 09-10-2015, 06:20 AM
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Whoo... Not surprised....that's about on par for a real FW on eBay. I'd be interested in paying maybe 1/4th that amount!
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Old 09-10-2015, 08:18 AM
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The problem with most consumer goods isn't really with the manufacturers but with the buyers. Instead of asking the manufacturers "How well can you make this?" the buyers ask "How cheaply can you make this?". We encourage this sort of logic/behavior every time we buy cheaply made goods.
The Asian manufacturers are every bit as capable of making high quality goods as we are. It's just that no one asks them to do it or is willing to pay for that quality. You can buy new 15 clones for about $20 each if you buy 500 or more at a time. How much precision machining are you going to get for $20?

I've seen a few of the featherweight clones but haven't had the chance to handle one. At $225 I wouldn't touch it. With a little patience you can find a real featherweight for that.
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Old 09-10-2015, 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Rodney View Post
The problem with most consumer goods isn't really with the manufacturers but with the buyers. Instead of asking the manufacturers "How well can you make this?" the buyers ask "How cheaply can you make this?". We encourage this sort of logic/behavior every time we buy cheaply made goods.
The Asian manufacturers are every bit as capable of making high quality goods as we are. It's just that no one asks them to do it or is willing to pay for that quality. You can buy new 15 clones for about $20 each if you buy 500 or more at a time. How much precision machining are you going to get for $20?

I've seen a few of the featherweight clones but haven't had the chance to handle one. At $225 I wouldn't touch it. With a little patience you can find a real featherweight for that.
Rodney

This is exactly true. I had a similarly themed "rant" on my blog a couple of years ago. My other life is in IT. My chosen brand of laptops and in many cases, desktop and self built server hardware is by a company in China. They're one of the best and were building of the other companies for years before they brought their own consumer laptop/desktop lines out.

That said, not all companies build this way and if you want better quality you have to tell the companies you buy from that "This is good enough for my customer" is not good enough. Because that's the quality level they're signing off on.

I've laid hands on the AlphaSew machine. It's poor quality. There are things they did - like relocating screws that also makes major maintenance / repair harder, and it "feels" wrong. The finish is poor on most parts - left rough and unpleasant. The bright bits are -too- shiny, if that makes any sense? I'm not even fond of most of their other spare parts - the packaged treadle belts and even motor belts largely come from them, and most feet starting with a "P" are Alpha sew feet.
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