Saturday, September 19, 2015

ASG NoVA Taste of Retreat 2015

What do you get when you put 33 friends together for 3 days of sewing and laughter inside 6000 square feet of work space??  We call it the American Sewing Guild Northern Virginia Chapter's Taste of Retreat!!  Yes, it was as fun as it sounds.

I have organized these summer retreats for our chapter before (2012 and in 2014), so I was happy to do it again this year.  One problem to start though -  I had to find a new venue within our budget for our 3-day retreat.  The hotel we used previously increased their fees 50% which put it out of our budget.  I was so excited to be able to secure The National Conference Center in Leesburg, VA for our retreat this summer!  This place is a corporate training facility and can host any size event. We were given almost 6,000 square feet for our event!!  😃  The food on campus is excellent and the staff was friendly, helpful and quickly took care of any needs that came up.  The overnight rooms are pretty basic as this site is used primarily for corporate training.

Where is everyone?  Lunch break at the retreat.  

Sewing Selfie.  :-)
My work area.

An enjoyable weekend spending time doing the craft love with like-minded friends.  We will be back at this venue next year.  They have offered us even more space, so we may open up this retreat to our neighboring ASG chapters to join us.

Happy Stitching!

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Thursday, September 17, 2015

Singer Featherweight Table Extension

I'm loving my Singer Featherweight.  It is cute, it stitches great, and it is perfect for travel.  I was organizing my sewing guild's end of summer retreat and planned on bringing just my new Featherweight this year, instead of my beloved but large and heavy embroidery machine. I thought I would bring my block-of-the month quilt project from Craftsy to the retreat and hopefully catch up on my blocks.  So do you know what would be great to go with my Featherweight? An extension table, of course!  That would be great to have, right??

Nova Montgomery sells one by Sew Steady. It is nice, but then I found some made by Bob Corey Associates at  Oh my, I really preferred the black color table over the clear one.  Figure I want to see what is on my table, not the mess I probably will collect underneath it.  Wasn't sure which size would be better for me - the mini size table has a review here, but I decided I would rather have the full size.  I know they are sometimes sold on eBay, but I ordered mine directly from the website.  It arrived quickly and was very well packaged.

Featherweight full size extension table.

I love the way it matches my Featherweight.  It is sturdy and heavy enough that it doesn't shift around while stitching.  The table legs detach making this table easy for travel.  It keeps my hands from rubbing on the decals on the featherweight bed as well.

I needed a bag to carry this extension table, so I picked up a yard of quilted fabric from my local JoAnn store , and quickly stitched a carry tote for it.  I found embroidery designs of the Featherweight bed decals at Jen's Embroidery Designs site.

Featherweight Bed Decal Embroidery Design 

I added it to my bag for a finishing touch.

This bag is wide enough to safely carry my long quilting rulers too, so that is an added bonus.

To the retreat we went!  Post on the retreat coming soon.  :-)
Featherweight set up at retreat.

Happy Stitching!

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Tuesday, September 15, 2015

My new (to me) Featherweight 221 & Resources

I had been watching for an opportunity to acquire a vintage Featherweight.  Seems like all the nice ones are way out of my budget.  I patiently waited and kept an eye out for a good looking machine within my price range.  I found such a machine on eBay this summer.  A 1952 Singer Featherweight 221 being sold for repair as it's power cord was in bad shape.

She looked so pretty, and the machine and decals looked to be in excellent condition.  The description said it sewed (had a photo of stitching too) but was being sold "as is".  I thought for sure I could get her within budget and fix whatever ails her.  Seems like several other folks on eBay had the same idea because the auction became very active at the end, and when the dust settled, I had won.  Yea me!  Couldn't wait to get her home.

This cord has definitely seen better days.

Three of the best sources I've found for Singer Featherweights are:
I did my research on how to clean, oil and lube this machine.  I found Tina Rose's video on how to clean a Featherweight to be helpful.  I set up shop on my dining room table and carefully inspected my new machine inside and out.

The power cord is easily replaceable and I found the part online for a reasonable price.  Turns out that there were a couple other parts on this machine that needed fixing or replacing.  The thread bar was missing (Singer part #PFW-45782) from my machine, and the bobbin plate brackets and screws were gone as well.  Doesn't seem like much, but there appeared to be some damage to the underside of the bobbin plate (see blue arrows in pic below).  Seriously, how did a hole get punched in there??  Since it is critical to hold that finger in-between those brackets, I thought it was best to replace the whole bobbin plate instead of just the brackets. I found everything I needed and/or wanted online either sold new or harvested from a prior machine.  Singer Parts Diagram.

Damaged underside of bobbin plate.
Thread mess when that finger (pink arrow) does not stay in the 12 o'clock position.
The Featherweight doesn't allow for any stray threads around the bobbin, and it can be quite difficult to get all the thread out.  For that mess of thread that I created in the above picture, I found April's video on how to remove thread from the bobbin case to be just the ticket.  I now keep a tiny flat head screwdriver in my sewing case so I can open that gib when needed.

The parts that required replacing on this machine:
  • the power cord
  • thread bar
  • bobbin plate
Other parts that I opted to replace:
  • light bulb - from incandescent which burns very hot, to a LED light.  Much better!  
  • straight side plate with a fancy scroll one.  Just for aesthetics.    
  • felt drip pad inside the bottom pan
  • new rubber cushion feet for both the machine and foot pedal.  
I used:
Here are some before and after shots of my new baby:
Gears behind side plate - before & after.

Gears under top plate - before & after.

Gears on the bottom - before & after.

Metal bottom before & after cleaning.

She wasn't too bad of shape, just old, dirty and in need of cleaning up, but she sure looks pretty now.
Replaced straight plate with scroll one.

And the final test was to see how she sewed.  She sews great!!  Nice even stitch.  I'm so excited for my new-to-me machine.  Here is a an overview glance of the machine and a test stitch:

Happy Stitching!

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