So Shall You Sew: IBMDT #7, #8, & #9

Singer FWSerendipity swept down the street and stopped at my house yesterday,

It all started when I finally did something I’ve been meaning to do (IBMTD) for ages and, in doing that one, I managed to knock off two other goals at the same time. I hit the trifecta!


  • Call the sewing machine repair guy and have him come fix my mechanical machine
  • Kick my fancy computerized sewing machine to the curb
  • Buy a vintage Singer Featherweight sewing machine

I’ve had the intention to call Mr. P., the wizard of sewing machines, for ages. Every time I talked to anyone who sews, his name came up, and everyone raved about this man. “He’s kind.” “He’s sweet.” “He can fix anything.” “He’ll come to your house!”

I’d been meaning to call him but am so phone-averse that I just kept putting it off. But as I’ve been trying to work on my quilt project, the need became more pressing. Every time I used the machine, the thread was constantly leaping out of the take-up lever and jamming everything. I’m bad enough at sewing without having to deal with that!

So, I called Mr. P. and he came later the same day—all the wonderful things I had heard about him were true! He cleaned and spiffed up my mechanical machine, and now it works just great.

While he was here, I brought up the subject of my fancy computerized machine. I have had this machine for quite awhile and I LOATHE it. It has been a big computerized albatross around my neck for years and has generated quite a lot of family lore, in all of which I come across as a fool.

Everyone else who has this kind of machine loves it but I have not been able to reach any sort of détente with mine. Some will say the fault, dear Kerry, is not in the sewing machine but in yourself. Whatever.

The fact was, it was not working, yet again, and I asked Mr. P. about it. He, the sewing machine whisperer, couldn’t fix it.  The nearest location where it could be fixed is a two-hour drive away. Ai yi. Here we go again.

Fast forward in the discussion.

I was talking about how much I like a mechanical, as opposed to a computerized, machine. I mentioned how a Singer Featherweight seemed to be just about my speed and how I’d always wanted one.

Long pause.

“Well,” says Mr. P., “I have two or three refurbished ones.”

“Could I buy one?,” I pleaded.

And he, lovely man that he is, came up with a solution that made both of us happy—we could swap. He would take the evil, devil-possessed computerized machine and trade me a sweet, docile Singer Featherweight!

Yes! YES!

For those of you not familiar with the Featherweight, they were made in the mid-20th century. They are designed to be portable, fit neatly into a carrying case, and weigh only 11 pounds. They are small and quiet and have no bells and whistles whatsoever. They are especially popular among quilters.

It’s everything I could want! Mechanical. Old school. Sturdy. Easy to fix. Cute. Most important—it is NOT smarter than I, unlike some machines whose names must not be spoken!

You may think this is the dumbest decision you’ve ever heard and that I got the short end of the deal. But if you could have felt the joy and relief I felt when that computerized machine went down the driveway, maybe you’d understand.

So, today I’ll spend some time getting acquainted with my sweet new friend.

Have you ever wanted something so bad that, when you got it, all you could do is sit there and grin at it?

SInger FW2


42 thoughts on “So Shall You Sew: IBMDT #7, #8, & #9

  1. I am totally thrilled at this news! And yes, I do know how you feel because I felt that way when I bought a Singer treadle machine, which was similar to the one my Grandma taught me to sew on.
    What a day you had, when all the pieces fell into place! You are going to know that machine as well as a good friend. I am SO HAPPY for you!- Karen.

  2. I know you will love your Featherweight. I have inherited my MIL’s Featherweight and had it cleaned & serviced. It had been used by her since it was ‘born’ in 1950! I so enjoy my computer sewing machine, but it is nice to go back and use the dependable mechanical machine. Happy Stitching!

    • Mine was “born” in 1951! And I’m sure the computer machines have their place but I simply could not learn to love mine. I’m much better off now!

  3. oh, as soon as i saw your machine i thought of my grandmother. her visits always lasted several weeks, and i remember coming home from school to find her sewing away. she made most of my clothes when i was younger (and not a label conscious teen). what a sweet memory. thanks for that!

    • Seems lots of people have memories of old Singers of one type or another. I have a very soft spot for the one my mom, who made most of my clothing, had!

  4. It is beautiful! I have an old fashioned singer sewing machine that I’ve been meaning to try out, but mostly I use my John Lewis Mini which I can just about handle (although it often messes up and I can’t understand why.) The worst thing about sewing is hands down when sewing machines don’t do what they’re supposed to (or what you think they should do!) It sounds like the perfect swap, and congratulations for ticking something else off your to do list! xx

    • Thanks, Jess! My old machine came with the original owner’s manual but I also found a pdf of it on line. One of the best things about the mechanical machines is that a reasonably intelligent person can fix most problems herself. Do you have a manual for either of yours? You should look on-line!

    • Thanks, Susan–I feel a little dopey getting such a kick out of this. But, no kidding, that computer machine was such a total bonehead decision for me, it’s really good that it no longer darkens my door!

  5. I don’t sew anymore but my last sewing machine was a Singer. That was about 1979. It wasn’t an old model but one that was produced for developing countries (I think) where there was little access to electricity. My sister and I did a lot of sewing on it; she turned the handle while I did the sewing :D. We were a good team. I think you made some smart deals. When I bought my car about 10 years ago, I refused to buy the model with the modern window controls. I opted for the model with the wind down windows; so much easier. So we all have our ways!

    • That’s a great image of you and your sister sewing together! I don’t sew much either or, I should say, I prefer to sew by hand. But with the quilting, It’s nice to have a reliable machine for some of the work and I need to make an occasional repair on vintage items. Plus, if I need a basic curtain or something, I am tooooooo cheap to go out and pay for one!

  6. Oh I feel your joy. My aunt gave me a Singer treadle and I always say the money I earned from making curtains and Austrian blinds in the 80s bought my kids up! It was made in 1955….same as me!….and I could even sew leather on it. I got a new machine couple of years ago and it does amazing things but has no soul somehow. I still have my treadle and appreciate the joy you will have with your new..old…acquisition, enjoy!

    • Mine was “born” in 1951 so it’s a little older than I am (I’m 1955 , too). I actually have an old treadle machine and asked the repair guy if he could fix it. He could but he thought that, for what I wanted, the Featherweight made more sense.

  7. I have a Sears Kenmore from the 1970s. Its a workhorse and I can still get parts online. They don’t make them like they used to, you got a great deal.

  8. Oh I hear you, I hear you. My only sewing machine (admittedly rarely used) is my great grandmother’s 1895 Singer, converted to electric some time last century. Granted it doesn’t have any fancy electronic gubbins, but it is a thing of beauty and it has inspired me to create more things of – I hope – beauty. Your machine is beautiful. Enjoy.

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