A “New” Friend Joins the Party ~ Singer Featherweight 221

Singer Featherweight 221 : Fresh Lemons Quilts

I have a bit of a confession. A “new” friend came to live with me last week. Meet Betty Bee. She is a Singer Featherweight 221, born in 1950. Sharing her this week is sort of timely, as yesterday was the anniversary of Isaac Singer’s patent of the sewing machine.

A few weeks ago, during my weekend in Wisconsin, I spent some time eyeing Jeni and Holly’s featherweights. Such great machines, and wow, just amazing that something with that many moving parts 60, 70, even 80 years old can still work perfectly!

Singer Featherweight 221 : Fresh Lemons Quilts

I decided that a Singer Featherweight would be a perfect travel sewing machine…and even a “kitchen table” sewing machine. My house is tall and narrow, so my sewing studio is up on a third floor. I love the idea of having a permanent, lightweight machine that I can stitch on in the kitchen when the kids are home, and then store away on a book shelf when not in use. I know a lot of these machines are listed on eBay, so I started there. I was pretty overwhelmed and honestly, I am not an eBay person. Just tell me the price and end the games! 🙂 But after looking over listings and finding one that appeared to be in good shape, I did some bidding and actually won! Meet Betty Bee – named by my 8 year old daughter.

Singer Featherweight 221 : Fresh Lemons Quilts

Betty Bee had one owner before me, and previously lived very nearby in Wisconsin. In fact, so close that she took less than 24 hours to arrive at my house. The original owner’s name was on a piece of paper in the case (that also included the name of her former employer), so I Googled her and was able to print out a little history to store with the machine.

Singer Featherweight 221 : Fresh Lemons Quilts

She is in great condition. As with any machine, learning to thread it and get started can be a process. (Yes, it took me some time to realize I had the needle in wrong!)

I joined a Singer Featherweight 221/222 group on Facebook, which has awesome information in the Files area related to the machine. I also followed some online videos to help me clean her, switch the bulb to an LED, and replace the felt drip pad. (I bought the bulb, felt and a couple other maintenance items at April 1930’s Featherweight Specialty Shop.) She came with the original manual so I used that to make sure she was oiled and lubed in all the right spots.

Singer Featherweight 221 : Fresh Lemons Quilts

Besides apparently being addicted to sewing machines, I also have a weakness for Lululemon. I managed to get a bag there that fits Betty Bee and some supplies perfectly.

Singer Featherweight 221 : Fresh Lemons Quilts

Here it is, next to the original case.

Singer Featherweight 221 : Fresh Lemons Quilts

I am sure you will see more glimpses of Betty Bee popping up here and there. She came with a bunch of presser feet, some look more like torture devices. But I’m guessing I will mostly piece with her.

Singer Featherweight 221 : Fresh Lemons Quilts

She will be much cared for and used in her new home, and my daughter has already claimed her for once I die. Ha! A long, long time from now. 😉

A New Adventure with Bernina

BERNINA Sewing Machines : Fresh Lemons Quilts

Hello everyone! Today I’m beyond thrilled to be sharing with you a new adventure I’ll be embarking on over the next year. I have partnered with Bernina USA and the We All Sew team to review the Bernina 750QE sewing machine, which they are providing for me, as well as contribute some fun projects on the We All Sew blog. If this is your first time here on my blog and you came over from Bernina, welcome!

Bernina's We All Sew Blog

Looking back over my life since I was old enough to have a job, there are two, what I think of as “life changing”, things that I have saved for and purchased. The first was in high school. I saved my money and at a point in time where everyone was buying clothes or a used car, I bought my first computer. I actually remember the day it arrived – and the monitor was late so I just had the CPU sitting there! (My dad loaned me his computer monitor so I could set it up and play). You see, I took my first computer programming class in High School and I loved it so much. This was the early 1990’s, I think before most teenagers knew anything about coding programs. I think I was either the only girl in the class, or one of two. I went on to major in Systems Analysis and work as a web developer until staying home with my kids.

Bernina 440QE : Fresh Lemons Quilts

The second “life changing” purchase that I made came in 2009 when I bought my first Bernina. My mom sewed on a Bernina and encouraged me to look at them and bring one home. I bought the 440 QE and when I set up and started sewing, everything seemed to change. The quality of the machine, stitches, the walking foot, the Bernina Stitch Regulator (once I got the hang of it)…I was in love. Each day I sat at my machine and knew I would get the best quality from my time there. The joy I have had at that machine has encouraged me to sew, sew and sew some more.

Bernina 750QE : Fresh Lemons Quilts
Included feet with 750QE

I am beyond excited about this new partnership with Bernina. I picked up the new machine on Monday and I will be sewing on it for the next year and letting you all know how it goes along the way. I have high expectations!

Bernina 440 and 750 : Fresh Lemons Quilts

Above you can see the size difference between the 440 and 750. Honestly, when I was using it in the store I didn’t think it seemed much bigger. I’m going to go ahead and call that the “Costco effect”. Do you guys shop there? As soon as you walk in there are a ton of tvs. Big tvs. But they don’t look so big in the store. You think “wow, 55″ looks small. Maybe I need a 65″. Or a 70.” Then you get it home and realize “WOW, that is actually a very large television!” Right?? Anyway! It’s a lot bigger.

Here is a comparison of the throat space, with the 440 behind the 750.

Bernina 440 and 750 : Fresh Lemons Quilts

I can’t wait to get a quilt in there, this weekend hopefully!

Bernina 440 and 750 : Fresh Lemons Quilts

I do have some initial just-out-of-the-box impressions. To be honest, I’ve already sewn an entire quilt top on it. And a whole bunch of decorative stitches. Just a wee bit excited…

As soon as I got it home, based on the recommendation of the gentleman who trained me (Seth at Gentler Times in Naperville, IL), I oiled it and changed out the needle. For piecing I’m using a 80/11 Microtex Sharp needle.

I also purchased an additional stitch plate for piecing – the Straight Stitch Plate. You can see the difference below, the straight stitch plate is on the machine and the stitch plate it comes with is to the right. Many people feel they achieve more accurate piecing with the straight stitch plate so I’m trying it out. So far, so good!

Bernina 440 and 750 : Fresh Lemons Quilts

There are a couple things I noticed right away. It is very quiet. Much quieter than the 440 (which I thought was super quiet when I bought it!) The 750 has the knee lift I’m accustomed to but I feels much more solid that the 440’s knee lift, which despite the massive table where I sew, still shakes loose when I’m going super fast.

It has some “new to me” features like a thread cutter and dual feed system. That’s the white guy you see on the back below.

Bernina 440 and 750 : Fresh Lemons Quilts

This helps evenly guide the fabric while I piece. It swings up out of the way when I’m not using it (which I’m guessing will be rare!)

There’s also a giant bobbin. Huge. Here it is compared to the bobbin in my 440.

Bernina 440 and 750 : Fresh Lemons Quilts

It also has this cool feature where you can’t put the bobbin in the bobbin case backwards. As you can see, it just sets on top if you are doing it wrong. Flip it over and it slides right in.

Bernina 440 and 750 : Fresh Lemons Quilts

The fancy touch screen controls are really nice. There’s a ton of information there and I have a feeling that even in 12 months I won’t have seen everything. I do love that when you change a setting, like for example increase the stitch length, it visually changes on the screen.

Bernina 440 and 750 : Fresh Lemons Quilts

I hope you are as excited as me to go on this journey! I’ll still be posting regularly here, don’t worry. I will just be throwing even more sewing machine information into the mix! And keep an eye out on the We All Sew blog. My first project, a Summer Quilt Along, will be starting over there very soon.

Bernina Cutwork Tool

Bernina Cutwork Contents

Last October when I ordered my Bernina sewing machine and embroidery module, I also ordered the Bernina Cutwork Tool. This thing promised to be so cool. It is a blade that goes in where your sewing machine needle would normally go, and cuts fabric based on your designs in the Bernina software.

I’m not sure if you noticed on the right, but I have a little hair clip business, One Lil Cupcake. I have been waiting for this tool to arrive to step up the automation of my business. And after a long wait, (and a little drama!), I have my hands on it!

Now I must learn to use it. LOL I installed the software and am in the process of tinkering around. I will write up a review once I have a chance to work with the tool.

Bernina Cutwork Tool

Oh Happy Joy!

1 Bernina Boxes

It finally came (yesterday)! My Bernina Aurora 440QEE! Say hello to the nicest thing in my house now. LOL What can I say? It’s awesome. No more machine moving across the table while I sew, no more extra stitches after I take my foot off the pedal. No more wonky seam allowances.

At first I was a bit worried about the learning curve. I couldn’t even figure out how to put the accessories in the accessory box! But the manual is great. I even did some test embroidery. I am able to take 5 classes through my Bernina dealer and have already signed up for the first class on my machine and the first embroidery class.

So, I thought I would share the photos I took while opening the boxes and getting set up! Enjoy!

2 Opening

Machine and Toys:
3 Machine Packaged

What’s in the Sewing Machine Box:
4 Aurora 440QEE

Embroidery Module:
5 Embroidery Module

All Set Up:
6 Aurora 440QEE Setup

Testing Embroidery:
7 Testing Embroidery