Monday, January 26, 2015

The Library

Before we had YouTube to give us guidance in how to do almost anything, sewing included, there were books for instruction. I've collected a few, shared a few, and now want to share some of mine with you. Starting with the newest, I have several copies of  Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Sewing:

1978 edition
This is a nice introduction to sewing, including basic supplies and why you would need them, garment construction, home decor, and a small section of projects for your home at the end to put your skills to use. I like that it is not published by a particular home sewing group so they are impartial to brands of machines and accessories:

Types of bobbins and how to remove them
The illustrations are sure 1978 as well as the styles but the information is still sound and useful.

Next up is a McCall's Sewing Book:

1968 edition
This is getting funnier with "mod" illustrations with only black and pink for color. Quite a few pages are devoted to choosing the right pattern, but then McCalls could sell you one, if you wish.  Fabric and tools are included along with garment construction and a final chapter on home decor. No photographs, only those black line drawings but the skills and techniques are still correct:
How do you wear a dress for sports?

Let's learn to use a ruffler!
I wouldn't use them for fashion advice! The cover notes it features the "New Sizing" and this is something I recall as an improvement, something closer to what you would find in a store. The home decor section actually gives a good step by step guide to making slipcovers so maybe this book could come in handy sometime.

I think I stumbled across both of the above books at sales and were only a dollar or two but the following book was recommended through one of the sewing machine forums I subscribe to and I actually purchased it for $7-8. I was not disappointed:
1954 edition
This Singer Sewing Book cover is rather uninviting but it might have had a colorful dust jacket when new.  What makes it so much fun are the articles such as "Your attitude toward your machine", "Room of her own", and "Dressing your table" or bed, or closets.  There is information about using what was available for your then new, now vintage, sewing machine. Various hemmers and binders, and even a section on "fashion stitches" which turns out to be free motion embroidery. There are 12 double sided pages of color photographs, as the rest of the book is line drawings in black and white.

Using a buttonhole attachment
 Just like the other books on sewing, garment construction, mainly for women is featured with a section on home decor at the end. The projects are decidedly fussier with ruffles, and special bindings.

There are a few pages at the very end about zigzag sewing machines and how if you have one you "are in great good fortune, because a machine not only does plain stitching but it embroiders, monograms, decorates with motif and borders...The Singer Zigzag Machine is an example of modern engineering wizardry" and indeed it was. And it still is. I don't want to think about how far we have come because what was done in the past with these fine sewing machines was engineering wizardry that has not been matched with our computerized sewing machines. Those who sew with vintage sewing machines know they are beautiful as well as functional.  And there's always one calling your name.

Thursday, January 22, 2015


Keeping your clothes clean while in the kitchen or just for general housework has become a thing of the past. Women and girls used to wear aprons to save their clothes from frequent washing but that was when you wore a dress many times before washing and only washed your apron when dirty. Today we wash all of our clothes frequently and sometimes change clothes several times a day. Why would you need or want an apron? When company comes for diner and you can appear with your apron on to look like you've actually been cooking in your kitchen? To keep your nice outfit clean even though you are cooking? Because they are just cute? You like that vintage look of your grandmother (probably your great-grandmother)? All of the above are legitimate reasons for wearing an apron. As a child I thought an apron was just part of what my grandma always wore, like a pinafore I had with a few dresses. I remember my own mom wearing a half apron that had a red towel sewn into the pocket or waistband and she loved how handy it was. The jump-start to my apron making came when I found an apron pattern in with a collection of sewing stuff crammed into a sewing bench. It was one you could send away for from Women's Day magazine from September 1963. There are at least eight different styles and full sized patterns but it was all in black and white until I went to Pinterest and found the original article in color:

Pretty fancy for the kitchen, huh?

The rest of the views

With these color visualized, now I was ready to make a few aprons. Kelly and I went shopping for fabric and found all of these lace yokes, I suppose for various tops, only $3 each . We dug through them all and I came up with five I liked that met with her approval. She helped me pick out fabric that would coordinate with those lace pieces and I clearly needed her help. When I matched up prints she would  hold back from rolling her eyes but would say "That's fine if you are selling it to someone your age." Well. Or  a bit more tactful comment was "Who are you going to sell these aprons to?" and since it was her age group I needed her advice. Here's a selection of the fabrics with the yokes:

At the same time I was thinking about those aprons I got a request to make an apron from a sandwich cookie fabric I used to make a toaster cover. I only had half a yard left and no more was available so I came up with this idea:
Bib apron with cookie fabric centered
I finished it up and sent the photo to my requester and she loved it! I have a bit more of the fabric so it's possible I could even make another one; maybe I should since the first one is always a bit of a practice model. The vintage pattern wasn't the easiest to understand so I used my own methods to assemble it and maybe that wasn't the best way! I also found they wanted to make everything quite a bit longer than we would today so I shortened the cookie pattern by five inches. That wasn't what I did for this peachy number and I think it's quite long:
Fancy bib on peach apron with aqua piping
It will need to be sold to someone tall! I have some vintage tablecloths that would make fun aprons, too, so be prepared to find some of these items in my Etsy shop in the months to come. They are fun to design, sew up fairly quickly, use less fabric than a dress, and are currently popular. I need to thank my daughter for her help in design and color and to thank my mom who has always been a model of grace and fashion in the kitchen. Thanks Kelly, thanks Mom!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Music To My Ears

It has been a very busy buying and selling season and the top of my list these days is Elna, the wonderful sewing machine made in Switzerland. My story begins with an Elna Air Electronic in a cabinet that we drove 45 minutes in a rainstorm to get. My husband is such a good sport about my madness with sewing machines. It had belonged to a woman's mother who was long gone and they were moving out of state and downsizing: mom's sewing machine had to go. I sold it to a nice young man with six children who said his mom and sisters would be mad at him if he didn't get either an Elna, Viking, or Bernina so this was one he could afford. He brought his five year old son with him and they were quite a team.
Elna Air Electronic
Next up was an Elna SU with the blue top, given to me for free because there were "electrical issues." As it turned out, it needed a new electrical cord and foot control to the tune of $87. There were only a half dozen of the coveted cams but it came in the original metal case that folds out to create a large table top surface for sewing. I still have this awesome sewing machine but I should try to sell this one soon.
Elna SU 62
I've been looking for one of their "green machines" and that doesn't refer to their ecological footprint. No, they are bright green and have the distinction of having a knee control for a portable. They come up on Craigslist once in awhile so I just needed to wait. Much to my surprise, I was walking through my local Goodwill store and found this gem:
Elna Plana
No, it wasn't the green version I was after, but it looked about the same and the cabinet was way cool and in good shape. It came home with me and I found a spot in the living room. I wrote another blog post about replacing the motor drive pulley that was a fun exercise in repair that I would gladly do again.

Shortly thereafter I did find my green Elna and I'm still pretty excited about that as I wrote in a previous post about a vacation turned business. I haven't sewn anything with this beast yet but I knew I needed to get the rest of her accessories and a set of cams before I could sell her. I've been outbid on those Elna cams several times  but one of these days it's all going to work out for me! When Sara came over to pick up a sewing machine over the weekend I showed her the Elna Plana and ran the motor a bit so she could hear how smooth it sounded. Now she was hooked! She wanted an Elna but the green model was what she really wanted and I know the feeling: there is just something about the green model that the beige doesn't have. Bright color? They do run the same but my green model is freearm whereas the beige is flatbed and that does make a difference.

Here's where it gets interesting (if you haven't stopped reading by now: congratulations!): Sara found her dream Elna on local CL, portable, full of cams (30?), just fully loaded, but in beige. And a bit more than she wanted to pay. Mine was cheaper but no cams or other accessories. I suggested she offer a lower price and see if the seller would budge but if she could get a set of cams with my lower price that might be the way to go. As it turns out, the cams on Ebay go for way more than initial starting bid so she didn't get them but the seller went down on her price. Yea! I'm happy for Sara, quickly becoming somewhat of a frequent flier with my postings, but just a tiny bit sad for myself until today. I  bid on another set of Elna cams and, of course, I had to figure out what my top price would be and hope that wasn't going to be too low but I knew what they were worth. At the last 30 seconds, a bid came in $22 more than my previous high bid but my final bid was $4 more than theirs and with only seconds left, I WON! Now my Elna, in green, comes with a nice set of a dozen cams plus a set of accessories,to be collected from my stash, when I get home. Score!
Elna in green

Cams from another set and accessory box
 It takes patience and practice to collect all of these items but I know a buyer will want to have a sewing machine that is complete and ready to use. That is hopefully why they come to me instead of just buying off of Craigslist themselves: I have cleaned, tested, adjusted, and furnished each sewing machine so it's ready to go (and you can bring it back if unhappy).

The Elna adventure isn't over yet. On Sunday I got a call for an Elna TOP 300 that I've listed several times as a nice beginners sewing machine but it's missing the front storage compartment and that's not too great. A nice woman wanted to get a friend started in sewing but didn't want to spend too much so the Elna with it's missing storage was going to work just fine. I'm glad that nice sewing machine has finally found a home. Then on Monday I get an email asking if I buy sewing machines because the writer had (drum roll here) an Elna Air Electronic (see photo at top of this post). I sure did so she came over with one in excellent shape, just a little dusty from storage in the basement. I even tried to talk her out of it when she said she bought a Singer on sale at a chain fabric store. I suggested she might be going in the wrong direction there but she was sure she didn't want that dear old Elna. And I'm thinking "Come to mama!" as I cleaned it up inside and out and she ran like a champ. Yes, it's been an Elna kind of a week and I still haven't been to Switzerland.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Special Order

I've been busy finishing up a special order from a November craft fair, something that I was told I didn't need to have finished until after Christmas. It is well after Christmas, but now the pot holders are finally done:

18 hot mitts with 2 towels
She wanted to pick out her own fabric so I've had fun with this print of vintage kitchey items in aqua, orange and yellow. As I got towards the end I remembered I had some extra towels in those colors so I made up two towel holders. She doesn't need to buy them, doesn't need to buy any of the hot mitts if she changes her mind. Eighteen is a LOT of pot holders but she said she has many sisters and sister-in-laws and they would not be for Christmas anyway.

This brings me to making buttonholes on the Singer 201 I was using, a straight stitch sewing machine that did a great job with all those thicknesses, especially with a walking foot to keep the fabric from sliding and ending up crooked. Singer made a number of models of buttonhole attachments and I have several but opted for one that was somewhat beat-up just to see if it would still work:

Singer buttonhole attachment for low shank sewing machines
The plate screws down to cover the feed dogs, even if they can be lowered. I tried it without and it just went nowhere. Next the cam is inserted into its underbelly, snapped shut, and wrestled onto the presser foot shank. At the same time you are trying to get this monster on the shank you need to "slip" the arm mechanism over the needle bar screw. By that time you need to stop for a break and take a few deep breaths. A sample buttonhole was made and then I went right to the towel loops:

buttonhole under orange button
That's pretty tiny to see so I took a short one minute video of the machine in action. Note how the fabric moves from side to side for the zigzag:

Pretty cool, huh? This is thanks to a high school friend who helped me get this video work done. It's my first video for my blog! Be prepared to see other demonstrations from now on.

Vintage fabric,vintage sewing machine, vintage buttonholer: I'm becoming a vintage kind of girl, but of course, I remember those days, too. Next up: aprons from vintage patterns, another special order!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Searching For Parts

As with any repairs for items no longer in production, finding parts for repair is usually done through other collectors/dealers in the same business. Before online shopping and Ebay, I assume there was a finite number of dealers who took orders by phone or written orders mailed to them. But now we have an almost infinite number of dealers who have run across a stray sewing machine or a box of odd parts that they know little about but are anxious to sell. Sometimes these items are grouped and very loosely identified, other times they are listed individually with part numbers. They might have a fixed price, best offer, or up for auction. I have bought in all three formats listed above but have won only a few auctions (and then I can;t help but wonder what's wrong with my find.) Tonight I lost an auction item in the last seconds and I got a little steamed: how did they do that? It was a set of cams and accessories for an Elna, starting out at only $30 with no interest until the last 2 minutes! My max bid would only go up to $40 but they sold for $46, too high for me, but I still felt a bit cheated. I will try again but don't like the auction format!

Goodwill online has worked well for me and this past week was a good example. No one was interested in a Singer 66 with a crinkle finish that has clearly come out of a cabinet but there was no conversion to a portable:

Singer 66 in crinkle finish
The wires look pretty dicey but I know how to wire so I'm not too concerned about that. What I was really looking for was a spoked handwheel to use for a Singer 99 handcrank and this sewing machine had one. This meant it was born as a treadle and converted to electric because only treadles and handcrank sewing machines needed the size and weight of a spoked wheel.  It also had a nice slide plate for the bobbin area, something many sewing machines are missing. All in all, this would be a parts machine, I decided. There was another bid or two but they were lackluster, not any real competition. I won and scheduled the pick up in St. Paul for Thursday morning before I went into work. While I was waiting in the Goodwill store I walked around and came upon a White sewing machine that looked solid, clean, and wiring intact. No portable case or cabinet/table/desk that it had been taken out of so I could only test by plugging in the light (worked) and when I plugged in the motor WATCH OUT! It look off like a race car! Without the motor block where you can plug in the light and motor and control the speed with a foot or knee control, it wasn't going to get bought by anyone who didn't already have the spare parts. I didn't need to feel sorry for it because it only needed that set of wires and foot control that I already owned but I did feel sorry for anyone that found it on the shelf and couldn't figure out how to get it to work right. It came home with me:

White Deluxe Zigzag
Here's the hard part: it is difficult to actually strip down a really good sewing machine just for parts. I tend to keep them on the shelf and slowly pick them apart. Here's a photo of my parts shelf

How many can you count?

 where you can see the two identical Necchi BU's that have parts that have failed, cannot be replaced, and are excellent for parts on better Necchi's. I don't have too many regrets stripping Kenmore's or White's for parts but a really good Singer, Necchi, Pfaff, or Bernina just can't be that far gone could it? It's a difficult decision to finally give up on a sewing machine but to buy one knowing it's not going to be used to sew with but just for parts is just a bit sad. But no, most of those sewing machines have been around even longer than I have so maybe it's just their final resting place. Hey, maybe they are even happy to be sitting there resting with their compadres. I'll just have to keep telling myself that.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Tale of Two Morse

In a previous post about identical Morse 6100, I related how nice a stitch this Morse had and how I found all of the accessories at a different location. It was time to sell the Morse 6100 because, after all, I did have two. I decided it would be best to sell the less complete one that was in a donor case, not as nice as the case with an extension table, plus it was missing the cover for one dial. Photos were taken, description written, posting to local Craigslist completed and then I waited. A couple weeks go by so I repost and there is more waiting. A call finally comes on Sunday night asking if it was still available so we set up a time for the pick-up. As it turns out, this is a gift for a woman who has given to so many, loves to sew, and her friend wanted her to have a nicer sewing machine. The Morse was a good choice!

Here's the one that was listed and sold first:
Morse 6100 in plain case without lettering on left dial

Cute case but not custom

Cams and special stitches

A few hours later, as I was just checking my phone before going to bed, I get an email: is the Morse still available? That would be yes and no: the one in the ad was spoken for but I did have another one that was much nicer but the cost would have to go up. Luckily, that was not going to be a problem since she really wanted to get back into sewing and this looked like the machine she wanted. Both buyers were expected for Monday night and I just marveled that these sister sewing machines, coming from different communities and in different states of repair were going to be sold on the same night!

Here's the differences:

Case is custom made for this model
Blue top comes off to reveal: for accessories and cams
Left: stitch selector dial is original and intact
Morse 6100 complete
This not only is an excellent sewing machine but with this carrying case it has storage and an extension table for a larger work surface. What's not to like about that? As it turned out, Monday night wasn't going to work out for both (but it makes such a good story!) so two days later my final customer comes with a friend to try the Morse out and she doesn't disappoint. I really love this vintage sewing machine as she makes a nice set of stitches, will sew heavy fabric with a heavier needle (size 16 or 18), and will even hem your jeans with a little practice.

So that's the tale of the two Morse sisters: they sat on the shelf together for many months and, apparently, one was not going to be left behind.  I think they will be happy in their new homes.

Saturday, January 10, 2015


Wow, what a weekend and it's not over yet! My last post about the value of vintage sewing machines was a bit snarky but I was feeling the sting of rejection when someone took a fair amount of my time and then decided to buy a plastic sewing machine from one of the big box stores. My heart was sore. But this is real life and we have to move on and just like real life there is always an interesting twist to make me stop and wonder. Just when I was ready to throw in the towel (okay, maybe not yet), I get a text from a very nice dad who wanted to buy each of his daughters, ages 9 and 17, their own beginners sewing machine. The whole family came over Friday night and played around on 3-4 sewing machines, deciding on the best and the worst ones:
Pfaff Hobby 301

Baby Lock Quilt & Craft
The Pfaff was a very basic sewing machine but had a great feel and we found out a very nice stitch. The Baby Lock, not so much, but it was so cute and portable it seemed to win their hearts. Since they were all the same price, only $40 each, I didn't care which ones they chose so I pointed out the strengths and weaknesses of all. I like the final comment: mom and dad are buying and owning them and they will let both girls sew on either one. I think they knew their daughters well.

Saturday was full of sewing projects and sewing machines with a pick up of a Singer 99 in one of the tan box-type of carriers. It included a buttonholer and bobbins but the bottom of the case was missing its wood! Still a very nice purchase that I can easily convert to a handcrank or not.

Next up was the delivery of the green Sewmor that included a set of accessories that I wrote about in a previous post along with a Singer buttonholer. It's always fun to meet someone you have held many online conversations with and I usually don't deliver so I don't get invited into their home. I loved the music that was playing from the '60's and it sure seemed to fit the Sewmor:

Sewmor 606 in her happy new home
From there I met another woman at my daughter's home where she delivered a Pfaff 262 that had been in her garage for many years and was missing the foot control:

Pfaff 262 right out of my car
When I took a good look at it, after our long conversation about where the foot control might plug in, I found the plug only had one cord going in (to go to the outlet in the wall) and there was an empty hole where the foot control would be wired in. Easy peasy! Just find a foot control and wire it in.

Note plug on back with opening for another wire
My daughter and I spend our time at SR Harris in their new location south of the Twin Cities and found fabric and lace insets for me to make aprons (a future blog post?). I took full advantage of her expertise in designers and what's popular in her age bracket!

Next up, I went further north and picked up a real curiosity, a Singer 75-1 that is supposed to be an overedger. I think I will have to discover what that might be. Here she is, a bit neglected but moving:
Singer 75-1 front

Singer 75-1 back
Yes, that's a whole lot of rust on the bed but I have hope for a full recovery. I think it's only missing the front plate on the left side and it's possible that it was treadled but I have many hours to spend with her before I unlock those secrets.

After that stop I had to go back to a fabric store to find a very specific print of Oreo cookies for a special order but after an hour and a half I had to admit defeat and go home. Wow, that was some day. But now I get to explore each one of those sewing machines, cut out all those wonderful aprons, and sew to my hearts delight. All is right with the world, even if people continue to buy plastic sewing machines. I know the joy, and now so do three other women, of sewing with a vintage sewing machine. Bliss.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Dollars and Cents

I love what I do. Buying, refurbishing, and (hopefully) selling vintage sewing machines has become a hobby that makes money. Sort of. Since we have passed the end of the year, I now need to pay taxes on what I've sold and that includes craft fair items and sewing machines. When I have my personal taxes done I come prepared with all of my expenses and sales as well as labor charges (sometimes I only perform labor, no sales) and that will tell the real tale. Do I make a profit? Not last year but I think this year I just might have. This takes us to the question of how much money do I make off of the machine I sell to you? Now we are getting personal!

Stories are told of finding highly sought after sewing machines for a mere pittance and the joy of bringing it back into working order. What a find! For example, a sewing machine was only $3 at a thrift store because it was half price day or I could use a seniors discount. I take it home and find I need to do some major cleaning, oiling, and adjusting, about 4 hours of work. Because it came with no accessories I have to either purchase a set of feet and bobbins or see if I can put together a set from my own supplies. These might come from a donor machine or if there were extras with another machine but they are worth at lease $5-7. New needles need to be a part of every sewing machine and those do have a cost even if I use 50% off coupons. Now my bargain sewing machine has run me about $15 plus 4 hours of time. This is a basic run-of-the-mill example but most are not so easy and need rewiring of the foot control/motor/light that can take anywhere from one to four hours with the cost of the wire and new plugs adding up. Does the wooden box need a recover job? What kind of shape is the cabinet in? Can it be restored or does it need a full strip-down and refinishing? It's not just the time either but all of this takes supplies that get used up and need to be bought again and again.

I have a set of shelves of sewing machines that are all ready for someone to take home and begin sewing. I take one off the shelf and get it ready for a photo session, which used to mean putting it on a table and taking up to 10 photos with my phone's camera. If I plan it right, I can now use my husbands new camera and set up the tripod, staging area with backdrops, lights on poles, and photograph more than one sewing machine while I have it all set up. Photos have to be downloaded to my computer, cropped, and edited in many ways. Now comes the fun part: setting up an ad for my local Craigslist. Each ad needs proper wording to put the best features forward and to be as descriptive as possible. Here's one ad:

Vintage White brand sewing machine in a cool zebra striped portable case. This sleek sewing machine makes great stitches, looks in near perfect shape, has all metal inside and out for long wear. The custom covering on the portable case gives this machine a new and clean feel. Includes a box of accessories and foot control. Has been cleaned, oiled, and tested so you will not have to take it in for service but just get ready to sew. Give this sewing machine a test drive to see what you are missing!  

This White sewing machine is an animal!

Each photo shoot and ad takes at least an hour of my time and skill. If you have been adding this up you will see that even a bargain sewing machine in good shape takes a considerable amount of time and sometimes money to bring it to the buying public.

How about pricing: how do I decided what to charge? This is usually based on the market, looking at other similar sewing machines and seeing what they are listing for and using Ebay sold items price. That $3 sewing machines is selling for $50 on Ebay and I have invested $20 and 8 hours of time. Can I price it for $150? Sure, but it will sit on my shelf. So I price it to sell and put a price tag of only $40 on it thinking it would be a nice addition to a collector, beginning sewer, or to fill a special aspect of someone's herd of sewing machines. You can see that I'm not making much money on this but I get to work and play with each machine and have the privilege to place it in someone's hands, hopefully, to make it productive again or open up a world of sewing to a beginner. That might sound hokey to some but I really do like to match up each person looking for a sewing machine to the right machine. The look of delight in their eyes when they walk out the door with their treasure is pretty wonderful.

Now for the hard part. Negotiation. Most people are not taking into account all of the above and just want a sewing machine for a bargain: that's why they are using Craigslist, right? But when that $40 sewing machine, that now works great, is posted I really do think it's a bargain price. But I frequently get asked if I can go lower, like to $25. Of course I can, but I'm reluctant to let this now nice sewing machine walk out my door with only $10 going into my kitty. All that work for $10? With my asking price I'm only making $25 and that's for about a days work on it. If you want a bargain you can get that sewing machine at a thrift store like I did and take it home with you, spending your spare time getting it into shape. Don't have the skill or time? That's what you are paying me for, my skill and time. It's nice when you honor my request for a price as fair because you are not getting cheated and I'm not getting rich with my hobby/business. Trust me.

Saturday, January 3, 2015


When it comes to straight stitch sewing machines, they only do one thing: make a straight stitch. Once you find one that makes the best straight stitch, feels good, sounds like music, you have found your dream machine. But it only does one stitch. Seventy years ago that probably was about all there was but sellers of sewing machines got clever and knew if they could show you anything extra it might make a sale. Enter attachments! These are little additions, usually to the presser foot area, to make sewing versatile or easier. Most of us in the vintage sewing world have come upon the Singer puzzle boxes that contain a huge set of attachments but then there are smaller sets that get passed along with sewing machines. Here's a Greist set that is pretty typical:

Greist attachment set with manual
I was selling a couple Sewmor sewing machines and had a set of Greist attachments with one of them but a young mother got in touch with me and wanted the other Sewmor:
Sewmor 606 in green
but like the attachment set. Would I swap attachments? Better yet, I found another set, as well as a buttonholer, so she would be all ready to sew. We were both excited about this prospect but then I got to thinking "Maybe they don't all work? What if she asks me questions?" I got out her set and sewing machine (to be picked up next weekend) and gave it a test run:

Cloth Guide
The original set had a manual but I sent her a pdf of the manual. Here are the attachments in the order they are explained in the handy guide. The cloth guide is to screw into the bed of the machine and adjusted to the width you need. This is especially nice when you seam is beyond the markings in the needle plate or if you have an unmarked plate.

Attachment foot
There are several parts that need to attached to another foot, hence the attachment foot. There is a bit of a spring loaded screw to place it under and then tighten. Pretty clever, I think.
Zipper foot

Cording foot

The adjustable zipper and cording foot is just one foot that can be moved left or right to get very close to the teeth of the zipper or cording to make piping. I almost always make sure I have a zipper foot with each sewing machine I sell because it's so essential but here it comes with the Greist set. They work wonderfully and I wouldn't be without one.

Gathering foot
This little wonder, the gathering foot, is only a simple foot with a small hole so how does it gather? Instructions are given for adjusting stitch length and tension and it works! This was so easy and effective I wondered how I could have missed something as simple as a gathering foot.

The Quilter
This handy arm, called the quilter, attaches under the screw with the gathering foot and can be adjusted for any width you like. I've used these with walking foot attachments and they are quite handy to keep your lines even and straight. Humm, I should use one more.

Narrow hemmer
I cannot say I had great success with the narrow hemmer foot. It was difficult to start and the end result wasn't great. It would take a lot of practice to do something that can be done better with a serger. Not a fan of the narrow hemmer.
1/4 inch hemmer
No, that's not the same photo, but the quarter inch hemmer worked much better. You still have to work to get it started but with just a little practice it does a good job. This set also had a 5/8 inch hemmer that was great, less fussing with a nice finished edge.
The edgestitcher, another attachment that I thought was a bit strange but it did stitch 2 items right up to the edge, as promised. It worked but I'm not sure about how I would use this one. Not too much fussing even though it looks kinda weird.

Multiple slotted binder
The multiple slotted binder is a nice way to make bias trim but there are limits to the width and why would you make bias tape and sew it to itself? Most of the time I'm applying it to another piece, not sewing it shut. Great tool but a bit limiting in my opinion.
The Ruffler
Saving the best for last, the ruffler was so much fun! There are a few settings and I didn't figure out how to make pleats with it, but the ruffler was quite a success. Easy, variable, used with a lightweight lining for added difficulty, but it gathered up the fabric to make wonderful ruffles.

Now you have seen the whole set of Greist attachments and how I used them with a straight stitch sewing machine, the Sewmor 606. As you have read, some I liked, some were difficult to use, but all had a purpose and could be useful to someone. I'm glad I took the time to use each one and I used this blog post as an excuse to get it done but it really was fun to see how a straight stitch sewing machine could apply that perfect stitch in a new-to-me way.