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.


Jane Turner said...

I would love to have all of those attachments! I just made napkins the beginning of December and needed a rolled hem attachment. And a ruffler, oh my!

BarbaraShowell said...

With the binding tool you can apply to another fabric the binding feeds though, folding around as it goes. Works well for thinner projects like an apron, thicker things like a quilted placemat or items with thick seam allowances are tougher to keep in the slot in the back. I love all the attachments. Still waiting for a nice tucker to fall into my lap. I was thrilled to find I could use all the stuff I got for my vintage 202 on newer zig zag machines, as long as they took a low shank foot.

Rocksie Belmont said...

I keep reading this post to catch a glimpse of my soon-to-be machine! I can't wait for this weekend!


Karen said...

I have another post with both Sewmor's at but you will have to do with those 2 small photos. Glad you are so excited!