August 30, 2011Vintage Attachments – For Vintage & Non-Vintage Sewing Alike! Part 1
Many vintage sewing machines had a wide assortment of attachments available for them, designed to make the home seamstress’ life easier. Some of these are easily identifiable, as many of today’s machines still come with them, but others can be a bit of a mystery. I am going to outline some of the more common ones, and hopefully get you using them!
I am going to be primarily discussing attachments that were available for Singer machines, as those are what’s most common in North America, and most readily available. Other brands of vintage machines may come with similar attachments, and the Singer attachments may work on some other machines. If you’re seeking out attachments for your machine, you will want to note whether yours is a low shank, high shank or a slant needle. If you’re unsure, Google can really be your friend, simply search your model number, there are many specific pages out there on various machines. The machine I showcased last week, and will be showing the attachments from here is a Model (or Class) 99, which is a low shank.
The Foot Hemmer (or rolled Hem Foot):
The foot hemmer produces a nice, narrow even rolled hem on the edge of your fabric. To use it, you will have to press a small, double 1/8″ inch hem at the beginning of the edge of your fabric. Lift up the presser foot, place your started hem underneath, take a couple of stitches, and then feed the single fold into the hemmer scroll and start sewing! The foot will do the rest of the work of producing a nice even rolled hem. This is one of my favourite feet because I sew Barbie clothes and children’s clothes, and it’s great for getting nice narrow hems. This is also great for hemming items like napkins and tablecloths. You can also use this foot to substitute for French seams, simply sew both layers together with this foot.
The binder foot is used to apply ready-made bias tape (either commercially made, or made yourself with a bias tape maker) to the edge of items. Pre-folded binding is inserted from the right into the outside slot of the binder scroll. This is another foot that I love, as bias tape can be such a pain to apply neatly, especially around corners and the like. This foot does all the work for you, without a ton of pinning!
The Ruffler is probably one of the scariest looking attachments for any machine, but once you figure out how to use it, it’s really quite fun and addictive – you’ll be wanting to put ruffles on everything! Although this one’s about 55 years older, this ruffler foot runs the same way as the one that I used on my modern machine in my Tufted Tute post – you can take a look there if you want to see how it looks on a machine. The ruffler is capable of both gathering, and pleating, depending upon how you set up the various dials on the ruffler itself. This one is a little more complicated to work than the other feet, so a manual is a must. If anyone out there has one of these, but no instructions, let me know and I can send instructions to you.
The Seam Guide
The Seam Guide is something that I wish modern machines still had, as I like these a lot better than the seam allowance guides that are on most machines today. To use the seam guide, simply find the hole on the machine to the right of the needle, and use the thumbscrew to tighten it down at the desired seam allowance (measure from the needle to the edge of the guide). I like the old school seam guides much better as I find it much easier to get a really even and straight seam, since the edge is so rigid.
Stay tuned – in two weeks, I will have part two, covering a few more of the more common attachments! If anyone out there has an attachment for their machine that they have no idea what it’s for, feel free to post in the comments and I’ll try to help identify it. I would also love to know what your favourite feet/attachments are for your machine!