Friends, why are we humans obsessed with tiny things? Doll houses, teacup chihuahuas, mini Ipods -- the list goes on and on. It's not like most of us are living in teensy weensy dorm rooms and couldn't squeeze a full-size chihuahua into it.
Speaking of all things small, I have (once again) done the unthinkable: I bought another sewing machine -- not to be confused with the Viking that I purchased last week that's supposed to be delivered sometime later today.
And I bought -- if not exactly a tiny sewing machine, a 3/4-sized one. Want to know which one? Read on!
Sewers are especially keen on the tiny. The Singer Featherweight 221 is easily the most-coveted vintage sewing machine ever. Not a day goes by that there isn't a Featherweight for sale on eBay, and on some days it seems like there's a Featherweight auction ending just about every fifteen minutes. I resisted purchasing a Featherweight for a very long time. They seemed too expensive and I couldn't imagine how that little thing could live up to the hype -- until I got one of my very own.
I adore my Featherweight and I use it all the time. I have plenty of full-size sewing machines but I find this one so easy to set up and use and then to put away when I'm done. Sure, it's also cute, but that's not what I like most about it. Despite its diminutive size, it can handle anything I give it. Its motor is also absolutely silent and it has excellent piercing power.
I also used to own an Elna Grasshopper, one of the first modern portable machines. I couldn't warm up to it, however, partly because I hated the way the old thing smelled (musty), and also because, while the machine was small(ish), the heavy gunmetal case it came in was big, and had been designed to unfold to create a sewing surface for it. I never used it that way -- which I suppose would have been handy if you were carrying it into battle -- but it still took up a lot of space and weighed thirty pounds.
Another popular collectible small sewing machine is the Elna Lotus. I like the sleek lines of this machine, but those fold-down doors look like they'd get in the way. I've never seen it sell for less than a few hundred dollars, either. Too expensive for me.
No, friends, the machine I got is a Kenmore.
No, of course it wasn't this Kenmore. Do you really think I'd buy a petite pink plastic sewing machine for the same money I could buy a vintage metal Kenmore? The machine I just won this morning on eBay is this -- a Kenmore 158-1040!
I hate to talk money but I spent less than $100 for this machine (a bit more with shipping) -- in fact, probably less than what a pink plastic Kenmore goes for (if it's still in production). I'm guessing it will arrive in roughly a week.
Now, I know you're wondering why I even want this machine, since I don't travel with my sewing machines and have been known to turn up my nose at zigzaggers. I guess for the same reason that I have a collection of Ken dolls: I like small things. Being rather small myself, I suppose they make me feel large. Seriously, I've heard it's a fine machine and probably not a bad investment to boot.
In closing, readers, do you like miniature things? Do you like them primarily because they're convenient (lighter to carry, easier to store, etc.), or because they're so cute you could just pinch their cheeks if they had any? If the latter, do you also like doll house furniture, miniature Yorkies, and finger puppets? (Have I left out anything? Porcelain pigs?)
Do you think the cult of the small sewing machine has gone too far? Have you ever actually seen somebody quilt with one? I wonder if anybody really does.
Hey, have you heard about the new Singer "Limited Edition" Featherweight? (The 160, in honor of Singer's 160th Anniversary, and already available in -- I'm feeling faint -- Australia.) What do you think? Could this (computerized?) Singer be a Featherweight-quality machine?
Maybe they'll send me one to test! (Are you out there, Singer people?)
I'm a native New Yorker and sewing fanatic! I started sewing in 2009 and today make all my own clothes using vintage sewing machines and vintage patterns, in addition to sewing for private clients. Welcome to the warm and whimsical world of Male Pattern Boldness, where the conversation is sewing, style, fashion, fabric, and more!