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Article: SEW-IN: Keep Calm & Quilt On - The Beginning

SEW-IN: Keep Calm & Quilt On - The Beginning


Quilting, throughout time, has brought calm and quiet to households, and this remains true in mine today. My two little children, Nathan (10) and Sayely (8), are home from school and a bit worried about all confusing times that we are facing at the moment (e.g. Coronavirus).  So, when times get to be too much, especially for children, I have always found it marvelous having a new skill to practice or project to work on!

This brings us to our first installment of our limited edition series, featuring novice sewers Nathan and Sayley, sewing their first projects on a Singer Featherweight 221 named Gemma. Gemma came into our home this past Christmas as a gift to our youngest, Sayley, who coined her name. Follow along as they dive in to Ruthie's tutorials from The Featherweight Shop Schoolhouse, learning how to wind their first bobbins, properly thread a Featherweight, and more!

Here is the first tutorial Nathan and Sayley watched:

How To Wind A Singer Featherweight Bobbin (Getting To Know Your Featherweight, Part 1)

And here is a helpful list of the supplies used in the tutorial:

  1. Thread Post for Vintage Singer Sewing Machines 
  2. Bobbins, Singer Featherweight 221 222 301 (Roll of 15) 
  3. Thread - Aurifil Thread - 50 wt 
  4. Case tote to hold all our Featherweight goodies! 
  5. Bobbin Case Replica Featherweight Shop

Getting to know your Featherweight winding a bobbin

Eagerly, Nathan and Sayley sat down to watch and learn from Ruthie on how to wind a Singer Featherweight bobbin. Having two anxious youngsters learning a new task, they can sometimes get ahead of themselves! Nathan and Sayley did an excellent job following along step-by-step.  Although, it would have been quite beneficial to have them watch the video from start to finish before beginning the first step. When attempting the process themselves, they ran into two snags.  The first was having the beginning thread tail bunch up on the outside of the bobbin. We learned that this was due to not cutting the excess thread off prior to winding the bobbin. The second, was that the thread did not wind evenly, because we did not adjust the bobbin winder tension bracket immediately after noticing the uneven wind. They were learning through this process, however, and their excitement was fun to watch!


Lesson #1: Beginning thread tail bundled on the outside of the bobbin due to not trimming it prior to winding the bobbin.

uneven bobbin

Lesson #2: We did not adjust the position of bobbin winder tension bracket, creating an uneven bobbin wind. This is what over excitement (and overjoy can cause, be warned!)

Nathan and Sayley watching the bobbin wind

Nathan and Sayley watching their very first bobbin wind.

Nathan and Sayley watching bobbin wind

The simplest things can bring the most fascination!

Next, we moved through the next three segments of Getting to Know Your Featherweight Video Tutorials:

Part 2: How to Thread a Featherweight Bobbin Case

Part 3: How to Properly Set The Needle

Part 4: Threading a Singer Featherweight

watching ruthie's tutorials

Nathan and Sayley decided they "must" put all the pins in the pincushion before moving on to watching Ruthie's tutorials!

watching the tutorials

Watching Part 2 - prior to threading the bobbin case after learning their lesson in the previous session!


These two want to do it "all by themselves" so we propped up the tutorial on the sewing kit, and I supervised for questions only!

This is an original bobbin case, but very high quality Featherweight Shop Replica bobbin cases can now be found here.

properly wound bobbin

Miss Sayley showing off her properly wound bobbin!

nathan bobbin

Nathan learning to insert the bobbin case properly into Gemma, the Featherweight, just like Ruthie demonstrated in Getting to Know Your Featherweight Part 2.

Bobbin is set! Time to move on to Step 3 - checking the needle. Nathan and Sayley visually inspected the "flat side" of the needle, comparing to the flat side of the "D" on the throat plate. Learn more about this step in Getting to Know Your Featherweight Part 3. Since the needle was already inserted in the machine, only a visual inspection was done at this stage.

how to thread your singer featherweight

Sayley following along with Part 4: Threading a Singer Featherweight, but was able to catch the positioning of her take-up lever and adjust as needed!

"Good catch, Sayley!"

First stitch on gemma

Now that Gemma is threaded, Sayley is about to make her very first stitch!

Way to go Sayley! I think you have the "sewing bug" now!

Time for your brother's turn!

Nathan's very first stitch on a sewing machine - ever!

Great job Nathan!

Takeaways from our first lesson:

  1. Watch the videos through entirely, before starting the project! This helped out so much as we have a few "a-ha!" moments after unpausing the tutorials and realizing our questions were now addressed (e.g. thread curling when winding a bobbin).

  2. Do not rush through the steps, because this will take away all the enjoyment! Slow down, pause the video, triple check your work!

  3. Last but not least, have fun!

We look forward to seeing you all next time when we begin cutting out the "custom designs" these two kiddos have created for their first projects!