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Article: Buying a Machine from The Featherweight Shop - How to Purchase and What to Expect

Buying a Machine from The Featherweight Shop - How to Purchase and What to Expect

If you've never purchased a machine from us before, it is a rather distinguished experience.  Each one of our machines receive hours of personal care in their disassembly, reassembly, cleaning, polishing, lubricating, stitch sampling and overall Featherweight preparation for each and every customer.  

On the first Tuesday of every month we have a 'FW Faire' where we list the machines that we have carefully curated and prepared for this event.  There are usually 8-12 machines, which include the 221, 222, often a Sewhandy Model 20, and on rare occasion, a Singer 301.  Be sure to sign-up for the newsletter for a preview of the machines the day before the Faire.  At 8 o'clock AM Pacific Time on Featherweight Faire Tuesday, the machines are made available for purchase.  Many who have tried to purchase one of these machines quickly realize that they all sell very, very fast.  It is important to note that the machine is not purchased until you have completely checked out and received the order confirmation - you can not claim it by simply adding it to the cart.  

1. I've tried and tried to purchase a machine, but I am just not fast enough! 

This has been the statement of several customers, but we have a few tips that may help:

  • Make sure that you are logged in to your account, and that your address is saved.  Not having to manually enter your address will certainly save time.
  • Have someone else you know try to purchase the machine at the same time as you.  Maybe your friend is faster on a computer.
  • Many browsers or mobile apps can save your credit card info.  Having that credit card information saved, can eliminate manual filling in one more time consuming box.

Remember that there is always next month and the month after that.  

2. What can I expect in a machine from the Featherweight Shop?

In short, you can expect a machine that is ready to piece a quilt with no tension* adjustments necessary.  They are electrically sound, adequately lubricated until the time for the next service interval, the top and bottom tensions are set, the foot controller is properly adjusted, the needle is new, and the motors are always very strong.  After reinstalling the spool pin, which was necessarily removed for shipping, you can open up the included thread post and spool, and begin setup!  We can't leave a spool of thread on the machine during shipment, but we do leave them threaded, so that those who are new to Featherweights, have the best visual on how the machine is threaded.  

*We test all our machines with Aurifil 50w thread.  Slight tension adjustments may need to be made depending on the thread type you use when sewing on the machine.

After our Tech Department services, cleans, assembles, polishes, and tests each machine, they are ready to be photographed and have their final test.  In the final test of each Featherweight we sew several inches at various speeds to ensure that the thread is not breaking or skipping stitches and that the feed dogs are not greatly curving the fabric.  We finally stitch a small sample piece with the machine set at '8' stitches per inch, examining the stitch once more and testing the reverse-feed setting.  (Depending on your piecing style, you can adjust the stitch length setting to 10 stitches per inch, which is average for quilters, or 12 for paper-piecing.)

When the machine is finished with its final test and photo shoot, we move on to packaging and ultimately shipping when the machine is sold.  Even after packing hundreds of machines and improving in our efficiency, we still spend about one hour packing each machine - on average, that takes one employee about a day and a half just to package up all the machines from one Featherweight Faire!  We use double-wall 275lb boxes, and Styrofoam board insulation to ensure the machines will be safe should they fall victim to a rough UPS employee along the journey to your door.

We want our machines to work perfectly for you right out of the box, and we also want to help you maintain them, so we include Sew-Retro Grease and Oil with each Featherweight and a maintenance logbook as well.  The video tutorials on our website will help you maintain your new machine for years to come.  

This post should help to answer your questions about purchasing a machine and what to expect, but don't hesitate to contact us if you have any other questions.