Saturday, November 12, 2011

Name This Gadget!

Have you ever wondered what some of these really strange contraptions could be?

If you are a vintage machine lover, then perhaps you know……but some of these? I’d never seen before!

Just what IS this thing?! It has moving parts and little notches with numbers….if you know? Leave a reply below!

My love of vintage machines started early on..and along with every treadle or vintage machine came a box of wonder-things…some of them fairly interesting! The dealie-bopper you at the left came with someone’s featherweight machine and we were examining and speculating on what these could be!

How about this one? It's a BIG thing!!

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At first I thought it was a ruffler, but no…a ruffler has a dial thing, and this doesn’t. Look at the front of it:

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A pin tucker maybe? What do you think? The little arm does go over the needle bar, so….that’s all I can think of!

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This one is the ruffler. I’ve used these before. I made scads and scads and scads of ruffles when I was doing bunny and doll dresses back in the “day” --- the froo froo country decorating of the early 1990s! Can you imagine that little featherweight going to town making flounces for little girl Easter dresses?

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This one has to be some sort of edging application foot. If you slide one fabric in one groove, and another in another groove, they’ll over-lap and you can stitch them together with ease…maybe lace? Who knows?

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I had to come home and dig….I have this sewing machine attachment puzzle box from an early early machine and I remembered it having some Frankenstein type attachments in it too!

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Ooops…looks like most everything has fallen out into the bottom drawer!

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Egad! How do I get this stuff to fit back into that little box! And what the heck ARE these things?! Look at that farthest one on the left!

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It almost looks painful, doesn’t it? Just what do you think THIS one is?!

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This one was used to put on some kind of bias binding I think…..the fabric would be fed through that tube….

You know, for being fairly early machines, these vintage babies sure came with some high-tech equipment didn’t they?!


  1. Really interesting to see that the "technology" hasn't changed all that much when it comes to attachments. Some of the latest ones resemble these in many ways. I would guess the one before the last as being a buttonholer, only because it looks a lot like my present-day buttonholer.

  2. Hey Bonnie...the first picture is a wide hemmer. The last one is a binder. The pic with all the attachments on it....the left one looks like a pintucker with some parts missing? I can't really see it from the picture, but that's my first reaction. The one that you described for overlapping laces is indeed an edgestitcher...that one is a wonderful attachment! There are diagrams on the internet for puzzlebox attachments and how they fit in the box. Also, do you have a FW manual? It describes how to use them fairly well. I'm off to a class this morning and will look later to see if I can identify more of them :-).

  3. Anonymous7:45 AM EST

    I 'think' the last one pictured is for making binding.

  4. I like the cool wooden box all those feet came in! - But no, I haven't a clue what any of them do except the last one for binding.

  5. Anonymous7:58 AM EST

    Bonnie did you know that the FW also has a zigzag attachment? That might be the one with the bar over the needle, although my first thought was one for sewing on bias tape. I had a lot of gadgets with my FW too and I still haven't figured some of them out. Grace

  6. There is this cool vintage singer chat group ( like yours on Yahoo) and you simply send a picture of the attachment and there are folks that can identify them. Unending information on the site about Singer machines too. but you have to apply to join.

    I have no idea what any of them are but remind me of old "instruments" used in a doctors or dentist office!
    Frankenstein indeed!

    Happy Sewing

  7. those are the oddest feet I've ever seen...
    BTW went to a quilt show in randolph county and I spotted a quilt by your design and the note read that the person took your class, look at my blog for a picture :-)

  8. If these are Singer attachments and not Greist, you can find a part number somewhere on each accessory. Google that number along with the word Singer and you'll come up with all kinds of info.

    I believe our great-grandmothers made many lovely "heirloom sewing" garments with these attachments. When used on the treadles, for instance, stitching could be very precise because one could stitch very slowly.

    Perhaps we need a new quilting genre...one in which vintage attachments produce the block! Wouldn't that be cool!

  9. It looks like something in my featherweight box... and I want to say it's the pleater but I'm probably wrong. I have no idea what my mother did with most of those gadgets.

    Hope you are having fun on the cruise!!

  10. I have a similar, maybe even the same puzzle box of attachments and have wondered the same thing. Mine came with another box of junk I bought at an auction for a $1. It was worth it just to see the interesting gadgets!

  11. What's funny is all I could think of is they almost remind me of old medical equipment. Hope they can be identified - have you ever used them???

  12. I love the old attachments and have several boxes of them, not lucky enough to find a puzzle box yet! I know the more common ones but would love to know what some of the more uncommon ones do!
    Hope you had a wonderful trip!!

  13. I think many of them are rufflers and you need a different foot for each size ruffle you want to make. I have a Janome with an Ultimate Ruffler foot that's adjustable and it looks like some of these!

  14. How interesting! I'm thinking the last item pictured is a bias binder foot. I could guess on some of the others, but there's no others I would know.

  15. Hi, just did a search for foot attachments for Singer Featherweight and found a couple of sites that could help you identify any and all parts:



    Hope this helps.


  16. I have some of those which came in one of the treadles I "found at the side of the road". I did literally find them at the side of the road, though displayed in front of an antique/second hand store. And scooped them up. It is probably good for the family exchequer that I no longer pass that store daily.

  17. The last one is for making a rolled hem, I have a much simpler version for both my Elna and Bernina. The raw edge is fed through the curve and it makes the nicest narrow hem.

  18. The last picture is for binding - I actually used it years ago when my grandmother gave me an old Singer. My daughter collects those wooden attachment boxes in case you're ever lookin' to get rid of yours!

  19. The first one looks like something used for putting the wide binding on a blanket or a wide hem.

    The second one looks like it might be used to make even pleating (gathering).

    the last one looks like it makes bias binding and would be used to sew the bindings on quilts.

    Don't have a clue about the boxful of gadgets in the middle.

  20. Lots of good knowledgable quilters here - are we all of retirement age? Your array looks familiar, only one I'm gonna guess at: you have a rolled edger among them.
    Donna www.wheelerdfs.yahoo.com

  21. I'm pretty sure the bottom one is a narrow hemmer. It looks like the one I used to make a very narrow hem on a shear fabric layer on a dress for my daughter-in-law.

  22. Anonymous10:41 AM EST

    If you have any sort of vintage Singer instruction booklet, it should have some info and diagrams on how to use a lot of the attachments--they can do some really neat stuff! I've also heard good things about "The Sewing Machine Attachment Book" by Charlene Phillips, but I haven't personally looked through a copy.

    Neat puzzle box--Cool how they all fit together in there. It also looks like you might have some "rotary" style attachments in there too rather than the low-shank style. :)

  23. Anonymous11:06 AM EST

    My puzzle box has attachments for a treadle machine which include boning attachments! As in for corsets! Old instruction manuals include info on these attachments...

  24. Nancy Johnson-Srebro's book "Featherweight 221 - The Perfect Portable" has a section showing the attachments and how to use them. The first picture is an Adjustable Hemmer. The one you identified as a ruffler is actually an Edge-Stitcher. I have one of those puzzle boxes also and it is a real treasure trove. Someday I'd like to master all of the attachments!

  25. Better to ask an old sewer who have her/his mother or even grand mother machine or ask the factory it self if you could.Or go back with some old manuals or books.
    Good luck

  26. Anonymous1:02 PM EST

    I have a puzle box full of attachments that was my grandmothers.

  27. I think its a Zigzag attachment....These are great to watch as they grab the fabric and make the fabric zig and zag, it's very strange....

    Best Wishes
    Kay in Scotland

  28. I have the same puzzle box and some of the same feet for an old machine. I am also curious to hear what they are for.

  29. And I bet the original owners not only knew what they were they knew how to USE them all! :-)

  30. OMG....they look like dentist tools!

  31. Aren't they amazing!!! My mom gave me a Featherweight and all those attachments PLUS (thankfully) a book that tells me how to use them all for my birthday last year! They are amazing. :)


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