“ Brand: Singer „
Although this attachment is very useful for giving straight stitch machines a zig zag stitch, it does have it's limitations too...unfortunately.
For instance if you want to overcast edges, you will first have to run a straight stitch line at your edges before using this attachment to overcast. The reason for this is simple: Since this tool moves the fabric from side to side it will shift your top layer to the left and not catch it in the stitch. Pinning the edges may seem like an obviouis solution, but in my experience the zigzagger will not walk over your pins because the presser foot is completely flat and not curved upward like a normal presser foot...of course you could always lift up the foot slightly and give it a nudge too....but you would also risk scratching your machine since it would move both your pins and fabric sideways and it could do a nice number on your throat plate after you were done....beware of pins with this device!!!
My personal preference for using this device is to take the same color thread as one would be making the zigzag stitch with and creating a sort of rope out of four strands of this thread and twisting it all tightly together and passing it through as though it is a cord and zigzagging over the top of it. Since it matches perfectly the thread for the zigzag stitch, it looks wonderful with crisp clean lines...better, in my opinion than trying to find matching-color cording and the bulk is reduced to an absolute minimun too! But you must first tie a knot in your four threads and then pass it through the cording feed on the zigzagger and take a couple stitches to lock it in place. Then you twist the cording tightly and let it feed while holding your makeshift cord. The twisting of the makeshift cord insures that all four threads are caught under the zigzag stitch that is applied on top of the makeshift cord!
Watch your tensions when using this device also. It works best with a very light bobbin tension and an equally light upper thread tension. This can be verified by looking at the bottom of the fabric after sewing a few stitches. If you do not see exactly the same zigzag on the back of your fabric as on the front, your tensions are not adjusted correctly for this attachment...play around on a scrap piece of fabric until they are perfect on both sides.
Another important issue worth mentioning when using vintage machines and attachments is to keep in mind that modern thread is wound differently on the spools as it was in the past. Vintage machines were designed to take the thread from a heavy wood spool from the side of the spool. It was wound just like you wind a garden hose for storage. Today things have changed with the way thread is would onto the spool. Gone are the heavier wooden spools and now you find only lightweight plastic or cardboard tubes wound in a figure-eight pattern, which on vintage machines can and do cause backlash due to their lightweight. These modern threads are designed to be pulled off the spools from the top as opposed to the side. This is why you see many modern machines with their spools of thread in a horizontal instead of the usual vertical position, and the reason why the spools are wound in a figure-eight pattern. It is often stated that a felt washer underneath the spool works quite well. This is true, if you are using vintage thread wound on a wooden spool. However, it does not work well with modern thread because of the lightweight modern spool itself, which actually turns much faster because of this extremely small diameter and causes backlash.
I have found two solutions to this problem. Simply rewind modern thread on vintage wood spools. The more practical solution is to get a small net that goes over the spool of thread, or use a thread stand...this also eliminates the problem!
The instruction manual states that this device is primarily intended for decorative stitches, and in my humble opinion it does this extremely well!
While many of us may only sew on rare occason, for hemming, mending, or the odd bit of crafts, there are times when a zigzag stitch is quite helpful. People who do crafts and who also sew garments from time to time, may also look longingly at some of the decorative stitches machines can do using their zigzag capability, but which their straight stitch only model cannot. Upgrading to one of the fancier machines can be quite costly, and can be completely unnecessary. True, the straight stitch machine cannot zig zag stitch. Well, not on it's own anyway. Thanks to a handy little gizmo, you CAN actually use a straight stitch machine (vintage or new, Singer or other brand, as long as it is a low shank type) to do zigzags and decorative stsitches such as embroidered arrow heads, the Walls of Troy, icicles, and so on. This gizmo is the Singer zig zag attachment.
It is actually a rather simple affair. You unscrew your sewing machine foot, and screw this attachment on in its place. You pop open the cover on its top, and select a metal cam from the box. These cams display a picture of the stitch pattern it does. Simply pop it in, close the cover, and turn the dial to the start indicator mark, and begin sewing. As it works by moving the fabric from side to side in place of the needle itself moving side to side, it eliminates need to have a swing needle action such as modern zizag machines utilise. You may wish to first swap out the needle throat plate with a darning or special use one, depending on what youa re wishing to do with it. You may have one, and if not, these can be bought quite cheaply. Just make sure to always use the correct plate for the machine and the job you want to do, and if in doubt, refer to the instruction manual that should accompany this handy gadget as well as your model of sewing machine.
So what can the ordinary zigzag sitch do? When used on cottons and rayons, a zigzag along the cut edge can help prevent it from fraying. Simple adjust your stitch length to a shorter length, zigzag close to the edge, then hem as usual with a straight stitch. Adjusting the stitch length to much wider makes for a very different look entirely, and embroidery threads can be placed in the bobbin to create a lovely look for dressing up trouser legs and skirts about the hem, the areas around shirt cuffs, and so on. using the shortest stitch length also makes for a nice satin stitch that is handy for sewing on appliques. You can also use normal thread for this, but it will not be as silky or shiny looking.
The other available stitch pattern cams are largely decorative. You do not have to be a professional seamstress to make use of them. Buying plain ready to wear clothes, pillowcases, sheets, bibs, and so on, you can use these to make your clothes stand out from the crowd. For example, Buying a two pack of girl's no iron white school shirts, you can make them a little more fun to wear and fashionable by adding white decorative stitching for an understated, but classy look. Or select a contrasting colour for the threads that co-ordinate with the schools colours, for a truly custom uniform. Adding stitching along the bottom of the collar and above the cuffs will add pizazz and make that pinafore or school skirt look very dressy, and all with only a few minutes effort. It is even a clever way to save on work blouses; simply buy in your own size, add your decoration,and wear with your work suit for a tailored look. Instead of paying an extra £3-5 for same colour embroidery detail on pinafores, school trousers, and suit skirts, you can add these yourself, choosing from over a range of 15 different stitches, all of which can be varied in look by simply changing the stitch length on the sewing machine. All you need is the attachment and the three cams it came with, and the extra accessory cams that come in sets of four, as well as thread. Once you have this accessory, the only cost to you for adding these fine touches is a spool of thread, which can be picked up cheaply and easily, and will last you through a multitude of garments. I myself use these cams for adding designs about the collars and cuffs of those £1.50 school pullovers, so that my two have nice pullovers to wear at home that can take the rigours of hard play. They have been much admired and I have other mothers ask me where I bought such lovely pullovers!
Pillowcase edgings, blankets, and plain duvet covers all get a new lease on life when spruced up by some decorative detail added. It is truly surpising what a huge difference is made to an Asda Smart Price duvet set by merely adding two rows of darker co-ordinating arrowheads up the sides of the duvet cover, and along the edge of the pillow cases. To do this, simply place the duvet cover , duvet inside, upon the bed. Use a measuring tape and chalk to mark three inches from the edge of the bed on each long side. Then remove the duvet inside, and taking care to not sew it shut, use the arrowhead cam inside the zizagger and stitch along each chalk line. Repeat the stitches in the middle of the pillowcase edging band, and presto! , one "designer" bed set for pratcically nothing. Other places to use in order to add that designer touch are curtains, towels, flannels, and so on. This is a handy little gadget that once you get it, you find yourself looking for projects you can use it with, as it takes so little time to do.
Unfortunately, I have to own up here and tell you that you cannot simply go to your local sewing machine shop and buy these anymore as they date from the 50's and 60's. The best place to locate these is on Ebay, and you can expect to pay £5-25 for one depending on what it comes with. A fair price of £5-10 for a zizagger that has all three of its original cams, the booklet, and it's box, and on up to £25 for one that has all these and two or more of the four cam stitch sets with it. While these do often pop up on Ebay's UK site, the very best bargains are to be had on Ebay's US and Canadian sites, as they are often flooded with these. Don't be fooled into paying a higher price for a "rare" colour to the top of the cams. The cams were simply painted different colours, and unless you are a collector of Singer memorbilia, the same set in the more common red top colour is fine as they perform exactly the same. Do not fret aboutthe age of the attachment either. Like their machines, Singer built these to last, and they are quite rugged. I actually have four of these (I got the extras with the sams I was after) and each one performs like new, even if the box shows a lot more wear than the others. These are so robust, even dropping one on a hardwood floor did no harm whatsoever!
One word of advice to you is no matter how experienced a sewer you are, always practice with similiar fabric before stiching to ensure you have the correct nedle size in for the weight of the fabric, and that the tension is correct. Too tight a tension on these stitches will cause a distinct puckering. This in itself can be disfiguring, for example if you are doing collars, or decorative, for example, if you are doing a double row of stiches on a very full skirt, provided the puckering is not too heavy. If you don't have any spare fabric, do a test run in an inconspicuous spot, such as ashirt tail close to the hemline, or the back of a duvet cover. A seam ripper can easily remove these stitches so no one is the wiser.
All in all, this is a handy gadget, and one I have put to great use. From stopping fray on cotton fabrics I am quilting with or making dresses and shirts from, to adding a "designer" touch to ready to wear clothes, bedding, and sheets, I have found it to be invaluable. It raises the straight stitch machine from a utility item, to one of immense possibilities for both the seamstress and the crafter.
Automatic Zigzag attachment.