Other times it reminds me of the scarab beetles in "The Mummy."
"Bugs? I HATE bugs!" The Mummy
Zigzagger with 221 Featherweight
Either way, it's a strange looking device but a brilliant invention.
And it's a "must-have" for a Featherweight or 15-91 straight-stitch machine.
So how does it work?
On a zigzag sewing machine the needle moves side-to-side to produce the zigzag stitch. Obviously a straight stitch machine can't do that, so that's where the zigzagger attachment comes in.
The zigzagger moves the fabric side to side to produce the offset stitches. Early zigzaggers produced a simple zigzag stitch, but later evolved into the Automatic Zigzagger which used interchangeable cams to produce a wide array of decorative stitch patterns. (Visit our Singer Accessories Gallery for more photos.)
The Automatic Zigzagger attaches to the presser foot bar and needle bar similar to a buttonholer. The cams are top-loading, which allows you to change stitches without removing it from the machine.
Sewing with a zigzagger can be a little tricky because the fabric has to move side to side, which makes sewing in a straight line difficult. A little practice (or a lot) goes a long way. It does get easier!
By the late 1950's zigzag machines were sounding the death-knell for the straight-stitch sewing machine, but Singer continued manufacturing straight-stitch machines and zigzag attachments well into the 1960's.
So are you ready to zigzag on your straight stitch machine?
Zigzaggers still show up in thrift stores from time to time but may need a good cleaning and lubricating. They're also readily available on eBay but can get pricey. They come in vertical-needle and slant-needle variations, so be sure to get the right one for your machine.
Happy Sewing! Barbara OldSewinGear...dedicated to helping you get the most out of your old sewing gear.
OldSewinGear is the collaborative effort of retired repairman Gary and daughter Barbara. We love old sewing gear and enjoy sharing what we've learned in our vintage sewing machine adventures. We are located in Roseburg, Oregon.