Episode 39 – Darlene and Andy Girton, The Featherweight Doctors

January 06, 2018

Welcome to Episode 39 of Sit & Sew Radio, a Quilt Addicts Anonymous podcast.

This week we are excited to have Darlene and Andy Girton of Featherweightdoctor.com as our guests. This husband and wife turned their passion for Singer Featherweights into a business in which they buy and restore the fabled workhorse sewing machines. They restore the machines to their original beauty or if you want something a little funkier, can create some pretty crazy finishes as well.

We also give you a behind-the-scenes look into what Stephanie Soebbing is up to this week. Which basically is lots and lots of filming video tutorials for Dimensions – the 2018 Quilt Addicts Anonymous Block of the Month. Click here to read more about Dimensions and to sign up. Sign-ups are open through the end of January and the first of 11 blocks, along with the pattern book, will be shipped in February.

Also over at Quilt Addicts Anonymous, the Semi Annual Clearance Sale is going on. There are nearly 100 fabrics, patterns and books marked down 40% to 60% OFF. This is beautiful, high quality fabric from all the names you love, we’ve just had it for a while and it is time to make room for our new 2018 arrivals.

There are lots of bolts that still have nine or more yards of fabric, making them great for quilt backs, so check out the sale, stock up and get some fabulous fabric for your stash! Click here to check it out.

Darlene & Andy Girton, the Featherweight Doctors

Darlene’s love affair with the Featherweight 221 began about 15 years ago with Esther.

Darlene was a self-taught quilter who was lugging around a “big, boat anchor sewing machine” to local classes in Washington state. One day the handle snapped off, and she decided she needed a change. Darlene, who eventually would become a professional long-arm quilter and machine quilt educator, needed something lighter. Something portable. She was starting to teach her own classes, and her old “boat anchor” wasn’t cutting it any longer.

Her husband, Andy found her a classic 1953 black Featherweight that weighed about 8 pounds. She called her Esther, the name of the original owner that was engraved all over the machine.

“And that is where the love affair started,” Darlene said.

Esther became Darlene’s traveling companion on retreats and classes. Soon Andy and Darlene began collecting the machines, picking them up at garage sales, antique shops, wherever they could find them. A few years ago the couple moved to the Phoenix area and things really took off.

Andy would clean the old machines up, and Darlene would take them to classes and sell them. That’s when they decided to make a family business out of the venture with featherweightdoctor.com. Andy does a lot of the restoration, with the help of their 18-year-old son as well as Andy’s dad. Darlene finds the machines and tests them to make sure they are working as they should. Their daughter pitches in as well, with the official title of design assistant and queen of fun.

In the podcast interview Darlene and Andy tell more about their story and the restoration process.

Darlene says that while many prefer to restore the machines to their original glory, there is an up-and-coming group of ladies from the younger generation of sewers who prefer a fresh and fun look for their antique machines.

Visit Featherweightdoctor.com to learn more about Andy and Darlene and to see their work.

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