When I first started sewing on vintage machines I really enjoyed playing with all the extra specialty feet to see what they could do. Considering that the early machines were straight-stitch only it's pretty amazing what swapping out a foot could offer for changing up the way that plain stitch looked and functioned. I also tried out the old Singer automatic buttonholer and even received a fancy pinking attachment for Christmas. Both were incredibly well engineered and the buttonhole maker is still considered by many as the gold standard in buttonhole formation.
One item I had yet to try was the Singer Automatic Zigzagger. I don't know why I overlooked experimenting with this rather significant accessory since it came with one of my machines and has been sitting in my cabinet ever since. In fact, I realized I actually have two of them: one for the straight needle machines and one for the slant machines, each in excellent condition complete with original box, stitch pattern cams, and instruction booklet. I finally took a breath and took a look at what this attachment could do and boy, was I impressed!
It was super simple to put the zigzagger on the machine (I brought out my Featherweight 221 for the test run) by just removing the presser foot and screwing it on in its place. I did give it a good oiling and lubrication first and other than a bit of rust on the top of the foot, it is in excellent shape. I started with the standard zigzag pattern cam. The zigzagger comes with 4 different designs: the zigzag, the blind stitch pattern (a scallop shape), the domino stitch pattern, and the arrowhead stitch pattern. The cams are made of solid metal and are quite ingenious. The back cover of the attachment pops open and the cams are dropped into place. There is an arrow indicating where to position it in order to start at the beginning of the design. Other decorative cams could be purchased separately.
The zigzag worked pretty well and the arrowhead is beautiful. The domino pattern seemed 'tight' and made ridges between the stitches so I'm not sure why that happens. The blind stitch is very sweet and can really be changed by adjusting the width of the 'bight' (there is a setting for narrow, medium, or wide) and stitch length. I don't sew clothing but I'm definitely going to keep these fun stitches in mind for future projects (pillows, quilt labels, etc.).
Here is a quick video showing the attachment in action on my machine and a rather amusing early ad for the zigzagger - it was only "$14.95"! (skip ahead to the 1:00 minute mark)...