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Singer Featherweight Sewing Machine

Posted by keepeminstitches (My Page) on
Sat, Sep 23, 06 at 17:26

I've been so lusting after a Featherweight 221...came home just now from a quilt show where I passed on a 1956 FW 221 in beautiful shape, except the gold decals were not the style I want...it had the Greek key (for lack of a better description) decal on it. Dealer wanted $495 for it. There was also a 222 (free-arm, rare) FW...different dealer wanted $1400 for it, but it was in pristine shape. Have also been watching them on ebay but there it's so hard to tell if they are as represented. Did I goof by passing on the $495 one, do you think? It had a nice carrying case (just a very slight musty smell), box of accessories, bobbins, reproduction booklet. If I did goof by not buying it, I could go back tomorrow and see if it's still there.

Mary (drooling over Featherweights)


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Singer Featherweight Sewing Machine

That is in the right price range. Did you know they made a green one? I like anything green...clothes, cars, shoes, coats, purses. I saw a hunter green on e-bay & did I drool over it. It went for way over $500. I still dream about it.


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RE: Singer Featherweight Sewing Machine

Mary,

I know plenty of people who paid that much for their Featherweight, but if you are patient there are plenty to be had for much less money at garage sales and "friend of a friend" connections.

I got very lucky that I had just recently mentioned to a friend that I was looking for a Featherweight. Though she sews she had no idea what I was talking about until I filled her in. About 2 weeks later she was chatting with her son's boss who mentioned she made the curtains in her cafe on one of her several Featherweights. As luck would have it she had recently picked up another FW at a garage sale, but didn't want to keep it because she had 3 already. It was in excellent shape, with a non-musty case, book, and bobbins. She sold it to me, as a friend of a friend, for less than $200.

I have a quilting friend who walked into Savers thrift store one day last year and spotted a familiar, non-descript black case sitting along the wall. She opened it to see a spotless little FW with all it's accessories. It was marked $45!!! She bought it immediately and hurried home without before someone on the staff realized that it was not a little toy and repriced it.

So, be patient and keep your eyes open, and network a bit. You could save some money that would enhance your fabric stash, too.

Good luck!


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RE: Singer Featherweight Sewing Machine

I bought one in Fl. at an antique store for $300 with case and attachments. It had the musty smell and it's condition was not pristine but not bad. I had to put $100 into it for new electrical cord and brushes and cleaning and adjustments. It runs very well. Recently I went to a garage sale and bought one for $35. They wanted $75 but it didn't run so I got them down -- took it home and cleaned it up--was very musty and moldy inside--must have been in damp basement a long time. I am now putting $200 into it for a new motor and electrical cord. They had to order the parts, but I do love them and now I have two--Don't ask me why, especially since I'm in the market for a new "bells and whistles" sewing machine. Just havn't decided what I want yet--need to get on it. Just keep looking and I'm sure you'll find one.

Geri


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RE: Singer Featherweight Sewing Machine

I've just recently heard of the Featherweight. Would you tell me do most people want them to sew on or more as a collectors items? I've recently started quilting. Do you know if you could use them to quilt if they were in good working order. Thanks. Kathryn


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RE: Singer Featherweight Sewing Machine

Kathryn, I've heard that people love to bring them to quilting guilds or groups b/c they sew so well and are light and easy to transport. I want it more as a collector, tho. I've seen white ones on ebay but never a green one. That would be really cool!

Mary


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RE: Singer Featherweight Sewing Machine

Oh, Kathryn, definitely for sewing here!!

These little machines are workhorses. If you keep them clean and oiled they will continue to sew beatifully long enough for any of us to give to our grandchildren. Kind of like the good old watches that used take a licking and kept on ticking. You have to work very hard to put these Featherweight sewing machines down.

There are a couple that are used regularly by ladies in my quilting group. They make a very nice even stitch. Mine was built in 1956 and I can tell it has been used quite a bit, but was also well teken care of. I love sewing with it, partly because of how nicely it stitches and partly knowing of the many garments or household items that were probably lovingly sewn on it in the past.

Even though I can only sew on one machine at a time, I'm still hoping to find one each time I stop at a garage sale. I would love a white one. I would also love to find a good deal on a 222, which is the free-arm model.


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RE: Singer Featherweight Sewing Machine

Mine is a 1951, the 100th anniversary edition. I think I paid $400. Case is musty, but machine is great.
Susan


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RE: Singer Featherweight Sewing Machine

The free-arm 222 on ebay was over $1475 when I looked yesterday. Jeez, wish I had the $$$!


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RE: Singer Featherweight Sewing Machine

Well I still have my 22l which was my first sewing machine. When I was given a T&S for high school grad, my folks wanted me to trade in my 22l...I told them no keep the T&S (best thing I ever did - although I still have both machines which work beautifully). Mine is scratched and not fancy, I have decals sure but don't worry about how scratched they are...the machine is priceless to me. Now it was over 40 years ago but my folks paid $l00.00 for my 221. My mother ALWAYS loved my little machine and said she wanted one (especially after I moved away machines and all). I lucked in back in the 80's and left my name with a Singer dealer who one day out of the blue called ....he had a 221 in the store. I went and saw it and bought it for my mother ....so now our family boasts 2 featherweights...both 221's.....and in l987 mother paid $200.00 for hers. So I guess we are lucky....both came with cases and buttonholers....but no trays in the original boxes... Budster (who is back)


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RE: Singer Featherweight Sewing Machine

Budster!!!
So glad to see you on the board!
Susan


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RE: Singer Featherweight Sewing Machine

If there is really one I have lusted for is one my friend bought new & was the first one I ever saw when I was just a teenager & I thought it was the cutest thing ever. She finished high school in 1952 & I am guessing it was somewhere in that range when she got hers.

Collection was mentioned. We had an exchange student back in 1990. At a gathering for all the area students by that placement agency, pictures were being passed around of the students families & homes. It was glance & pass until I came up on a picture of a whole wall of sewing machines. My abrupt stop in passing caused a fury at what had captured my attention so much. Of course I was looking at the machines but also the display cabinet. It was floor to ceiling with cubbie holes big enough to hold the machine heads. It was amazing at the big collection but the lay out was simply beautiful. I think the kid was from Germany. I still dream of that sight.


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RE: Singer Featherweight Sewing Machine - dah....how dumb

My mother's machine and mine are the free arm 222's not 221. Must be a blonde moment...Budster saying howdy Loganhogan


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RE: Singer Featherweight Sewing Machine

For many years, it was a Singer company policy for Singer dealers to take machines on trade-in, then crush them so they couldn't be resold. The idea was to bolster the market for new machines. This started early on when Isaac Singer realized that mothers were handing down sewing machines to their daughters.

This policy of crushing traded-in sewing machines continued into the 1960s. Dealers had a press in the "back room" just for this purpose. Budster, if you had traded in that Featherweight, it might have died a sad death.

CMC


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RE: Singer Featherweight Sewing Machine

That is a good price for the Featherweight. I have been lusting after one myself. Colleen


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RE: Singer Featherweight Sewing Machine

This is my first posting here. I purchased a 221 last year at this time through ebay. Having had a bad experience previously on ebay, I read every featherweight sale for nearly 6 weeks to get the feel of the sellers, occasionally asking questions and bidding. I had set myself $200 limit and did in fact get one for $225. It is a 1941 (the yr of my birth!). I had previously questioned a sewing machine repair man here in town who used to sell FW's. He told me they were expensive to replace parts and recondition. This information helped me when making my decision on what to bid on and my new to me machine had just had a check up and cleaning. The machine arrived in excellent condition and I took it on as carry on luggage when flying to Toronto this summer for the birth of my first grandchild. It was a wonderful little machine while there. It worked with no trouble. Re odor. I read that it was caused by rancid oil and many things have been tried. I keep the odor down in my case with a odor absorber. Have tried several and they work but not permanently.


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RE: Singer Featherweight Sewing Machine

Welcome, pipsy!! Yes, in the best of all worlds, I would love to have one from the year of my birth, too (1950). But I'd just settle to have one in working condition and cosmetically good [don't want much, do I!! ;-p ]. I see on ebay that reproduction decals are available from some guy who sells them, but I'd rather have a "find" that is original and in good shape. Congrats to you! Yours sounds like such a "find"! And you were smart to do your research.

Mary (still lusting after a Featherweight)


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RE: Singer Featherweight Sewing Machine

I have a question....Where do you find the numbers on the machine so you know it is or isn't a 221 or 222?

patti


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RE: Singer Featherweight Sewing Machine

I believe the 222 has a sewing arm which you can expose by taking off the little table. Gosh my mind is having trouble with words. If you can't understand or I am wrong perhaps someone can correct me.


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RE: Singer Featherweight Sewing Machine

Look for the serial number on the front of the machine. It is usually in front of the end where the bobbin winder is. Then go to this website and you can find the model and year. Colleen

Here is a link that might be useful: Singer birthdates


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RE: Singer Featherweight Sewing Machine

You can look a long time for a bargain featherweight because they have been collectable for a good long while and everyone (at least around here) knows how much they are worth. So just about everyone from the ladies at the quilt meetings to the antique dealer on the corner hopes to find one at a yard sale or thrift shop, if not to actually keep, then to mark up and resell. Recently I have seen ratty featherweights that may or may not be in working order at yard and estate sales priced higher than the ones from more reliable sources that give them a good going over when they get them in, oil and adjust them and sell them with a reasonable guarantee. Still if you are up to paying the going rate then there are plenty around.
There are two nice ones at the fabric store where I shop. Since they host monthly featherweight meetings and have a repair guy on staff they usally have a couple in good working order for sale. I am in Washington state, but I suspect there are similar machines to be found near you. You can also checkout featherweight.com there are nice ones there (for a price- but he does layaway and they are ready to sew). I think if you take the time and energy to look for just the machine you want you will find it. My sisters and myself have featherweights all from different sources, and purcased at different times. Decal and paint condition vary (as did cost) but they all work equally well. It was important to all of us that neither the machines or cases smelled. It is a common problem-that mildewey smell, next to impossible to eliminate completely, and IMHO I would avoid smelly machines or cases.
Good luck with your search.


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RE: Singer Featherweight Sewing Machine

I need info on where to get a FW painted as mine is in poor cosmetic condition. Thanks. Ann


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RE: Singer Featherweight Sewing Machine

I have two Featherweights and cases. Case has full length tray. inside the case on the left bottom is a spring clip. what fit or fits in this clip?


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RE: Singer Featherweight Sewing Machine

I **THINK** it's to hold a can of sewing machine oil. I now have two FWs, love them! One is Suzie (named after my great-aunt who was a miliner), the other is Benita (named after my grandmother who was Suzie's real-life sister).

Mary


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RE: Singer Featherweight Sewing Machine

Hi I am new to the site, I have a white 1964 singer featherweight. I am trying to get it going for our local MCC thrift shop, can sell it in working condition. I do a little volunteer work for them. I am pretty good with mechanical sewing machines, and I think I have done everything I can to figure out why it won't take up the bobbin thread. I know that the bobbin case is all clean and inserted correctly, the threading is all good. I am at my wits end here. Could it be the timing? If someone has any answers I would be so greatfull..I can't afford to take it to the local repair shop, but I have time to work on the machine. I know it has tension problems too, but I will look at that when I can get it to take up the thread and form a stich. The motor is good, and it looks new, as if no one has ever used it. Very Clean, thanks Ginger


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RE: Singer Featherweight Sewing Machine

Ginger:
First, clean and oil all the parts, dig out all the lint, even the stuff in the back of the case, under the bed, and under the spool holder with sewing machine oil or gear grease (whatever the instructions say). Then insert a needle (no thread) and sew at full speed through some soft fabric for a few minutes ... you should hear the sound getting smoother. then check for more dirt and clean it out.

1 - The thread has to come through that little slot in the bobbin and past a small retaining hook. Compare the bobbin case with one from a known-good machine to make sure all the parts are there and unbroken.

2 - If you hold the bobbin and case up by the thread, it should not unwind by itself. However, if you gently pull down on the case, it should unwind easily. If it doesn't, this could be preventing the uptake. Loosen the setscrew on the bobbin case a tiny bit and test again.

When you insert the bobbin, leave 6 inches of thread loose.

As for the timing, it's hard to screw that up. Lift the sewing arm and watch the needle thread action and see if it's making a loop around the bobbin thread.


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RE: Singer Featherweight Sewing Machine

Over 20 yrs ago I bought my Featherweight 221 for $50 from an elderly friend of my mother. The machine and it's case were in excellent condition with many attachments,original oil can,and booklet. I've carried that beautiful little machine to many quilt classes. Just this summer, I saw a little black case at a garage sale covered in cobwebs, looked inside and sure enough there was a machine inside. The price on the case was $5 ...I couldn't buy it fast enough and when I got it home and looked it over it was a little dusty but in great shape. The foot control was replaced as was the bobbin case but it runs great. I don't think the lady at the sale had any idea what she had. My friend bought one on e-bay but though she didn't tell me what she paid for it she did say she paid dearly for it. She's very happy with it anyway. They're great little workhorses.


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RE: Singer Featherweight Sewing Machine

Lazygardens, Thanks so much for your input. I was so excited when I found your post, that I got the machine out and started in again. When you suggested I loosen the set screw on the bobbin case I was certain you had it. Well it was not that. I am dissapointed but not going to give up. I appreciated all your suggestions, because it made me know I was approaching it right. I have gone so far as to replace the bobbin case with one from a working machine, with no difference. I have gone over everything at least two times, or more, it is so easy to thread wrong if you have threaded a lot of different machines. This featherweight is so pristine cosmetically, I almost wonder it it has ever been used. Thanks again for all your help.I will post if I get it figured out, or if I break down and take it to the repair man. Ginger


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RE: Singer Featherweight Sewing Machine

Hi There Lazygardens, I ended up taking it to our not so local repairman, I had never used him before, but because he was a long standing Singer dealer, and sounded so good on the phone I decided to at least to present the machine, and see what he had to say. I immediately noticed his walls and entire shop had Featherweights and more. After explaining everything to him, he ask me if I put the needle in right. I chuckled and said yes, it won't be that simple. So he says "in cases like this I can repair it now, on the spot for $30.00" I said "go for it, with a huge smile. It took him about 15 minutes though...and he also addressed the tension. So after I ask him "was it the timing? He said yes it was. So I had troubleshot it correctly, and learned a little by just watching him. What a guy. His repair shop was wide open to whomever came in. It was like a page in time warp going in there. Just wanted to let you know how it turned out. I am so pleased. The thrift shop Manager had told me before I had taken it in, to just see if I could get even $100.00 for it. I just was not ready to give up on it, I may have to eat the $30.00 repair bill, as i did not get a go ahead, but thats OK because MCC does alot of good work around the world and locally. I just can't tell you how good it feels to "get er done". Someone will love this machine. I don't know about all the white featherweights but I do know this one is impossible to trace the serial No. with any accuracy, and it does not have gears, it is belt driven. So I have at least learned something. It doe's not have the mechanical solidness of others in the featherweight class. However pretty it is, it is just a collector item. I would not recommend it for a quilter or serious sewer. Ginger


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RE: gingerl965 - have you looked.....

for a copy of the book "The Perfect Portable"......I posted the title and author on the posting at the top of the forum concerning a featherweight case. Although I have yet to finish the book if I remember correctly there was a section on belt driven 221's. FYI - just thought I'd pass this along. Budster


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