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Singer Featherweight 221.. 30's or 50's model?

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Debbie D Posted: Tue, Jun 10 2014 10:47 PM

OK ladies (and I suppose a few gents too!) I recently got a bug to get myself a Singer Featherweight.. I'm doing some shopping online, found several in my area I can drive to and look/test.. some are 30's - 36 or 38 I believe and some are 48-55's

I'm trying not to jump the gun here and do this once as opposed to having a herd of these things in the house!

Can any of you help with some suggestions as to what I am looking for/at ? I dont want a "collectible" I am thinking to use it in the camper when we start traveling in a few months once he's fully retired.. so in the classic car world it would be considered a driver as opposed to a 100pt show craft 

What about accessories.. how concerned am I about that?

I suppose I need to look at the wear on the plug and foot pedal cords..

how about the condition of the box?

what if it doesnt have ALL the original parts?

I sew quilts and small home deco projects, scarfs for the dog and that sort of thing.. I own a 1978 top of the line Singer (522?? 622?? its at the the house so my brain is not working) and recently bought a Viking 875Q which I love, but the old Singer is just so solid for straight piecing... its a cabinet model, and no case, and heavy, so I thought the 221 would be a great choice...

Any feedback would be appreciated... thanks!

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Debbie D replied on Tue, Jun 10 2014 10:57 PM

Sorry, I kept getting an error notice that it didnt post.. can someone remove all but one please? thanks

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Nice meeting you Debbie,

I'm getting the same  sorry can't post thing.  I've been looking at a Singer Feather weight myself.  Haven't found one I like.

Marianne

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Thea replied on Wed, Jun 11 2014 7:20 AM

Marianne and Debbie - I believe if you use the search engine you might find some discussion about featherweights.  I don't have one - I have a Singer from the 50s but it isn't a featherweight.  I know that a few of our members have them and the discussions about them have abided over the past few years... am sorry that I can't help...but if I was looking for one..

I would definitely want a book about the machine - the where toos about oiling and cleaning it - the motor - check it out - wear and tear on the motors - it might need an overhaul - the feet - make sure you have the feet you need... foot pedal - cord - all good things to check - and needles - find out what kind it needs as some back then had to have special needles before the adjustments were made that universal needles could be used.

 

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gini replied on Wed, Jun 11 2014 10:14 PM

When I was buying mine, I sat down and sewed.  Two sewed like a dream, the other I could tell that it needed some talc, and now it stitches fine.  Cords can be replaced and belts.  There is a featherweight group on Facebook that would have lots of info for you.

 

gini in north idaho

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Loui replied on Thu, Jun 12 2014 4:47 AM

You will love your featherweight.  My husband found mine on eBay years ago and it had been serviced and checked. He surprised me with it as a gift.   It was and is perfect.  I think mine is from the 50s or 60's and is a light green color.  I did get a manual with it and have purchased a few feet .  I don't use it as much as I thought I would but love it just the same.

I've been in a non sewing mood for the last few months and seeing this post I think I will sew a little on the featherweight today.  Thanks the the inspiration to get back sewing….lately I've been crocheting and beading.  It's time to sew!

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gini replied on Thu, Jun 12 2014 11:40 PM

I wanted to add yesterday, but the site kept kicking me off, that it doesn't matter what year you get, they are all nearly the same.  What's important is how well they have been taken care of.  Attachments are neat to have. I never use mine.  Cases are nice to have, but are not important if it's the machine you're after..   Extra bobbins come in handy, you can buy more.

gini in north idaho

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You have some really good suggestions Thea.  I'm just looking at the moment.  I'm still mourning the loss of my Singer Athena 2000.  it was the first electronic machine Singer made and I loved it from the1970ties till 2003.  Something went wrong with the electronics and Singer didn't make the part anymore.  It was love at the first with the first outomatic butten hole I  ever made.

Marianne

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gini replied on Fri, Jun 13 2014 8:56 AM

You can print the book off from online and it tells about maintainance of the machine

gini in north idaho

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weezee56 replied on Fri, Jun 13 2014 2:02 PM

I purchased my featherweight from ebay. She is a 1953, I use her to piece . I got a case but I had been in water at one time and I haven't fixed it yet. I don't like the musty smell of the cases.

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I have a white, pale green one from 1964, I think ,  and a black one from 1933. I love both, but the black one really has my heart. I have a friend who likes to go to auctions, swap meets and junk stores. His dream job would be to own a pawn shop, lol. He found the white one for me at an auction for $130  and got the black one at a swap meet for $150. Together they cost less than most I saw on ebay. There are many groups on the internet that you can join and get lots of info. I follow one in Yahoo groups. I purchased a book and dvd set from Featherweight221.com. The book has the same info as the dvds but I like the dvds for starting out  because I am more visual. David McCAllum is the gentleman on the dvds. He is getting ready to retire from traveling around giving classes on the care of your FW,  The book and dvds are still available. They were a great help to me as I had no idea how to do the maintenance. There are other web sites that offer instructions for your FW. There are many attachments you can purchase, I use the 1/4" foot most of the time. I have a case for each machine but haven't used them. I seldom take classes so they just sit on a shelf in my sewing room looking cute. I think it is great advice to sew on a machine before purchase to be sure of what you are getting. Of course I didn't do that for either machine since my friend purchased them for me but they were not as costly as some and I was blessed that they only needed to be cleaned up and given some oil and lubricant. As Ginny said you can purchase various parts online. If you have plenty of money you can be choosy on the year and condition of a machine. If you don't have so much money then you need to keep your eyes open and see what you can find. Garage sales, Craiglist, auctions, flea markets will often get you a nice little machine for a lower price than ebay or shops that specialize in FWs.Happy hunting. Be sure to post pictures when you find you FW!

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Pamela replied on Fri, Jun 13 2014 6:25 PM

Marianne-I have an Athena 2000 that was my Grandma's. Too bad that you can't find parts somewhere online or from a Singer repair shop. That's how the Featherweights are able to stay in use-so many of them that can be scrapped for parts.

I have a Centenniel Featherweight (1952), but agree that it's not the year, but one in good condition. I do like my case, because I prefer to use mine for travel. The case makes it handy to carry and store the machine, pedal, cord. Look for a case that hasn't gotten wet and has mold or mildew. I've seen a few of those and they smell musty.

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Agnes replied on Fri, Jun 13 2014 10:03 PM

Things to try to remove the musty smell: Store with crumpled newspaper or charcoal briquettes both inside the case and around it. You can also use dryer sheets but because of my sensitivities to perfumes I prefer the newsprint. You may have to do this several times to totally remove the smell. I had a dresser that not only smelled musty but actually had mold growing in the lower region. I sprayed it with Javex solution to kill the mold and then Febreeze and let it air. I am using it for clothes storage and you'd never know it had a problem.

Agnes in NW Ontario

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Loui replied on Sat, Jun 14 2014 4:26 AM

I had bought a bag for my serger and it was too small for the serger, so my featherweight fits in this bag nicely and I keep all the feet and manual in there also.  So everything is all together.  I have the original featherweight's case in the original box that I put it away on a shelf for safe keeping.  It is a little worn and I didn't want to spoil it.  The new bag works out great and now has a use.

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Joyce replied on Thu, Jun 19 2014 9:27 PM

Debbie D I have a Featherweight my friend gave me a few months ago.  She knew I was looking at them and surprised me with hers (which I didn't know she had).  I think it is a 1965.  It is a sturdy little machine and not heavy to carry around.  I haven't used it but 1 time as I haven't done much sewing lately.  I only have 1 bobbin and I did find out that some of the metal bobbins look like the ones for featherweight but do not work correctly in them.  I bought one from a sew & vac place but then my machine wasn't working the same.  So be careful when purchasing the bobbins.

 

Joyce from 

Maryland

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