Saturday, February 13, 2016

My New Toy!


This is the new toy that arrived this week - a Singer Featherweight 221-1.  Isn't it cute?  I have to thank my hubby Nolan and brother-in-law Anton for making my dream a reality.  I have been looking for Featherweights on Kijiji and at local auction listings ever since I saw one in person.  I have been 3rd or 4th in line many times.  A couple of weeks ago Nolan spotted the listing for this one in Calgary.  The item had only been posted for 5 minutes, so I knew if I acted quickly I might have a chance.  The machine is not in pristine condition, but there seller was very upfront about the chip in the paint, and was asking a very fair price.  She even posted a video on You Tube of the machine being used, so I was very confident that is was in good working order.  My brother-in-law agreed to be the middle man, and purchased it (got a lesson in the process) and shipped it out to me.

I wanted a Featherweight to take with me to guild sewing days as I was getting tired of lugging my Janome 6600 around.  About 12 lbs as opposed to 30+ lbs is a huge difference! 

The case is in pretty good shape for something that was made in 1952!  My featherweight was born August 11, 1952 in Elizabeth, New Jersey.  63 years old. And the original key too.

The only thing that doesn't seem to be here from what would have been originally sold with the machine is the screw driver, which really is the easiest thing to replace.

The original manual is in amazing shape.

These are all the feet that were included.  The first 6 are original items, and the last three are add ons.  I don't expect to use most of these items much, but the engineering that went into them is interesting.

The one thing that I wasn't quite prepared for was the strong old smell that hit me in the face when I opened up the case.  No evidence of mold or mildew, but old oil and dust closed up for an extended period of time was not pleasant.  I did some quick research on line and found that soap and water are bad, but Kerosene and Carnuba wax are exactly what the doctor ordered!

We found some online tutorials with great information, so last night we took everything apart, tossed the old oil soaked drip pad, scrubbed and polished and it is much more pleasant to be around.  Luckily the original tube of motor lubricant was present, as it is still deemed to be usable and recommended.  A vintage machine also has many, many more oiling points that any other machine I have ever owned.

That is some chunky, gunky lubricant in the upper gears.

Today I figured out how to wind some bobbins with some modern thread and decided to try doing some real sewing.  Since I don't yet have a 1/4 foot, I attached the handy seam guide and it worked really well.

I am really impressed with the quality of the stitches, and had no trouble getting the tension adjusted with my thinner So Fine! piecing thread.

When I packed up the machine I included a bar of Irish Spring Soap in the bracket that was originally intended for an oil can. It should help freshen the case and is said to ward off bacteria.  Can't hurt right?

All ready for my next sewing day!

This is what I finished today.  I slightly adapted version of our Highway 10 Designs Detour runner.  I added two more dark chevrons to make it longer, and a small border to increase the width just a little.   Hopefully I can get it quilted soon!


  1. Oh Lori you definitely will not regret purchasing this. It is the most wonderful machine to sew on. I love how lightweight it is and considering how old they are they are in amazing shape and best of all no plastic parts to break!

  2. what fun! congratulations. If your BIL had't been in Calgary, I hope you would have asked me :)

  3. What a wonderful find, and to think you now have it at home. My mum did so much sewing on her singer, first it was a treadle, then Dad fitted a motor to it. Enjoy the lighter weight when carrying it round.

  4. Very nice. I've been on the hunt for one of those or a 301 myself but have yet to come across just the right one. Enjoy your new toy.

  5. I would love to meet your new toy! I loved the sound of my Granny's treadle Singer and have a special memory as a child I will share in person. Enjoy!

  6. lucky you! A friend of mine was given a fw that someone found in an attic of a house that they bought!! I'm still looking for one . . . one day I'll find the right one! Enjoy!

  7. Lucky, lucky you. You have yourself a wonderful machine. The stitch quality is lovely. I hope to meet your new friend sometime soon. Has she a name yet?