Featherweight Fanatics Archives


Sunday, January 11

Date: Fri, 9 Jan 1998 23:24:02 EST
Subject: Clarification

Earlier I made the remark about using "3-n-1" oil.  Some are concerned that
the oil will leave a residue and cause problems.  I want to be very clear that
I use the Singer brand as my first choice for oil and lube.  The others that I
mention are for when the Singer is not available.  Personally I have not had a
problem but I clean my machines a lot as I like to do that.  

The vasaline is for in a pinch.  That comes from an old manual and not my
idea.  Auto lube has been mentioned on this list.  I have not tried it but see
no reason why it would not work.  

I use "3-N-1" or Singer.  As for lube, I use vasoline if no singer is
available.  Just get the good stuff and not off brand.  

Date: Sat, 10 Jan 1998 22:45:33 -0800
Subject: Voila! Discovery!

To All FWF:

I had just purchased a model 99 in the walnut case. Really cute. Well, I
took my technology genius engineer down into my laboratory, beneath the
streets, to find a new formula that would clean off the "stuff", that
gets on the paint of the machine head, without damaging the gold
We have been working endlessly trying one compound or solution after the
other to find the ideal product.

As we worked late into the night, we had developed a pile of products
that did not work. I had tried automobile paint rubbing compound. It had
worked fairly well on my last restoration of a Model 66. It was still
not the ultimate in a compound that I need to clean the oxidized head on
this model 99. It took too long and could damage the gold decorations.

After many weary hours of experimenting, a little elf person appeared on
my work bench and said,"Try the product you purchased at the County Fair
last Summer, dummy".
I said, "What! Who are you? Besides, I purchased that stuff to shine
antique copper and brass. It didn't work as well as plain old metal
polish, so I cast it aside on the pile of things that don't work so
The little elf answered, "I work for the God of Shiny Things, and I am
going to let you in on this little secret."
I said, "Yes, yes. Anything. I'll do anything to discover this secret to
cleaning the painted head of a sewing machine."

The little elf said, "Will you share it with others?"

I said, "Yes, yes. I will share it with my Featherweight Fanatics and
all the world. Just tell me the secret."
The little elf said, "Think about the product 'Flitz' you purchased at
the fair. It didn't work on the copper and brass so well, but wait until
you see how it cleans off the dull grimy look to the paint on the sewing
machine head. It will also take off the old adhesive stuck on the sewing
platform and the chrome bobbin cover."

I immediately dug into the pile of things that don't work so well and
found it. I used it, and VOILA!!! It works. It works like a charm. It is
fast and easy to get results.  Now, my latest little Model 99 is
beautiful again. The black paint shines so well; It seems to have a
spiritual aura about it. I will run to my computer and keep my promise
to share the new discovery with the FWF.

I don't work for the Flitz people and have no interest in their company.
I had thrown the stuff away as a copper and brass cleaner. I am so
pleased that it works for cleaning up the paint on the sewing machines.
Try it. It is a German product in a tube. The color is a light blue. It
cleaned up the sewing machine head in record time. Now, I can rest
Subject: Re: FW Fanatics 1/5/98
Date: Fri, 9 Jan 1998 22:50:27 -0600

re: FW and Bernina

I too have a Bernina and two FW"S. I use both for piecing, in fact I keep
one of my FW"S at work and it fits nicely under my desk and I can sew on my
lunch hours ! It's great for piecing and you would be surprised how much
you can get done in a short time. I love my Berninaa 1630 also and do most
of my quilting and piecing at home on it. We are boaters, so in the summer
when we go for a weekend, I take a FW with me. I think I have the SM
collection disease !!  
I'm reading a lot of posts on the 301 and I'm beginning to think I need one
of these too for my collection, after I find a tan FW to add to my growing
collection .

Date: Sat, 10 Jan 1998 12:23:53 EST
Subject: Recently purchase FW.  Need HELP

I recently purchased a ? FW  model # AJ 889844 Is this a FW? The ?face plate
folds, it is small and light weight.  But am not sure as I really have only
seen pictures of them.

I've tried repeatedly to get through to Singer on the date of
manufacturer and to obtain a copy of the manual but have been unable to
get through.  Can anyone tell me anything about this machine?  Is it a FW?
It looks brand new, has  6 attachments, a screw driver, 2 keys, and 3 extra
bobbins, and a old tube of singer lubricant,  also a COPY of the manual says
221. The clip for the oil can is there but no oil can The medallion says 1851
 I'm wondering what attachments should have come with the machine.  The
machine looks and RUNS brand new not a scratch or ding anywhere, the case
however does have a small nick on one cornor.  Also the lining in the case at
the very top is starting to come unglued,  what type of glue would be
appropriate to touch this up.  Thanks, any help would be appreciated.  Hope
that this time I got a FW last time I bought a 99 but I like it too so am not
too disappointed.
Date: Sat, 10 Jan 1998 11:19:10 -0600 (CST)
Subject: Freemotion Quilting on the Beige fw.

Marlene, Please give me your phone number so that
my parents can call you.  My parents haven't shipped
one to Anchorage for a long time, so I don't know
how long your hubby had the fw before he gave it to
If the little knob on the top of your featherweight machine, on the left
hand side is not screwed down, then yes, your machine, will do 
free motion quilting.  Screw it down so that your material will stay put.

All machines that come from my parents work well,
and are oiled and tested out by my mother who is
a quilter and fabric artist. 

Hope you enjoy your beige/white featherweight!
Date: Sat, 10 Jan 1998 12:55:44 -0500
Subject: First Posting.

Hi everybody!  What a great time I've had reading all the FW stuff.  I
knew there was a large number of quilters who liked the FW's but I had
no idea it was as big as all this and that there were a lot of people
just like me out there who feel that one old machine just isn't enough!
I have two FW's and one Standard Sewhandy, an 1881 New Family, and a
Wilcox and Gibbs., plus my old standby the Singer 1036 that I got when I
was in college.  It just never seems to want to keep up with my FW's
which I use more.  I only use the 1036 to zigzag if I'm (ugh!) repairing
jeans.  I mostly use the FW's for piecing quilts when I am not doing
them by hand.

I read about the person who's mom had a shop in Oregon.  I tried to
email you for more info, but it didn't go through.  Could you please get
in touch with me?  All my family is out there and my SIL would really
like to get her hands on one!

Thanks everybody!  Ellie 
Subject: Impromtu Quilt Show
Date: Sat, 10 Jan 1998 14:52:44 -0800


Hey, I had a fun impromtu quilt show last night.   Our young couples group
at church (don't ask me what Mrs. Captain and I are doing int that group...)
schedules periodic "movie nights".   we bring videos to church and set up
one room for the kids and one for the grown ups and watch videos, with
popcorn, etc.   Well, last night was the night, and no one remembered to
turn on the heat in the room we use.   I brought over all my quilts and we
had a great night watching movies while snug in all those quilts.

Captain Dick
Date: Sat, 10 Jan 1998 22:00:03 EST
Subject: Web-Site

I wish to announce the birth of my Web-Site. Thanks to Maggie Arlotta who did
it all. I just provided the information & facts...she did the rest. There were
some critics who suggested some improvements & I want to especially thank Ann
Rixe for those ideas. More to come soon. Check it out, and as time goes on it
will change to reflect any FW or 301 machines, parts, notions or service I
have to offer. The parts/price list is the same I ship with every order. It
will change next week as some new additions will be added. I will be providing
the bed cushions (rubber feet) for the foot controller in about 30 days. If
you wish to order now, please let me know. I'll let you know of price at the
time they come in and if you wish to cancel....no problem. 
Thanks again to Maggie & her fine work.
Date: Sat, 10 Jan 1998 13:36:20 -0500 (EST)
Subject: No back stitch means its junk?

Moonsage said she was talking to  someone who was of the opinion that a
machine that did not backstitch was a "junker".  NO WAY!!  I learned to sew
at the age of 10 on a 127.  I sewed on that little machine for many years,
probably the equivalent of the distance of to the moon and back! There was
no numbered stitch length control.  Just a large screw.  I just remembered
"3 threads of the screw showing" was my setting for regular stitch length
and turn a couple of twists for a basting stitch , then back to my regular

Not having a back stitch was even easier to deal with.... When beginning a
seam, just create a drag on the fabric by slightly holding the fabric down
with your hands.  The result is the fabric doesn't feed as quickly, making
tiny stitches at the beginning or end of a seam.  It is lock stitched!  In
fact, when using my 15 or my featherweight I don't even use the backstitch
capabilities.  It is faster and easier to lock my seams with my "drag"
method and the result is less of a lump of threads than can happen with a
forward, back, forward line of stitching on top of each other. I've even
been known to use the method on my wonderful Bernina 1230.  If my hands are
full managing or easing in a slippery fabric and I don't want to "let go" to
push the back stitch button.... do the "drag stitch".

So, Moonsage, tell your friend if he/she comes across some nice old machines
without a backstitch, he's planning to "junk", just let me know.  I'll be
glad to give them a good home!

Subject:  Machine "Survey"
Date: Sun, 11 Jan 1998 05:09:31 -0500

I didn't know I was doing a SURVEY - thought I'd just asked about Kenmores,
Berninas, and FWs! But I've really enjoyed reading some of your responses -
so much so, that I just started a folder in my email program to save them
all! It's so interesting to hear how others feel about both their old and
new machines and I especially enjoy hearing how many of you really USE your
old machines. I regularly take one of my model 301s to classes, and I'll
often use them (or a FW) for piecing simple things at home, but most of my
other machines just aren't accessible enough to use on a regular basis.
MIGHT have something to do with the fact that I have so many they're stacked
on top of each other!! But having read your notes, am now inspired to do
some rearranging and try to set up some of my machines so I can use them
more for my sewing projects (especially after hearing that some of you
PREFER them to your Berninas - now THAT'S saying something!). Love the idea
of having different colored threads in various machines, ones ready for
machine quilting with a walking foot, or for free motion machine quilting,
etc. Aren't we lucky to have collections we can have such FUN with?? What do
people who collect china DO with it, aside from having to dust it all the
time?? Sue 
Date: Sat, 10 Jan 1998 19:56:10 EST
Subject: tools

I have said this offline a lot of times and thought I would talk about it
here.  I do not use the tools that come with the machines.  Most of the
screwdrivers are not very strong and you can ruin them before you realize it.
I have one screwdriver that has stood the test of time and usage and it was
from my mother's Domestic.  Otherwise I get my tools in the auto section not
the sewing.  They sell wimpy tools there that are cheap and cheap looking.
For a little extra you can get a set that has the slot and phillips heads in
small sizes.  I also get one medium and large size if you do anything with

Nothing strips out a screw driver or a screw any quicker than the wrong size
tool being used.  Too small and you do not get the torque (twist power) you
need to easily remove the stubbon screw.  Too large and the over hang of the
screwdiver can damage more than help.  Misuse of tools also destroys them.  

I have bought attachments and the women grab all the screwdrivers out for them
to use later on machines.  If the handle is plastic no problem.  Most are
worthless.  Not all but most.  Using non-machine tools are more
replaceable....like the Sears Craftmen are guarenteed for life.  Other good
tool company do that too.  

Know the difference between the screwdriver and a chisel?  Well learn.  You
want the end of the screwdriver to stay sharp and well defined.  Use something
else to open paint cans.

One last note, the other day I got a New Home with a puzzle box and it had a
stilleto with the screwdrivers.  Did not think they made them with the loop
handle.  It was for putting a hole in the tredle belt and also for sewing.

Date: Sat, 10 Jan 1998 15:31:40 -0500
Subject: Singer HandCrank

Hello Gang,

I just got a letter back today from Singer in regards to my question about
the handcrank Singer I purchased recently.  The serial number is R447711.
Singer says that it is a model 15K manufactured in December 1902.  They
don't say, but I believe, from out descussions here on FWF, the 'K' in the
model number means it was made in England?  They sent along a copy of a
manual for a Model 15 machine in a treadle cabinent but at least it shows
how to thread it.  The picture on the cover of the manual shows a machine
that is very heavily decorated, but the one I have only says Singer on it
and no gold scroll work at all.

Bye for now...  Happy New years to everyone..... David  (:>
Date: Sat, 10 Jan 1998 22:04:20 EST
Subject: Fwd: Web-Site

I was so excited about the Web-Site I failed to provide the link.
It can be found at:
Date: Sat, 10 Jan 1998 11:01:45 EST
Subject: Re: FW Fanatics 1/8/98

Cults!!!  No we are not in one.  I just like to wear a robe that is Singer
green and sell spools of thread to the people at the airport.  Too cold to
stay on side of road at intersections holding a sign "will work for Singer
machines" or " need money, stranded without a part for my Singer".  BTW as for
new ones....I am a Viking groupie.

Gather up a lot of cash and go to http://cayman.ebay.com/aw/index.html  Then
look under collectables and near the bottom is vintage sewing items.  Or the
quick adress is
http://cayman.ebay2.com/aw/listings/list/category114/index.html and that goes
to the sewing things.  It is an auction.  Lots of them on line but I like this
one.  Few bargins and you can ask questions before you buy.  Registration is

Whit Oil Cups
I have a manual to copy if you need that info.  They pull out and there is a
wick and a spring in the cups.  Very easy to damage.  Had one I had to soak
clean they were so gunked.  A lot of rotary machines were made by them.  IF
the flywheel is driven by a rubber coated metal rod coming out of the motor
you need to keep it from having a flat side.  Just tilt the motor back until
the rubber surface is clear of the fhywheel and prop it in that position.  I
use a small wood wedge.

Date: Sat, 10 Jan 1998 18:52:04 EST
Subject: Hello All

I purchased my FIRST Featherweight Sewing machine on the 23rd of December.  It
is in fantastic shape and am enjoying sewing patchwork blocks with it. It was
made October 14, 1953.  Still younger than me.  LOL.  

Today was one of those days, I can't say no to a deal.  I purchased a Singer
99 in cabinet, a Centurian with cabinet, stool and all the attachments, and a
301 with all attachments, oil can, in fantastic shape, and I spent less on the
3 than I usually do at the fabric shop.  Now, Who needs 8 sewing machines?
Date: Sat, 10 Jan 1998 14:46:47 -0500
Subject: Need Quilt Lecturer

Hi All!

This is somewhat off-topic but thought you all might be able to help out
and/or be interested in the following:

I volunteered to help my quilt guild put together a program at a local
college in celebration of National Quilting Day and in coordination with
the college's celebration of Women's History Month.  It's going to be
held on Monday, March 9th at Bergen Community College in Paramus, New
Jersey.  We're going to have a large, well-lit room and we're planning
displays, activities, works-in-progress and a lunchtime lecturer/panel
discussion.  We're looking for a lecturer/panel to speak about quilts in
women's lives (this must be the general topic in order to tie in with the
college's Women's History Month celebration).  If anyone is interested in
presenting a lecture or has any recommendations for speakers, please
e-mail me privately.  Also, if anyone is local and is interested in
attending, e-mail me for more information.

Thanks in advance for all your help -
Subject: Re: FW Fanatics 1/8/98
Date: Sat, 10 Jan 1998 22:17:46 +0000

To Kay re Singer 12

The larger number is always the one to use when dating a macvhine. Yours
dates 1861 which is dood and early for one of these machines.
Don't think Singer will have a copy of the manual for this . I can provide
one if you can't get one more locally . Mail me.

You use those holes in the shuttle to adjust tension -- the more holes the
thread goes thru, the greater the resistance.

To Margel re Elna gears

By the 1940s most gears were made to a number of standard dimentions --
either metric or imperial. getting replacements should not be a
problem.It's only with the early models that gears have to be specially
made -- and that gets very expensive.

Date: Sun, 11 Jan 1998 12:29:40 -0500
Subject: WANTED: Bobbin Cover Plates


I am new here. Don't have a featherweight but, am saving my pennies!
I do have a singer model 99, a singer model 201. Also I beleive it's a
singer 66-18 model, not sure yet.

I need to locate Bobbin Cover Plates for the 99 and 66. Any help would
be appreciated.

Date: Sat, 10 Jan 1998 16:37:06 -0800
Subject: 301

Hi, all!  

Hope everyone is settling down into the winter routine well.

I recently acquired a 301a, black, shortbed.  I am winging it on
threading and such but would like to have a manual anyway.  Does anyone
have a photocopy for sale? 

Thanks a bunch. 

Date: Sun, 11 Jan 1998 16:20:40 EST
Subject: Re: FW Fanatics 1/8/98

 My DH and I went to a swap shop in Central Florida yesterday, and there was a
dealer there selling antique machines.  There weren't any FW's, but full-sized
Singers and New Homes that are about  80-100 years old.  And then some Singers
that were green.  I'm not as familiar with all the model numbers, so I can't
be more specific.  He said all of them worked, and the ones I tried did.  
There was one old Singer there that had decals on it that looked almost
American Indian.   Do any of you know much about it?
Date: Sun, 11 Jan 1998 18:13:19 EST
Subject: New Website

Hi Feathers!

Check out  (Glenns) new web page. It's cool! htm
Subject: Bernina, FW, ???
Date: Sun, 11 Jan 1998 18:41:35 EST

Dear Feathers:

I can remember mom sewing on her beloved Domestic when a kid.  I used it,
and when in High School, used a treadle (grudgingly,when the "good"
electric ones weren't available.  I keep meaning to get one of my
machines treadling again.  Some of them have been electrified, so it
won't be a problem, I think, I hope.

Otherwise, it's a lot of:  "love the sm you're with (it used to be
guy/girl!).  I love my Bernina 1630, but I love the 830,too.  I still
mourn for the 1030/1090, and 1230 that got traded in and up...the
FeatherWeights are in a class of their own.  But then, there's my beloved
301(s) and I do love the 401, 403, 431, and the 500 Rocketeer
(especiallythis one!)  The 201 is Peerless, and the bunch of 15, 66, and
99 children are terrific, and so pretty.  The Lotus is very nice, as is
the Royal, the Edison, and others I can't recall.  My point is, I
wouldn't keep them if I didn't like them and get a jolt from them when I
use them.

If push came to shove, the Big Fire, whatever, Iwould have a heart
attack.  How could one chose between all the kiddo's???  Seriously, I
keep thinking about shrinking the collection,and I know I
will....eventually....but it's so hard to think of when I really
concentrate on the thought.

Most of them will sew even better if you baby them and tune them, oil
them, pamper them...then you love them even more.

Where else could we go on and on about our Beloved Obsession???

Has anyone seen or have a beige or a tan Free Arm 222?  I have it on the
best of authority from my Singer Guy (son of a Singer man, and brother to
2 singer guys) that they exist.  He also told me that they all (plus some
sisters, it's a big family) have FW's wrapped in tissue, total 10's,
untouched!!!  Drool started to drip down my chin when he told me this. 
We ARE good pals....no, his identity *will* remain a secret...for awhile,
anyway.  He will be getting on the'net and FWFanatics, soon....

So, I have to go back and finish a job for work, instead of playing with
my babies.  If only the lottery would decide to respond to my numbers, I
could while away my days, playing with my sm's...sigh...

TR:  when you remarked about the non-indoor plumbing, it reminded me of
whenI was visiting my sister in Arkansas.  We went to her friends house,
and I needed to use the bathroom...I went in and looked around.  I saw
what looked like the commode, but it had a bunch of nick nacks sitting on
it.  Didn't make sense to me...I opened the door, and they were all
standing there, laughing and then handed me a roll of the necessary paper
and pointed outside to the woods!!!  It only took me a minute to get

So, Happy New Year's to alllll Feathers and any SM fan...love, from Mary

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