Featherweight Fanatics Archives


Monday, January 1

Date: Thu, 04 Jun 1998 11:48:12 -0500
From: Featherweight Fanatics 
Subject: FW Fanatics 6/1/98

From: "edturner" 
Subject: Re: FW Fanatics 5/25/98
Date: Sun, 31 May 1998 19:01:31 -0700

If you get any responses on this, would you print them in FWF letter? I TOO
want to know , as I need to refinish a 301a black long bed. Thanks.

From: "edturner" 
Subject: Singer 403/ Greist attachments
Date: Sun, 31 May 1998 19:09:50 -0700

I picked up a 403 in nice shape, in  cabinet and  with accessories at an
estate sale. I am wondering if anyone else could comment on if this model
sews the same stitches as a 401...it is called "semi - automatic" and all
zig-zag stitches must be done by inserting cams... I have heard of people
with 404's and 401's...

Secondly, could someone tell me if  Greist attachments are a sort of
"generic" brand that was made to fit many models? I assume they are worth
picking up (cheap that is) if original parts are not available and you need
them for sewing abilities...


Subject: FW Table (Fables of the reconstruction)
Date: Mon, 1 Jun 1998 07:09:47 -0500

Hi Feathers,
Yes, it's the "feathered freak "in Lake Station who found a featherweight
table for $20.00 and it looked like the end of the story was "And they
lived happily ever after..."
Well, not so fast folks.
After I got the table home and started the refinishing process the stars
faded from my eyes when I noticed that it appears as if some brute drug
this table behind a tow truck down 200 miles of hard road!
OK,maybe I'm being a little too dramatic but you get the idea. Getting to
the point,(finally) I am having a problem with the places where the veneer
has chipped away. I hate to just fill in with wood putty.I had a furniture
refinisher tell me to put contact paper on it! AAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!
I have given up on the idea of the table being pretty but I do want it to
be functional(no chipped places that will snag fabric)I just don't want it
to look so darn patchy! Maybe I just refuse to face reality?!
Is there any alternative to spackling it in with wood fill.My DH said I
should file down the chipped areas so they wont snag and leave it as a
naturally distressed piece. Well, I don't like that idea either! As you can
see this is really driving me nuts! I quess my one consolation is at least
a featherweight table is no longer being used as a flea mart display!
If anyone has had a similar experience PLEASE write to me. Regale me with
refinisher's tales. I want to hear every last detail of what you did and
why. I think there is life left in this old table and I want to bring it
All recipients will have a candle lit in their honor at my SINGER shrine in
the basement.
Love to all,
Melissa in Lake Station( where "Urban Legends" are reality)and I hope no
one is upset that I go on and on and on...   :>)
P.S. I do realize that to some folks there is a naughty definition to the
word "freak".My own definition is someone who has had so many crazy looks
from people that they begin to hold their heads high when they think you
are" nuts" instead of hanging it in shame.

From: "jbarker" 
Subject: Charles Laws' Book
Date: Mon, 1 Jun 1998 05:42:05 -0700

Received my Charles Law book the other day and what a "job well done".  For
those of you who haven't ordered one I would highly recommend it.  

Joanne in sunny and warm (finally) Toledo, Wa.

From: "Nancy Behrman" 
Subject: FW
Date: Mon, 1 Jun 1998 08:39:11 -0400

Re: Jess information on the FW: Great piece of work Jess, I never get tired
of telling the newbies on the list the very things that you and many others
have shared about the FW.
In our workshops on FW care it takes us 3-5 hours to go over a machine and
even things like winding a bobbin and how to place it in the case are
covered  and often needs repeating. We find that the most common problem
when the machine is not stitching correctly is the needle being in wrong and
incorrect threading.
I would like to add that I now make a small quilted bag even for the end of
the cord to go in to protect the bed of my machine. Needless to a say for
the foot pedals that have to rest on the bed of the machine are given their
own quilted bags also. I still fume at well meaning owners from the past who
felt that initials on the bed of the machine was a good way to Identify
their machine.
We are very excited about our upcoming schedule and hope that those that
live in the areas that we will be giving workshops will take advantage. Take
a look at our web page for a description of the class and our upcoming
Take note of the one at Kent State University in September. Graham and
Maggie will be there giving their expertise on antique sewing machines the
evening before our workshop on Sat.
Nancy in Beautiful SW Mich where every day I learn something new about those
wonderful little Featherweights


Date: Mon, 1 Jun 1998 07:49:29 -0500 (CDT)
From: John Bode 
Subject: wet

My fw got wet in the last storm.  What should I use on the black finish to
shine it up?  Ginger Bode

Date: Mon, 01 Jun 1998 06:34:44 -0700
From: T&J Wilson 
Subject: bobbin case threading-201 part.

Jess mentioned the correct way to thread a bobbin case for a FW. 
The problem comes in when you use a lot of different machines. 
If you thread the case so the thread is comes back on itself coming past
the tension disc.  Confusing description, so thread your FW bobbin case
counter clock wise.  Then take a good look at the way the thread feeds
through it. May not be the same direction in all machines but will feed
on all in the same manner. Once you take a good look at it you don't
have to remember the direction just the way they work.  I hope I havn't
totally confused you ;)  Good drawing of this in the Redaers Digest
Compete Guide to Sewing.  
201 part needed- I have a '57- 201 we both turned 40 last year :(
 -that needs  a part.  The one that holds the needle in place.  Anyone
who can help get her up and running? What a beauty she is-and holding
herself together better than I am for the same years ;0

        Taria in the beautiful high desert.  
          (note change in web address)
Please visit my web page at:

Date: Mon, 01 Jun 1998 09:12:22 -0500
From: Terri Carl 
Subject: Re: FW Fanatics 5/28/98

Barbara said:

> I just purchased a 301A. The serial number starts with NA and Singer
> said that it was made in Canada.  Does anyone have a phone number or
> address where I can check on the time of when it was made. The one
> Singer gave me is not the correct number.

It's true that Singer US doesn't have the records for the NA- machines,
but it's not because they were made in Canada.  (They also don't have
records for JA- through JD- machines, and those were made in Canada.  I
think that may confuse some of the people who work at Singer...)

NA- machines were made in Anderson, SC (US) between 1951 and 1959.  I
don't know why Singer doesn't have those records, but it could be
because they're more recent.  (Singer US only appears to have records
this recent from Clydebank and from their main US location.)  The "A" in
the model number (301A) is another indication that the machine came from
the Anderson plant, just like the "K" after a model number indicates
that a machine was made in Clydebank.  

I don't think you're going to find any more information about this
machine specifically by calling anywhere else; if you MUST have a more
specific date than 1951-1959, you can probably get close by dividing the
possible serial numbers across the years they were made.  (For instance,
if you assume that machines were produced at about the same rate during
the 1950's, the machine with serial number NA500000 would have been made
in 1955.)  This method is probably as accurate as the dates Singer
provides for other machines via their 800-number...


Terri Carl

From: "Audrey Cameron" 
Date: Mon, 1 Jun 1998 15:18:32 +0100

Hi Feathers,
Just received my lovely new to me white FW. In researching my materials
about the white one I find that there is very little information really
available. So I have several questions which I hope can be answered to the
1.My serial number is FA 127812. There is no available dates from Singer,
from Nancy's book or on the lists available in old FWF lists or Gail
Picken's volumes of information? Is a date available?
2.My case is green & a tweedy white with no fittings of any kind inside?
Did it ever have a tray to hold the bits & pieces? Or brackets? Or nothing?
Also the case does not lock.
3.I received no manual but have a manual for my black centennial. But the
machines are different. Is there a white FW manual available for sale or a
copy of one available?

Any information on the white FW would be appreciated. This seems to be a
sub-culture. Is this white one closer to the so called tan or celery green
FW's? or are they also different sub species? 

Audrey Cameron in sunny warm  England

Date: Mon, 01 Jun 1998 09:25:53
From: Tim Van Meppelen Scheppink 
Subject: Re:  buttonholer on a treadle

Hi everyone:	

Gail asked if anyone has tried a buttonholer on a treadle.  I haven't
myself, but my mother has a model 27 Singer treadle (which I learned to sew
on) and she has a Greist buttonholer attachment for it.  She swears by that
thing!  We got her an electric machine in the early 80's  so that she'd
have zigzag and reverse! and she still doesn't like that thing.  My husband
is going to go over to her house and oil and clean her machine and put a
new belt on it and she'll be able to go back to her beloved treadle.  She
always hated the built in buttonholer in that electric machine.  So, it's
definitely possible!  I remember my Mom (Mom and Dad immigrated from
Holland in 1953 and 1954 and got married here) making us all kinds of
clothes on that old Singer.  She would take these well made winter coats
(made in Holland) and take them all apart and turn the fabric inside out
and sew coats for me and my two sisters and two brothers.  She sewed the
buttonholes on that machine using the buttonholer and they turned out
beautiful!  I remember sitting in Church on Sundays looking at the

Wow, I must be getting old, I'm starting to reminisce too much :-).

Jacqui in Canada

Date: Mon, 01 Jun 1998 10:20:42
From: Tim Van Meppelen Scheppink 
Subject: Re:  185J

Hi everyone:

A friend of mine was garage saling last week and bought a little sewing
machine for us.  She hoped it was a featherweight as it was quite small,
but when she picked it up, she knew if wasn't an FW!  It turned out to be a
mint green 185J.  It's really cute in an ugly sort of way...sort of like
ET...so ugly you gotta love him?  It has a hard plastic case, but the
bottom of it got melted in one spot somewhere along the line.  I threaded
it and it sewed a beautiful stitch right away.  After DH oiled it it's
already a lot quieter.  Are these machines a little noisy?  The hollow
plastic case on it seems to echo!  Or is there something you can do for
this?  Anyone have a copy of a manual to sell or trade for something
Canadian?  (Sorry, no Maple the Beanie Baby...the waiting list's to 700
people and you have to buy 25 regular ones to get one Maple if you're lucky
enough to be able to get one!).

Another question...somewhere I read that these machines were green, but I'm
sure I saw a 185J tan coloured one at a yard sale last year.  We didn't buy
that one as we didn't know much about it then.  I'm still sorry we didn't
pick that one up then.

Greetings from Canada,

Jacqui (and Jake)

Date: Mon, 1 Jun 1998 10:04:21 -0400 (EDT)
From: Megan Strohschein 
Subject: Older Pfaff 230-260


I saw your post about finding a detailed diagram of your Pfaff in the
Sincere book and I wondered whether you are the proud owner of a Pfaff
230-260 machine. I have one of these that unfortunately was damaged in
shipping (CanPar parcel services here in Canada dropped it. It was packed
by Mailboxes, Inc. Neither would do anything about it. Long, aggravating

Anyway, I would like to hear what you know about this machine and your
experiences with it, if you have one. I am determined to get mine going
again, although I have been told the main shaft is bent. The machine I
have is electric, but can also be quickly converted to a treadle. It is in
a very nice oak cabinet that completely conceals the treadle.

Any info would be great.


Megan Strohschein in southern Ontario, Canada

From: DeniseCF
Date: Mon, 1 Jun 1998 10:39:15 EDT
Subject: Emdeko cams

What do the cams look like? I bought a box full of cam sets in order to get
the Singer and Elna cams that were in it. I had to take the entire bunch to
get the ones I wanted. So now I have a bag full of cams to various machines,
some identified and some that I have no idea what they go to.
The cams that have names on them are:
New Home, Necchi, Janome, Morse and Kenmore. 
If anyone is interested in any other sets let me know also.

Denise Fischer
Santa Clara, CA

From: Armetta Redman
Date: Mon, 1 Jun 1998 11:07:00 EDT
Subject: Re: FW Fanatics 5/29/98

Ref. 99K not grabbing bobbin thread.  I called Davco, a local repair shop, and
they said my machine was out of time. What does that mean, and can I fix it?
They charge 34.95 to oil, clean, set feed dogs, tension, and time.  This
sounds reasonable to me. Also, they ask that I allow 15.00 for parts if
needed. Would they need to put in parts to fix the time?  I only paid 5.00 for
this little gal, and don't want to sink a fortune in it.  What would a really
good condition 99k sell for?  
Thanks, Armetta Redman in So. Indiana

From: "Captain Dick" 
Subject: web site improvements
Date: Mon, 1 Jun 1998 07:51:27 -0700


I have made more changes to my web site, again moving toward support of
Treadle On... in the index under Sewing Machine Related Pages, you will now
find "Converting Singer Sewing Machines To Treadle and Hand Crank" and
"Installing Treadle Belts".   The latter is simply a narrative how to.
However, the Converting page is very extensive, with step by step pictures.
So many of our folks have been finding either machines converted to electric
or treadles that were empty or had poor machines in them, that this
information seemed worthwhile.

Also, a reminder re the 1998 Antique and Vintage Sewing Machine Quilt
Challenge... six months left in the year before the closing date... we have
about 40 people out there stitching on them, and there is still time to do a
challenge piece.  Information on the web site.

Haven't  been doing much collecting, more selling.   Don't know why, but my
list of machines for sale didn't post to the last FWF For Sale... maybe the
next list.   Have sold many of the treadle and crank machines.

The gathering here for Treadle On, FWF and ISMACS folks on July 18 is still
on, and for those who want to, a quilt crawl on the Friday before... hitting
some major quilt shops and a quilt show.   Let me know if you're coming...

Take care... and save a sewing machine today!

Captain Dick

Web Site:  http://www.nwlink.com/~captdick

 "Listening to a politician talk is like watching someone sew with an empty

Date: Mon, 1 Jun 1998 10:31:21 -0500 (CDT)
From: "http://www.icsi.net/~pickens" 
Subject: smashing machines...

Re: Story on Smashing machine.
As you might or might not know, my parents hunt for
featherweights from South Texas, to Mid Minnesota,
to Baltimore Maryland.  Through their travels they
talk to many an old Singer dealer, and an occasional,
Singer District manager.  I'm glad to hear that not
many people "destroyed" featherweights and other
old machines, but apparently, there were some dealers
that did.  

The birdseye cabinet that everyone so desires, apparently,
cost only .....  $89 ......  The dealers had a couple 
of slots in their van for the cabinet, and a couple of slots
for varying types of sewing machines.  The Cabinet is not
as rare as people would have them to be.  

Food for thought.....

Gaileee's Featherweight Websi˙e | 
Listed in the Feb '98 Issue of SewNews Online Antics Section!!
Jr Hi Dance/Drill Team Site | http://www.icsi.net/~pickens/strutter.shtml

From: SQUP8
Date: Mon, 1 Jun 1998 12:22:24 EDT
Subject: Update on SO CAL FWF gathering
      " UPDATE"         "UPDATE"          "UPDATE"

     Plans are coming together for our first FW gathering. The date is set for
July 25. The place will be the Simi Valley Senior Center, Simi Valley, CA.
Time 11:00 - ???? There will be a quilt show also with many vendors, food
available, entertainment, and and as near as I can tell about 50 FW's on
display. Several will be for sale.

    Also there will be an opportunity FW with tickets only $ 1.00 ea. How
would you like to get a FW and case for only one dollar? If you are interested
in tickets send me your snail mail address and I will send you tickets and you
return the stubs to me.

    We also have 2 opportunity quilts, same deal as above.

    A great day is planned for all, for further information, flyers, etc, E-
mail me or call 
    Dick at 805-583-5900 , thats me.

     Look forward to seeing you in Simi Valley where it sunny, 75 degrees.

Date: Mon, 1 Jun 1998 11:39:10 -0500
From: Tim and Sherrie 
Subject: SM disease....

I grew into it. My first machine was a White straight-stitch, not an 'old'
one, though my parents bought it for me around 1970.  Before that I learned
to sew on Mom's Touch-n-Sew, which is evidently one of the good ones,
because my younger sister has it and it still runs like a charm, though she
didn't know she was supposed to clean or oil it...

Mom and Dad bought me a Singer 401a in a HUGE 7 drawer cabinet around 1976
(I think Mom got tired of me using her buttonholer!) and I sewed with that
until 1988. For the record, it was a horrible machine and I hated it. The
tension never did work. I sold that one this year, with the cabinet, for the
same price Mom paid.

DH and I used to go play at auctions before we had kids, and ended up with a
Merrick treadle (in good shape, dh uses it and it is an end table in the LR)
and another old White Rotary in a Martha Washington cabinet. I sold that at
a garage sale, because I couldn't figure out what to do with it!

My "fancy" machine is a Pfaff.  I started quilting 3 years ago, and saw
Mom's FW, which she had purchased from a friend's mother, and fell in love.
Now, like most habitual sewers, I always go a little freaky when my machine
is in the shop.  My DH took it on himself to find me another 'little'
machine.  He took my daughters (who were 5,5, and 1) to an auction to buy me
a FW (for $110).  He reported that there was an 'ugly brown' machine there
also.  After inspecting the attachments that came with that FW (2 years ago)
and listening here, I know that was a 301. oh well.
DH buys the FWs . Somehow, a guy in a Firefighter's t=shirt gets better
deals at the garage sales!  I now have 5 FW: two mint ones from the 1950s,
one rather sad one (that I let my daughters use), one from 1941, and one
white one.  I have also somehow gotten a 66 handcrank ( I think it was my
anniversary gift), a Spartan (192) that I inherited from a great-aunt, two
66 treadles, neither in good shape, and a 128.  Oh and a 301 I bought from a
crooked singerguy. I didn't know he was crooked until the new store manager
told me he'd sold off her inventory and run out with the money.

My favorites are the FW, and my Spartan. I've not had good luck with the
301, which is growly and has no base or cabinet.  The Spartan came without a
base, and has been badly used (it made marching band uniforms for years) and
is growly too, but lives quite nicely in a Danish Modern cabinet that used
to have a 128 in it.

I stick with my Pfaff because of the dual feed, it's the only zig-zag
machine I own, and I machine quilt.  

Sorry this got so long! I think I'll go back to lurking and go play with my FW

Sherrie Groman <--- in Mississippi where it's 93 in the shade at 11 am...

 "He who can preserve gentleness amid pains, and peace amid worry and
multitude of affairs, is almost perfect"
					---St. Francis de Sales


From: Moonsage2
Date: Mon, 1 Jun 1998 13:13:14 EDT
Subject: Re: FW Fanatics 5/28/98

Graham and painting
He deals with the older more rare ones.  The ones that he sees and sells are
the ones we do not find that often.  So is it is common, your own it and wanna
paint there is no reason to stop.  If it is headed to the scrap heap nothing
is lost.  In fact there is a gain.  You may have someone want it for
decorating purposes.

Extra machines
	f I have more than one type of identical machines I put them back in the
market for 2 reasons.  One is that I have no need to keep it unless it is
rising rapidly in value and the other reason is that I do not want a house
full and my money tied up with the same machines.  I do keep some of the same
modle is there are differences.

What to keep?
Why ask us if you should keep a machine?  Some are collectors that specialize
in certain types and other collect it if it looks like a machine.  Basic
questions to ask yourself.....do I need the money I have in the machine....Can
I fix it myself.....Are the parts going to cost more than the machine would be
worth to ME......Do I like it?  Now you can make the decision.

Bugs in books
Worried that they may still be alive?  Shake the book at several open pages
over a black cloth.  You will see white dots....if they walk around they are

Murphy's Oil Soap 
This is a mild soap for any cleaning where you do not want a chemical to hurt
the surface or item.  Flax soap is hard to find but also good.  The idea is to
not use the modern cleaners on old things.  

Sewing Shop lables
I have had a bad experience on that.  I pulled one off a FW...not
problem...but under it the paint was crazed or tiny tiny looking cracks.  If
it looks nice then leave it as part of the history of the machine.  Anyone
have other ideas?  WD40 did not take this one off.

I know the feelings when you trade up and find that you had not gotten what
you wanted.  At least you got a decent price for it.  How much worse it would
have been had you sold it for $25.  The 99 is a nice machine and not
apprectiated as much as it should be.  I will send you a copy of the manual if
you e-mail me privately. 

Black 301 
I think that they do not exsist here in the south.  Or I am the one who got
there just after......come to think of it I have said that about the
FW....will keep looking.  I am not able to pay the big dollars so I will look
for the Goddess of yardsales to help me out.

New Home 
The search is over.  I have a head being mailed to me when I get the $$ to
him.  It is a New William and fits the bill nicely.  Has a manual which is
even better.

I am trying to keep these shorter.  If you need an answer and no one gives it
e-mail me privately and maybe I can direct you to someone in the know.

I am a redneck 'cause I think the phrase "chicken out" means one of one of my
pets has escaped. 

From: "Captain Dick" 
Subject: Alert re Treadle On
Date: Mon, 1 Jun 1998 16:41:06 -0700


This is just to alert you that there will be a period of several days when
the Treadle On list will be in a state of transition, and you may not be
able to sign on or off... we have switched software packages as part of the
process of implementing the long sought for digest version...  I know that
many of you have been waiting for the digest version, and that is in actual
test mode right now.  I hope to be posting subscription instructions by the
end of the week.  Meantime, if anyone wants to subscribe, or unsubscribe,
please contact me direct and I will process it.

Captain Dick
Web Site:  http://www.nwlink.com/~captdick

 "Listening to a politician talk is like watching someone sew with an empty

Date: Fri, 22 May 1998 14:22:40 -0700
From: Jack & Carol Whiteaker 
Subject: white rotary.

Hi All. Here is an updateon the White I got. There is a photo of one
like it on page 230 of Chas Laws 1st edition of atique SMs. It has no
decale but the decorations are cast into the metal of the head. Quite
unique.         Jack on the Calif. Central Coast

Date: Mon, 1 Jun 1998 14:59:45 -0400 (EDT)
From: Megan Strohschein 
Subject: What do you tell people?

I often find it awkward to tell people I collect sewing machines when I am
buying a machine from a private seller. What does everyone else do? I am
afraid that if I say I collect sewing machines, people will assume that
their old 15-91 with scratches and only two attachments is somehow worth a
lot of money and that I am trying to rip them off. On the other hand, I
don't know what to say to people who show me a more recent Singer that can
do a few stitches and are anxious for me to buy -- I am looking for a
machine that does less? If I say that I like the wonderful stitch of the
old straight stitchers (which I do), they try to sell me on the virtues of
their particular machine. Well, you get the picture. I just don't want to
hurt people's feelings, I guess.

I just wonder what other people say (or don't say) when they are looking
at a machine. I want to be honest and tell them that I just like sewing
machines (which is the truth!), but sometimes people look at me strangely.

 Megan Strohschein in southern Ontario, Canada 

From: sewwhat
Date: Mon, 01 Jun 1998 21:28:50 -0400
Subject: re; Chuck's story

To Redneck Chuck,
Your story reminded me so much of a very similar discovery of how a copy
job on a very popular American product was botched.
I'm referring to the 'Mini', a futile attempt to reproduce the Singer
Company's model 221. The initial idea was brilliant! Imagine, a
metal-geared, shiny black, same shape size and basic looks as OUR
original featherweight coming to you in a small black box, all weighing
under 15 lbs!!  Well, the engineers had a few set-backs as far as making
everything like the original. Big, obvious things, like the motor and
Lamp set-up. Hook assembly and bobbin case, feed dog and throat plate.
all these things had to be made with inexpensive standard parts. But
why? Why oh why?? Did they break their necks to make the needle-bar
clamp and tension unit parts ( that are so much smaller and so much less
noticeable than those other ) perfectly identical to the original right
down to hand-making the gib and thread guide in the needle clamp? 
If only they had used standard parts, they might of had a fairly nice,
precision-made, low cost and very saleable item there.
If it were not for the attention paid to the unimportant detail here
much like the dent in those 99s, they could have wholesaled at a lot
less as well.
It seems that today's Singer Co can not even make a reasonable facsimile
of a featherweight. The trick to copying American products is simple.
You have to start with the label... Made in USA...
Bob, (Singer trained technician)
Check your $12 Dues payment status at FWPaid@ox.ttsw.com

FWFanatics@ttsw.com - Singer phone # 1-800-4SINGER
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