Featherweight Fanatics Archives



From: "Bill Mitchell" 
Subject: Featherweights From Heaven
Date: Sun, 11 Apr 1999 23:58:11 -0700

To Diane, Pat and All Feathers:

This is an unbelievable story. Stop now and go to the next message if you
don't believe in divine guidance.
I was aced out,by a few minutes,three weeks in a row, about three or four
months ago, on stealing or I mean buying featherweights at garage sales.
Well, today was MY day. Read on..........
I went to garage sales last Friday and Saturday and found only two five foot
stained glass windows in old window frames for $30. Not too bad. BUT, I
almost didn't go to any garage sales today, Sunday.
I finally forced myself to get dressed and go to just one,near my home, in
La Jolla. When I got there, the same fellow who keeps getting there just
minutes before I do and gets the good stuff every time, was there loading
his car already.
He had aced me out of two of the three 221s that I mentioned above. When I
arrived today, he was there loading some good antiques into his car trunk.
He is a nice fellow, so "more power to him", I think to myself. As I drove
away to head back home, I thought about how he manages to find so many 221s
and gets there just before me so often. My thoughts went to "VISUALIZATION",
belief, and prayer.
It works, when you really believe.  So, then, I started to Visualize a
featherweight,while I was in a relaxed state of mind, as I drove along on
this sunny but rain threatening day. Something told me to look in the
Classified Ads one more time, and this time it took me into an area where I
usually don't go to search. They do more sewing in this area. It is
Clairmont (A suburb of San Diego). I saw one ad for "Sunday Only and some
anitques". Well, I have found that when it posts that they have antiques,
they usually have antique store prices on them.
It was about 9 A.M. and it started at 8 A.M. I was probably too late for the
good stuff, but I would go over there anyway. As I pulled up in front of the
garage sale, I spotted a few antiques still there. I thought that they would
be high priced. I walked up and started to look at what I counted to be 7
antiques, THEN, SUDDENLY!!! Like a dream, I saw what I had Visualized on my
way there. A little black box that looks too familiar to us all. Wow, I
contained my self and headed straight for it. I opened it and, a contained
WOW, again. It is a 221. I asked the granny lady standing nearby how much.
She said $25. I looked really fast at the underneath part to see if the
bobbin attachment was there. Why should I care at $25. It was gone. Then
when I said that to her, she said, "No, it is there under the machine in the
box. I looked and it was there. Whew!! I handed her the $25. before anyone
there could see what I had. I whisked it away to my Jeep and put it in the
back, so that no wise guy was going to go over to her and say, "I would have
given you $30. for it". Now safe in my Jeep, I went back to deal with the
seven antiques scattered among the regular garage sale stuff. I spotted
another beige sewing machine case. I took the lid off and found a Brother. I
didn't want it, so I made an offer on all seven of her antiques. She held
one out, and her son said, "Sell them all, Mom." I took the six antiques and
let her keep the one. Then, as I started to leave, I jokingly said to the
nice granny lady and her son or grandson, "Do you have any other
She had a startled look on her face and said, "I have one more. It is a
little one like the one you bought. I will go get it, because I won't be
using it anyway."
She brought out another little black box with ANOTHER FEATHERWEIGHT Singer
221.  It had the bobbin case and foot pedal, just like the other one, and I
whipped out another $25. and handed it to her and sleeked off to my Grand
Cherokee Jeep and put it in the back and took off. I am still in a kind of
unbelievable dream state. I cannot believe it. I am kind of stunned.  The
two machines are in about 8+ condition. The cases are in 7 and 8 condition.
I think that they, the machines, will clean up to 8.75 and 9.0. The
instruction books and the one case top tray was missing. I went back to the
house in the afternoon, to see if she could find the top tray of the one
case, and the little green books. She was closed up and not home. I left a
note asking about instruciton books and top tray to the case.
I had gone off to view the replica of "The Endeavor", the sailing ship that
was built to exact specifications of the English ship built c. 1765 , and
Captain Cook sailed to explore the Hawiian Islands, Tahiti and Circumvent
Australia about 1769. What a nice ship and lectures on board. It was here
for three days, and I didn't want to miss visiting her. It sails to San
Francisco tomorrow, Monday. They were asking if anyone wanted to sign on to
help crew up to San Francisco. I was tempted but wanted to get home to my
new little feathers in the black boxes.
On the way home, I called my wife from the car phone and found that the nice
granny lady had called and had found the top shelf tray for the box and
xeroxed copy of 221 instructions for the machine. It started to pour down
rain. Well, I turned off the freeway and headed straight for the granny
lady's home and picked up the tray and instructions. Can you believe this
story? I am going into my dining room again, now, to make sure that I didn't
just dream this day away. Visualization and prayer really works. Try it, for
those who have not been able to find their featherweight, it will work.
Yes, they are still there in the dining room. I will clean them up tomorrow,
first thing, while "The California sunshine comes down in buckets".

Bill Mitchell in San Diego,  Yes, I pinched myself and am still alive. It
was not a dream.

From: "Dixie Nichols" 
Subject: Re: old machines & messages not received
Date: Sun, 11 Apr 1999 20:24:28 -0500

Hi Everyone,
Sent a message about 2 weeks ago and never saw it posted so I think it may
never have gotten anywhere. I am sending it again and hope that it is not
senility setting in and it really was not received.  Also, got no responses
personally or on the newsletter.  Have been having trouble with e/m after
young nephew reset my computer to his liking.  Here is the message:

It has finally happened.  Now the family is finding machines for me and DH
brought them home.  Actually, a nephew found these 2 machines and purchased
them & gave them to DH for him to bring to me.  No case or cabinets, but
both are cabinet models I beleive.  Now DH & I are in a discussion as to
which is the more collectable.  

The Singer is a model 66-1, red eye, with serial number G8343935.  Some of
the gold decal is missing on the front edge where the wrist might rest. 
Them some on the Singer name decal is missing, but most of the very ornate
decals are intact.  From the ISMACS pages, I concluded that this was
manufactered about 1919 or 1920.  It has an electric motor on it, but I
think this was added on.  The screw holding the foot is definately not
original as it is a orange plastic head.  Machine wasn't cared for well
and the WD-40  hopefully will loosen a very tight screw on the throat
plate,  otherwise cleaning the shuttle area will be difficult.  Some of the
paint is chipped off the front edge, but not much elsewhere.  It has a
spoked chrome wheel and a scrolled face plate.  It does move and it will
a good cleaning and oiling.  The hinges for a cabinet installation are
hanging out the back.

The second machine is a "BRANDAU", which I found nothing about on ISMACS. 
It is a model 15-91 clone made in Japan in the late 40's I assume as there
is a brass plate on the R side that states: "Made In Occupied Japan".  It
too, has a scrolled face plate.  DH thinks that this machine has more
historical significance because of this made in Japan plate.  Anyone want
to give an opinion?  Moonsage, just recently, said something about the post
war clones, some being good machines, but under valued.  Thank goodness the
bobbin case is there.  Some of the gold arond the name is gone, but the bed
is in good shape.  It too has a chrome, but solid wheel.  This one is froze

Don't have time to clean them up this week as I have too much to do, so
I'll keep you posted about how they work.

Dixie Nichols

Subject: Re: eBay reserve vs. starting price
Date: Sun, 11 Apr 99 15:01:21 -0500
From: Lisa  

Jackie said:

>Also, another question I have for eBay users....I cannot for the life of me
>figure out why someone would start the bidding at $25.00 when the reserve
>is $600.00 or $625.00! With my logic, I would figure out that if I bid
>anywhere under $600.00, I would not get that machine.  Am I missing
>something here?  I'd love to be enlightened on this.

Part of the fee that eBay charges sellers is a percentage of their 
starting bid. Part of is is also based on the reserve price.... but as I 
recall, if the seller sets the starting bid as high as the reserve, it's 
*really* expensive... much more than having a low starting bid  and a 
high reserve.

It's been awhile since I've listed anything on eBay, so the rules may 
have changed somewhat... but I'd guess that this part of the fee 
structure has remained pretty much the same.

Lisa in Illinois

Date: Sun, 11 Apr 1999 09:52:12 -0700 (PDT)
From: Barbara Owens 
Subject: Slow 401A

Hello Feathers,

I have been on the list for a long time, but this is my first posting.  I
have enjoyed receiving all of the information, advice, and stories about
fantastic finds that have been so graciously shared with the group.

I just read Marsha's quary about her slow 401A.  Finally, I have an
experience that may help someone.

A few months back I purchased a 401 from a resale shop near my home.  It
looked like it had been sitting in someone's garage for years.  There was
even fuzzy dust on the needle.  

The shop owner told me that the machine didn't work, and that he was
selling it for the price of the cabinet.  I brought the little jewel home
and spent many hours cleaning it and then oiled and lubed it.  It was
beautiful.  Much to my dismay, when I stepped on the foot peddle, the
motor hummed, but the needle didn't move at all.   Turning the fly wheel
would start the machine, but it probably didn't make more than 15 stiches
a minute.

I had planned to give the machine to a young family member as a gift, and
didn't want to part it out.  I therefore decided to check with an expert.
I called Glen Williams.  My thought was that the poor machine needed some
sort of motor repair, and perhaps he could tell me how to do it.  

Glen told me that sometimes they are slow because they havent been used. 
He sugested that I just sit and run the machine.  

That night, I took it out of the cabinet and set it on the floor in front
of me.  I put my foot on the peddle, turned the flywheel to start it, and
sat there watching TV.  (I did take a few breaks to prevent the motor from
overheating.)  Gradually it sped up. 

It runs like a champ, and made a wonderful gift.

I have purchased two more 401's and a 403 at another resale shop.  The 403
had the same problem, and the same solution.  

I can't say enough about how great it is to do business with Glen.  He is
honest, friendly , courteous, and willing to help.  I have purchased parts
from him on several occasions, and his prices are reasonable.

My thanks to Glen, Graham, Moonsage, and to all who have shared their
knowledge of sewing machines,

Barbara Owens 
(In 80 degree plus Houston- wondering what summer will bring)

From: Amdezo
Date: Sun, 11 Apr 1999 10:16:04 EDT
Subject: Re: FW Fanatics 4/8/1999

RE: Febreeze

I have used this product and really like it (I got a puppy last summer -- 
enough said).  My friend even used it ON her dog when he got skunked and 
still had a lingering odor, it helped!  I would use it along with setting the 
case outside to "air out".

Debbie in Colorado:
I want that job too!  :o)


Date: Sun, 11 Apr 1999 23:23:38 -0400
From: bmeers
Subject: Febreeze

To Vicki, who inquired aboaut Febreeze.  I have tried this and was not
very impressed.  I don't think it will have much effect on the odor that
gets in the FW boxes.  Others have seemed more pleased, but that is my

Also, to Tim re: the jetson button holers.  I see them now for $20 or so
and am sick that I put one in the Goodwill box back before I got
interested in old SMs.  We are in Florida where there are no basements
or attics, and sometimes the need for a little extra space in a drawer
or closet just gets the better of me and I give something away that I
later regret!

With my DH very sick, antiquing or thrifting are difficult to do now,
but I did run into a vacuum and sewing machine store for a quick look,
and the dealer had a nice tan 301 in its "suitcase," and was asking
$200.  He said it would be worth $1000 in a few years!  That is probably
a fair price if someone needs one, but I have a black and don't have
room for another. Plus, these can still be found occasionally for much

Betty in Jacksonville, FL where summer is here!

Subject: Re: abbreviations
Date: Sun, 11 Apr 99 15:12:07 -0500
From: Lisa  
Paula asked:
>I was wondering
>if there is a list that tells what the abbreviations are that feathers
>use ...e.g.dh - is this darling husband? 

DH - Dear Husband or Darling Husband... but on a bad day it might be D**n 
Husband .  Also,       DB, DS (Dear Son or Sister), DD, etc.
MIL - Mother-in-law. Similarly: SIL (Son- or Sister-), BIL, DIL, etc.
MSM - My Sainted Mother

Other internet abbreviations you may not know....

S.E.X. - Stash Enhancement eXperience (popular among fabri-holic quilter 
types, for whom a shopping trip with lots of money changing hands is 
*nearly* as good as  the other variety)
LQS - Local Quilt Shop
VBG - Very Big Grin
LOL - Laughing Out Loud
ROFL - Rolling On the Floor Laughing
ROFLMAO - Rolling On the Floor Laughing My A** Off

SM - Sewing Machine
FW - Featherweight
T&J - Touch and Jam (not-so-affectionate nickname for the Singer Touch 
'n' Sew)

Can't think of any others I see on the FWF list.  If you have specific 
abbreviations you're wondering about, let me know!

Lisa in Illinois

From: "Zoback" 
Subject: Lancaster, PA Quilt show
Date: Sun, 11 Apr 1999 17:06:57 -0400

Took  ride out their with my mom on Friday, thought for sure the "new" =
featherweight was gonna be their but didn't see it. Its called the =
"Quilters Mate" on the light where it normally says singer. Anyway its =
still not suppose to be any good. LOTS of f.w. for sale the usual going =
prices I saw a 222 for 2,100.00 FIRM I saw a white on too for I believe =
it was 675.00 it wasn;t that great.  The place was a mob scene I was =
very good with my check book........but much tempted to pick up the =
latest Pfaff it does everything but vacuum, it was a good time but I =
still like the Fort Washington, PA show better in the Fall. Happy =
hunting........frish in south jersey

From: k&wpower
Subject: Re: Green FW's & buttonholers FW Fanatics 4/8/1999
Date: Sun, 11 Apr 1999 15:29:04 -0700

Hi Jacqui:  You are absolutely right about the rockateer buttonholer case
colors.  The green was for the slant-needle machine.  Explanation is either
that the seller doesn't realize the difference (and I'm sure my buttonholer
manual has "for slant-needle Singer sewing machine" printed either on the
cover or inside on the front page) - come to think of it, it may also be
stamped on the buttonholer -  or that somewhere along the line, a
straight-shank buttonholer got put into the green box.  Good eye.  Worth
asking the seller what the story is, if you are interested (for anything on
ebay for that matter).

Regarding the opening bid/reserve amount question.  A lot of sellers don't
set a very high opening bid because they believe it puts prospective bidders
off.  They would rather encourage bidding to start at the low end, believing
that the final will get to their reserve if the bidders know the value of
the item.  Most savvy bidders for FW's will know about what the bidding will
reach, depending on condition and attachments.
Many sellers will reveal the reserve to prospective bidders if asked.

Best - Wanda Power, Sequim, Washington

From: (Lois Frankel)
Subject: More cover plates
Date: Sun, 11 Apr 1999 16:19:48 -0400

Thanks to BJ for the info on cover plates. I found both the 32622 (sort
of a half-circle) and the 121309 (the amoeba-shaped, apparently hard to
find plate for the FW), among my collection. I'm not sure where either
of them came from, since they were in one of my containers of
miscellaneous parts. However, I find that the 32622 plate fits my 201's
and 15's as well (maybe a bit better than) the class 66 machines. Of
course, the 201's and 15-91's don't need it, but the 15-30's and 15-90
can benefit. Both of my plates are plated, not black (BJ had said that
the 121309 was black, so I guess they came both ways).

Lois Frankel                 http://pluto.njcc.com/~lfrankel
      (pix of cats, quilts, and antique sewing machines)

Any ideas you might think you find in this message are mine; any resemblance
to ideas of anyone else--real, imaginary, living, dead, employer, coworker,
friend, enemy, neighbor, spouse, pet, family member, insect, microorganism,
government, organization, extraterrestrial, or potted plant--is your fault!

Date: Sun, 11 Apr 1999 14:06:22 -0700
From: T&JWilson 
Subject: 401a problems

For Marilyn regarding the frozen 401a zz.
I don't think I have found one 401a that didn't
need to be worked loose in the cam area.
Remove the top and oil the spots that are attached
to the lever parts.  Let the oil set and work gently
over a couple of days.   The whole area will loosen up.
Will take some patience but will be fine.  For everyone who
has these machine they need to move these levers once
in a while to keep them from freezing up.  Can be a problem
if you just do piecing.  Heck, pull out a pair of plain
pillowcases and some pretty thread and use the fancy
stitches for decorative work.  The cams are lots of fun!
Taria,  who just loves those old 401a's!
Please visit my web page and parts drawer at:

From: Dnldgtz
Date: Sun, 11 Apr 1999 15:25:17 EDT
Subject: Why use a 1/4" foot

Paula asked why you would use a 1/4" foot when the marks on you machine give 
a perfect 1/4" seam.  There are some techniques that require you to make a 
1/4" seam that is not at the edge of the piece.  You sew a 1/4" away from a 
marked line then trim the piece later.  I use a Pfaff ankle on my 
featherweight and a Pfaff snap on 1/4" foot ( and any other Pfaff snap on 
foot that I want).  I prefer the pfaff 1/4" foot which is metal, well marked 
and not thick like the plastic foot.   Kathy in Washington

From: "Marny F" 
Subject: Re: FW Fanatics 4/8/1999
Date: Sun, 11 Apr 1999 10:43:30 -0700

My mom was going to put her in-perfect-working-order/gorgeous cabinet
Singer treadle out to the curb... and I was able to get across to her
that I wanted that machine BADLY!

So, she had Greyhound ship it to me ... from OH to NY.

When notified that the box was in, I picked it up, got it home, and was
all excited to have my mom's machine in my home!  The feeling was

So were the feelings that I got when I got the cabinet out of the box
... and then realized that ALL the attachments were gone... and the
machine head -- gone!!

To make this saga short ... I called Greyhound ... they sent back the
head, never found the accessories.

The cabinet holds a VERY special place in my home, where I see it
everyday and enjoy it ... a friend has a very similar model ... and had
the cabinet refurbished... WHICH, after seeing her finished cabinet, I
will NOT do!!!  Now her machine looks like a reproduction!  Murphy's Oil
Soap was good enough for my mom, it is good enough for me ... and tender
stroking with Lemon Oil to feed its soul.

Gentle as you go,
  also would love a 'perfect' FW . . . so many gals in my quilting
guilds have them!!!

Date: Sun, 11 Apr 1999 07:27:22 -0500
From: Joyce S Clark 
Subject: for sale

Hi Gang:  I recently acquired a new embroidery machine to add to my
collection so I have made a decision to sell my Singer Touch and Sew 750
with buttonholer, all cams, attachments, you name it, it has it.  I
thought of listing on E-bay but am wondering if anyone has any other
suggestions and what would be a reasonable starting price.  Thanks for
your help.

Joyce (sewsew) Clark, Owner of Folk Art Frocks, Producer
fine wearable art and quilts for the body, located in
Oshkosh (B'Gosh) Wisconsin
Attitude is contagious.  Is yours worth catching!!

From: DFossAuto
Date: Sun, 11 Apr 1999 12:08:41 EDT
Subject: machine

Hi, Am interested in locating a reasonably price machine and not too sure 
where to even start.  Can you help?
Thanks Bev

From: Allview
Date: Sun, 11 Apr 1999 09:36:23 EDT
Subject: Address change

To Eric and Sue and all my FW friends:  I haven't received any mail on my 
Freenet address for over a week, so I think its time I changed to my other 
address.  From now on please write to me at    Allview.  If I haven't 
answered your notes, please resend to new id.  Also I have lost  my address 

If I missed learning the winner of the state blocks, Millie, please let me 

I used my new (to me) 301A  yesterday.  I had 2 pair of sunglasses on the 
seat of my car that were always dusty when I wanted to use them.  I got out 
scraps of double faced quilted fabric and made cases for them.  Similar to 
what I make for the foot pedals for all of my sewing machines.  (I don't 
trust those lid clamps.)  The 301A sounds great. 

While its out, I'm going to put pertinent info on a card and photograph the 
machine, table and card.  Eventually I will get all of them out of their 
hiding places and do the same.

Happy hunting,


Date: Sun, 11 Apr 1999 11:35:29 EDT
Subject: Re: FW Fanatics 4/8/1999

To Helen Marie,
I also saw sewing machine tables, recently, in Fullerton, CA, in a 
restaurant/tavern type of place.  The tables had been combined to make 
various sizes of tables.  I was so excited to see them in a place like this, 
I embarassed my poor DH (especially because we were with his friends, all 
retired teachers who have no interest in old sewing machines).  I also 
thought, "What happened to the sewing machines?"

Fran Muller in Whittier, CA where the iris are about to bloom.

Date: Sun, 11 Apr 1999 06:37:36 -0600
From: rigrat
Subject: first posting/first featherweight

I have my first featherweight,it is a 221k #EM 599074.1957??? Going by
the light it is a K4 but the cord is only a two pronged. It has been
changed for canadian power probably when imported,is in a 8 or 9
condition.The case is one with the side metal tray not a full tray
,missing the oilcan and missing some of the attachments. what i need to
know is what would have originally came with it and what attachments
should be in the box # 160809 some are there but not all.I also would
love a original manual if anyone knows where i could get one..thankyou
so much...Jo in Alberta

From: "G & K" 
Subject: Pink Buttonholers
Date: Sun, 11 Apr 1999 13:46:35 -0500

In answer to Jacqui's post about the different color buttonholer cases. =
. . . . I have the pink buttonholer case I purchased in the 60's for my =
Singer 500a which is a slant needle.   I have never seen a pink =
buttonholer case for a low shank either.

Also, on the 2 eBay posts Jacqui noted for white Featherweights, one =
sold for $811!   Are these really worth that much?????  Some comments =
would be appreciated.

Kate in Mizzou

From: APWU351
Date: Sun, 11 Apr 1999 10:43:31 EDT
Subject: 401A

Hi everyone,
Been reading and making notes. I visited my favorite junk shop yesterday. 
There has been a 401A in a cabinet sitting there for at least a year. It has 
been offered to me for free before but I really didn't need another machine!  
However, one of my friends contacted me looking for a machine and I thought I 
would give this one a try. 
It needs a power cord and I would love to have an instruction book to give my 
friend. A copy would be great. If anyone can help or point me in the right 
direction, I would truly appreciate it.
Anna in Illinois


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