Featherweight Fanatics Archives

January 10 2000

Featherweight Fanatics
Digest of postings from Monday, January 10, 2000

Date: Mon, 10 Jan 2000 06:01:32 +0000
From: Jim Wilson 
Subject: Best Singer ZigZag?

>Date:  8 Jan 00 17:01:39 EST
>From: Nneka Egbuniwe 
>Subject: best singer zigzag
>I am ready to take the leap into Singer zigzags, but first I need some
>Of the slant needle zigzag machines, what are the better ones in terms of
>power, strength, versatilitiy, variety of features and available attachments,
>and ease of maintenance. I know I don't want to deal with the plastic gears of
>the T&S series, but I thought I read that some of the early ones were more
>durable. I'm not so concerned with portability and probably would rather have
>one in a simple cabinet/table.

The 401/403/500/503 are all metal geared machines.  The x03 models require 
a cam to do any zigzag while the 401 and 500 both have several stitches 
built in.

I only have experience with the 401 and 500 and can say that both are 
durable and produce great stitches.  (My grandmother's 401 is still going 
strong even after a flood in 1977.)  I am partial to the styling of the 500 

Shameless plug for my webpage here... I have a detailed summary of the 4xx 
and 5xx series machines on my sewing page.


http://www.ismacs.net -- International Sewing Machine Collectors' Society
http://www.fairlaneacres.com --  '65 Fairlanes and Karting
http://www.concentric.net/~simanco -- Jim's Online Bookstore, Recipes and 
Sewing Machines -- a Barnes and Noble Affiliate Site
Date: Mon, 10 Jan 2000 05:06:21 -0600
From: Aaron LaLiberty 
Subject: History of found Tredle Machine

Hi Fellow Feathers!

I hope this request isn't inappropriate because it has nothing to do
with a F.W., but I was hoping someone out there could put me in contact
with or give me more info. on an old tredle sewing machine that I have
come across.  Its called a RUBY...thats all I can find on her.  She's a
beauty I just know it under all that grime and I can't wait to clean her
up and see how she runs!!  Love this site and read it daily.  We are so
lucky to , most of us I think, have in our possesion one of the most
treasured of all sewing machines, the F.W.!!  I have learned so much
from this site and appreciate any and all info. that is given out by the
more experienced owners.  The machine is quite old but does run!  And
with a little bit of love and elbow grease I just know its going to be a
treasure that i'll keep forever.  Just looking at her now melts my heart
, poor thing.  It is very dirty and smells terrible.  The cats are even
trying to cover it up!!!Hee Hee  ANY ideas would be greatly
appreciated.  Trying to locate Captain Dick..but seem to have lost his
site..i'll keep looking.  Sorry about the long posting...but am very
anxious to get this beauty up and shining!!

Thanks in advance for any/all help with this subject!!

Sandy in Balmy N.W. Wisconsin..High today projected...mid 30's!!!!!!
Date: Mon, 10 Jan 2000 12:56:09 +0000
From: graham forsdyke 
Subject: Re: FW Fanatics 1/4/2000

To Jodi who asked

>  After viewing your "Worst Featherweight", I've just got to ask, "Does it
>still sew?

No - it just sits there and drips.

To Marcia re: 127-128 manual

I can provide if you do not locate one more locally.

You can get information on your Viking from the company at 1 800 446 2333.

Graham Forsdyke
Purveyor of fine Featherweights to the gentry
Date: Mon, 10 Jan 2000 13:23:31 +0000
From: graham forsdyke 
Subject: Re: FW Fanatics 1/5/2000

>To Carole

Re: locked FW

The locks on the FW cases belong more to the Mickey Mouse breed than the
Brinks-Matt family. I've managed to open these and I have been foolish
enough to go out without a key by a simple wiggling with a bent paperclip.

Graham Forsdyke
Purveyor of fine Featherweights to the gentry

Date: Mon, 10 Jan 2000 10:44:28 -0500
Subject: FW Fanatics 1/8/2000
Sender: "Chris P. Vagtborg" 

Hi All, long time no post...

>For Nneka, re: zig-zag machines< IMHO, find yourself a nice Singer
401, 403, 500 or 503 machine. These frequently show up at estate sales
and at your local thrift store. Prices here run $25 to $75, including
The 500 & 503 are kind of funky as they are retro-deco and remind me of
Flash Gordon - they're nicknamed the "Rocketeer". You'll understand if
you ever see one... Actually, all four of these machines are pretty much
same under the covers, & you can still get parts for them! Don't buy any
machine built after 1963... My 2c

>For Natalia, re: 99-13< Sorry, but a Featherweight is a model 221, is ma=
of aluminum (weighs 11 pounds), has a fold up bed extension to the left
of the needle, does not have a slide plate or a drop in bobbin, and is
The last 99 I bought cost me $9 at a garage sale.

Chris on St. Simons Is., GA where it's the middle of January and we'll be=

in shorts Wednesday; an amazing winter, I wonder what summer portends?
Date: Mon, 10 Jan 2000 09:57:38 -0600
From: Bruce Meminger 
Subject: Featherweight Model 221 M.R. Version

Usually I just lurk--reading the digest. I am very curious about the
ebay listing #234067782 that lists a FW 221, M.R. Version. "M.R." is
stamped in gold under the badge and on the light. Is this a special
version of the FW? Does anyone know what M.R. stand for? 
I am the person who is repainting my featherweight purple. Just to
update all who have given me wonderful advise, we have just completed
the stripping (paint) stage. We tried to strip with automotive stripper,
but did not meet with much success. I took the machine, unassembled, to
a shop that bead blasts to remove paint. The process uses poly (plastic)
beads. After my husband does some polishing, the machine will be ready
for powder coating. I will keep you posted and try to post photos in the
Ann in Illinois
Date: Mon, 10 Jan 2000 17:11:48 +0100
From: Peter TANUSKA 
Subject: SINGER model 631 G

Good day,

please help me if you can,
i need some manual or scheme for SINGER model 631 G

PGPkey http://www.angelfire.com/ok3/tanush/tanush0public0key.txt
PGPfingerprint=79A0 17F3 D4D7 532A 4F91  B76D BC66 A75F 6508 9E8F
From: Clubdville
Date: Mon, 10 Jan 2000 11:19:24 EST
Subject: I need a manual!

Can you tell me how to get a manual for my featherweight machine. My father 
in laws aunt died and when they cleaned out her house they found the machine 
and gave it to me because I am an avid sewer. I don't know anyone who has 
this type of machine, I need help getting it started up. New belt ? etc. If 
anyone could give me some advice and how can I get a manual?

Thank you so much!

Lida Bard
From: "Lisa Reeves" 
Subject: Embroidery attachment
Date: Mon, 10 Jan 2000 11:47:43 -0500

> Does anyone have an embroidery attachment for a FW with cams?  A friend
> has come across one and is going to stop by with it for me to see.  I've
> not seen one before.  Does anyone, perchance, have a photo on a web site
> of one, especially?

I have one....the box calls it a zigzag attachment, but it will also do
embroidery stitches by changing out the red cams. I've seen probably 8-10
different ones, although I only have a couple.....
From: "Susan Devoe" 
Date: Mon, 10 Jan 2000 13:41:08 -0500

Hi!  I was very pleased to find your web site.   I hope you can help me with
some info. I need within the next day or two.

I have a featherweight sewing machine that was my mother's that I would like
to actually use.  I am trying to find out which model it is so I can try to
find a manual for it, as well as a cord that plugs into the wall and foot
pedal, which might be one and the same part (?)(I only see one place to plug
anything into, and there are three prongs in this plug-in spot to accept
some larger size plug), and I need some bobbins to fit it.  I am assuming
that any sewing machine oil will be okay to use with it (?).  The serial
number on the bottom is EF382162.  I would also like to know the age of this
machine as I have no idea how old it is--I am hoping there is a list
somewhere, going by the serial number.

Can you help?  I know there are several questions here, but I have no idea
where to get any of this information.  I would like to get started on
digging up and purchasing the missing items, but can't until I find out
which model it is, for instance, and knowing the age would be nice.


Sue Devoe 
From: Doccorwin
Date: Mon, 10 Jan 2000 16:59:18 EST
Subject: weldseam sm

Dear Folks,

i am now the delighted owner of a Weldseam chainstitch sewing machine. it's a 
1950's style brown crinkle finish tiny thing with a direct drive motor that 
takes little Greist attachments. It has a featherweight-style case, only 
brown and smaller.

Here's the problem: I need more needles for it. The needle that I have is 
shorter than the usual 15x1 and appears to have a long scarf on one side. The 
machine came with the manual that specifies needle sizes as #0, #1/2, and #1 
from smallest to largest. I've looked at the charts on Bob Bannen's most 
helpful site, but didn't find the machine listed.

Can anyone help?  Does anyone else have one of these? It's a cutie.

Thanks in advance,

Date: Mon, 10 Jan 2000 17:36:24 -0500 (EST)
From: Sylvia Lanza 
Subject: Singer Slant Needle zig zag machines

to Nneka Egbuniwe who asked about the Slant Needle Singers.

There were two series, the 400 and the 500.  The 401's had
two dials on the front where you could select stitches.  They
also had provision for the 24 stitch cams as well.  The 403
and 503 had just the cam capability.  I'm not sure whether the
dialup was a convenience, with overlap with the cams, or 
whether there were some unique stitches.  Any one of these 
machines are excellent, sturdy, and liked by the old-time
Singer technicians.  And probably on this list, someone has 
the service manual available.  

So go for it--get any one of them.  They are fun to use.

Boston, MA
From: KeGaR
Date: Mon, 10 Jan 2000 15:55:19 EST
Subject: Slant needle zigzags

In a message dated 1/10/2000 5:13:15 AM EST, FWFanatics writes:

> Of the slant needle zigzag machines, what are the better ones in terms of
>  power, strength, versatilitiy, variety of features and available 
>  and ease of maintenance.

I can't say that I have experience with different models, but I did a lot of 
sewing  for 30+ years on my 401.  At the time I bought it in 1961 it was the 
top of the line.  It has built in stitches plus extra cams, a box of 
attachments which fit in the lid of the case (with manual, ruffler, hemmer, 
straight stitch plate, seam guide, quilter guide, +?).
I gave it to my son & DIL several years ago when I bought a new machine & 
it's in semi retirement now ;-)
Gail Richter
in foggy, drippy, freezing NE Wis.  Yuck!
Date: Mon, 10 Jan 2000 19:57:41 -0500
Subject: 99-13; and another find!

To Natalia:  No, the 99-13 is not a featherweight.  It is a lovely
machine, but is not as small and light as the 221 (11 pounds weight). 
The featherweight has a large (for the size of the machine) folding
extension of the machine bed to the left of the needle, and usually sits
in a lockable small box that looks like a train case (from back when
that meant something!).  The 221 comes in black (common), greenish white
(less common), and tan (not common at all); and therefore the case
varies a bit.  The black machines usually come in a small black case;
there are other case types and colors, but the black case is the one
you're most likely to find.  Check out Gaileee's web site (sorry, I
can't remember the URL) for more information and pictures of

And now, for my latest find---a Singer coffin-top treadle with what I
think is a Improved Family machine (fiddle bed).  I was on my way home
from my Singer repairperson's shop and stopped in a very small town at a
very small antique shop.  And I had to ask "the question" before the
owner remembered the machine she had sold the drawers and contents from
(boo, hiss!).  But I'm getting the drawers from Jacqui in Ontario.  The
whole shebang cost only $35, for those keeping track.

But this Improved Family head is different from the other Improved
Family head:
decals:  the first one has the ghosts of cornflower decals; the second
machine has dogwood blossoms and cherries/berries (the only color left
is the red of the berries/cherries)all over it, including through the
SINGER on the machine arm.

bobbin area:  the first machine has a very small circular bobbin in a
much larger circular bobbin race (it looks like a small round car on a
Ferris wheel); the second machine has a round bobbin case in a
snugly-fitting bobbin race, and there is a movable lever on the bobbin
race bottom that pushes aside to (I assume) allow the
removal/replacement of the bobbin case.

Both machines have the tension assembly on the left end of the machine,
the pistol-shaped back access panel, the huge Singer logo cast into the
bottom of the machine bed.

Is there anybody on this list with an extensive (or just more than I
know)knowledge of the Improved Family machine that can help me?

I'd like to know if this second machine is indeed an Improved Family, or
perhaps another 15 series machine---a 15-30?  But then, did any other
model have the huge Singer logo cast into the base and the large,
pistol-shaped back access panel?

And to complicate matters, I just received the complimentary manual copy
promised me by Singer, and the bobbin area and bobbin case look nothing
like machine #1.  And I don't think it looks much like the bobbin
assembly in machine #2.

Help!  I've got Charles Law's Encyclopedia on order, but it will be a
while before it comes, since I just ordered it two weeks ago.

Also I'd like to publicly thank Dorothy Daybell for sending me back
archives of FWFanatics---thanks to her generosity I've learned much
about my Featherweight (yes, I do have one)and other vintage Singer

Thanks to anybody who can shed light on my question!
Linda from Oxford, OH
Date: Mon, 10 Jan 2000 17:54:42 -0800
From: trkelley 

hi doug!
  re: your 6267. that was brand new in the line-up when i worked for 
singer in 1986. it was the model just under the 6268 which had the 
embroidery attachment.
Unfortunately, the problem you describe is serious, it's a main logic 
board failure if i remember correctly. overall, those were both 
really good machines ( i loved the buttonholer!) but i did see this 
problem a few times. it's a very expensive fix. :(
CCRKBA  fight crime - shoot back!
From: "V. Louise Bequette"
Date: Mon, 10 Jan 2000 20:48:04 -600
Subject: threading diagram for Singer 20


I have a friend who needs a threading diagram for a Singer 20, and is also 
in buying a copy of the manual if the manual is not available. She needs the
diagram in a week if this is possible. Costs will be covered.

No new machines since the 301 which I got before Christmas. No real 
to shop recently. Did see one Singer treadle recently  with perfectly plain
drawers and looked fairly new. Had sold on it and it was stacked high so have
no idea what machine was in it.

Louise in mid-Missouri


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