Featherweight Fanatics Archives

January 28 2000

Featherweight Fanatics
Digest of postings from Friday, January 28, 2000

Date: Fri, 28 Jan 2000 05:44:28 -0500
From: Mark & Linda Heminway 
Subject: 301 Repair question

HI all!
As most of you know I am a member of a group that makes quilted sleeping
bags called Ugly Quilts for the homeless.  I bring a couple of my
machines to this group and let others use them.  I usually have more
volunteers than machines, so considering my collection, I generally
don't mind bring an extra machine or two along.  Normally, I really
don't like other people, who are not experienced seamstresses, to use my
machines, but it's for a good cause.  So, I just bring them and feel
good that people come to my group and work.  If I can provide the
machines that help keep needy people warm, so be it.
At any rate, I brought my long bed black 301 yesterday,  and a teenage
girl (a very nice kid who genuinely wants to help) used the machine.
She finally called me over to it and said, "It's not sewing right
anymore".  I gulped, and asked her to show me what was wrong.  The first
thing I noticed is that vs. turning the wheel, she was turning the metal
circle part (thingamabob?) that is on the inside of the wheel and
telling me the needle wouldn't go up and down.  I explained that the
wheel is to be turned, and you unscrew that part when you want to wind a
bobbin only, so that the needle won't go up and down.  I tightened it,
but didn't like the fact that it just didn't feel as though it was
tightening all the way, but hoped for the best.   Then, I re-threaded
the machine as the bobbin thread wasn't "up" after her working with it,
either.  Now, I note that she may have somehow stripped the screws (I
hope somebody can follow me as I don't know all the names to the parts)
that tighten the needle bar in place.  As, after you sew for a small
amount of time with the machine, the needle will stop going up and down
and you have to re tighten the metal "thingamabob" to get it to sew
again.  But when I tighten it, it just doesn't feel as if it tightens as
far as it will go still.
Now, on top of this problem, the machine will sew, but the stitch isn't
locking properly, I can pull on either the top or the bottom thread and
a whole seam will just gather right up and if I pull more, one of the
threads will just pull right out.  Yikes!  But, the stitch does look
fine, go figure?  I keep telling myself, "This is all for the needy".
   I really have no regrets, because I know that somewhere a
homeless person will be kept warm through my efforts.  But, I will do a
bit more training of people who use my machines in the future.  I think
I will move this particular young lady to cutting and pinning at the
next meeting!
At any rate, I brought the 301 back with a sinking heart and haven't
looked at it since.  I would love to hear any ideas of how to fix it,
before I even try.  I'm hoping the stitch thing is just a simple tension
adjustment.   I was way to discouraged last night to even look at it.
My husband usually does all my repair work, and he has labored long and
hard on this machine. His travel schedule is such that he won't have
time to look at this for several weeks, so I am going to try to do this
on my own. Parts of this particular machine have even traveled back and
fourth to Glen Williams in the past (sorry, Glen, it's THIS machine!) to
receive his specialized attention.  Help guys!  You've all been so great
in the past, I'll just bet you are full of wonderful suggestions!
Linda Heminway
Kind of disgusted in Kingston NH
Subject: Re: 201 Differences
Date: Fri, 28 Jan 00 07:12:39 -0600
From: Lisa  

Nancy Swanton asked:
>Being the new proud owner of a 201K Singer Centennial,
>I am curious as to the differences (if any) between the 201K
>and the 201?
>Is one or the other more desirable? 


I imagine the only significant difference is the locationof manufacture 
of the two machine. The "k" tells us that the 201K Centennial was made in 
Scotland. Of course, the fact that that one is also a Centennial makes it 
a bit more interesting. Otherwise, there's probably not much to 
differentiate them, unless the other one is much older (or newer) than 
the Centennial, in which case there may be some cosmetic differences.

Lisa in Illinois
From: mima
Subject: Snger 306 Cams
Date: Fri, 28 Jan 2000 08:29:03 -0500


Does anyone have a set of cams for the Singer 306 that they would like to
sell? I have 1-6 but will buy them again if the others are included.

Thanks, Judy
From: PeggyWC
Date: Fri, 28 Jan 2000 09:45:23 EST
Subject: Re: FW Fanatics 1/26/2000

I bought a new Singer 201-2 (AK691057) in 1951 and it is still in near mint 
condition.  It has the Singer 40 Queen Anne cabinet and matching stool.  It 
was used constantly making everything from upholstering projects to my 
daughters' dresses.  The Greek key design on the bed of the machine is still 
in excellent condition but there are a few pin scratches on the bed of the 
machine.  There is a 3x5 card in the fold-out front drawer with the date of 
the last time it was oiled and lubed.  The lube tube is almost empty.  It has 
the original marked Singer needle threader and the wonderful green Singer 
combination needle threader/seam ripper (121634).  It still has the short 
oval oil can.  I still love it but I wish I had my AG810833 Featherweight 
back that I traded in on it!  I have at least 20 FWs and a number of the 
pre-Featherweights made by General Electric, Standard of Cleveland, and 
Osann.  I am an obsessive-compulsive collector of the latter three!
    Oh, I started this to answer what the differences were between the 201-K 
and the 201-2.  The 201 has a belt driven motor.  The 201-2 has a motor on 
the back of the head of the machine and it is gear-driven.  The 201-2 also 
has a light on the front like the FW.  The 201 is a very powerful machine, 
the best machine ever made in the full size just as the FW is the best sewing 
machine ever made period.
Peggy Wiedman Casper
Omaha  NE  
Subject: Re: Featherweight 221
Date: Fri, 28 Jan 00 07:12:43 -0600
From: Lisa  

Cmsorra said:
>  Could you tell me if a featherweight 221,or 221k which one is better?  
>thank you, chris


The 'k' notation in and of itself does not mean anything other than that 
the machine was made in Scotland.  That's most likely the only 
significant difference between the two machines. Age and condition are 
much more important, particularly condition. And if a machine sews well, 
then condition (i.e., cosmetic condition, rather than mechanical 
condition) may not be important at all.

Lisa in Illinois
Date: Fri, 28 Jan 2000 08:11:52 -0800
From: Jack & Carol Whiteaker 
Subject: 201

To  Nancy.  There were 4 models of the 201 as follows
          201-1    For treadle ,   201-2 electric with the pod on the
head, 201-3  electric with the motor driving a belt (similar to a66) ,
201-4 was for handcrank.
                                  Jack in Nipomo, Ca.
From: Jancyjaslo
Date: Fri, 28 Jan 2000 11:14:12 EST
Subject: Stalled Featherweight 221'k'

This is my first posting, so please don't anyone bark too loudly at me.  I 
actually found this group because I was seeking information about "new" 
sewing machines, since I thought it was time to get something that did more 
than just go forward & backward!  The many testimonials about the wonderful 
featherweights has encouraged me to rethink this attitude.

The sturdy workhorse featherweight 221 which I snagged from my mother many 
years ago when I left home was suddenly stalled.  My 16 yr old daughter has 
been doing her own sewing, although schools in this area no longer offer 
standard "home economics" or "sewing" classes....so I don't know what she 
did, or did not do.

The hand wheel turns, but the take-up lever and other parts needed for 
assisting a thread & needle to work have ceased to move.  Is it time for OIL?

I confess(here's where I don't want any thing thrown at me, please) that I 
have not oiled the machine in a very long time.  I don't do much sewing, 
beyond hemming and repairs, usually.  

How can I tell if the belt is the culprit?  It looks o.k. to me.

Any words of kind advice will be appreciated.

AND, when the machine is once again running, I'll try all those gadgets which 
I have ignored all these years (the binder, maybe even the edge-stitcher or 
gatherer, but the ruffler, which is so complex it boggles the mind, is beyond 

Thank you!
Jancy Jaslow
in Cincinnati
Date: Fri, 28 Jan 2000 15:17:31 +0000
From: graham forsdyke 
Subject: Re: FW Fanatics 1/23/2000

To Anita:

Can provide a professionally-bound reproduction of the Featherweight manual
if you can't locate one more locally.

Re collecting article:

For those intrigued by the article in the Plains Dealer about
sewing-machine collecting - we plan to re-print this in the next issue of

To GS886 re FW serial numbers

Turn the machine upside down and you will find the number, beginning with
an E or an A, along the edge of the casting.

To Debbie re tingle:

Sorry but no, I don't think that disguising the short circuit by polarising
and grounding the machine is good enough. You still have a short circuit
and these never get better, only worse.

Most likely source is the wiring at the plug-in connector or somewhere in
the lighting set-up. Please get it fixed before something nasty happens.
Date: Fri, 28 Jan 2000 16:39:25 +0000
From: graham forsdyke 
Subject: Re: FW Fanatics 1/26/2000

To Dorothy re grime on FWs:

My current favourite de-grimer is TuffStuff, a car upholstery cleaner made
by STP - get it at the auto store. This will also remove any wax buildup so
once you have the machine clean I'd recommend waxing to protect the surface
and bring up the shine.

To Chris re 221/221K

These are exactly the same machine built on identical jigs with identical
materials. The K simply indicates that the model was produced at the
company's Scottish factory.

Purely a personal observation but machines sourced in Europe generally seem
to be in better condition - must be something to do with the lesser
extremes of climate.

Graham Forsdyke
Purveyor of fine Featherweights to the gentry

Date: Fri, 28 Jan 2000 16:04:25 +0000
From: graham forsdyke 
Subject: Re: FW Fanatics 1/24/2000

To Elsa re coil/wire:

Think you're going to have to be a little more specific here - need to know
the model of machine and exactly what it is you need for it.

To Marsha re Model 24 Singer:

These were made in a large number of configurations in an attempt to rival
the Willcox & Gibbs grip on the chain-stitch market, I think I have a copy
of the handbook somewhere if you don't locate one more locally.

To Mel re silver:

All silver items produced in the UK will have a hallmark telling you not
only that it is silver but when it was made and by whom - same thing with
gold and platinum.

Not sure what happened in the US, but this hallmarking was not obligatory
in the rest of Europe.

You can get a simple chemical testing kit very cheaply from any decent
jewellery supply store which will detect silver. Some kits also have a gold
testing facility which will not only detect gold but establish its purity

Graham Forsdyke
Purveyor of fine Featherweights to the gentry
Date: Fri, 28 Jan 2000 12:20:50 -0800
From: trkelley 
Subject: Re: FW Fanatics 1/23/2000

to jackweb who purchased a "dead in the bobbin" 646. i assume you 
mean that when you turn the handwheel, nothing in the hook/bobbin 
area moves. 99 times out of 100 it's a broken gear, and usually the 
one at the top of the vertical shaft that connects the upper and 
lower mechanisms. it's plastic. no big surprise eh? the 600E s a 
great touch-n-sew that has steel gears. the rest of the series to my 
knowledge has plastic. my vote for all time worst gear-breaker has to 
be the 457 Stylist. run away!
i do have a soft spot in my hear for the 750 golden touch-n-sew, and 
have dreams of finding one with all the attachments and such......for 
under $20!

TR Kelley/Juno RedLeaf
RedLeaf Vintage Sewing Machine Service
ebay userID: nerka9
Date: Fri, 28 Jan 2000 15:39:41 -0500
From: wmonzel 
Subject: Brother Sewing machine

I have acquired a Brother VX710.  I need a manual.  Can anyone help?  The
thread jams in the bobbin area.  Can I be threading it wrong?  Help??
From: Pesagi1
Date: Fri, 28 Jan 2000 17:28:19 EST
Subject: Electrical Problem?

Hello, Pat Bergman suggested I contact you before taking my FW to the shop in 
the hope that the problem could be solved by a lay person.  I got my FW on an 
ebay auction in Oct.  (a gift from my son). I used it in Nov. to put together 
a quilt top, then stored it until last night when I got it out to complete 
the top.  Plugged it in, turned on the light, pushed on the foot pedal and 
nothing happened.  It was working when it was stored.  Can you tell me 
something I could check before taking it into the repair man?  Since the 
light comes on, it must be getting power.  I'm wondering if when I wrapped 
the cord for storage, I pulled a wire loose or something.  Any help would be 
greatly appreciated.  Thanks,  Ruth Ann
From: (Jeanne Lim)
Date: Fri, 28 Jan 2000 15:02:54 -0800 (PST)
Subject: old oil cans

Hello FWF
This may sound like a silly question but I must ask.
Is the oil in the old  sewing machine oil cans still useable? I'am
afraid to use the one that came with a singer 15-91.
 Jeanne in sunny California
From: dflanagan
Date: Fri, 28 Jan 2000 18:29:36 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 503 arrived

My 503A just arrived!  As the UPS driver was walking up the sidewalk I noticed 
the bottom of the box was just about to break through!!  Heart Attack!  I 
grabbed it just in time, it's a workhorse looking machine but I don't think it 
could have survived a 4 foot drop to the concrete!  I'm reading through the 
manual now..all the attachments are there so I've got a lot to play with.  
Kinda wish my husband didn't have dinner reservations tonight!  Oops, I didn't 
really say that!  I can spend all day tomorrow getting to know my new machine!  
The 301 (HI GLENN!) should be here on Monday, UPS shows it arrived in Portland 
today.  I'm in Singer heaven! Think I can take them with me?  I know the angels 
would love to have quilts!!!

Date: Fri, 28 Jan 2000 18:51:37 -0500
From: Rena McClain 
Subject: Re: FW Fanatics 1/26/2000

> From: "Swanton, Nancy" nswanton
> Subject: 201 Differences
> Date: Wed, 26 Jan 2000 12:06:23 -0800
> Hi Fellow Feathers,
> Being the new proud owner of a 201K Singer Centennial,
> I am curious as to the differences (if any) between the 201K
> and the 201?
> Is one or the other more desirable?
> Nancy in Malibu CA
> Never be afraid to try something new. Remember amateurs built the ark -
> professionals built the Titanic.
> =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

Hi there-

    The difference between the 201 and 201k is the manufacturing place
(K=England/Scotland).  Usually you can convert the 201k's to handcrank machines 
the motor is on the outside and not hard wired in the machine.  If you are into
people powered machines, the 201k is the more desirable.  I have a 201 and LOVE
it!  Wish mine was a "k" though...

From: Jennifer Conwell 
Subject: Sewing Machines
Date: Fri, 28 Jan 2000 18:14:08 -0800

I have been on your website and thought I would send you a quick email.  I
am a researcher in California and am studying old commercial and industrial
sewing machines.  I'm trying to locate a dealer or collector (preferably in
California) that will let me lease a few of these old machines to study for
a short period of time.  I was wondering if you might possibly put me in
touch with someone who is a dealer or collector and can help me.

I'd appreciate it if you'd email me or give me a call at work on Monday.

Jennifer Conwell
Exponent, Inc.
From: "Bill Mitchell" 
Subject: Clean Old Machine
Date: Fri, 28 Jan 2000 18:18:09 -0800


Use WD 40, which originated here in San Diego. It is the space age =
cleaning emulsion that so many sewing machine collectors use. This will =
do wonders, on your dull old sewing machine, to clean the grease and =
grim off it.

Bill Mitchell in San Diego

From: "Doug Marlow" 
Subject: Bobbin Persuit
Date: Fri, 28 Jan 2000 23:18:49 -0500

I now have two Singer 12 New Family Machines and am delighted with them.
They both have a beautiful stitch that makes you wonder what it was they
were trying to "Improve" with their next model.  Anyway, I have the two
machines and three bobbins between them.  Anyone know of someone interested
in selling bobbins for these machines or a source to point me to?  Thanks.


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