Sunday, November 26 - Saturday, December 2
Date: Sun, 26 Nov 1995 00:30:02 -0800
Subject: Singer Models
We seem to have a lot of new readers so I will repeat some info I have
posted in the past.
To Ellen B. - the machine you have is not a model 99. It is most likely a
model 28 since it has an oscillating shuttle with long bobin and is 3/4
size. You can get long bobbins from A Stitch Back In Time, 1-800-352-1174.
Penny also lists a slide plate in her catalog for a Singer model 127, but
probably won't fit a Model 28 - a model 127 is a full size oscillating
Marti - The model 99 and model 66 are similiar machines
except for size, the 66 being full size, the 99 being 3/4 size. Both are
drop in bobbin oscillating hook machines. The 66-6 was manufactured from
1902-1933 and 66-19 was manufactured from 1934-1960. The 99-13 was
manufactured from 1920-1953 and the 99-28 was manufactured from 1954-1957
according to the Sewing Machine Blue Book. The reason for two sub-models -
the early ones did not reverse while the later ones did. Some model 99's
are refered to as model 99K, The K following the model number simply
denotes the country of manufacture, in this case Great Britain. On the
other hand, a letter in the serial number is just part of the series and
does not indicate country of manufacture.
Why Singer didn't put model numbers on their early machines, I don't
know. They did on later machines, such as the 301A or 503A which have
metal plates on the front of the post showing the model number, or the 221K
which has the model number printed on the right side of the post.
Some one commented - Singer model 301's are ugly! I have 3 301's and love
them, they sew extremly well, have a powerful motor, and are light enough
to be a true portable. I have a brown one, a brown and cream one and a
black one. I must admit the browns ones aren't as pretty, but the black
one! - it reminds me of a steam locomotive. During the 50's and 60's, the
sewing machine manufacturers must have borrowed the designers from the
automotive industry. Sewing machine styling became pretty wild -
everything but fins! I have a Kenmore that is topedo shaped, kind of
art-deco. And my Singer 503A looks very modernistic, with rakish looking
arm and a free form eliptical shaped top.
Date: Sat, 25 Nov 1995 23:34:43 -0500
Subject: Re: Fw Fanatics 11/23/95
Well, this was a wonderful find day for me. I had more choices than I could
afford to deal with unfortunately.
I went into my local Sew and Vac store and what do I spy with my little eye,
but a sign with the word Feather printed on it. I get a little closer and
it's a FW alright. Not only is it a featherweight with case, but it has that
three way table with it and it's sitting so pretty in there (dated 1948).
The cost was $379.95. I played with it a little bit, decided I didn't like
the way it sounded and that as nice and rare as the tables are they take up
too much space. I asked if they had any other old singer's and he mentioned
that he did have one in back. It was a 3/4 and in nice condition. It had a
knee pedal and the beauty hummed so beautifully. It's a pre WWII baby.
Scrolled faceplate, no number's on the tension and the stitch length is just
a screw (no reverse). I love her. She cost me all of $90.
How could I pass up that FW you might ask. Well, somehow, I felt that it was
too soon in my search. Also, I noted that a lot of work had been put into
it, a lot of rust had been removed. It was in the best shape it would ever
get in what with the work that had been done on it, but even the store clerk
mentioned that it wasn't in the best shape for a FW nor was the price any
real deal. They were selling it for someone else.
Just had to share. Now I'd like to know if the current even feed feet will
work on this 3/4 singer.
Oh, yes. I found a travel iron for $2.50 and a Singer buttonholer for $5.00,
Date: Sat, 25 Nov 1995 19:51:31 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Re: FW Fanatics 11/24/95
I found it interesting to read so many posts about the 128, shuttle
bobbin, art deco machines. They have become my passion of late and have
just started to research when these were vogue. The 1924, does have
heavy art deco in red, green and gold, and then a seriously scrolled
grape face plate. Now this was converted to an electric with a knee bar
and put into a breadbox, originally they say it was a hand crank. Then
the Pennsylvania Dutch Art Deco Singer is from 1908 is a treadle. At a
quilt shop I also saw a bouqet of daisy hand crank smaller Singer, about
the size of a featherweight. I didn't get the number on that one to call
for a date. The oldest Art Deco I've found is a 1929, and wonder if
others have found the floral and other enameled stenciling in dates of
interest. I'm still trying to get an exact date on the HOWE, since this
man invented the sewing machine, I would like to better document this
treadle. If anyone knows about the HOWE treadles, or could share any
possible way to document them I'd be very interested. I hope all had a
wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday. Zsuxxa
Date: Sat, 25 Nov 1995 18:20:06 -0800
Well, I went to take the Industrial Treadle I picked up for $50 to this guy
who repairs old machines - he wanted to swap me for something he had. (You
should see the old Wilson Gibbs, Whites, Singers, toy Singers, etc. this guy
has!) Anyway, he had a 301 - beige no case or cabinet, runs wonderfully,
so I swapped him. I hope I didn't mess up royally. He said he has buyers
for the big industrial tables. It really was a beautiful table but the
thing was huge and weighed a ton . . . sooooo . . . I'm happy. He also just
handed me a walking foot to use on the 301 when he heard I was a quilter.
He also told me he can get me featherweights all the time . . we'll see!!!
Date: Sun, 26 Nov 1995 20:52:49 +1100
Subject: Restoring old machine Lesson 1
I bought my second 99K today at the markets in Canberra, Australia, and I
hope you are all going to teach me how to do her up nicely. I'm not into
mechanical stuff, but you are all so amazing you have built my confidence
to have a go.
So I will tell you what I've done so far, and ask some questions. I will
summarise your answers to the list. As I progress through my "lessons" I
hope to learn a lot, and I'm sure other people on the list will too.
The story so far:
This grotty old Singer in a bentwood case came complete with 6 living
spiders and their webs, and quite a number of dead ones. She is the same
size as my 1952 99K, so I presume she is a 99K too. The manual Shirley sent
me ( thanks Shirley) indicates a few different oiling points.
She cost me A$13,( about US$10 ) and I hope she will teach me lots.
I took photos - front, back, underneath, and the case. She has very little
rust, and the underneath looks good. She has lovely gold daisy decals, some
worn off, and lovely scrollwork on her faceplate. Her S/N is EC 132865,
which puts her around the 1939 mark.
Out with the soft cloth to clean out dust and cobwebs ( the daddy long-legs
spiders met their fates ).
Then with a child's toothbrush and some warm sudsy water ( dishwashing
detergent), I started to work on the layer of dusty/greasy stuff hiding her
lovely black surface.
Then uh-oh, I realised some of the gold "Singer" word now looked silver,
and the decal on the bed looked less clear where I was removing the grime
than on its other half where I hadn't started.
Should I use dishwashing detergent in warm water, and a toothbrush to
remove grime, when it appears it may be removing the decals? What would you
Would you remove the motor, light fitting and maybe bobbin winder before
the washing procedure?
What else can I fiddle with? Checking the electricals I realise that a
cable going from the "sewing machine controller" box in the small
compartment at the right of the bed ( this is a knee-controlled machine) to
the motor, is broken. She will need some electrical work by a professional.
She is also missing the bobbin cover, a square metal piece on the LHS of
the sewing area. That will be a phone call tomorrow to the friendly Singer
man who sold me Sarah Jane, my other 99K.
So what else can I remove? A couple of screws are in tight, so I get the
WD-40 on to them (you may have a different brand. It loosens metal things
and works against rust). I need to get these screws off to remove the
faceplate for cleaning and oiling, and the bobbin area.
How would you get these screws out? WD-40 didn't loosen them.
Instinct says to clean the surfaces before oiling and lubricating. Is there
anything else I should do before oiling her?
I look forward to your answers. I have lots to learn, and I will share your
answers back (summarised) to the list.
I love this list, and I've already learned heaps. And I'm sure a FW will
come my way one day.
Date: Sun, 26 Nov 1995 15:52:27 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Little Women/sewing machine
I have just finished watching the movie "Little Women" ,the old black and
white version. Has anyone ever seen this movie? Anyway, I was noticing the
sewing machine the one girl was using. It was just an arm and a base. It
reminded me of an old telegraph machine. What kind of machine was that,
who made it, and do any of you collectors own one of these?
Just a thought!
Date: Sun, 26 Nov 1995 17:22:35 -0500
Subject: Survey Results
There are now 176 Featherweights on the database representing 27
states, 3 provinces, New Zealand and Australia. California leads with 18
responding, Ohio had 8 respondants and Virginia 7. As for machines, Maryland
leads with 28, California has 26 and Virginia has 17 on the database.
For those of you who are hoping someday to have a Featherweight whose
birthdate is close to yours, these are the known birthdates and the number of
machines on the database with that date. All are American and black unless
10/3/33 - 2 9/10/34 - 1 11/27/34 - 2
9/23/35 - 5 11/5/36 - 1 6/17/37 - 1
10/10/38 -1 2/15/39 - 1 7/11/39 - 1
12/5/39 - 4 4/10/40 - 1 8/15/40 - 8
1/1/41 - 1 6/4/46 - 2 9/16/46 - 2
2/19/47 - 4 4/22/47 - 2 6/26/47 - 1
8/19/47 - 4 1/28/48 - 1 6/18/48 - 1
10/1/48 - 1 12/9/48 - 1 12/10/48 - 1 British
3/13/49 - 1 3/15/49 - 1 5/25/49 - 1 British
11/18/49 - 1 8/17/49 - 1 British
1/23/50 - 2 6/1/50 - 1 8/23/50 - 1
1/29/51 -1 5/10/51 - 2 2/20/52 - 2
8/11/52 - 9 12/12/52 - 1 5/4/53 - 1
10/14/53 - 1 1/17/55 - 1 6/10/55 - 1
2/27/56 - 4 1/29/57 - 4 11/3/60 -1 British
1/10/61 - 3 British 5/7/64 - 1 British (White)
5/13/64 - 3 British (White)
Don't panic if you sent me your date and it is not listed here. I have
a few I need to verify because the date and serial number are out of place.
However, Singer has not responded to the lists I sent them asking for dates.
I suppose I'll have to resort to calling them.
I think it is interesting that both of the matte machines on the
database have birthdates that standard black japan finished versions share.
This means it is almost impossible to know how many were made, unless Singer
kept records and will divulge the information.
If anyone is interested in responding to the survey please e-mail me at
email@example.com. Also if anyone has gotten back data sheets from Singer
please drop me a quick note with the beginning and ending serial numbers for
the run along with the model number and date. So far this is all I have:
Date Beginning Serial Ending Serial Model # alotted
9/23/35 AD996956 AD999999 221 3044
4/22/47 AH050371 AH070370 221-1 20000
6/26/47 AH111971 AH131970 221-2 20000
8/19/47 AH193771 AH223770 221-2 30000
1/10/61 ES239244 ES249243 221k 10000
May your Featherweight hum happily,
Date: Sun, 26 Nov 1995 17:49:23 -0500
Subject: Greist Attachments
I found a box of Greist attachments this weekend.... an 18 piece set, in a
cardboard box with a manual dated 1957. The attachment foot was included in
the box. I am assuming from what I have read on this group that these will
fit my FW? Let me know for sure, someone.
Also, I found a black metal box with "Rotary" on the outside. Inside it said
"Greist Attachments" but there weren't any in the box. I was wondering if
the attachments from the blue box would fit into this Rotary box. I cannot
figure out how.... it's driving me nuts!!!
I also have one of the 1889 wooden boxes with no accessories..... would the
above attachments fit into it somehow?
Subject: More Fun Stuff
Date: Sun, 26 Nov 95 16:10:15 -0500
Hopefully by the end of the week I will have an additional list of
attachments to add to the one I published on Oct. 31st. Remember, these
attachments must fit and work on a FW and be made by Singer(Simanco).
Several people have said Griest attachments will work but this list is
strictly Singer. I know there are many more feet out there but high shank
and slant needle attachments will NOT work on the Featherweight nor will
many others if the throat plates don't fit a FW. There are three full pages
of Singer attachment part numbers to fit all classes of Singers up to 1950
in my MACHINE SEWING:A TREATISE ON THE CARE AND USE OF FAMILY SEWING
MACHINES &THEIR ATTACHMENTS published by Singer. Anyone who is really
serious about collecting old Singers should start looking for one of these
books. It has EVERYTHING! Even pictures of cabinets.
Krisi, one of the ads you found said:>> "cut out this ad and present it
when purchasing your Singer - it will entitle you to a free Singercraft set,
the famous Singer Rug-making outfit". Other ads I can't identify the source
of show the rugmaker at work>>> (end quote). I have a Singercraft, part
#121079. In the MACHINE SEWING book there are 6 pages of instructions and
pictures on its use which I just discovered this afternoon! My old Singer
boss gave this one to me back in 1972. It is a "souvenir package" marking
Singer's 100 year celebration 1851-1951. It has the distinctive metal
blue/gold/red logo on the end the device about 1 1/2" by 3". It can make
fringe, rugs, etc. It does NOT mount on the machine.
Now.... that Singer Buffalo Puzzle made me laugh. The thought of buffalo,
which are very mean and unpredictable, pulling a wagon takes some
imagination. Since I'm so close to Yellowstone Nat'l. Park, I'm always
reading about injuries and deaths caused by people getting too close to
buffalo. Anyway, you really hit paydirt at that show and I am envious.
And about son of Godzilla, your Babyzilla. I looked up this two-toned green
Hoge in my TOY SEWING MACHINES book and decided that to spawn this creature,
Godzilla must have mated with a frog. This is one ugly baby!
Subject: Where are you?
Date: Sun, 26 Nov 95 16:32:36 -0500
Will Michele Breault in Missouri please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I
have tried to post a note to you by hitting the reply button and by typing
in your e-mail address and they keep bouncing back to me. Thanks.
Date: Sun, 26 Nov 1995 19:45:23 -0500
Subject: Looks like a toy
My DH and I went to a big flea market today looking for a
FW. We didn't find one, but we did buy a sewing machine. We
It is a Singer and it looks like a toy, but it is real. It
is small, only 10-1/2 inches long and 10 inches high to the
tip top of the needle rod thing. It is black, decorated with
flowers that look like daisies with silvery green/gold
leaves and little berries in faded red. It sits up on an
oval base. The small flywheel is low down and turns away
from the person sewing. It is a chain-stitch machine. It
takes short needles. Along with the machine, we got one of
those wooden fold-up boxes lined in velvet, with lots of
attachments, and most of the manual (pages 1-6 were
missing). The serial number is H130439. I'll call Singer's customer service
number tomorrow and find out when it was made.
It was converted to electricity by Western Electric. The
foot pedal is so cute, it looks like a shoe sole. The
machine works beautifully - it hums along.
This is really getting crazy. Our house is going to turn
into a mini sewing machine museum. When will we find a FW?
Date: Sun, 26 Nov 1995 21:06:11 -0500
Just wanted to let you all know that I have already sold both of these. I had
a flood of inquiries and want to say thanks to all who e-mailed. I didn't
realize just how sought after these were. I'll keep looking for more and post
if I find any. Katy
Subject: More ramblings...
Date: Mon, 27 Nov 95 12:27:19 +1200
Yet more FW search ramblings.....
Another weekend, another garage sale, not ANOTHER machine this time
though! Actually I didn't get to any garage sales this time, we were
going away for the weekend but the weather was very iffy so we left it
until about 11am Saturday before leaving. On arrival I bought the local
papers and what should I find but an advert for a garage sale AND a
singer sewing machine! I kicked myself very severely because it was now
about 2pm and the garage sale started at 8am! It would have been a 20
minute drive AND it was raining yet again so we decided against going
and checking it out, darn it! Will I be sent to Coventry by the FWF's
for not being a REALLY dedicated FW searcher I wonder.....
> Henrietta in Blue Hill, Maine where it is clear and cold and I'm
> stuffed and at 52 I think I have cooked my last bird - time for the
> kids to take over on this one so there is more time for sewing!
HA-HA! Dream on Henrietta.....
>Gold Medal S.M. Co. The only reference I could find for this company
>in the Grace Cooper Smithsonian book was that there was a company by
Terry: I don't suppose there is any reference in that book to my Jones
Family CS sewing machine is there please?
Krisi: Really loved your write up on all the Singer things you found/saw
at the 'ephemera show', it reminded me of something I've been searching
for that someone on this list might be able to help me find. It's a
cross-stitch chart of an old Singer sewing machine. I was at a quilt
show recently (at Whenuakite Ann) and saw this chart framed as one of
the props, the person that had worked it wasn't there but I did leave my
name and phone number for her to ring me, unfortunately she hasn't so
far. It was quite a large chart of a black machine (not a treadle) with
lots of dressed up mice and spools of thread sitting on the case, it was
really lovely. Just this morning I was looking through an old English
Cross Stitcher magazine and found a picture of it, at least I THINK it's
the same one, the only difference I can see is that this one doesn't
have the word SINGER on the machine! It's called 'Sew Petite' and it's a
Graphworks International chart, size 160w x 108h. I do have some other
charts of old sewing machines but nothing as detailed as this one, I
don't suppose anyone has a copy of it that they would loan or sell me
would they please?
Date: Mon, 27 Nov 1995 16:56:01 +1300 (NZDT)
Subject: For Sale:
I found this in r.c.m, anyone interested?
Subject: SEWING MACHINE FOR SALE
Date: Thu, 23 Nov 1995 00:23:11 GMT
My mother was a seamstress, and when she moved to Florida she left
behind an old MERROW sewing machine. She said I could sell it, so here
it is. I don't know much about sewing machines, but I'll try describing
it as best I can.
It's factory style with a four foot wide table and a 1/3 HP General
Electric Motor. The table is in fine condition and is sturdy as a horse
(weighs like one, too).It has a metal frame and a wood top. The motor is
attached to the underside of the table. The top piece--the actual sewing
machine--looks about as used as you would find in a factory somewhere.
Don't get me wrong, it's in very good working order. It's obviously not
for a beginner, but I would recommend it to anyone doing a heavy amount
of sewing, dressmaking, etc. Anyone interested, especially in the New
York area, please feel free to respond with an offer or with any
questions you may have. So far as I can understand, a machine like this
is worth a lot of money. But it's not doing much in myy house except
collect dust, so I'm not asking for much. Any offer you feel is
respectable is fine with me.
Date: Sun, 26 Nov 1995 23:55:22 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Re: FW Fanatics 11/25/95
I've enjoyed reading the comments about the 301. I originally got my
first 301 when I mistook it from a distance for a FW (small, black and
with fold up extension). When I got it home, cleaned, oiled and fed it
some fabric, I was as surprised as anyone how well it sewed. Bobbin case
and bobbins are identical to FW's, but I hope people don't start
vandalizing 301's for parts. I'm glad Katy in Michigan and Shirley in
Arizona are giving kudos to FW's big sister.
BTW - if anyone needs a manual, let me know. I got one from a Singer
Service Center for $15+shipping and it was a photocopy!!!
Sew in piece. . .
Date: Mon, 27 Nov 1995 08:17:19 -0500
Subject: Greist attachment foot, etc.
I have 2 sets of Greist attachments but each of these needs an attachment
foot. Does anyone out there have a spare to sell? Without it, the
attachments are great only as collectibles. I also have a set of "Household"
attachments. Looks like they also need some sort of attachment foot. Does
anyone have a manual for the latter set of attachments???
I have made several people happy lately with copies of my 99k manual. If
anyone else needs one, let me know. Also I can copy the Greist attachment
book. Email me.
By the way, Greist is spelled Greist, not Griest. Contrary to the rule, "i'
before "e' except after "c". Does anyone know if this company still exists??
Date: Mon, 27 Nov 1995 09:51:34 -0500
Subject: Little Women
In a message dated 95-11-27 08:20:20 EST, you write:
>I have just finished watching the movie "Little Women" ,the old black and
>white version. Has anyone ever seen this movie? Anyway, I was noticing the
>sewing machine the one girl was using. It was just an arm and a base. It
>reminded me of an old telegraph machine. What kind of machine was that,
>who made it, and do any of you collectors own one of these?
I don't know but I will have to watch it again to see the machine! I've
watched a few times just because of the quilts. Katy
Subject: 1946 Featherweight
Date: Mon, 27 Nov 1995 12:05:13 -0600
Called Singer this morning. I found the range of serial numbers for machines
made 6-4-46. They are AG689391-
AG709390. At least now I know what serial # I am looking for. If any of you find
one in that range I would appreciate
you letting me know.
Date: Mon, 27 Nov 1995 12:56:14 -0500
Subject: Blue Book from Bobette
I just got my copy in the mail today. Can anyone tell me how this book
compares to the $20 one I saw listed in a past Digest? This definitely has
some useful information but some values I wonder about. I realize it is a
94/95 edition but $88 retail value for a white FW? I don't think so. Also,
can someone tell me how they figure retail vs. wholesale value? It says
retail for my 99k is $109-119 (sounds reasonable) but wholesale value is only
$10. Any ideas? BTW, I'd be happy to look up specific info for anyone that
wants to e-mail me. Katy
P.S. Thanks to Gordy for the great info.
Date: Mon, 27 Nov 1995 11:29:02 -0800
Subject: Jones sewing machines
> I don't suppose there is any reference in that book to my Jones
>Family CS sewing machine is there please?
Since it is called a Family CS sewing machine, my guess is that it was
manufactured in Great Britain. The Smithsonian book only covers American
I have two Jones machines. The oldest one is a treadle machine that
appears to be a close copy of the Wheeler and Wilson No. 9, manufactured
1889-1905 - later manufactured by Singer as the model No. 9W1, 1905-1907.
The head is decorated in the usual way with gold, red, and silver designs.
"JONES" is written across the front of the arm in 1/2" yellow letters. At
the top of the post it has the word "SPOOL" written in a circular design.
At the bottom of the post is written "Guide Bridge Factory, Nr Manchester".
Unfortunately, this machine is in poor condition, most of the paint is
chipped off the bed. The treadle stand has "JONES" cast into the iron
about like singer does their iron treadle stands.
My other Jones machine is a 3/4 size hand crank in a beautiful wooden
carrying case. This machine is in perfect condition, and is decorated
beautifully with gold, silver, and red designs. Around the crank, it has
golden vine with red berries. The "JONES" on the front of the arm is also
in 1/2" yellow letters. The circular design on the top of the post has
"Jones Family C.S" in the center, and around the outside is written "As
Supplied to her Majesty, Queen Alexandra". I believe Queen Alexandra
reigned for a short time in the 1920's. The bottom of the post has the
same label as the other machine, "Guide Bridge Factory, Nr Manchester".
This machine is an oscillating shuttle machine, while the other is a rotary
The C S stands for Cylinder Shuttle and the SPOOL must refer to the round
bobbin. I have a generic instruction manual that came with another
machine, entitled "Directions for operating the Cylinder Shuttle Sewing
Machine". This generic instruction manual has no indication of what
machine it is for except the pictures are similar to the machine it came
with. There is no manufacturers name, no printing date, or where it was
printed. There is one clue. There's a picture of the shuttle and it is
labeled "Jones M CS". The shuttle in my 3/4 size Jones machine is labeled
"Jones F CS. "M" in this case stands for medium and "F" for Family.
Thus, "Family" refers to a 3/4 size machine and "Medium". refers to a full
This other machine is labeled on the center of the bed with the words
"Federation Medium Machine" It came in a treadle stand with identical iron
parts to the Jones treadle except where the Jones name is, this one is
blank. It is the most beautifully decorated machine that I have. It has a
very intricate design of gold and silver vines with small white, red, and
blue flowers. It has "Made in England" on the bottom of the post, front
and back. It is similar to a Singer model 27. I suspect it has
manufactured by the same company that manufactured the Jones machines.
I hope this helps some. I need to get a book on European sewing machines.
Subject: Jones Family CS Machine
Date: Mon, 27 Nov 95 13:43:47 -0500
As much as I love this Smithsonian book, it does not have an index that
covers the whole book, therefore, one has to thumb through page by page to
find anything. I may have missed your machine but this is what I found:
1. Two machines named "Jones" were made by Standard Sew. Mach. Co. and A.G.
Mason Mfg. Co.
2. Five men named "Jones" have taken out U.S. patents on sewing machines.
3.There was a company that manufactured machines from 1850-1853 named Jones
and Lee (unknown city).
Since this book only covers American-made machines, perhaps yours was made
Subject: R. Holland FW Fact Sheet (fwd)
Date: Mon, 27 Nov 1995 15:49:39 -0800 (PST)
Lots of good info here, including part numbers.
Hope you all find it useful.
> Date: Mon, 27 Nov 1995 04:09:52 -0800
> Subject: Re: Request Revised FW Fact Sheet
> Revised November 24, 1995
> FEATHERWEIGHT FACTS
> WHAT IS A FEATHERWEIGHT?
> The Singer Featherweight portable sewing machine is a model
> made by that company between 1933 and 1964. The machine
> (model 221), adapted from an earlier portable, the Standard
> SewHandy (which company was bought out by Singer) weighs
> about 11 pounds and has been found to be an ideal machine
> for quilters and other sewers to take to classes or "on
> location." Very quiet and sturdily made with all-metal parts
> (mostly aluminum), the Featherweight sews only straight
> stitches but it sews them very well. Even the oldest
> machines, if they've been cared for, still sew wonderfully.
> The Featherweight came in a standard black model made in the
> U.S. Those made before World War II (and apparently a few
> after the war) had an attractive "Egyptian Scrollwork"
> pattern on the faceplate, while most of those made after the
> war had a simple, striated pattern of vertical stripes. They
> were further decorated with gold decals and the Singer name,
> but nowhere do they say "Featherweight" on them.
> In Great Britain a white Featherweight was sold, which was
> made in Scotland. Some "mint green" machines are also
> rumored to have been made, but opinions vary over whether
> this was really a green machine or merely a white one with a
> green tinge to the paint. Larry Oliver, a Featherweight
> collector on Compuserve, wrote to me: "I have seen a tan
> machine and a mint green machine (definitely NOT white).
> They were Great Britain models. The rarest variant I have
> seen belonged to an old fellow who owned a Singer store in a
> small town for 50+ years. He had a government contract model
> made during WW2. The finish was mil-spec black crinkle non-
> glare. These were used, according to him, by our armed
> services. He lost the case but said it was the same case as
> the commercial model without the leather covering. It was
> Army green with the appropriate military issue numbers
> stenciled on the box. I have no reason to doubt his story
> but no one has ever confirmed it. The machine 'looked'
> right though and did not appear to be a re-paint job." A
> black machine was also sold in Great Britain.
> Both American and British models are characterized by a
> fold-up extension of the bed, or platform, to add more
> sewing surface on the left side of the needle. The fold-up
> aspect allows the machine to be tucked into an almost
> cubical wooden case, along with its attachments.
> One variant is a model made for a short period in which the
> bed is detachable to allow "free-arm" sewing of cuffs and
> The Featherweight is an excellent machine for piecing, but
> it is not recommended that machine quilting be done on it
> due to the possibility of burning out the motor. Having said
> that, many quilters on the internet report that they
> successfully machine quilt using their Featherweights. Since
> the feed dogs cannot be lowered, it is necessary to cover
> them up with plastic or cardboard in order to machine quilt.
> Some Singer attachments, such as the buttonholer, come with
> a feed dog cover that can also be used for machine quilting.
> FEATHERWEIGHT ATTACHMENTS
> Featherweights come with six basic attachments: the foot
> hemmer, the adjustable hemmer, the multiple-slotted binder
> (which the manual says will apply unfolded as well as
> commercial folded binding), the edge-stitcher, the gatherer
> (for gathering and shirring), and the ruffler. The best
> instructions on how to use these attachments are in the
> Singer manual.
> Featherweight users also report that they have successfully
> used the "Little Foot" on their machines, as well as some
> brands of walking feet. The Featherweight is a low-shank
> A list of some Singer attachments and their part numbers is
> at the end of this file.
> HOW DO I GET A FEATHERWEIGHT?
> Featherweights, in spite of their cult status, are not rare.
> A great many of them were made and are still available
> through used sewing machine dealers, from individuals, at
> garage and estate sales, by mail order, and through sellers
> on online services and the internet. Since the machines are
> not labeled "Featherweight" they are often advertised for
> sale as "old Singer" or "antique Singer" machines and some
> detective work is necessary to sort the Featherweights from
> the other antique machines being sold. The light weight and
> the fold-up platform are two indicators. Very diligent
> shopping should turn up one or more Featherweights in your
> local area, and they've been known to travel in packs, and
> reappear miraculously out of grandma's closet or attic! :)
> HOW MUCH SHOULD A FEATHERWEIGHT COST?
> I have seen Featherweights priced as low as $40 and as high
> as $600. I recently saw a rare "free-arm" version of the FW
> for sale on America Online for $1750! Prices at either end
> of this range are rare and most times you see them priced
> between $300 and $400, depending on condition. You will
> probably pay more to a dealer than you will at an estate
> sale, so it is worth combing the weekly Advertiser or
> classifieds and doing some driving if you want a bargain.
> Pricing criteria vary from location to location but are
> based on the running condition of the machine and its
> appearance, as well as its rarity. For run-of-the-mill
> Featherweights, one dealer in Atlanta says he prices his
> mainly based on how good they look, i.e. the condition of
> the gold leaf decals and the paint job. Older machines will
> not necessarily sell for more than newer ones.
> You should be able to try out the machine to see how well it
> sews, and you should make sure it's complete. One of the
> most frequently missing items is the bobbin case. Ideally
> your Featherweight will come with its original carrying case
> in good condition (broken latches and missing handles are
> sometimes a problem) and all of its attachments. Lack of
> these is reason to discount the price.
> HOW DO I DATE A FEATHERWEIGHT?
> Determining the approximate date of manufacture of a
> Featherweight is easy if the serial number is still intact.
> The number, which is on the bottom of the machine, will be
> preceded by a two-letter code, beginning with A (for
> U.S.-made model 221 machines). Use the chart below to decode
> AB 1926
> AC 1928
> AD 1934
> AE 1936
> AF 1938
> AG 1941
> AH 1948
> AI 1948
> AJ 1950
> AK 1951
> AL 1955
> AM 1956
> The following machines were manufactured in Scotland, at the
> Kilbowie Plant, and thus are of the 221K (for Kilbowie) series.
> ED 1941
> EE 1947
> EF 1949
> EG 1950
> EH 1951
> EJ 1953
> ES 1962
> EV 1964
> White Featherweights which were distributed in the U.S. were
> made between 1968 and 1970. These were the last gasp of the
> Featherweight as a new machine. They may have a variety of
> serial numbers.
> While the above tables provide approximate dates, it is
> known that some machines were made in years other than those
> indicated here. For instance my AJ series machine was
> actually made on November 18, 1949. Other Featherweight
> owners have told me of similar discrepancies in the dating
> of machines, including machines with scrollwork faceplates
> made as late as 1947 or 1948. (It is also worthy of note that
> changing faceplates is fairly simple, and some earlier face-
> plates may have been put on later machines by dealers or
> previous owners.)
> If you wish to find out the EXACT date your Singer was made,
> and the place, you can call Singer's Consumer Affairs 800
> number: 1-800-877-7762 and provide them the serial number.
> Be aware that their records are not always accurate and some
> people have been informed by Singer that their Featherweight
> was not a FW at all, but some other model machine. So take
> what they tell you with a grain of salt.
> Singer, through their dealers, can also make available some
> manuals, parts, and other information about these old
> machines. (My experience in trying to find a complete manual
> was that Singer referred me to their local dealer. The
> dealer closest to me here in Atlanta charged me $10 for a
> xerox copy of the manual. An original manual would have been
> $30.) The Singer 800 number is a general consumer number and
> can be busy, so be patient. If you are overseas beyond the
> reach of their 800 number, the commercial phone number is
> (615) 893-0493.
> OTHER FEATHERWEIGHT INFORMATION
> The Featherweight is the only sewing machine I know that has
> had an entire book devoted to it (besides its own manual).
> Nancy Johnson-Srebro in 1992 published a slim volume
> entitled "Featherweight 221: The Perfect Portable." Much of
> the information in this fact sheet is based on her research.
> The book also contains a reproduction of parts of the
> original manual for the machine, which is helpful if yours
> comes without one. (It does not contain the part of the
> manual about the attachments, however.)
> I have found the book especially useful for its
> troubleshooting advice on common operating problems of
> Featherweights. Without it I'd probably still have a FW
> jammed up because of a speck of thread caught behind the
> bobbin case.
> The book is available at many quilt stores for around $7.00.
> If your local store doesn't carry it you can write to Silver
> Star Publishing, RR4, Box 413, Tunkhannock, PA 18657.
> Telephone: (717) 836-5592. This is the family publishing
> business run by the Johnson-Srebros.
> It is also available by mail from the Quilter's Bookshelf,
> 1-800-332-6095. Item #1802, $6.95 plus postage.
> I has been reported on the net that Ms. Johnson-Srebro is
> working on a new, updated edition of the book, due out next
> Information on the Featherweight and other antique machines
> is also available at the following sites on the World Wide
> Tangled Threads: http://kbs.netusa.net/tt/faq/index.html
> World Wide Quilting Page: http://quilt.com/Tools/
> Gail Pickens' Featherweight Page: http://www.icsi.net/
> Sue Traudt of the World Wide Quilting Page has also started
> an internet maillist for Featherweight aficianados. You can
> subcribe to the Featherweight Fanatic list by sending your
> name and e-mail address to FWFanatics@ttsw.com. The list is
> available in digest form only and archives are available on
> a web page.
> FEATHERWEIGHT ATTACHMENTS AND PARTS
> Standard Presser Foot: 32773 or 45321
> Attachment Box: 121901, 160481, or 160809
> Foot Hemmer: 120855 or 35857
> Adjustable Hemmer: 35931
> Multi Slotted Binder: 91245 or 160359
> Early model Multi Slotted Binder w/o guide pins: 121464 or 36594
> Edge-Stitcher: 36865
> Gatherer: 121441
> Ruffler: 86742 or 120598
> Adjustable Zipper Foot: 160854 or 161127
> Foot on early machines similar to zipper foot: 125035
> Seam Gauge: 25527 or 161172
> Lg. black screwdriver: 25537
> Sm. silver and black screwdriver: 120378
> Lg. plastic handled screwdriver, beige or brown: 161294
> Sm. plastic handled screwdriver, beige or brown: 161295
> Singer Motor Lubricant 1/2 oz. in cardboard box: No part number
> Felt circles for spool pin, red or black: 8879
> Foot Pedal - American (95-145 v., .7a) 194584 or 195322
> British/Brazilian Foot Pedal (150-250 v., .3 amp) 198997 or 199154
> Bobbin Case: 45750
> Oil Can 120862
> Key to Case: No part # but replace with Ilco T60
> Bobbins: 45785
> Feed Dog Throatplate Cover: 121309 (specific to a FW)
> Gold Wire Handle Lint Brush: No part number
> Spring for Spool Pin: 45826
> Darning Foot for Free-arm FW: 171071
> Darning Hoop for Free-arm FW: 171074 (had to be purchased separately)
> Blind Stitch Attachment: 160616
> Hemstitcher: 121387
> ZigZag Attachment: No part number
> Buttonholer: 121795, 160506 or 489510
> Extra Buttonholer Templates: 160668
> Bulb: Singer #2118 or GE #15T7DC
> Quilting Guide: 120319
> Tucker (has scaled crossbars marked from 0 to 8): 36583
> Corder (looks like a general purpose foot bent to the right
> at a 90 deg. angle: No part number
> Instruction Manual: Green or blue or green/white/red
> Green package of three needles (two): Three 15x1 size 11
> needles; three 15 x 1 size 14 needles.
> ABOUT THIS FACT SHEET
> This fact sheet is brought to you courtesy of "The Virtual
> Quilt: A Newsletter for Computing Quilters." Also known as
> TVQ, it is an electronic newsletter distributed by e-mail
> every 6 weeks and is also available on the World Wide Web at
> It contains news of online quilting, including in-depth
> reviews of quilt design software, profiles of online
> quilters and reports on the activities of online quilting
> Subscription to TVQ is very modest, just $5 for 8 issues. I
> am able to do this because TVQ is an electronic publication,
> and there is no cost for paper, ink, or postage. My only
> costs are online services and internet access.
Date: Mon, 27 Nov 1995 19:58:41 -0500
Subject: Singer Buttonholer
I have just recently purchased a toy machine from a dealer friend and he said
that he was going to ship a Singer Buttonholer in my package to see if I
wanted it. I'm not sure that I will, so I thought I'd pass on what I know
about it to all of you to see if you are interested. It is described to me
as " a Singer Buttonholer in a mauve case, No. 489500 or No. 489510. It is
complete and the instruction booklet says 1960.". Let me know if this is
something you would like or need. By the way, I don't know a fair price on
this, so you can make a bid and I'll pass in on to my friend. He's a pretty
Date: Mon, 27 Nov 1995 19:47:04 EST
Subject: Hello Fanatics
Hi- Now that Christmas time is near, I thought I would again
offer for sale the original new-old-stock Singer centennial
pocket tape measures. These are not cloth type sewing tape
measures, but are steel blade retractible pocket tape
measures from Singer in 1951. The case is heavy blue
plastic, 1-3/4" in diameter, about 1/2" thick. The best part
is the gold medalion with enameled red S in center that says
Singer Sewing Machines, with a blue enameled ring around the
outside that says: A Century of Sewing Service 1851-1951.
These are brand new in original boxes, in perfect condition
from Singer in 1951. I still have 3, and these would make
a perfect companion for a Singer 1951 centennial model
sewing machine. These were a very rare find. I will offer
them for Christmas at $55 each, and I will pay the postage
Date: Mon, 27 Nov 1995 19:17:41 -0600
Subject: 57 featherweights awaiting a home!
Well I did it. Computerized my Dad's Featherweights this Turkey
weekend. Filled out in a spreadsheet using the Survey. Here's a list,
and some general observations about the featherweights...
Come visit my homepage http://www.icsi.net/~pickens
AD545663 10/5/33 This Special FW came with a desk, and an
Extension table, all original attachments,
and a manual with the date of 1933 in it.
This FW has scroll work down the backside
of one of its columns. The word SINGER
is on top of the light, instead of on the
side of the light.
AD791611 11/27/34 For this FW and previous one the gold trim goes
all the way behind the light switch. The
tension on the bobbin is on the front of the
fw. No numbers on the tension knob.
AK429860 The year of the "100 Year" anniversary
AK581163 10/31/51 Featherweight. Special Medialion on FW.
AL206639 12/12/52 Somewhere in here is where a change
AL396410 to the Featherweight occurred.
AL528287 10/14/53 The gold design went from scrolly to art
AL542032 10/14/53 deco type. This all happened in the AL numbers.
EE807853 The FreeArms!
Date: Mon, 27 Nov 95 20:17:02 EST
Subject: Singer Treadle Sewing Machine ..
I saw a message posted on the alt.sewing newsgroup talking about an old
Singer sewing machine, and was wondering if you could help me out. My
Sister just got an old Singer treadle sewing machine and she'd like to know
how old it is. I'm really out of my area of expertise here, so forgive me
if this is a dumb question :-) The only thing I know about the machine is
that there's no motor at all, only the treadle. If you can give me some
sort of ideas what to look for to place it at a certain age, I'd really be
greatfull. If you don't know, and know of a list (or FAQ) that might be able
to provide this information, I'd be interested in knowing. I'm sure that
Sis would even be interested in finding any books on the topic. Thanks a
bunch for any info you can provide.
Date: Mon, 27 Nov 1995 20:46:24 -0500 (EST)
Subject: "Quilting Today"
A couple of weeks ago I read several references here to an article about
the care and feeding of FWs in a magazine called "Quilting Today". I've
been scanning magazine racks ever since, and haven't see this particular
title so far. Am I looking in the wrong places? Is this something that
you have to subscribe to?? (I hope not -- I barely have time to read
through my QN).
Also, thanks to Lynda Carswell and several others about the info on
bobbins. I went down to our Hancock and there, big as life, was a package
of four for something like $1.50. It's a case of having something right
under your nose but never seeing it because you don't know what you're
Date: Mon, 27 Nov 1995 19:26:47 -0600
Subject: Prices and such on Featherweights!
I've gotten some comments on the "Prices" of Featherweights. Along the
lines of, "Why" this amount? Part of the reason is, is that my Mother
and Father, give up their Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays looking for
Featherweights. They also travel a bit, between Minnesota, Maryland
and South Texas, and along the way go on their Featherweight safari hunts,
as I like to call them. Dad has even gone as far as North New York, and
Canada to find featherweights.
Part of the price in the featherweight is that my Dad makes sure that
the featherweight you get WORKS WELL! He overhalls the little Fw's,
and of course, my mother, (braggin time folks!) is a award winning
quilt maker. She has quick methods that she has shared with how to
make those many pointed stars quilts, with various people throughout.
Mom really likes to come up with these neat designs, and to be able
to do these designs on the machine, not by hand! So why do I tell
you this? Well, because those featherweights, after being overhalled
have to go through my Mom!
As some of you have noticed, it does take some time to find these
featherweights, and not always do they work, when you bring them home.
Okay, I'm off my soap box! Come by and see my home page
Oh, by the way....found out that there are "three" zigzagg attachments
for the featherweights.....more to come!
Date: Tue, 28 Nov 1995 00:19:52 -0500
Subject: ads, boxes, knee press
Some time ago, said I would look at my mags and see about where the ads are:
most of mine are in a mag called Peoples Home Journal. More than anything
else, that is probably simply a reflection of what I have access to, rather
than an indication that there were more Singer ads in that particular mag.
Has anyone else seen these orange attachment boxes? Never saw one until a
couple of weeks ago and have seen 2 now in that time. Very like the green
in size/shape/design of print, but a sick orange color.
Wondering in anyone has a knee press for a 99? An auto accident left one of
my machines intact but did the knee press in. Let me know details if anyone
would like to sell one.
Date: Tue, 28 Nov 1995 19:35:03 +1300 (NZDT)
Subject: Sewing machine xstitch chart
>at the 'ephemera show', it reminded me of something I've been searching
>for that someone on this list might be able to help me find. It's a
>cross-stitch chart of an old Singer sewing machine.
>have the word SINGER on the machine! It's called 'Sew Petite' and it's
>a Graphworks International chart, size 160w x 108h. I do have some
Would you believe it! I was in my local needlework shop this morning
looking for an Australian chart for someone in the UK and what should I
come across but the 'Sew Petite' chart! Fate plays some funny tricks
sometimes! It cost me more than my 99k machine but I just had to have
it. On closer inspection the word on the machine wasn't Singer but
another name I've never heard of before, I think it started with eu
something, oh darn I'll have to wait until I get it off layby now! I'm
still looking for the Singer machine xstitch chart though if anyone ever
finds one. And yes I did find a lovely Graeme Ross chart of a Rosella
(bird) for my UK friend!
Gordy: thanks for all the info you sent me about your Jones machines, I
haven't had time to read it through properly yet, I'm going to print it
out and it's going to be my reading matter when I go to bed tonight! If
anyone else knows anything at all about the Jones machines I'd love to
hear from you.
Wendy: I will be following your how to clean your machine lessons very
closely, I have two that I don't know where to start with! Now I'm glad
I waited and didn't use detergent on mine, I hope it hasn't ruined yours
too much. Cheers....dawn
Date: Tue, 28 Nov 1995 09:17:48 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Christine's Daisy
Christine, the DH and I found a picture that is close to what you describe.
It is a model 24 made in 1915. I was looking through my data sheets this
morning and, strange as it may seem, they listed a 24 made in 1952. We
have sworn off buying any more machines, but if we find one of these, I'm
sure it would come home with us.
In the data sheets that I have I found the start dates of some serial numbers:
AL started 8-11-52
AM started 2-24-55
EK started 11-9-54
ER started 3-1-60
ET started 10-16-61
EX started 7-23-64
I have also written down series and dates for 221s and 222s. Who do I
send them to?
In case anyone is interested in a full size case, we saw an ad in Sunday's
paper for sewing machines and cases at K-Mart. Didn't know they sold
sewing machines. Neither will anyone else, because we found them on the
very top of the place where they sell yarn, etc. The case is made by
Singer but has no name on it. It fits a free-arm machine, so will hold
any machine you have. White. Hard plastic. Good latches. $15.95.
Even if you have a FW or a 3/4 machine, this would keep the dust off and
Lydia, I,too, have been looking for that magazine. I think I will try the
Newstand on 161 (near Beechcroft). They seem to have everything.
Date: Tue, 28 Nov 1995 10:26:28 -0500
Subject: Early Christmas :-)
Hi all! I get the biggest kick out of reading all your notes--what a gold
mine of information you all are!! I hope someone can help me solve a
simple problem...I don't "speak" drop-in bobbin and I just acquired two
drop-in machines and haven't the foggiest idea how to get the bobbin thread
to come up. Do I need to hold the bobbin thread in one direction or
another to get the upper thread to catch the bobbin thread? I'm usually
somewhat mechanically inclined but can't seem to get the lightbulb to go
off on this one. :-/
May I tell you about my two new machines?? I've been hunting a treadle for
a little while and hit one of my favorite collectible shops this weekend.
They had a LOVELY old Singer with a cabinet in great shape...the belt was
in tact and the head was in decent shape too. The seller had evidently got
it from the original owner and one of the drawers contained a few old
sewing items. I thought it was a pretty good buy at $72. No manual
But, on my way through the store before I saw the treadle, I spotted a 99k.
That little puppy is in NICE shape. I hadn't thought I'd actually stray
from Featherweights but I just couldn't resist. The case is in really good
shape. "made in Great Britain" is labeled on the machine. :-) I'm just
full of glee.
So, I snuck in the house with my new purchases and told DH he could buy
them for me for Christmas. :-)
Thanks for any bobbin thread advice!
Date: Tue, 28 Nov 1995 14:27:31 -0500
Subject: box of attachments
I am very upset. My local Singer dealer told me over the phone last week
that he has an old velvet-lined box filled with attachments which he would
sell me. Well, his store was closed the 2 times I went to check it out.
Finally called on phone to find out store hours (10 till 1) and went today
at 10:01. Asked for box and he said 'I threw it out - the box was all
broken'. I couldn't believe it! Says he also threw out all the attachments
- nobody wants them!!!
Question: Do I believe this? True, they are gone to me. But after hanging
around his shop for years, what are the chances he really threw them out only
days after I suggest purchasing them?? I figure someone else scooped them up
before me and he just didn't want to admit it. He did show me the old
machine they came out of - a portable, electric Wilson &Gibbs (I think). If
he had said he wanted to keep the set with the machine, that I can
Thanks for letting me vent! It is a beautiful day today in CT and I think
it's time to take my dog for a walk! Millie
Date: Tue, 28 Nov 1995 17:54:17 EST
Subject: NY finds
Just got back from spending the holiday weekend in NY City. Went to
many great fabric stores and found some great antique stores. The
really shocking part was how many sewing machines I found in antique
stores -- for some reason I never thought of NYC as a place to find
things like that. I was looking for trading cards and books and found
nothing. I did find a beautiful Singer treadle with the red, green and
gold decals in a pretty good condition cabinet. The drawers were
filled with all kinds of sewing paraphenelia, including lots of feet in
a velvet bag and hundreds of shell buttons. The dealer only wanted
$100 for it, but having come down on the train, I panicked at how I'd
get it home and walked away from it. When I called back today, after
borrowing a truck, he said he sold it right after I left -- hope one of
you all found it!
I called the woman in Newton with all the old hard-to-find books, and
she has only a 1924 and 1934 copy of the Singer Machine Sewing Treatise
-- if that fits into someone else's time frame you might give her a
call. I'm on the list for a 40's or 50's copy and the list for the
Smithsonian book is quite long.
Can't wait to see everyone else's great stories. Thanks all for
writing so much. Eileen
Date: Wed, 29 Nov 1995 10:18:31 -0500 (EST)
Subject: series of numbers
Here are the series of numbers I found on my data sheets:
221 AK984876 - AK999999 15,124 August 11, 1952
221 AL000001 - AL034875 34,875 August 11, 1952
221 AL158501 - AL208500 50,000 December 12, 1952
221 AL900891 - AL950890 50,000 January 17, 1955
221 AM137761 - AM187760 50,000 June 10, 1955
221K EK203130 - EK213138 10,000 February 14, 1954
222K EK319939 - EK329938 10,000 March 14, 1954
222K EP131001 - EP133500 2,500 March 3, 1959
221K EP256021 - EP257520 1,500 May 18, 1959
222K EP541572 - EP544071 2,500 September 22, 1959
222K EP758473 - EP760972 2,500 December 18, 1959
222K ER022034 - ER024533 2,500 March 15, 1960
221K ES648144 - ES658143 10,000 May 15, 1961
221K ES873744 - ES883743 10,000 August 19, 1961
221K ET061345 - ET071344 10,000 November 2, 1961
221K EV776991 - EV826990 50,000 March 3, 1964
The series of white ones that they call the 328K is:
328K EV919198 - 969197 50,000 May 13, 1964
Hope this is helpful.
Date: Wed, 29 Nov 1995 10:35:36 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: FW Fanatics 11/26/95
I am looking for a source for buying replacement parts for the singer
featherweight machines. Specifically, the bobbin carriage is missing
from one of my father's machine.
Can you advise of some place??
Date: Wed, 29 Nov 95 09:42:34 -0600
Subject: Reproduction Tables and other stuff
I called the number that was posted for the guy (Andy Fields
913-566-3788) that makes reproduction featherweight tables. He sent me
a brochure that looks rather nice and the cost is $199+shipping. Has
anyone actually bought and received anything from him? If so what are
your impressions and how is the quality?
I am very interested but if he is hand making these and it's all sight
unseen, I wonder about the quality.
By the way, the featherweight that my children and I cleaned up for my
mother-in-law was delivered to her at Thanksgiving. She was delighted!
She hadn't seen it in years and she said that it looked just like it had
when she first got it.
She gave me her buttonhole attachment. I am looking forward to playing
with it. Has anyone actually used one of these gadgets? Do they work
fairly well? (I usually end up doing buttonholes by hand because I
would rather do it right once than have to redo what my old Riccar
(circ. 1950) does when it is doing a buttonhole. )
Does anyone else have an old Riccar? I got mine in 1977 for $30 and it
is a workhorse. I like my featherweight much better but the Riccar just
goes and goes and it will do a zigzag if I need one. I know nothing
about the company or the machine (no book), but it is a good sturdy,
blue jean hemming all metal machine.
Date: Wed, 29 Nov 95 09:53:47 EST
Subject: FW Fact Sheet
Regarding the posting of the Featherweight Fact Sheet on Tuesday, I wanted
to clarify a couple of things. I make the fact sheet freely available to anyone
who requests it but it wasn't my intention that it be posted to the entire
list. I hope that didn't cause anyone any heartburn.
Secondly, the FW parts list probably looked familiar to most of you. I added
it from a posting here on the list by Terry Sampson and did not get permission
or give proper credit. That is being corrected in the FW fact sheet, but I
wanted the list to know that it was Terry and Kristina Santilla, with help
from all of you, who compiled that list. It's a great service to all of us,
many benefits that come from this great list!
Subject: What is it?
Date: Wed, 29 Nov 95 08:48:47 -0600
I've been reading this list with relish for the past few months and am
longing for a FW. Have been looking but haven't found one yet.
However, I was in North Carolina on a business trip two weeks ago and
found a cute machine in an antique shop -- so of course bought it and
then had to deal with getting it home. It was too heavy for carry-on
so they agreed to send it (for a fee). It arrived last night and it's
the cutest thing! But it isn't a FW. I figure you all can tell me what I have.
It's heavy, maybe a 3/4 size (but I don't have anything for reference).
It doesn't seem full size. It came in a bentwood carrier; handle and
key are in good shape and intact. It's black with lots of gold
scroolwork on the top and the bed. Some is worn off. It clearly says
Singer all over it and underneath says Simanco USA. It runs, has a
knee lever, and came with a green box with a bunch of attachments (some
say Greist). What does the attachment foot look like? It might be
there. No manual or money found underneath. (It lifts up.)
The number on the bed says AC213409. It has a round bobbin which loads
from the top and the tension disc has no numbers, just a thumb screw.
So.... can somebody tell me what I have and is there a manual available
for it? I figure it's not too exotic, but it's a really neat machine.
It had a marked price of $85, which I told them was way too high for a
machine that can be found at any ole' garage sale (grin). I asked the
men in the store to call the owner and see if she would take $60. I
got it for $67 (not including getting it home).
One thing that frustrates me about this list is that many of you tell
great stories about finding machines but then don't share what they
cost. For those of us who are trying to figure out what a fair price
is, it would be helpful to know what you're paying out there. I
realize that some people think it's gauche to talk about price, and
some people are just plain uncomfortable and don't think it's any of
our business. But they only way we can know if we're on track is to
have some data, and having prices would be a great help.
I can't wait to hear from you!
Date: Wed, 29 Nov 1995 13:46:37 EST
Subject: What Did I Find?
Has anyone seen Greist attachments in assorted colors?
I came upon a rather cute box decorated with pictures of fabric
swatches. The word "Kenmore" is printed on top, followed by "Sew-By-
Color". These attachments are colored in blue, green, lavender,
copper and silver and correspond to a set of index cards that provide
instructions for their use with illustrations. Eleven in all
INCLUDING the "attachment" foot. The copyright is by Sears Roebuck &
Some previous owner obviously relied on this set of sewing aids since
he/she used the box to store their machine manual, Kenmore
instructions for a Model 54, printed 11/01/62.
So, what have I got here? . . . just another box of attachments . . .
a special promotional item offered by Sears in the 60's with no
exceptional value . . . or something unique? Hopefully, one of you
can offer some comments.
From sunny Cary, Illinois where it is 34F and there is 4" of snow on
Date: Wed, 29 Nov 1995 11:16:41 -0600 (CST)
Subject: Question re: treadle machine
I've really enjoyed the daily messages from this group (thanks for letting me
know about it, Dawn) and, altho' I don't have a FW, I do have 4 machines now so
I guess that qualifies as a growing addiction. (Just what I need -- one more!)
A few weeks ago I bought an old treadle sewing machine at a garage sale for
$25. I was so thrilled because I've been looking for a treadle for several
months and not found one is such good condition nor nearly this inexpensive.
It was used, although infrequently in recent years, up to last spring by a
woman who was in her 80s when she died last summer. Her son was as happy as I
about the purchase just to know his mom's machine would be loved and cared for
by someone who would actually use it for sewing. The treadle is in the shape
of a butterfly and the cabinet is interesting in that the drawers don't show
from the front but are hidden behind a door on one side (the other, the right,
side, has no drawers -- instead, the side of the cabinet opens to expose the
wheel and there's storage room inside that door.
He'd left all her sewing gadgets in the drawers, too, which made it all the
more interesting. But, alas, there's no manual. So I'm appealing to you all
for any information you might have on this machine and/or where I can get more
information myself (haven't tried the library yet, I must confess).
The head is black with gold &green scrollwork and the brand name of the
machine across the top of the head -- STANDARD. The other insignia is on the
inside of the lid. That is, when you lift the top of the cabinet and flip it
over, raising the head, the insignia is facing up on the inside of the lid (I'm
not explaining this very well). There's a diamond shape and inside that it
Pat. Applied For
Oh, the bobbin face plate (or whatever you call it) says: Standard Sewing
Machine Co., Cleveland, Ohio U.S.A., and then lists a series of patent dates
PAT. Jan. 18:87
PAT. Dec. 20:04
and then, "OTHER PAT'S PENDING"
Does anyone know about this company, the Hygienic model (if I'm interpreting
that correctly), and/or where I can get information about my machine?
Thanks from Jill M
Date: Wed, 29 Nov 1995 17:21:37 -0600 (CST)
Subject: AT LAST!!!!!
By Monday or Tuesday or sometime next week I will be the proud (do I say
owner or mother of) my own FW. I did what I said I wouldn't do. That was
order one sight unseen and over the Internet. But Joyce I really feel good
about this. I'm so excited I don't know if I can wait. But I will. Joyce tells
me she is
complete!!! I forgot to ask her if it had an oil can, does it?? This is
going to be my Christmas and Birthday this year. The FEVER really got to me.
I have had alot of people looking but with no luck. I do have a good
chance at one but a lady has to pass-on first. I'm sure she will out live me.
I decided not to wait. The last straw was thinking the Pawn shop had one
and finding out it wasn't even a Singer and it weighted a ton!!
We are going to another play-off game Saturday. I will really have
something to tell this trip. One of the other ladies (moms) would also like
to have a FW. Now that I have one they will start showing up everywhere!!
I will be looking for 2 for friends. Maybe now they will show up.
Date: Wed, 29 Nov 1995 19:03:25 -0500
Subject: Misc. History &Book
I ran across an interesting quote in the book "Woman's Day Book of
American Needlework" (copyright 1961, 1962, 1963, pub. Simon &Schuster) by
Rose Wilder Lane (daughter of Laura Ingalls Wilder), regarding the sewing
"...Or, brisk and busy, you may hum while you feed long strips of patches
through the humming machine. Snip them apart, set them together and run them
through again. You may make a whole quilt-top in a surprisingly short time.
This will horrify some, but I was a pioneer child; I know how pioneer women
welcomed the marvelous machine, incredulously admired its swiftness and its
perfect stitching, and thanked God for easing women's work. Whether your
tool is a needle or tamed electricity, your patchwork is your own; you can
express yourself in pattern and colors and way of working."
Just as I suspected: the "purists" who insisted Grandma would never have
stitched by machine didn't know what they were talking about! (IMHO, of
Also, saw a book advertised in one of the million catalogs flooding my
mailbox- haven't seen it mentioned here before- does anyone have it?
Comments would be appreciated. Catalog description follows:
"Encyclopedia of Early American Sewing Machines" by Carter Bays.
Includes chapters on early toy sewing machines. Over 350 photographs. 303
pages. Hardbound $55.00 *The History of the Sewing Machine *American
Sewing Machines From 1850-1920 * Restoring Early Sewing Machines *Toy
Sewing Machines *And Much More"
As this would be an Investment - I just wondered if anyone had seen it.
Date: Wed, 29 Nov 1995 19:52:42 -0500
Subject: Daisy and drop-in bobbin
Marilyn wrote Nov 28:
>Christine, the DH and I found a picture that is close to what you describe.
It is a model >24 made in 1915.
Thanks for keeping you eye out for information, Marilyn. We did discover that
our little machine was a 24. We called Singer and learned it was manufactured
January 17, 1906 (serial # H130439). It is so cute -- it still holds the
place of honor on our dining room table. We used to have a rule for our kids
called "only one toy on the table." We enforced this rule when the kids had
new toys they wanted to bring to the table for dinner. We allowed one toy on
the table for one night at a time (one kid at a time). We've not been
following our rule, the 24 has been on the table three nights. Good thing our
grown kids have not dropped by to see what we are doing.
Amy wrote Nov 28:
>I just acquired two drop-in machines and haven't the foggiest idea how to
get the >bobbin thread to come up. Do I need to hold the bobbin thread in one
direction or >another to get the upper thread to catch the bobbin thread?
When I started exploring my 99K I was puzzled too. The machine looked almost
like the one I learned how to sew on. I looked at the bobbin and its thread
and thought "how is this going to get caught by the needle thread?" I told
my DH that I thought perhaps I should pull the bobbin thread over to the
right so it would get caught. He said "Why don't you leave it as it is and
turn the wheel slowly and see what happens." Leaving the throat plate (bobbin
plate) open so I could see, I turned the wheel. The needle thread picked the
bobbin thread right up and pulled it across to the left. Then, I remembered
that was exactly the way my mother's machine worked. I hope your's works the
Date: Wed, 29 Nov 1995 23:04:17 -0500
Subject: Magazine article
In response to several posts about the article on Featherweights:
The newest issue of QUILTING TODAY magazine, issue #51, which says
"display until 1-8-96" does have a 2 page article on FWs by Mimi Vaeth.
This issue just came out on the magazine stands at grocery stores in my
area this past week. The magazine has a Seven Sisters pattern quilt on the
cover, with a bright yellow gold background fabric. The quilt is draped over
a chair, next to c Christmas tree. There is also a small box with a photo of
the actresses and album quilt from the new movie "How to Make An American
Quilt" with the sub title "Spielberg: Quilts Go Hollywood".
The article is on pages 44-45. The author is one of the FW teachers who
have been recommended by others on FWFans. It covers basic maintenance such
as cleaning, oiling &tension.
Hope this helps those of you interested in finding the magazine!
Date: Wed, 29 Nov 1995 20:28:26 -0800
Subject: purchasing a FEATHERWEIGHT
MY WIFE HAS PUT ONE THING AND ONE THING ONLY ON HER CHRISTMAS LIST:
A FEATHERWEIHGT SEWING.HOW AND WHERE TO I LOCATE ONE? I DO NOT FEEL
COMFORTABLE PURCHASING ONE BY MAIL OR E-MAIL. I LIVE ON LONG ISLAND
(NY) AND TRAVEL INTO NEW YORK CITY EVERY WORK DAY. I'VE NOT MUCH TIME
AND DON'T NO WHERE TO START.
PLEASE HELP ME IF YOU CAN OR DIRECT ME TO SOME ONE OR SOMEPLACE
BETTER SUITED TO COME TO MY AID.
HOPING TO BE SANTA NOT A HEEL,
Date: Thu, 30 Nov 1995 11:25:50 -0500
Subject: Quilt book pictures
Does anyone out there have a copy of Scrap Patchwork and Quilting by Marti
Michell? On page 100 there is a picture of a gorgeous hand crank Singer,
portable with a bentwood case, with the most beautiful decals. I was
wondering if this is the "Daisy" machine Christine was talking about. It has
a top drop in bobbin like my 99.
I've been going through all my quilt books yet again but this time with an
eye to finding pictures of old machines. I think this is a sickness... Katy
Date: Thu, 30 Nov 1995 11:04:51 -0500
Subject: walking foot needed for OLD new home
I have two questions:
1. I used my featherweight for the first time last night
to finish a block. It was a variable star in a variable star.
Came out nice but I had a difficult time holding a quarter inch
seam allowance. I tried masking tape on the plate, but it
wasn't thick enough to make a ridge to feel. A note earlier
said to use some dr. scholls stuff. What kind? I deleted the note
2. I have a 1948 New Home, in perfect meachanical shape. All
decals are gorgeous. I had purchased it in a old beat up
cabinet, 4 years ago for $25 from
a man who made motorcycle helmet inserts. I am trying to find a
walking foot for it. The New Home company says we don't have any.
DO any of you? The foot attaches differently from the modern machines.
It is held on with a screw BUT the u shaped holder is horizontal
to the table top when you place the foot on the table. (Modern
feet are vertical). The foot I have on the machine now even
has a hinge on it, to flex the foot, and allow it to ride on
the fabric better.
Does anyone have a source for this kind of foot, in a walking foot,
even feed foot, or plaid matching foot ? (the only names I know to
call it by)
Date: Thu, 30 Nov 1995 12:11:55 -0500
Subject: Featherlite machine
Last night I peered into the window display of a closed shop at a cute
little machine called a Featherlite. Anyone know anything about this little
guy? Tried and failed to get shopowner on the phone this AM; she's gone for
a few days, help knew nothing about it.
Name "Featherlite" was emblazoned across front of head. It was black, had a
couple of metal rods running the length of the machine at the base, front
and back: was it intended to be in a cabinet, maybe? Not displayed in one.
About the size of our babies, but really didn't look like them other than
size and color. Bed does not fold up, that I could tell. As it was, I was
standing in the shrubbery after hours, peering in with a
flashlight---probably not a wise idea---but curiosity. . . . .
Date: Thu, 30 Nov 1995 19:49:42 -0500 (EST)
To Nancy - it sounds like you found yourself a 99K. My DH
likes them much better than the FWs, but then he is large and doesn't have
any problem lugging one. He likes the drop-in bobbin. Until we got
ours, I had never seen a drop-in bobbin. Someone said in the blue book the
99Ks should retail at $109. Two dealers that I heard of were asking
exactly that price.
Corinne, I know why the Kenmore attachments were color coded. That's for
people in Ohio who can't read. We just pick the right colored card and
look at the pictures.
Christine, it's about time you got that 24 off the table and put it on a
pedestal where it belongs. Wish I had one.
Remember the Spartan we got for $3.88 that looked like it had been under
water? Everything was rusted solid. Nothing moved. Well, the DH has
been talking to it every evening in the basement. He told it he'd be
putting it out on the curb for the garbage men, and that little sucker
straightened up and sewed. No kidding, it sews as well as any machine we
have. It looks pretty good too. The DH sanded all the little bubbles on
the paint with wet or dry sandpaper (very carefully) and he's going to use
rubbing compound next. It's name is Titanic.
Marilyn who is hot on the trail of Quilting Today.
Date: Thu, 30 Nov 1995 19:23:20 -0500
Subject: FW Tables
A friend bought a table from Andy Fields, several years ago. She is very
happy with it.
She said he is an older gentleman, so you should buy it now.
She said that the top is pine, finished, a light color. He researched the
old tables, this one is like the old ones, only new. It is card table size.
There is an insert you can put in when the machine isn't in. He does the
work by hand. Sharyn is very pleased with her table. He is usually at
Paducah, and always asks her how the table is. The tables are black on hers.
He doesn't do special orders, they are all the same.
Date: Thu, 30 Nov 95 15:04:43 PST
I'm the owner of the featherweight Kristina mentioned last week when
I was on vacation - the one with the medallion reading "Texas
Centennial Exposition, 1836-1936." As Kristina did, I have checked
in the library for background info on the expositions. Being in
California, I found a fair bit on the Golden Gate Exposition, but
only one reference to the Texas one (and that's a gov hearing on the
expo itself -not likely to mention Singer). In the library here
there is the original program for the GG Expo and a map, so I will
look at these and let you all know what I find. (it's in the
auxiliary library, which is way across campus from me)
The book (contemporary to the fair, written apparently by a
fairgoer) I saw on the 1875-76 Philadelphia fair mentioned as an
innovation the hand-crank rather than foot pedal machine! The text
said something about how this would keep the ladies from tiring. The
Smithsonian/Cooper book on Sewing Machines also has a couple photos
of sewing machine displays at the Philadelphia fair. I didn't find
any reference to Singer, so it's good to read Kristina's detective
work - a separate Singer building!! I wonder if there was a special
medallion on whatever machines they had there?
There were interesting bits about a display of needle manufacturing
and of paper presses as well (somewhere at the fair); it's
interesting that Kristina says Singer had a book binding machine -
didn't know they were in the printing business at all.
The books I found on the GG expo in 1939 were rather uninteresting
from a Sewing Machine point of view. Most are about how they
transformed treasure island into an expo center. ("Treasure
island, the Magic City by Jack James, 1941; "Treasure Island;
San Francisco's exposition Years" by Richard Reinhardt, 1973) There
was apparently a big conflict when New york had a show at the same
time. I expect the catalogue will be more interesting. And the map.
Date: Thu, 30 Nov 1995 22:41:31 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Free Westinghouse/questions
I want to say, I recieved the rotary machine needles for the
Free Westinghouse I have. After 7 years, I can now use it, and the wonderful
attachments that came with it.
I do have some questions for all you "experts" out there.
First: How is this machine supposed to sound. Mine was making a really
loud humming/grinding noise at first. After oil and cleaning, it stopped
the grinding noise, but has a humming similar to childs maechanical toy, but
louder. When I let up on the knee pedal, to stop sewing, it makes a funny
deep grinding-hum. Is this normal? Or is this from having been sitting
in my MIL's basement for so long. It has no rust, or embedded dirt, It
looked pretty clean. It sews beautifully, no missed stitches or notted
threads. I did notice there was lots of oil all over. My hands were covered
with it, and I had to keep wiping everything several times from all the oil.
It was mostly underneath, and around the presser foot area.
If I sew fast with it, it vibrates, and the cabinet starts "dancing" away
from me. I guess it is made to go slower.
Also I found a silver plate, attached under the machine with this number on it
On the back of the machine, near the motor was this information:
style # 1172260-A NP45311
TYPE E is written underneath in green ink.
What do these thing mean?
This is an electric, not a threadle.
I hope some of you can help me out with these questions.
Thanks to all of you Marilyn
P.s. If anyone has the quilting book - New Ideas For Lap Quilting by Georgia
Bonesteel / look on page 4. There is a black SINGER machine. It has one bar
straight down with a spring, where the presser foot would be. One large
throat plate for sewing on. I looked in the book, but it doesn't say, that I
can see, what kind of machine this is. I got this book from the library today
to read up on some quilting I'd like to try. I opened the book, saw this
machine and immediately thought of the FWF's.
Date: Thu, 30 Nov 1995 23:39:49 -0500
Subject: Carter Bays book
I have a copy of Carter-Bays book, The Encyclopedia of Early American Sewing
Machines. It is an excellant book for collectors of treadle and hand
operated sewing machines. He devotes 20 pages to the development of the
sewing machine; the inventors, Howe, Singer, Wilson and Grover; and the
Sewing Machine Combination. The bulk of the book covers sewing machine
manufacturers from 1850 - 1880 with lots and lots of drawings and photos.
There are 31 pages of photos of toy sewing machines. 5 pages are devoted to
metal, wood, and veneer restoration. His serial number dating chart covers
12 manufacturers but covers only 1850 - 1876.
As I said, it is a great book for antique sewing machine collectors but it
does not cover any electric machines. The FW is way too modern for this
Another good book for treadle collectors is Antique American Sewing Machines,
A Value Guide by James A. Slaten (ISBN 0-9632287-0-6) paperback, about $25.
While not as extensive as the Carter Bays book, it is a good handbook. The
treadles pictured are late 1800s and early 1900s. I almost fills in where
Carter Bays stops. The FW is listed fondly as the "last but not least". The
FW is the only electric listed in Slaten's book.
Date: Fri, 1 Dec 1995 08:48:47 -0500
Subject: 99k HELP?
Hi again! Spent the evening with my 99k and Sincere's Sewing Machine
Repair book. I'm getting a stitch...but have BIG loops on the bottom of
the fabric. I'm still messing with the tension though I'm thinking of
adjusting the timing...anyone have any thoughts?? Should I confess that I
really don't know what I'm doing and take it to the repair place? ;-) It
is fun to tinker. I did not know that the 99 is just a smaller version of
the 66. Any advice gratefull accepted!
Date: Fri, 1 Dec 1995 09:14:15 -0500
Subject: toy sewing machine for sale
Reading this list is part of my addiction, and I admit that I am powerless
over it. Them's the breaks, I guess.
To the point, I have picked up a tan Sewhandy toy sewing machine. It is in
near mint condition. I am asking $95 including postage. I believe it books
for around $150 so I am being fair here. Please email me if interested.
Subject: Magazine Articles
Date: Fri, 01 Dec 95 10:35:12 -0500
Several FWF have mentioned the current article about Featherweights on the
newsstands but I also know of two other recent ones. Hope I'm not repeating
In the July, 1995 issue #105 of Lady's Circle Patchwork Quilts there is an
article entitled "Those Fabulous Featherweights: My Quest for A
Featherweight Sewing Machine (Singer Model 221) by Georgene Muller Lockwood.
(Is she a member of FWF?) It is a wonderful three-page article with colored
pictures of a white FW (looks a lot whiter than the one I own) and a black
FW. While there isn't info that we probably haven't read on this digest,
it's always fun to read ANYTHING about a FW. One source printed for FW feet
and buttonholers is Gene and Marge Bauer, 1008 Crestview, Cedar Hill, TX
75104, phone 214-291-4670.
The second article is in the October, 1995 issue #107 of the same magazine.
"Hand and Machine Quilting: The Sewing See-Saw" by Eve Carr. It has two
colored pictures of machines in the Antique Sewing Machine Museum of
Arlington, Texas and a pix of the museum owner, Frank Smith. This is a
great article full of s.m. history. According to Mr. Smith, the Singer Co.
instructed approximately 1,500 stores to destroy competitors' sew. machines
as they were taken as trade-ins. Smith actually witnessed a Singer rep
doing this! His response was to begin collecting old machines to preserve
their history. [A side note: Smith reveres Elias Howe and there was a US
postage stamp honoring Howe in 1940. Might be something else to collect.]
Smith's museum also includes antique collections of buttons, sewing patterns
and sewing tools. He is also having new FW cases made for customers. Phone:
The rest of the 2-page article mentions that many Southern machines were
destroyed by the North during the Civil War as it was felt it would damage
the South's efforts if they couldn't produce Confederate uniforms.
The funniest paragraphs cover the machine's inception when it was felt that
women were too dumb to operate the devices. To win over husbands in order
to make a sale, the local pastor's wife would demonstrate. [ No wonder it
took us so long to get the vote if they thought women were THAT stupid!]
To order back issues of Lady's Circle, call (800) 397-8150 or (815)734-4151.
Patchwork Quilts, P.O. Box 516, Mount Morris, IL 61054. $5.00 each.
Books mentioned in the Eve Carr article included:
Straight Stitch Machine Applique, History, Patterns &Instructions by Letty
Martin, published by American Quilter's Society; P.O. Box 3290, Paducah, KY
420020-3290, $16.95 plus $2.00 s &h.
The Americans: A Social History of the United States 1587-1914 by J.C.
Furnas. I don't know if this is still in print.
Date: Fri, 1 Dec 1995 09:33:10 -0800
Subject: Re: FW Fanatics 11/30/95
Went on a sewing machine expedition and found lots and lots of machines,
including 3 FWs (but none of the FW's were in good condition). There were a
couple I was especially taken with and was hoping someone could give me some
ideas of value: One was a portable in a bentwood case called an Eldridge
"E" - quite ornate - $150.00. This had a motor that kind of swung in and
out on a hinge - pretty neat! There was a Windsor in a cabinet in need of
repair but a really pretty head for $175. An absolutely gorgeous electric
Singer with mother of pearl inlays of sphinxs and other Egyptian style stuff
(G4558789) in a very nice little cabinet $135. A Wilson Gibbs from 1889 in
gorgeous condition with attachments $275 (that seemed high to me). A White
in a bentwood case in very nice condition for $167.50. A really nice
looking White Rotary, very ornate looking like cast iron, in a cabinet with
manual and Greist attachments for $110.00. This looked like it had barely
been used, by the way. And last but certainly not least - and I think
perhaps the most valuable, an old treadle called a Minnehaha B in an
"enclosed" cabinet - meaning that the whole treadle mechanisms were inside
of the cabinet which you swung open to expose. $275.00. The only thing
wrong with the Minnehaha was that there appeared to be a medallion or some
round piece of metal missing on the front of the machine head. Actually,
it's not even that noticable because the head is so ornate.
I also saw one of the boxes everyone has been talking about that lays flat
when opened. It was absolutely FULL of the most interesting looking
attachments. The manual was included too. The dealer wanted $60 which was
too rich for me.
Please let me know if any of the above machines seems like a really good
Date: Fri, 1 Dec 1995 15:00:19 -0500
Subject: Re: FW Fanatics 11/30/95
> As it was, I was
>standing in the shrubbery after hours, peering in with a
>flashlight---probably not a wise idea---but curiosity. .
Oh, what we won't do :). Katy
Date: Fri, 1 Dec 1995 15:28:25 -0500
Subject: Walking foot for 301
I just got a Singer Even Feed Walking foot #C-400 to use with my Singer 301,
slant needle machine. Has anyone used this? It seems to bind up somewhere
when I put it on the machine. Haven't been able to determine exactly where.
When I loosen the screw that holds it onto the presser bar it seems to help
but then it seems loose, wiggly. I have noticed when I move the handwheel
very slowly, that the toes of the foot move from left to right i.e. the foot
appears to pivot about the presser bar slightly. It does this more freely
when the screw is loosened but also does it when it is tight, perhaps this is
where it is binding up? It is also rather noisy. Can anyone offer any help or
advice? I sure would appreciate it. Thanks, Katy
Date: Fri, 1 Dec 1995 16:33:40 -0500
Subject: Help with Stitch Forming Mechanism
I picked up an old Featherweight (s/n AE258254) at an outdoor antique show
and sale in Auburn, California. This is my second one (DH gave me a beauty
for Christmas last year). This old gal has seen a lot of use. She's not
very shiny and some of the gold scroll work is worn off. I think she needs a
new belt, but she really hummed after she was lubed and oiled. She came with
no attachments, no tray, and a beat up case, but all of her parts seem to be
Simanco and she's got her original owner's manual.
My problem seems to be with the "stitch forming mechanism". When the upper
thread goes through the hole and around the bobbin case, it seems to loop
somehow so that the upper thread is pulled back up through the hole, instead
of the bobbin thread. After another stitch, the bobbin thread comes up, but
that's because it's tangled in the upper thread.
Does anybody have any idea what I do here? I'd rather not take her to a
repair man, if it's just a matter of reassembling the bobbin pieces. I can't
find anythong else wrong with the machine. I've cleaned it using Nancy
Johnson'Srebro's book and Mimi Vaeth's class as a reference. Anybody got any
Also, I've got an old buttonholer, part number 121795. The copyright date on
the manual is 1939, 1940, but the pictures don't look like a Featherweight.
It says "Singer" on the top and it's in a green Singer box. Will this work
on my Featherweight?
Thanks for this digest. I can't believe how much time it takes to read it,
much less how much time it takes to put it together. What fun!
Date: Fri, 1 Dec 1995 17:52:41 -0500
Subject: Tables and Featherlites
I just read the message I sent yesterday. The legs on my friends
featherweight table are black, not the table. Maybe I should start
I have a featherlite machine. I bought it used at a vacuum cleaner store.
It is white, tho.
It doesn't have a brand name on it, no company would own up to making it. It
is light to carry, which is why I got it. It sews pretty well, but can't get
over very thick seams. You have to concentrate on sewing straight if you are
sewing over a seam. It is OK, but you wouldn't confuse mine with a
Date: Fri, 1 Dec 1995 19:15:40 -0500
Subject: FW Cabinet
I'm just getting caught up on last weeks digests, but I think its funny that
both Shirley and Krisi mentioned the maple cabinet. I've been waiting to
hear about this, because my mom's FW lived in this pretty cabinet. The only
reason why I haven't pestered her for it is that in about 1970 she had my dad
make the hole bigger for her "new" Singer. She still has her FW (and her
Touch &Sew with its cams). I have my grandmother's FW. My clearest memory
of the cabinet was that the table top weighed a ton, was just a little too
big to hold and since it was oval it was hard to get a good grip on it. I
also remember waxing it weekly. The wood was gorgeous.
Marilyn, The picture in G. Bonesteel's book is a toy Singer from about 1910.
(I have one that my DH gave me last year for Christmas.) They are only
about 8" high and 10" long. Mine was about $150 (Auburn CA). Saw one at a
show in Sept for $125 (Ft. Wash, PA).
Andrew McQ, Personally I wouldn't hesitate to purchase a FW by mail or EMail
from Dale Pickens, I've never bought a machine from him, but his reputation
among quilters is excellent. From Dale you get a machine that has all of its
parts and runs, if you bought one in an antique shop you would probably have
to get it lubed and tuned...another $60-80.
Sue, congrats! Take good care of yourself and your wee one!
To everybody, I keep a little spiral notebook on my computer desk and make
note when you all share those wonderful tidbits. Thanks one and all,
Date: Fri, 1 Dec 1995 20:23:33 -0500
Subject: Re: FW Fanatics 11/25/95
I have a question for all you FWFanatics - what do you do with all your
machines?? I know I'm not the only one with numerous machines (unfortunately
only one FW) and I have my three favorites - the FW, my 301a and my Spartan
sitting on top of a long,low bookcase. My treadle machine stays closed and
sits by the door holding a basket with hats and gloves. My four toys sit on
top of the shelves where my fabric stash lives - the shelf is too high to use
for fabric. I'd buy more machines if only I could think of where to put them,
but I'm running out of space. Any new ideas would be appreciated. I paid WAY
too much for a toy black Singer at an auction this weekend, but it was so
cute and had a little suitcase-like case that looked just like the case for
my 301a. Quite a disease we have! But it's such fun!! Sue M.
Subject: Foot for OLD New Home
Date: Fri, 1 Dec 95 02:06:00 PDT
FF>I've been going through all my quilt books yet again but this time with an
FF>eye to finding pictures of old machines. I think this is a sickness... Katy
Yes...it is a sickness, and it gets progressively worse. Soon you will
FF>2. I have a 1948 New Home, in perfect meachanical shape. All
FF>decals are gorgeous. I had purchased it in a old beat up
FF>cabinet, 4 years ago for $25 from
FF>a man who made motorcycle helmet inserts.
How did you find out it is a 1948? I have a 40's vintage New Home, and
I have not been able to get a date pinned to it. What color is yours?
Mine is gold, and it is gorgeous too.
I am trying to find a
FF>walking foot for it. The New Home company says we don't have any.
FF>DO any of you?
I hate to disappoint you, but I don't think you will find such an animal.
Take the foot off of your machine and measure it from the U thingy that
hooks to the machine to the bottom of the foot. It will either measure
somewhere around 1/2" or somewhere around 3/4". I suspect it will be
the high shank (3/4), since that is what mine is. I have found many
sets of attachments for Low shank machines using that style foot, but
only a few scattered feet for the high shank which my New Home has. Do
you have a manual for yours? I have one if you would like a copy it
doesn't cost much to copy and mail it.
There are a lot of neet attachments made for the machine...I should say
were made, since no one makes them anymore...but as far as I know, a
walking foot was never made, and I don't know of any way to attach one
to the machine. That thumbscrew does not come off as it does on some
models of machine using that style attachment. By the way, Greist makes
If your machine uses the 3/4" shank feet Sewing Emporium has a couple of
hemmers and a zipper foot available for it. They sell them for $4.95
each. That's where I found the few I have. If it uses the 1/2" feet, I
know my localsewingmachineguru has an entire set which I think he is
asking $25 for.
Subject: Fran's Workshop
Date: Fri, 1 Dec 95 03:06:00 PDT
Well, I've been busy again tonight. I had been into my favorite thrift
store yesterday, and they had an old electric White Rotary in their bid
case. I knew I wouldn't be down for their weekly auction, but I figured
I'd put a written bid on the poor thing, and if I got it, the machine
was meant to be mine. Well guess what, I got her for $25 dollars. I
called tonight to check, and she is mine. I guess the other people
couldn't see beneath the grime. She isn't rusty, but she is VERY VERY
dusty. I mean you can probably stand a ruler up in the dust. YECH!
But, I saw her potential. She must have wanted me to buy her, knowing I
would fix her up and make her purr (we hope).
Well, knowing DH would be less than pleased about the prospect of
ANOTHER sewing machine in HIS basement, I figured I had better get back
to work on my current projects.
I can't finish sandblasting the iron yet, because it's raining too much,
and you can't sandblast in the rain, so I brought my centennial model 15
upstairs for her facial and clean up since I have finished refinishing
I had originally thought her finish was cracking, but when I got her
upstairs and on to the examination table I realized my initial diagnosis
was incorrect. When her previous owner had put her away, apparently
aware she would sit somewhere for a long time, they coated her entire
self with oil. This oil had turned yellow, crustified, and cracked. I
was (and still am) ELATED!
OF NOTE TO THE PERSON WONDERING HOW TO CLEAN HER MACHINE WITHOUT
REMOVING THE PAINT:
I figured I had better try this before I recommended it to anyone else,
even though my DH said it was wonderful stuff, and would do the job
without damaging the finish. He was right, it did. I am a convert!
This stuff is AMAZING!
I have spent the last 5 hours disassembling, cleaning and oiling her.
She now has a coat of wax drying for me to buff her to a beautiful
shine. The finish isn't as perfect as my featherweight, but my hands
are sore, so I decided it was good enough.
The fine coating of crusty oil was everywhere! Some places very fine,
in others downright thick. I got out some 0000 steel wool and sprayed
her down, then I rubbed gently, wiped her off, sprayed again, rubbed
some more, wiped, sprayed, rubbed...etc....for 5 hours. I took off all
easily removable parts. WD-40 will eventually loosen most screws, you
just have to be patient and very liberal in your application of the
wonderful stuff. All of her innards and outards are now clean and
oiled. I will add a few drops of real sewing machine oil, just for good
measure, when she is all back together and in her cabinet.
She is a centennial model 15, with Singer painted on one side, and
Made in Canada, The Singer Manufacturing Co; on the other side. Her
serial # is JC274826.
I paid all of $20 for her...that seems to be a magic number for me. I
think these machines find me, for such good prices, because they know I
will fix them up and love them, and even try and use them for their
intended purpose from time to time. Or I will try to find good homes
for them. This one I am keeping though, since she will be my first
completed restoration from pathetic to beautiful.
This whole project will be peanuts compared to the White I just got. It
is in REALLY pathetic shape...at least it is REALLY dirty. The cabinet
and machine actually seem to be in pretty good order. I better buy a
CASE of WD-40 for this project.
By the way, DH has given up. He just sighed and said "another sewing
machine" weakly. He didn't even protest. I may even be getting him
hooked...he did spend 6 hours, a couple of weeks ago, helping me
sandblast one of my treadle irons...and tonight he was amazed at how
much better this machine looked when it was cleaned up. He was (dare I
say it) actually impressed.
The disease is, after all, highly contagious. It's just a matter of
Date: Sat, 2 Dec 1995 11:10:51 -0500
Subject: Re: Buttonholers from heaven
Dear Friends Regarding Nancy's and other's inquiries about how well the
buttonholer works my response is - value it above all others! This was and
still is, IMHO, the ultimate solution to the button-hole problem. Every time
a new machine comes out I race to see if they have gotten the message but
nooo, bartack-uponeside-bartack-downoneside, grrrr. On the other hand this
silly little clacking doodah gadget from Singer does it all for you!! Pick up
your button, hold it against the templates til you find the right one, drop
it into your gizmo, put it on your machine and DO NOT FORGET to put your
cover plate on!! Position and let her rip! This little guy clicketyclacks
its way around the buttonhole all by itself by twitching the fabric back and
forth, the needle stays in one place. That's why the feedplate cover is so
essential. Since I grew up with this imagine my shock when I *traded up* and
all of a sudden I had to start figuring out how to do the buttonholes myself.
It seriously slowed down my sewing! All I can say is I am once again the
delighted owner of a singer buttonholer - only regret the loss of that box of
extra templates I used to have. Happy sewing! Henrietta
Date: Sat, 2 Dec 1995 08:52:03 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Re: FW Fanatics 12/1/95
Sue M.-In Southern CA., you just must have a featherweight for the
Quilting Workshops. Where I teach and sponser guest speakers, you'll see
these ladies at the bottom of the stairs wondering how they are going to
make it up with the FeatherWeight. I don't recall a Wilson and
Gibbs, for those of you into the Willcox and Gibbs. There old hand cranks
are just lovely. All that have ordered machine from my list, those orders
are out, so those of you that haven't gotten yours yet they are coming
UPS. I promised a full list, but the children's medical problems are
overwhelming as of late. But I will say I have 4 FeatherWeights left, one
is white, Spartans, A Butterfly which is a reproduction of the ARt Deco
era, a 401A that looks like my mother bought it. This machine has not
been used it is in perfect condition, and the 1908 Art Deco Head that
goes into a flatbed cabinet. John, Singer has your part, or do you want
one off an old machine. I have a 301 A, a AC treadle head, floral Art
Deco wworn a bit round bobbin. Singer Treadles, early 1900's, a Howe
treadle, Singer Fiddlebase Treadle, Singer 1717 Hand Crank. Yesterday, I
brought home the 1924 Art Deco in Breadbox for today's quilting workshop
that I teach. This machine must be mine, the kidz are all ready wanting
it stated in the will. Zsuxxa
Date: Sat, 02 Dec 1995 12:22:18 -0500 (EST)
Subject: to do with machines...
Hi! For Sue M. who asked what do we do with all our machines (I have six plus
a serger): Besides sewing and showing, I was at a lovely sewing-related party
(a luncheon) last year in Rochester, NY, at a quiltnetter's home. She used her
FW as the table centerpiece - sitting on lace, draped and covered and
surrounded with tiny spools of thread, notions, needles, laces, fabric pieces,
small mini quilt blocks, etc. It was absolutely enchanting, and so very a
propos for the occasion - and it fit so well on the table, too! So what ELSE
do we do with these machines? C'mon, people, share!! Ruth Allen in central NY
where the sky is blue and cheery today
Date: 02 Dec 95 12:42:33 EST
Subject: FW Fanatics 12/1/95
Subject: Re: FW Fanatics 11/30/95
<<. A really nice looking White Rotary, very ornate looking like cast iron, in
a cabinet with
manual and Greist attachments for $110.00.>>
I am interested in what kind of cabinet this machine was in. I have what sounds
like the above and it is in a fantastic walnut cabinet with a top that totally
lifts off to use the machine. It is made of bent wood for the legs and looks
like a lovely table when all put together with not a hint that it is a sewing
The manual with the machine is dated 1930 and my machine also has every Griest
attachment that I would think was made at the time all fitted into a box with
special places for each attachment.
Date: Sat, 2 Dec 1995 13:32:11 -0500
Yesterday, I found a shiny black box labeled Rotary at a junk
store. Inside were Greist attachments. I looked through the box,
but did not find an attachment foot. All of the pieces had a
prong gizmo that would be horizontal to a machine bed. I can go
back to the store and buy the box if anyone wants it. They were
Date: Sat, 2 Dec 1995 10:52:30 -0800
Subject: Re: FW Fanatics 12/1/95
I would be interested in getting a case for my 301 - any resources out there?
Date: Sat, 2 Dec 1995 14:53:56 -0500
Subject: Buttonholer for Slant Machines
I just received a buttonholer today that I thought I would be able to use,
but can't. It is a 1960 Singer Buttonholer (complete) made for slant model
machines. It's in this pink egg looking case..... funny looking :-)
Let me know if you can use it. I have already paid $20 for it so I would
sell it to you for that plus postage.
Date: Sat, 2 Dec 1995 15:25:09 -0500
Subject: Got a New Toy
Ok, I know some of you are thinking..... new FW. But it's not. Actually, I
like to collect old toy sewing machines and I got a new toy today. It is a
Casige, black metal with tulip design..... excellent condition! If you have
Glenda Thomas's book, it is Plate #33. Interesting thing is I found this
same machine for much more money but it was bent and sooooo rusted.....
blech!!!!! I was happy to have found this one. I keep thinking that I
need to stop collecting for awhile until my bank account recovers, but then
another special little machine comes along that is just looking for a good
home..... MINE!!! :-)
Date: Sat, 02 Dec 1995 19:17:25 -0500 (EST)
Subject: masking tape
Hi- For Kim: When you use masking tape to help keep a 1/4" seam, build the
tape up by applying about six layers of it. This gives you a ridge to follow.
Tip was from Nancy Johnson-Srebo- I had the pleasure of hearing/seeing her
presentations on two occasions! This "ridge" works well and really keeps your
1/4" seam intact. You can also use a thicker substance - I bet any of the Dr.
Sholls (sp) things would cut and apply well, as they are sticky-backed and
thick. Regards from Ruth A
Date: Sat, 2 Dec 1995 20:22:08 -0600
re:>Andrew McQ, Personally I wouldn't hesitate to purchase a FW by mail or EMail
>from Dale Pickens, I've never bought a machine from him, but his reputation
>among quilters is excellent. From Dale you get a machine that has all of its
>parts and runs, if you bought one in an antique shop you would probably have
>to get it lubed and tuned...another $60-80.
Thanks for the endorsement! One thing my Dad really enjoys is talking to
the people on the phone and meeting them at quilt shows---and of course
talking about featherweights! Mom really enjoys it too, and she has told
my Dad that, "no way are you going to sell that mint 1933 FW!" Way to go
Just to let you know my mother and father are going on a featherweight
safari hunt in a couple of days. They should have a couple of more fw's to
add to the inventory. In the meantime, give him a call in you are wanting
to get yourself a nice Christmas present.
Featherweight Fanatics Page *
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