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Thread: Educate me on Featherweights please

  1. #1
    Junior Member Feather3's Avatar
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    A neighbor, who is in his mid to late 80's, has a small sewing machine repair/retail shop in his garage. I just heard they may sell their house & move into senior living. I see a featherweight sitting in the window, but have never gone there to look at it. My Husband thinks I should see what he may want for it, which I am sure is more than most would be willing to pay, as he's not cheap. I have no idea what to look for. Year, case, motor, bobbin case, needles. What about parts? ....I'd appreciate what are the main things I should check, if I decide to go look at it. Are there better years, models? I don't even know if he has more than one featherweight. I've never seen one up close. I see the posts about so many of you buying them. What's so great about them?

    PS: I have a Bernina 830LE, Bernina 903, Sailrite Industrial 111, Bernina Serger, Babylock Coverstitch. I quilt, make jeans, t-tops, you name it. I do allot of sewing.

    Thanks,
    Toy

  2. #2
    Super Member ckcowl's Avatar
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    a feather weight is just a nice little straight stitch machine- it is lightweight- which is one of it's big draws- easy to take to classes- only weighs 12 pounds. they have a (tool box) which is all contained in the case- very complete-very compact-
    and they are work horses- as long as you take care of them will sew for 100's of years...a nice even straight stitch.
    there is a featherweight society- you should check them out to find answeres to some of your questions- or what is wrong with finally visiting the shop and asking questions...they would probably be happy to show it all to you and tell you all about it. they range in price from $25 up to $750 or more----location matters, condition of course-the person selling it-
    i would visit his shop and look at all of his machines and ask questions about them all...you may find yourself a real treasure- or you may decide what you have suits your needs just fine.

  3. #3
    Super Member Annaquilts's Avatar
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    What to look for is if it runs and how it looks physically. They are fun little machines that are very functional. I think in the $200-$350 range, with case for a basic black machine and some attachments, would be a good price right now.

  4. #4
    Junior Member OCQuilts's Avatar
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    Congratulations on your 830 le! Have fun in Chicago! Do you have any idea about his reputation. the positive would be to have a fastidious gentleman who restored the machine to perfection. Or was he some one who oiled them up and slapped a high price on them? If his reputation is solid Id snap up one in a sec.

  5. #5
    Junior Member Feather3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OCQuilts
    Congratulations on your 830 le! Have fun in Chicago! Do you have any idea about his reputation. the positive would be to have a fastidious gentleman who restored the machine to perfection. Or was he some one who oiled them up and slapped a high price on them? If his reputation is solid Id snap up one in a sec.
    Sadly I can't do the VIP trip to Chicago. Love my 830 LE tho :).

    He's in his 80's now. Build a garage after he retired & repaired sewing machines. He has a few sitting to sell. It's not a place you see people going to much at all tho. I'm sure he'll want way more than it's worth.

  6. #6
    Super Member oldswimmer's Avatar
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    Well go see anyway. Talk to him about it, and what his plans are...are they moving, downsizing. He may not want as much as you think...and if not many people come, he may come down later if he is too high to begin with. All I know is that you may be kickin' yourself if you dont go see.
    And it will give you a chance to wish them well. Go see, there is no harm in that. good luck!

  7. #7
    Super Member greenini's Avatar
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    The FW are fun, classy little machines. Altho they only straight stitch, they also made attachments to do most anything that modern machines do. You can get an aux. buttonholer, zig-zagger, monogramer (rare), ruffler, wide angle hemmer, narrow hemmer, tucker, 1/4 foot...

    You don't need any of the attachments to do the most beautiful straight stitch you'll ever see, tho! They are too much fun to carry to classes, etc. If you pay a lot (over say $100), make sure the case doesn't smell, it should have the most common attachments, the ruffler, the narrow and wide angle hemmer, the tucker, and maybe a buttonholer. If you want more you can always get them here or on ebay! Look for the book, tho again you can get copies online for free or it's included in Nancy Johnson-Sebro's book, the Perfect Portable, which I recommend. Ebay'ers also sell nicely bound reprints of the manual.

    I would take some fabric with you and go sew, see if it does anything you can't live without. If you fall in love with it, maybe he'll give you a good price because you love it and he wants it to go to a good home, you never know.

  8. #8
    Junior Member neenee586's Avatar
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    Nothing ventured, nothing gained! Even if he wants a ridiculous amount, if he lets you try it out you would know what to expect if you bought one off of Ebay. Good Luck!

  9. #9
    Super Member Deborahlees's Avatar
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    Well did you go and get the machine....

  10. #10
    Junior Member Feather3's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info. I'll try to go see it soon & let you uknow what he has & what he wants for it.

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