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Thread: What do you think I need to look for in a FW?

  1. #1
    Super Member deedum's Avatar
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    Smile What do you think I need to look for in a FW?

    I have a chance to buy a white and also a black featherweight? Any advice on what I should be looking at, checking for? I really don't know much about them. There are only two things I do know about them. #1 they sure are cute and #2 I don't need another machine. However, I still plan on trying to buy one.

  2. #2
    Senior Member csharp's Avatar
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    You might want to check that the bobbin holder is in place, how good the wiring is and how the condition of the belt on the motor is ...all parts that are easily obtained on ebay or other sources. Is there a case with these machines and does the case have a key and what condition the case is in....all would effect the price. Manuals can be downloaded for maintenance, threading and general sewing info. Original manuals would be a plus. You'll love having one. White ones seem to be priceier. That one is still on my bucket list. Check out ebay to see what these machines are going for, for an idea of the market price. Anything $200 or under is usually a deal if they are in good condition. Enjoy!
    with a passion for quilting and vintage machines..Singers: 99, 4 featherweights, Redeye 66, Lotus 66, Phoenix 27, 15-91, 301A
    Colleen S.

  3. #3
    Senior Member DanofNJ's Avatar
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    I would be sure that the condition of the finish is pleasing, and that the motor is sound and runs with power. They are pretty straight forward machines. Also, if the body show powder white decay then it would need a major restoration and repaint which would probably be pricey and frustrating. Be sure that the feed dogs work, and that movement is smooth as well.

  4. #4
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    I know that the white ones are more expensive, but I'd chose a black one because the bed extension is longer. Also, the black ones seem to be better made all the way around. For instance, look at the pretty gold emblem/badge on the front pillar on the black one. Then look at the White one...it looks like just a sticker; it looks cheaper to me.
    SheSews (when she can)

  5. #5
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    A FW will have the little attached table that folds up on the left side of the machine. If possible check to see that they sew with a scrap of fabric. Is the bobbin case there and bobbins? Are the cords in good shape?

  6. #6
    Super Member deedum's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone. Very helpful info. We will see what condition they are in, I think I prefer the black one. It would go so well with my vintage singers, but will just have to see. A white one is darling too. I should be able to get the serial no and doing a bit more checking on them before I put in my bid. Wish my luck!

  7. #7
    Super Member ArchaicArcane's Avatar
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    As others mentioned, make sure the bobbin case is there, it's about a $45 touch if it's not, and replacements often don't work like the originals. Some people like to steal them unfortunately.

    In my opinion, things like belts and power cords and other consumables wouldn't put me off a machine, they're a negotiation point though (I was hoping to sew with it tonight... but it needs.... ) The important parts are the non-replaceables and the expensive to replace parts (body condition - paint, bobbin wider bracket not broken off, motor, etc) , even a broken bobbin winder is not the end of a sale, as long as the bracket is intact. There are parts for these machines all over, and a few really reputable people to get them from on the internet.

    That said, I like to "force appreciate" the value of my machines: buy dirty, grungy, machines that haven't been maintained for less money, and raise the value of them by fixing them up both under the hood and body wise. If you just want to sew with little work, look at everything you can.

    If it doesn't sew, check the #1 most common reason that they won't:
    There's a locating finger for the hook that becomes dislodged when clearing a thread jam. See this link for a visual of it: http://thefeatherweight221factory.co...MachineJam.php - The last 3 photos go through what I'm babbling about. 2 of the 4 machines I've bought have had this problem, including the 222 I scored 2 weeks ago. Now that you know how to fix it, it's also a negotiating point. There's not a lot that goes permanently wrong with a featherweight.


    The other thing, adding to what csharp said, if you're going to check ebay, there's a way to do an advanced search. Look for -sold- machines. Completed auctions, etc. This will give you a proper idea of the value of a machine. The asking prices are out to lunch in a lot cases, and can cause you to pay more than you should for a machine.
    Last edited by ArchaicArcane; 01-18-2013 at 08:01 PM.
    Tammi - I've found that many baby steps tend to get you further than a huge leap in followed by a huge leap out - http://www.archaicarcane.com
    Singer 431G, 411G, 301A, 2x 221 (featherweight), 222k - the holy grail, 99, 115, 15-90 Centennial, 27, VS2, 28 hc, 128 knee bar, 201-2, Pfaff 130-6. Non-Vintage - Pfaff 6122, Kenmore (Janome) 385.81595 serger, Kenmore (Janome) 385.81155, 2013 APQS Lucey

  8. #8
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    This Board is wonderful. Lots of good advice has already been posted. If the case isn't included or is damaged/smelly- definitely lower the price. Nice cases are hard to come by and expensive to buy. Just a replacement handle is about $20, though you can substitute a suitcase handle. Be sure the attaching links go east-west or north-south like the original. Latches are a tougher fix. Some folks just use a small wheeled hardsided suitcase or toolbox instead of a case. Smelly cases can be cleaned, and many times the odor is from old oil or mildew on the replaceable felt pad inside the bottom of the machine- a simple inexpensive fix. Good luck!

    White FW's are definitely harder to come by, have a smaller folding bed, and are from the 60's. You can find the age of a Singer on the internet using the serial #. Older machines in good condition with intact decals tend to be pricier. Keep looking on Craigslist as well- search "Sewing machine" as well as "Featherweight" and "221" and you may be lucky enough to find one for dirt cheap listed as simply "old sewing machine".

  9. #9
    Super Member deedum's Avatar
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    Thanks again. I am fortunate my dh can fix about anything. Actually, I will get to see them in person this week to find out what kind of shape they are in. Who knows, I might actually score one fordecent price. I am not interested in paying a huge amount of money, although a fair price is reasonable. After all, I am reminded I am not married to a Rockerfella. Although, I given an opportunity I may just buy both. Thanks for yr help.

  10. #10
    Super Member SunlitenSmiles's Avatar
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    be sure to let us know and pictures......I am cheering for the black SINGER 221 as people I know who have both say the white ones have less power and do not sew heavier fabrics as well......but if piecing cotton either one will be great.

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