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Thread: Featherweight Question?

  1. #1
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    For all those in the know about FWs!!

    I was in a 2nd hand store yesterday and saw an old sewing machine.

    Yes to Singer, black, silver scrolly plates, gold design etc.

    However, the FWs that have been shown here seem to have black square box cases.

    This one has a wooden case. The top being like an upside down "U".

    So is it another version?
    or what is it?

    Please? and Thanks!

  2. #2
    okiepastor's Avatar
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    Coffin case---could be anything in there......
    FWs are LIGHT weight!

  3. #3
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    Does the bed to the left of the needle fold up? If not, it's not a FW. I have a 127 in a bentwood case.

  4. #4
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    I didn't know enough of what to look at ... honestly, I was taken by the case!

    Bentwood, yes that'd be the term!

    Are the model #s/names on the machines?
    And where should I look?

    Was it only the FWs that had the fold up bed? So is that a clear identifier?

    Curious? how lightweight are the FWs ... as in pounds?

    I didn't spend much time looking at it, as I really didn't know what to look for and was with a friend who was clearly not interested ... basically I got a "hrmpff" reaction!! :)

    Please? and Thanks!
    from this newbie to the FW world.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuiltE
    I didn't know enough of what to look at ... honestly, I was taken by the case!

    Bentwood, yes that'd be the term!

    Are the model #s/names on the machines?
    And where should I look?

    Was it only the FWs that had the fold up bed? So is that a clear identifier?

    Curious? how lightweight are the FWs ... as in pounds?

    I didn't spend much time looking at it, as I really didn't know what to look for and was with a friend who was clearly not interested ... basically I got a "hrmpff" reaction!! :)

    Please? and Thanks!
    from this newbie to the FW world.

    It's not the only singer that folds. If you do a search there are many pictures of FW's. I don't have one handy right now to post for you.

    They weigh about 12 lbs.

  6. #6
    Power Poster sueisallaboutquilts's Avatar
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    FW's are really cute and small. They have the fold up side but so does the 301- different though and bigger machine.
    Yes, 12 pounds is correct.
    Most of the old Singers are fabulous!! Let us know what you get, if you get it :D

  7. #7
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sueisallaboutquilts
    FW's are really cute and small. They have the fold up side but so does the 301- different though and bigger machine.
    Yes, 12 pounds is correct.
    Most of the old Singers are fabulous!! Let us know what you get, if you get it :D
    Thanks SueIsAllAboutQuilts ... I'm totally hesitant on getting one. Not the MrsFixIt sort ... would soon be productive with fabric and see results than to be frustrated should things go wrong.

    I think I'll be watching for awhile and learning a lot more, before/if I take the plunge.

  8. #8
    Power Poster sueisallaboutquilts's Avatar
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    That's the beauty of Featherweights! They were made "so that the housewife could easily maintain them" as it's written in the FW book I have.
    Not much to go wrong with them and there are so many sites, not to mention this board for help anytime. :D:D

    You're welcome, friend!! :thumbup:

    EDit to say:

    Since you are in no rush I agree that you can familiarize yourself with them on the board and other sites. That's exactly what I did ( I forgot I did that lol) but now I'm totally addicted to them. :thumbup:

  9. #9
    Super Member hobbykat1955's Avatar
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    If it's cheap and a vintage singer buy it...

  10. #10
    Senior Member VickyS's Avatar
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    May be a Singer 201. My daughter just purchased one for $50 at an estate sale. Supposed to be as good as a 221 (typical Featherweight). Certainly light enough.

    I believe the machine, built at the same time as the traditional Featherweight (judging from the serial number on my daughter's machine) was designed to go in a cabinet, but has the bentwood case in order to make it portable.

    Congrats on a good find!

  11. #11
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    You're getting me intrigued ... I'm going to start inquiring as to the fix-it side of it all. That is, see if anyone in my area works on them as I'd want it to have a good go-over before I started.

    Particularly the electrical part!!!

  12. #12
    Super Member irishrose's Avatar
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    99s, 127s and 128s are 3/4 size machines, but are not lightweight. My 128 weighs 29 pounds. She does have a bentwood case. 301s have the flip up extension and weigh 16 pounds, but they look nothing like a little FW, nor would the case be bentwood. There isn't much to the maintenance if the electrical is good.

  13. #13
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by irishrose
    99s, 127s and 128s are 3/4 size machines, but are not lightweight. My 128 weighs 29 pounds. She does have a bentwood case. 301s have the flip up extension and weigh 16 pounds, but they look nothing like a little FW, nor would the case be bentwood. There isn't much to the maintenance if the electrical is good.
    IrishRose ... So, are you saying all FWs would be in the black squarish case? where would I look for the model #?

  14. #14
    Super Member irishrose's Avatar
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    http://www.singerco.com/support/serial_numbers.html for the date of manufacture and model using the serial number.
    I don't have a FW, but I know they have the model number, which will be 221 or 222( more rare), on a little plate on the pillar. The serial number for more info will be around somewhere - probably underneath like the 301. That's the one used for dating. My 128 has a plate embedded in the bed with the serial number visible from the front of the machine, but no model number anywhere.

    I think all FWs except the white one came in a black case. The white FW's case is aqua.

  15. #15
    Super Member Shelbie's Avatar
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    Not all featherweights had the model number on them. Previous to about 1956 it was not included. My 1958 model has it while my 1950 featherweight does not. All black featherweights came in the black squarish suitcase type box with flip up hinges that lock. The white featherweights came in gray or turqoise heavy vinyl cases or two tone tan/green rectangular cases. Only featherweights and 301'a have flip up machine beds (to access the bobbin and store it in the case). The size of the machine, the case and the flip up bed are all sure fire ways to identify a featherweight. You may see them advertised as feather lites (no such thing) or old Singers in a suitcase.

  16. #16
    Super Member greenini's Avatar
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    If you're still in the beginning stages of FW mania, I recommend you get a copy of Nancy Johnson-Sebro's book Featherweight 221 The perfect portable. It has a lot of info including a chart of manufacturing dates and info about the different colors and manufacturing sites and "eras". There is basically a copy of the original book with how to use the accessories that are common such as the ruffler, edger, tucker, gatherer,binders, hemmers (wide and narrow) and also common issues like how to thread, how the bobbin loads, etc. I couldn't decide if my FW was a good deal, we bought this book the night we saw it, read it from cover to cover, went back and bought her. Never been sorry.

  17. #17
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    I would recommend Nancy's book as well. I have a white/green FW in the soft side case. I have never seen another one in that type of case. By the way, I bought it for $10 at a garage sale and $20 for the black one at the same sale. I gave them $40 for both.

  18. #18
    Power Poster sewbizgirl's Avatar
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    If you go back and get the serial number off that machine (or call and have the shopkeeper get it for you), you can look it up on the singer site and find out just exactly which model it is... and the year it was made. It's possibly an even better machine than the 221 (Featherweight). The bentwood cases are lovely. Here is where you can look up the serial number:
    http://www.singerco.com/support/serial_numbers.html

  19. #19
    Power Poster twinkie's Avatar
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    If the case was domed shaped and it was a little smaller than a full size machine, it would probably have been a Singer 99 which is referred to as a 3/4 machine. It is much heavier than the Featherweight. Also the 128s came in those domed cases and some Model 27's. The domed wooden case was popular for many older Singer models. As far as I know, all black Featherweights were in the black boxed cases.


    Quote Originally Posted by QuiltE
    For all those in the know about FWs!!

    I was in a 2nd hand store yesterday and saw an old sewing machine.

    Yes to Singer, black, silver scrolly plates, gold design etc.

    However, the FWs that have been shown here seem to have black square box cases.

    This one has a wooden case. The top being like an upside down "U".

    So is it another version?
    or what is it?

    Please? and Thanks!
    Did it look like this? This is a Model 99
    Name:  Attachment-187020.jpe
Views: 41
Size:  47.5 KB

  20. #20
    Senior Member violetsfarm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by twinkie
    If the case was domed shaped and it was a little smaller than a full size machine, it would probably have been a Singer 99 which is referred to as a 3/4 machine. It is much heavier than the Featherweight. Also the 128s came in those domed cases and some Model 27's. The domed wooden case was popular for many older Singer models. As far as I know, all black Featherweights were in the black boxed cases.


    Quote Originally Posted by QuiltE
    For all those in the know about FWs!!

    I was in a 2nd hand store yesterday and saw an old sewing machine.

    Yes to Singer, black, silver scrolly plates, gold design etc.

    However, the FWs that have been shown here seem to have black square box cases.

    This one has a wooden case. The top being like an upside down "U".

    So is it another version?
    or what is it?

    Please? and Thanks!
    I saw one like yours in the picture at a local flea mkt, it has the case, and a table for $175. I thought it was too high of a price?

  21. #21
    Moz
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    Either of the flip up beds are excellent buys, the 221 and the 301's. They both have interchangable bobbin parts as well. I've bought a few 301's trying to find a bobbin race to replace on one of my 221's but they are such excellent machines that I can never cannibalize them to fix the 221 :).

  22. #22
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    A friend of mine worked for Singer a long time ago and told me that the Featherweights were made for stewardesses so they could take them on flights-I have not looked up much background on the featherweights so all this info is interesting to me. I, too, would love to have one, but have settled for a 301a-absolutely love it (and my friend who worked for Singer said the 301 was a much better machine and that I had made a better buy with the 301).

  23. #23
    Moz
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    I love my 301's, they are a great and strong machine. But there's nothing quite like sewing on those little 221 Featherweights. There's just something "special" about them. They're a very good strong machine as well. :)

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuiltE
    Quote Originally Posted by irishrose
    99s, 127s and 128s are 3/4 size machines, but are not lightweight. My 128 weighs 29 pounds. She does have a bentwood case. 301s have the flip up extension and weigh 16 pounds, but they look nothing like a little FW, nor would the case be bentwood. There isn't much to the maintenance if the electrical is good.
    IrishRose ... So, are you saying all FWs would be in the black squarish case? where would I look for the model #?
    if it is in the original case--google some info, copy a picture of a 221 Featherweight and carry it with you. they are very distinctive--once you have seen them. beware of any whitish
    looking areas on the metal--aluminum rot. best not to purchase if you do not want to get into MAJOR redo. the tan
    221's came in a two-tone tan case. white (celery) in a turq case. Educate yourself so you won't be fooled. good luck !

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crafty Chick
    A friend of mine worked for Singer a long time ago and told me that the Featherweights were made for stewardesses so they could take them on flights-I have not looked up much background on the featherweights so all this info is interesting to me. I, too, would love to have one, but have settled for a 301a-absolutely love it (and my friend who worked for Singer said the 301 was a much better machine and that I had made a better buy with the 301).
    I think it more likely that the popularity of Featherweights came about when pro quilting teachers started carrying them on flights to classes. then the fever quickly spread to all of us.

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