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Thread: The cleaning of a 1948 featherweight

  1. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by miriam View Post
    I believe each little mark on the machine has a little story all its own.
    Each little mark means that machine made something at home.
    Was it made by a grandma sewing her wedding dress?
    Was sewing a wedding quilt?
    Was someone sewing the family's clothes?
    Was it made by a kid learning to sew?
    Was someone sewing up a torn tent?
    Was sis making a new neck tie for dad?
    Did the living room get totally redecorated with new curtains and new upholstery on the couch?
    Prom dress?
    bicycle clothes?
    school clothes?
    baby clothes?
    What do the scars represent???
    I am beginning to look at the pristine looking machines in a different light. I think I've actually seen more wrong with the nice looking machines than the old beater machines. It really didn't take much work to clean that machine for mom and get it running in top shape once again. Mom called last night and I read this all to her. She brought up more and more memories. This is good. Mom has a lot of problems with her memory. She loved Hobo's story especially. I think I will print out the stories and give it to mom.
    Thank you Miriam for the nice little reminder of what our little machines just might have been through in all the years they were used.
    When I got my 1945 Featherweight, it had a few more and deeper scratches on it than I thought I wanted. I was about to try filling them in or covering them up, when I thought....... It's as old as I am, maybe a child my age did some of those scratches and they are 'battle wounds' or that the fact that the little machine was REALLY USED a lot and APPRECIATED rather than just sit in a dark place (it's box) and just waiting to be used. I'd rather have a machine that was loved and appreciated than one that just sat there 'in case it was needed.' Mine is really loved and I really like looking at those scratches. They mean love to me. They will not be covered or filled in, just polished and loved. This is my favorite machine and I lam thrilled to have it.

  2. #52
    Senior Member cherrybsixty's Avatar
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    Miriam, have you ever heard of 'PhotoWorks,' you can find them online. You can summit your pics and your story to them and have it bound in hard cover like a sofa-table book. They are the neatest thing. My daughter gave me a 60th birthday party, when I actually turn sixty and then had the pics made into that book. Your Mom will love that also. I love all of your stories, I guess because they are so true to our times. Try PhotoWorks.

  3. #53
    Senior Member Grinster's Avatar
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    You did a awesome/fabulous piece of work on that '48 FW. It is my birth year and so I feel sorta bonded and proud of it!
    Grinster.....
    Be proud of who you are and what you do. You define the things around you-things will never define you.

  4. #54
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cherrybsixty View Post
    Miriam, have you ever heard of 'PhotoWorks,' you can find them online. You can summit your pics and your story to them and have it bound in hard cover like a sofa-table book. They are the neatest thing. My daughter gave me a 60th birthday party, when I actually turn sixty and then had the pics made into that book. Your Mom will love that also. I love all of your stories, I guess because they are so true to our times. Try PhotoWorks.
    I just looked at photoworks - what a great idea! It is too bad we don't have many of the things that machine sewed for our family that could be included. Mom is famous for giving things away.

  5. #55
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    okay, sorry for not reposting. I could not find my question and I was getting worried that it did not get posted. I found it right now and I love you all. Thank you for helping me out. I did look at the bobbin thingi and that little notch thing is not where it should be. How do I get it where it should be????????????????? I got this machine and cleaned her up real nice. I used your cleaning things. I have been having alot of fun. Let me know when you get a chance.

  6. #56
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sweetpee View Post
    okay, sorry for not reposting. I could not find my question and I was getting worried that it did not get posted. I found it right now and I love you all. Thank you for helping me out. I did look at the bobbin thingi and that little notch thing is not where it should be. How do I get it where it should be????????????????? I got this machine and cleaned her up real nice. I used your cleaning things. I have been having alot of fun. Let me know when you get a chance.
    Just take off the throat plate, twiddle the bobbin around until the notch engages and screw down the throat plate. Easy.
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.
    good mothers let you lick the beaters - great mothers turn it off first

  7. #57
    Super Member decky's Avatar
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    I have an 1934 that is in worse shape than yours, but it sews great. I wouldn't give it up for anything. Have one suggestion for you, take off the machine oil on the outside of the machine. All that will do is collect dust and get icky after awhile.

  8. #58
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    I found a FW on CL a couple weeks ago. It was garaged for years - well maybe a shed..... out house??? Anyway the heat got to it before I did. It's belts were stuck onto it - rather melted. The finish on the machine turned to powder. It wasn't turning at all. It is missing cords and bobbin case... It was cheap. OK? Well, I thoroughly cleaned it and mechanically it is great. I put a bobbin case from a 301 and it sews a mean stitch perfectly. My husband tried Skipper Glenn's method of finish restore and it improved a lot. It still needs a belt, bobbin winder tire and a bobbin cases. It is not perfect and probably won't ever be but it is useable. AMAZING.
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.
    good mothers let you lick the beaters - great mothers turn it off first

  9. #59
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by miriam View Post
    I found a FW on CL a couple weeks ago. It was garaged for years - well maybe a shed..... out house??? Anyway the heat got to it before I did. It's belts were stuck onto it - rather melted. The finish on the machine turned to powder. It wasn't turning at all. It is missing cords and bobbin case... It was cheap. OK? Well, I thoroughly cleaned it and mechanically it is great. I put a bobbin case from a 301 and it sews a mean stitch perfectly. My husband tried Skipper Glenn's method of finish restore and it improved a lot. It still needs a belt, bobbin winder tire and a bobbin cases. It is not perfect and probably won't ever be but it is useable. AMAZING.
    I don't know if you can see it or not but something gold got on the finish on the one I have. (This is not Mom's machine) Maybe it is a good candidate for a repaint. Be careful what kind of stuff you use to clean the machine with. Glenn has an excellent tutorial on French polishing the old shellac finish.
    Name:  April 19, 2012 Martha's 185 & 301 my 128 & 66 041.JPG
Views: 407
Size:  128.6 KB
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by miriam; 05-24-2012 at 05:58 PM.
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.
    good mothers let you lick the beaters - great mothers turn it off first

  10. #60
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    I don't know if I can find all the pictures we made when Phil French polished it.
    pictures didn't load - I think they did load on Glenn's tutorial. - maybe they did come up...
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by miriam; 05-24-2012 at 06:07 PM.
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.
    good mothers let you lick the beaters - great mothers turn it off first

  11. #61
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    Phil put some alcohol and naptha on a rag and cleaned it:
    Name:  vindex special refinish makeover 4-9-12 007.JPG
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    This is a pic of when he did it to the Vindex Special. We had the best results with the Vindex. I think it wasn't in as bad shape when we started.

    Then he used shellac on a rag - maybe he thinned it down a bit. Somewhere Glenn has a tutorial.
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.
    good mothers let you lick the beaters - great mothers turn it off first

  12. #62
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    My Singer FW after some French polish:
    Name:  April 19, 2012 Martha's 185 & 301 my 128 & 66 042.JPG
Views: 480
Size:  129.0 KB
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.
    good mothers let you lick the beaters - great mothers turn it off first

  13. #63
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    Link to Glenn's tutorial: http://www.quiltingboard.com/vintage...s-t186522.html
    Basically if you clean a FW use something that you would use on old shellac finished furniture. It will make spots or take off the finish or decals if you use the wrong stuff to clean. Glenn's method is for any older machine with the shellac clear finish on it. It is easy to do and looks real nice when you are done. Oh and it doesn't take very long.
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.
    good mothers let you lick the beaters - great mothers turn it off first

  14. #64
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    I mentioned somewhere that my mom used her Singer Featherweight to sew her wedding dress out of a parachute. I ran across a website that had a vintage ad for parachutes on it: http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art23275.asp
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.
    good mothers let you lick the beaters - great mothers turn it off first

  15. #65
    Super Member amyjo's Avatar
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    You can also go to Snapfish and have the photo books made. My daughter on Long Island has them made all the time for us for Christmas for her sisters and Grandpas and Grandmas. They aren't that expensive either as I recall.

  16. #66
    Super Member Jeanette Frantz's Avatar
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    WOW! The memories are really something! I lost my Mom 15 years ago. I remember her teaching me to sew (as well as the home ec classes I took) Mom's first machine was a treadle, but with three girls to sew for, as well as her mother and my dad's mother, well, she stayed very busy, not just sewing but taking care of five children. Mom eventually had the treadle machine motorized, but it was completely lost when our house burned. My mother made my wedding dress -- lace over satin, and about a hundred of those tiny little satin-covered buttons down the back! I bought the material and Mom made my dress, maid of honor's dress, bridesmaid's dress, my grandmother's dress and her own dress for the wedding (all in about 3 weeks) I did help cover the buttons! I stumbled onto a Featherweight (or my son did) a couple of years ago. It's in excellent condition (a white one) and I really love it for piecing! Thanks for the memories!

    Jeanette Frantz

  17. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by miriam View Post
    I've been having all sorts of problems with the pictures - hang in there - only a bunch more to try to load on here. Mom said she never had the throat plate off the machine. She was a bit horrified when we pulled it off. My sister gladly dug out all the lint - I'm wondering how it would work if she never cleaned it - my guess is that she did clean it but has forgotten about it. Ok let's try for another picture. Attachment 299947
    I learned to sew on my mom's FW. I don't think she ever cleaned or oiled it (I know she never taught me to do it) and it worked great for over 40 yrs. In fact, I sewed on that machine for many yrs after she gave it to me and it never saw a drop of oil (I had no idea I needed to oil it). My husband recently took it apart and cleaned it up and it is humming along beautifully again. These machines were built to be indestructable. IMHO, your mom could be right about never cleaning it and it worked just fine!

  18. #68
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by novicequiltergrandma View Post
    I learned to sew on my mom's FW. I don't think she ever cleaned or oiled it (I know she never taught me to do it) and it worked great for over 40 yrs. In fact, I sewed on that machine for many yrs after she gave it to me and it never saw a drop of oil (I had no idea I needed to oil it). My husband recently took it apart and cleaned it up and it is humming along beautifully again. These machines were built to be indestructable. IMHO, your mom could be right about never cleaning it and it worked just fine!
    Well, I know she never taught me to clean one. I learned that when I got a finicky Elna...
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.
    good mothers let you lick the beaters - great mothers turn it off first

  19. #69
    Senior Member Raine54RN's Avatar
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    I enjoyed reading this and looking at the pictures. So much love! I have had my FW a few months I so wish I had learned about them longer ago. My daughter is crafty and when she saw my beauty fell in love Guess who got one for her B day? The special cleaning you did for your Mom is amazing. The fact it never failed attests to the quality. What a lovely story. Will read this more than once.
    Rain

  20. #70
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    I have two FW's. I purchased both used. I would really love to know the sewing history behind both machines, would be so fascinating to put together a small booklet and keep with each machine for historical purposes. One machine is a 1935 and the other a 1937. I love your history about your Mom's machine, and thanks for caring enough to clean her FW and keep it in working order. These little jewels were made to work and last, as were so many things in our earlier history, not like many things today, that seem to last only until paid for then require a new one such a shame. I guess because we live in such a fast paced world anymore, everything needs to be like (fast food service), and all of the disposal things we use now, use it and throw it away or buy new.

  21. #71
    Super Member Caroline S's Avatar
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    Gerbie, if you want a definative history of the Featherweight purchase a book written by Nancy Johnson Srebro titled Featherweight 221 The Perfect Portable. Believe it or not it is a fascinating read if you love Featherweight sewing machines. I refer to my copy all of the time.
    Sweet Caroline

  22. #72
    Super Member jbj137's Avatar
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    ***
    *** Just like a Timex.
    *** Takes a lickin and keeps on tickin
    *** for is that STITCHING.
    ***
    J J (jbj137)

    I am a G.R.I.T.
    G = girl R =raised I = in T = the S = South

  23. #73
    Junior Member Redsquirrel's Avatar
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    I'm liking your story, please keep posting pictures and stories.
    1939 Singer 221, 1980 Singer Starlet 496, 1947 Singer 201-3

  24. #74
    Junior Member SoBuzy's Avatar
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    Enjoyed this thread! Thanks for taking the time to share!
    "Seeking God's guidance is the key to success... even in daily living when we learn to LISTEN!"

  25. #75
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nanamoms View Post
    Miriam, my "tale of the tiny screw" is that I'll never take that thing out again. My grandson finally got it turning and out for me so we were doing the happy dance. Uh huh...never dance too early! (sigh). We moved the gib to the right as shown in the manual and I pulled the last of the thread out (I hope) so....now to put it back together. Grandson has gone to bed so I said "I can do this...I am WOMAN!!" So using the magnetic screwdriver, I put that tiny sucker..I mean screw..on the end and gently place it in the hole...about 10 times later after throwing up my hands, I rested. Deep breath, try again, then I drop that @#%& screw and it bounced off the thick placement I had it on. I looked high, low and in between. Got out my magnetic wand (the long one for mechanics), ran that thing over every surface, under my couch (we won't discuss what came out from under there!), cleaned off my coffee table and even got out of my pjs carefully to make sure that @#%& screw wasn't stuck in them. Ok, that's it....take drugs and go to bed...new start in the morning (this morning), So get up, my calm restored, and search for screw again....after about 20 minutes I picked up my tiny flexible magnetic flashlight to shine light around area and THERE WAS THAT STINKING SCREW ADHERED TO THE BOTTOM OF THE FLASHLIGHT AND IT HAD NEVER BEEN MORE THAN 6 INCHES FROM MY MACHINE!! Ok, nice girl sends a big Thank You to God above.

    Now gotta get that screw back into the gib and base. I tried for about 20 minutes and then my grandson tried. Now he's 21 and has large hands. I'm sure that he can't get that thing screwed in. He played around with it and thankfully didn't utter too many bad words in front of his grandma. I told him not to stress over it but in a few minutes I heard him yell "YEAH!" Success, it's back in."

    Wohoo! We are on a roll. Wait!!! I put the bobbin in the bobbin case and put the bobbin case in the base . So far so good. THEN, I replace the throat plate checking to make sure that Position Finger (A2) enters the Notch (B2) of the position plate attached to the underside of the throat plate. NO GO!! There is no complete rotation of the bobbin/needle, etc when turning the handwheel. Neither will the top thread pick up the bobbin thread. I have positioned the base just exactly as shown in the manual and then replaced the throat plate exactly as stated. I am totaly aggravated when this is suppose to be something soooooo siimple. I even used my white FW as a model for what I was doing!

    What could I possibly be doing wrong? I'm so bummed out that I'm ready to throw her in the car and take her to the SMRG although it will cost me $65.00. Grrrrrrrrrrr!!

    Maybe I'm just not cut out to do any repairs on these machines.
    Lately I have been working with a magnet near by or even a magnet sheet to catch stray parts. If you are taking apart something that will fit into a zip bag - work inside the bag - parts will stay contained. I have spent way too much time tracking down a screw that traveled across the room...
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.
    good mothers let you lick the beaters - great mothers turn it off first

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