feather weight 221 and 222

Old 12-26-2011, 02:55 PM
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Default feather weight 221 and 222

I love that look of the feather weights and would love to own one but I know so little about them. What is the difference between the 221 and the 222. What makes the feather weight such a great machine to own and can I drop the feed dogs and FMQ. Thank you all wise quilters who know so much. Grace
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Old 12-26-2011, 03:53 PM
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I, too, love the look of the vintage Singer Featherweights. I understand that the smaller motor is not good for FMQing. I would only use a FW for piecing and regular sewing, not FMQing.
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Old 12-26-2011, 04:04 PM
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The dogs don't drop on a Featherweight....I have heard of folks using them for FMQ anyway, but I haven't tried it to be able to give you a "review".
The difference between the 221 and the 222 is that the 222 has a removeable bed to make it a freearm. I'm sure there are other small differences, but I couldn't tell you what they are!
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Old 12-26-2011, 07:47 PM
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I believe the FW has a small attachment cover plate to go over the feed dogs for FMQ and darning. They really are cute machines, but the harp is so small that you can't stuff much volume in there when quilting. I would recommend that you check out the 301 - a little bigger and the feed dogs will lower. I have both a 221 and a 301, and I prefer the 301. It has a needle plate that is marked for seam allowances including the 1/4".

Enjoy learning about the FW and other vintage machines!

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Old 12-26-2011, 08:03 PM
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I have a Featherweight and it is my favorite machine for straight piecing, nothing fancy. I love it! I would never think of using it for quilting, it's small and not much room under the head.
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Old 12-27-2011, 06:14 AM
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I have a few featherweights and love them for piecing my quilts...would never use them for FMQ. I keep one in my featherweight table at all times and use it for paper piecing, also.
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Old 12-27-2011, 07:56 AM
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I have a FW, but only use it for traveling and classes.
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Old 12-27-2011, 08:25 AM
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I collect vintage Singers-----some Featherweight----some have needed a LOT of tlc ( rust, oxidation, mold ) and have them all up and running----nothing like the joy of hearing that hum-----I have really enjoyed piecing on them because of the even strong straight stitch but not FMQ. Just looking at one makes you smile!
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Old 12-27-2011, 08:41 AM
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I have both a 221 and two 222's. The 221 I don't use for freemotion quilting, but you can purchase a plate to cover the feed dogs. I just find it's too much hassle. The 222's have the ability to drop the feeddogs. There is a lever beside the stitch length regulator that puts the feed dogs down into "darning" position of up into "sewing" position. Also the 222 has the marked needleplate, similar to the one on a larger 301. It's a nice thing to have. People swap those out on their 221's as well.

As far as freemotion quilting on a FW, for small things like placemats, tablerunners, etc, I would consider using it. However, it's small size would make it far too difficult to do a larger quilt. Quilt as you Go is possible on the FW too. Darning and freemotion embroidery are possible and are shown in many of the old Singer technique books. The 222's came with a darning foot, or you can purchase them from various online vendors.

The 222, or 222K(same thing) has the free arm capability which makes it lovely for children's clothing and dolls clothes. You can get at those little armholes, collars and cuffs! However, note that these 222's are more expensive to purchase than the 221's.

If you're looking to do larger items, however, consider a Singer 301. It's larger and has more space under the "harp" of the machine for rolled up fabric while quilting.

The motors on these machines will stand up to a lot of sewing, as long as they're lubricated properly and checked out for carbon brushes that need replacing etc. The wiring should be inspected carefully as well. If you feel unable to do that yourself, a good sewing machine repair person can help you.

Also, research online. There are a couple of sewing machine mechanics who have put their knowledge online, or in DVD format for a price and it's usually well worth investigating that as well.

Last edited by LyndaK; 12-27-2011 at 08:44 AM.
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Old 12-27-2011, 09:34 AM
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Oh boy are you in for a treat. Last year at this time I was busy researching FW's before I purchased my 222K.
1. FW 221, The Perfect Portable by Nancy Johnson-Srebo, Amazon had best price I could find.
2. Those Fabulous Featherweight's by Dave McCallum, has website.
3. ISMACS website and Graham Forsdyke.
I enjoyed the research like it was a preparation for baby birth or a new puppy. Have fun, the more you read the more you will want to know.
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