Featherweight Sewing Speed

Old 03-26-2018, 08:31 AM
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Default Featherweight Sewing Speed

I was fortunate to find a Featherweight last year and recently took it out to try it. I had it serviced as soon as I bought it, and the technician said it had no problems. It does seem to sew fairly slowly. It has a great stitch, and it's fun to sew on, but I wondered if the lower speed is typical.
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Old 03-26-2018, 09:17 AM
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What do you compare it with? I find the old straight stitchers up to par with most modern machines, as a rough estimate at least they are much the same. Most modern computerised models I've used have lots of stitch patterns and features only a touch screen away, but they aren't necessarily speedy. High speed models are available, both new and vintage, but you have to seek them out.

Since it's been a year you should give it a round or two of oil. I guess the grease points still will be fine, but detect all the oil points and give them all a drop of oil, run the machine a bit and yet another drop. You can give the meshing gears one drop of oil to soften up grease if it's a bit gooey; some would apply a new a couple of times a year, but if the machine hasn't been used much I don't think it's a must. Modern syntetic greases are very stable and store well. Sewing a bit will run it in again too, getting the motor warmed up and gears and joints moving again.

Last edited by Mickey2; 03-26-2018 at 09:20 AM.
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Old 03-26-2018, 10:05 AM
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I agree with Mickey. I don't find that my Featherweight is substantially slower than my 20 year old Bernina or even my new Juki. It may be a bit slower than my 301 but not much (and that thing is a maniac! It's no wonder the lady at a class asked me if I always sew that fast. I learned on the 301!)
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Old 03-26-2018, 10:27 AM
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I don't think its because it's old that it is slow. When I got my 15-91 it was super fast; too fast for my comfort and skill for FMQ. I really had to hold my hat! Hubby and I rewired and serviced the whole thing and the motor was totally sound. I took apart the foot pedal to see if I could tweak the speed. After playing around and fine tuning a few screws here and there I got it down to the speed I am happy with. It's hard to explain, really. But I will try my best. In my foot pedal,yours may be different, there is a long screw that goes through the housing with the electrical stuff. At the end of that screw there is a copper strip, which acts as the conductor for the electricity. The tighter the screw, the quicker and harder the copper strip presses on the speed control in the housing. I played around with mine live (not really recommended!) but I got it to the speed I can work with. Now it maybe a little slow for speed piecing, but I bought it primarily for FMQing. My 201-2, once I service and rewire it, will be my piecing machine.
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Old 03-26-2018, 10:29 AM
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I certainly am no expert on Featherweights, but I do notice with mine that when it starts being a little sluggish it is in need of an oiling.
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Old 03-26-2018, 11:21 AM
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​My featherweight would pause as I started pressing the foot pedal and then sew. I watched how to adjust the contact in the foot pedal on YouTube and fixed it.
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Old 03-26-2018, 06:45 PM
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I had a FW that sewed slower than any other FW I had ever owned. I watched Carmen's tutorial on foot pedal/controller adjustment (at the Featherweight Shop, formerly April1930s.com) and with my husband's help, we made the adjustment similar to what NZquilter describes in the above post.
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Old 03-27-2018, 11:35 AM
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Thanks to you all for the suggestions!
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Old 03-28-2018, 06:43 AM
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I had a FW which sewed slow, tried another FW pedal with it, then it sewed faster. I thought about ordering a newer pedal, but my repair guy said he can fix the orginal pedal and he did, now its great. Good luck!
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Old 04-01-2018, 02:40 PM
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You can prove if it is the foot pedal by using it on another machine or trying another foot pedal on yours. Make sure
your belt isn't tight. Featherweights like loose belts. Weak motors are a common problem with featherweights.
You can service your motor with new brushes and polishing the commutator. If any oil has gotten into the brush
area there will be a burned on film on the commutator brush area and it will make the motor run weak.
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