Featherweight Sewing Speed

Old 03-26-2018, 08:31 AM
Super Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Oregon
Posts: 3,346
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.
greaterexp is offline  
Old 03-26-2018, 09:17 AM
Super Member
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 1,963

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.
Mickey2 is offline  
Old 03-26-2018, 10:05 AM
Super Member
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 9,580

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!)
cashs_mom is offline  
Old 03-26-2018, 10:27 AM
Super Member
NZquilter's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Kansas
Posts: 4,436

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.
NZquilter is offline  
Old 03-26-2018, 10:29 AM
Super Member
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Missouri
Posts: 3,430

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.
Bobbielinks is offline  
Old 03-26-2018, 11:21 AM
Power Poster
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 41,483

​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.
Tartan is online now  
Old 03-26-2018, 06:45 PM
Super Member
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: West Texas
Posts: 2,073

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.
Daylesewblessed is offline  
Old 03-27-2018, 11:35 AM
Super Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Oregon
Posts: 3,346

Thanks to you all for the suggestions!
greaterexp is offline  
Old 03-28-2018, 06:43 AM
Super Member
ppquilter's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Wonderful WY
Posts: 1,467

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!
ppquilter is offline  
Old 04-01-2018, 02:40 PM
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 90

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.
Quilterman is offline  
Related Topics
Thread Starter
Last Post
Lew Schiller
For Vintage & Antique Machine Enthusiasts
05-09-2019 04:31 PM
For Vintage & Antique Machine Enthusiasts
01-28-2013 10:24 AM
For Vintage & Antique Machine Enthusiasts
04-04-2012 11:17 AM
03-15-2012 05:35 PM
08-22-2011 03:13 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

FREE Quilting Newsletter