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Thread: Fetherwieght or 301A?

  1. #1
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    Question Fetherwieght or 301A?

    I am on the search for a machine I can take to quilting class with me. I love my Bernina 1090QE but she is heavy!! I dislike pulling her out of her table and lugging her up and down several sets of stairs. Featherweights are cuter and more collectible but also more expensive and BLACK. I live in the Pacific Northwest and anything black soaks up all of the little light we get. 301A's do come in other colors and are less expensive although a bit harder to find. I am checking Ebay but am afraid to purchase something before I can operate it. Of course money is an issue but I don't want to let a few bucks get in the way of finding something reliable. Do my generous Quilting Board members have any advice for me? Are there specific models I should look for, others I should avoid? Thanks so very much and have a peaceful Thanksgiving.

  2. #2
    Super Member janiesews's Avatar
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    Well I have both-and my 301A is in a little cabinet so I leave it at home and take my featherweight when going to retreats, classes etc. I love them both so can't tell you pros and cons. I bought my featherweight on ebay and found my 301A in a used furniture store (cheap too!) Good luck with your search and hope you find a machine at just the right price for you.
    This too shall pass.
    Janie

  3. #3
    Kas
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    Featherweights also came in white (really a pale green) and tan. 301s came in tan and a tan and cream called mocha. So as for the color, either machine will work for you. The white and tan Featherweights will cost more since less were made and none were made in the states. They were imported into Canada. I have both a 310 and 221 and love them both! I haven't taken them to a class yet except with Dave McCallum of Featherweight RX for a cleaning and maint. class.
    Outside of a dog, a book is Man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read.-Groucho Marx

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    Super Member jljack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by janiesews View Post
    Well I have both-and my 301A is in a little cabinet so I leave it at home and take my featherweight when going to retreats, classes etc. I love them both so can't tell you pros and cons. I bought my featherweight on ebay and found my 301A in a used furniture store (cheap too!) Good luck with your search and hope you find a machine at just the right price for you.
    Janie you do realize that you can just press one little lever on the cabinet and your 301 will come right out? It is totally portable, you can just place it right on a table top. The bottom is covered by a plate and it has feet. My 301 is my class buddy...it goes right into a wheeled tote and is easy to move around. It only weighs 16 pounds.

    I don't understand about the machine being black? They are shiny so should reflect light!

  5. #5
    Super Member jljack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kas View Post
    Featherweights also came in white (really a pale green) and tan. 301s came in tan and a tan and cream called mocha. So as for the color, either machine will work for you. The white and tan Featherweights will cost more since less were made and none were made in the states. They were imported into Canada. I have both a 310 and 221 and love them both! I haven't taken them to a class yet except with Dave McCallum of Featherweight RX for a cleaning and maint. class.
    Actually the solid tan is called Mocha, and the two tone is called Light Beige/Oyster White (or LBOW).

    There is a thread on here called Featherweight Club, and there is tons of info on there. Also one for 301s.

  6. #6
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    I bought 2 ( a black and a tan ) of the 301's from Goodwill online and they work fine after I cleaned them up.
    If you live anywhere near Nashville, TN, I would sell one of them.

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    You can buy a cream colored FW, i have one and also a black one. The cream colored on come in a green and cream case.

  8. #8
    Kas
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    Quote Originally Posted by jljack View Post
    Actually the solid tan is called Mocha, and the two tone is called Light Beige/Oyster White (or LBOW).

    There is a thread on here called Featherweight Club, and there is tons of info on there. Also one for 301s.
    I was meaning that the tan on the tan & white one is called mocha, not the white part. Thanks for the technical terms for both. I would think it would be mocha and white, not light beige/oyster white. Not as tasty sounding! LOL!
    Outside of a dog, a book is Man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read.-Groucho Marx

  9. #9
    Super Member BarbaraSue's Avatar
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    I have the 301. And I love her. She is lighter than my other machine that I was taking to workshops, so I can imagine that she will go in my wheeled case and travel wonderfully.
    I can't help you with a FW, as I don't have one. 301's can be less expensive to purchase, at least around here.
    Good Luck!
    To make lots of quilts, is to have lots of scraps, and I do, and I do.
    BarbaraSue

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    Junior Member karen924's Avatar
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    I have been using my mothers 301A since I learned to sew. It is my favorite machine and soooo much lighter than my Bernina 200. I have a featherweight, but haven't used it much. I vote 301A or any 301.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kas View Post
    Featherweights also came in white (really a pale green) and tan. 301s came in tan and a tan and cream called mocha. So as for the color, either machine will work for you. The white and tan Featherweights will cost more since less were made and none were made in the states. They were imported into Canada. I have both a 310 and 221 and love them both! I haven't taken them to a class yet except with Dave McCallum of Featherweight RX for a cleaning and maint. class.
    Hey, we are neighbors! I live in South Hill and was just looking at Quilt Barn site to read more about that FW class. Do you know how I might be able to contact Dave for more information. And thanks for your comments.

  12. #12
    Super Member cabbagepatchkid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kas View Post
    I was meaning that the tan on the tan & white one is called mocha, not the white part. Thanks for the technical terms for both. I would think it would be mocha and white, not light beige/oyster white. Not as tasty sounding! LOL!
    jljack is correct about the color. The solid colored brownish/tan onc is called "mocha" and the beige and white one is called LBOW (light beige/oyster white). That was the actual term used by Singer at the time. The mocha machine is a darker tan than the LBOW beige. Either way, I love all 3 colors but my favorite is the LBOW's. I just think they are a pretty machine, for some reason.
    ~~Cathy~~

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    Thanks for the offer! I am from Kentucky myself and if I were near you, I would certainly like to see your machines.

  14. #14
    Super Member Daylesewblessed's Avatar
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    I have both, and the 301 is my favorite. It may be my height, but on the FW, for me, the tension knob blocks my line of vision. I have to either find a lower chair or put the FW on a phone book. The 301 with its slant needle is much better. Although it is not a feature that I use, I believe that the feed dogs will lower on the 301 for FM quilting.

    Although I love my FW, and it is a few pound lighter, the handle on the 301 is good for mobility. I like the mid-century modern boxy look of the 301.

    A note about the white/tan/mint green FW's not made in the U.S. is that several specifications were changed for those later machines, and they are not the same as the black FW's.

    You will enjoy either machine!

    Dayle

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    Kas
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    Quote Originally Posted by soozieq2 View Post
    Hey, we are neighbors! I live in South Hill and was just looking at Quilt Barn site to read more about that FW class. Do you know how I might be able to contact Dave for more information. And thanks for your comments.
    Yep! His website is http://www.featherweight221.com/fwrx/index.html

    He and his wife Sharon are absolute sweethearts!
    Outside of a dog, a book is Man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read.-Groucho Marx

  16. #16
    Super Member SunlitenSmiles's Avatar
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    mine is a 301A (LB/OW) the slant needle is awsome, so much easier on the neck and eyes. the four extra pounds keep the machine from sliding around on workshop tables, especially if quilting rather than piecing. It does free-motion quilt and with the buttonhole attachment makes the most perfect buttonholes of any machine, yes even better than my BERNINA 1630. That said, if i ever "win the lottery" i would find a 221 or 222 because they are so cute and a treadle because that is what i first sewed with when i was three.

  17. #17
    Member spindreams's Avatar
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    I have a 301, and it has become my workhorse. It is sturdier than the FW, with steel gears that make it able to sew through any thickness, even multiple denim layers and faux suede bags. I have used a friends FW, but not often, so perhaps I am biased. But my vote is the 301. Oh, and I live in Vancouver, so I know about dark rainy days! My 301 is black, but a good lamp on my sewing table takes care of that.

    Jane
    http://www.etsy.com/shop/janeysacks

  18. #18
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    I own 3, 301's and they do great FMQ. With that being said....I don't understand why anyone would be happy with a straight stitch machine for classes. Any classes I've ever seen you must have the ability to do FMQ(need a cover plate with FW), zig zag and applique stitching. If you're buying a straight stitch only machine you will not be able to take any special technique classes and this would be very limiting. Yes the FW's and 301's are great machines for what they do....and that's ONLY a straight stitch. I would recommend a Janome Jem or something along those lines for a classroom environment. That way you won't be limited by a straight stitch. And use your 301 for piecing:>

  19. #19
    Junior Member fred liniger's Avatar
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    hey soozieq2 check with Duane Sechser at email-----> [email protected] he has quite a few FW and other older machines i have ordered a lot of parts and assesseries for my 221 from bobbins, bobbins case ,needles everything just ordered a complete set of attachments for it this morning and more bobbins check it out might be what your looking for. Tell him Fred sent ya

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    Quote Originally Posted by karen924 View Post
    I have been using my mothers 301A since I learned to sew. It is my favorite machine and soooo much lighter than my Bernina 200. I have a featherweight, but haven't used it much. I vote 301A or any 301.
    Karen: Can you please explain the difference between the 301 and 301A? Thanks a bunch.

  21. #21
    Super Member cabbagepatchkid's Avatar
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    The "A" signifies that the machine was manufactured in Anderson, South Carolina. There is no other difference between the models, that I know of.
    Last edited by cabbagepatchkid; 11-23-2011 at 02:11 PM.
    ~~Cathy~~

  22. #22
    Super Member cabbagepatchkid's Avatar
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    Ooooops.....double post!! The "A" signifies that the machine was manufactured in Anderson, South Carolina. There is no other difference between the models, that I know of.
    Last edited by cabbagepatchkid; 11-23-2011 at 02:12 PM. Reason: double post
    ~~Cathy~~

  23. #23
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    One other difference is that the 301 (sans A) were only made for a short period of time- like 9 months or so from 1950 to 1951, and they were only available in black or mocha. I have one of the 301's and I really do like to sew with it. I also can do zigzag stitches with my attachments if necessary (the attachment moves the material instead of the needle). I also have a 221 and a bernina 430 that I use regularly, and would choose a machine based on the classes I was taking e.g. the 301 for any classes with FMQ, but if just piecing I would bring the FW. I have brought my bernina down to my camper, but it is heavy and a bit more sensitive than my other 2 workhorses- with more possibility of knocking something out of whack when transporting.
    Pfaff Quilt Expression 4.2
    Singer 221, short bed 301 and 503A
    Bernina 430

  24. #24
    Super Member brushandthimble's Avatar
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    I have both a 221 and 2 tone 301A. I love to piece with Lizzie, my FW. Have not used Caroline (301A) except once so can't compare much.
    After 2 years with the same signature I have been requested to remove it. Bye

  25. #25
    Super Member hobbykat1955's Avatar
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    I only have a 301 and 301A...so that's my vote...I love mine...

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