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Thread: What do you think I need to look for in a FW?

  1. #1
    Super Member deedum's Avatar
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    Smile What do you think I need to look for in a FW?

    I have a chance to buy a white and also a black featherweight? Any advice on what I should be looking at, checking for? I really don't know much about them. There are only two things I do know about them. #1 they sure are cute and #2 I don't need another machine. However, I still plan on trying to buy one.

  2. #2
    Senior Member csharp's Avatar
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    You might want to check that the bobbin holder is in place, how good the wiring is and how the condition of the belt on the motor is ...all parts that are easily obtained on ebay or other sources. Is there a case with these machines and does the case have a key and what condition the case is in....all would effect the price. Manuals can be downloaded for maintenance, threading and general sewing info. Original manuals would be a plus. You'll love having one. White ones seem to be priceier. That one is still on my bucket list. Check out ebay to see what these machines are going for, for an idea of the market price. Anything $200 or under is usually a deal if they are in good condition. Enjoy!
    with a passion for quilting and vintage machines..Singers: 99, 4 featherweights, Redeye 66, Lotus 66, Phoenix 27, 15-91, 301A
    Colleen S.

  3. #3
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    I would be sure that the condition of the finish is pleasing, and that the motor is sound and runs with power. They are pretty straight forward machines. Also, if the body show powder white decay then it would need a major restoration and repaint which would probably be pricey and frustrating. Be sure that the feed dogs work, and that movement is smooth as well.

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    I know that the white ones are more expensive, but I'd chose a black one because the bed extension is longer. Also, the black ones seem to be better made all the way around. For instance, look at the pretty gold emblem/badge on the front pillar on the black one. Then look at the White one...it looks like just a sticker; it looks cheaper to me.
    SheSews (when she can)

  5. #5
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    A FW will have the little attached table that folds up on the left side of the machine. If possible check to see that they sew with a scrap of fabric. Is the bobbin case there and bobbins? Are the cords in good shape?

  6. #6
    Super Member deedum's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone. Very helpful info. We will see what condition they are in, I think I prefer the black one. It would go so well with my vintage singers, but will just have to see. A white one is darling too. I should be able to get the serial no and doing a bit more checking on them before I put in my bid. Wish my luck!

  7. #7
    Super Member ArchaicArcane's Avatar
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    As others mentioned, make sure the bobbin case is there, it's about a $45 touch if it's not, and replacements often don't work like the originals. Some people like to steal them unfortunately.

    In my opinion, things like belts and power cords and other consumables wouldn't put me off a machine, they're a negotiation point though (I was hoping to sew with it tonight... but it needs.... ) The important parts are the non-replaceables and the expensive to replace parts (body condition - paint, bobbin wider bracket not broken off, motor, etc) , even a broken bobbin winder is not the end of a sale, as long as the bracket is intact. There are parts for these machines all over, and a few really reputable people to get them from on the internet.

    That said, I like to "force appreciate" the value of my machines: buy dirty, grungy, machines that haven't been maintained for less money, and raise the value of them by fixing them up both under the hood and body wise. If you just want to sew with little work, look at everything you can.

    If it doesn't sew, check the #1 most common reason that they won't:
    There's a locating finger for the hook that becomes dislodged when clearing a thread jam. See this link for a visual of it: http://thefeatherweight221factory.co...MachineJam.php - The last 3 photos go through what I'm babbling about. 2 of the 4 machines I've bought have had this problem, including the 222 I scored 2 weeks ago. Now that you know how to fix it, it's also a negotiating point. There's not a lot that goes permanently wrong with a featherweight.


    The other thing, adding to what csharp said, if you're going to check ebay, there's a way to do an advanced search. Look for -sold- machines. Completed auctions, etc. This will give you a proper idea of the value of a machine. The asking prices are out to lunch in a lot cases, and can cause you to pay more than you should for a machine.
    Last edited by ArchaicArcane; 01-18-2013 at 09:01 PM.

  8. #8
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    This Board is wonderful. Lots of good advice has already been posted. If the case isn't included or is damaged/smelly- definitely lower the price. Nice cases are hard to come by and expensive to buy. Just a replacement handle is about $20, though you can substitute a suitcase handle. Be sure the attaching links go east-west or north-south like the original. Latches are a tougher fix. Some folks just use a small wheeled hardsided suitcase or toolbox instead of a case. Smelly cases can be cleaned, and many times the odor is from old oil or mildew on the replaceable felt pad inside the bottom of the machine- a simple inexpensive fix. Good luck!

    White FW's are definitely harder to come by, have a smaller folding bed, and are from the 60's. You can find the age of a Singer on the internet using the serial #. Older machines in good condition with intact decals tend to be pricier. Keep looking on Craigslist as well- search "Sewing machine" as well as "Featherweight" and "221" and you may be lucky enough to find one for dirt cheap listed as simply "old sewing machine".

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    Super Member deedum's Avatar
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    Thanks again. I am fortunate my dh can fix about anything. Actually, I will get to see them in person this week to find out what kind of shape they are in. Who knows, I might actually score one fordecent price. I am not interested in paying a huge amount of money, although a fair price is reasonable. After all, I am reminded I am not married to a Rockerfella. Although, I given an opportunity I may just buy both. Thanks for yr help.

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    Super Member SunlitenSmiles's Avatar
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    be sure to let us know and pictures......I am cheering for the black SINGER 221 as people I know who have both say the white ones have less power and do not sew heavier fabrics as well......but if piecing cotton either one will be great.

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    Super Member Yooper32's Avatar
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    And last, but not least, the price...if you can afford one. If that isn't a problem, I might , if it were me, buy both of them.
    Yooper32 aka: Donna B

  12. #12
    Super Member deedum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yooper32 View Post
    And last, but not least, the price...if you can afford one. If that isn't a problem, I might , if it were me, buy both of them.
    That is what I am thinking. It very well may be a great time to get both. I would be happy to get one, but both would be great. I don't want to get my hopes ups and not get any. Will just have to see how many people are interested.

  13. #13
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    All great opinions here. I have 2 whites and 5 blacks and love them all. Good luck to you.

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    I only have 2, but love them both. I like the chrome wheel on the older one, but they both sew beautiful seams and they sound like waterfalls when they are running.

  15. #15
    Super Member cabbagepatchkid's Avatar
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    Any updates?

  16. #16
    Super Member deedum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cabbagepatchkid View Post
    Any updates?
    Yes on the updates! OMG, they both are in wonderful condition, the black one especially! I don't want to say too much and get my hopes up. We will see what happens. I just put my offers in on both, and just have to wait see. Will post more later when I know more.....if it is meant to be and all that!

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    Fingers crossed!

  18. #18
    Super Member deedum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Monroe View Post
    Fingers crossed!
    Thank you, I am so excited and yet, I don't want to be. I am wondering if I am offering too much or too little. Both cases are in really good condition and cords are all great. There are some bobbins,and some extra feet. They run so sweet.... I am sitting here drooling.

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    I sew hope you get them. I would like to have a white one, a tan one and a 1953 and a 1951 Centennial badged one. I really use the 2 I have quite a bit. I am making a denim tite to put the case in to carry it to guild and to classes. I figure I could maneuver all my stuff if I had a shoulder strap on the tote. It's cute, so far!

  20. #20
    Super Member deedum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MimiBug123 View Post
    I only have 2, but love them both. I like the chrome wheel on the older one, but they both sew beautiful seams and they sound like waterfalls when they are running.
    I never heard one running til today at that moment, I fell in love with it! Waterfalls is a wonderful description. Bit diffrent from the clackty clackty of the 301. Speaking of which I had better go and clacky clackty on my 301 before bed time.

  21. #21
    Super Member JudyTheSewer's Avatar
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    I am anxiously waiting to hear the outcome! My fingers are crossed for you too.

  22. #22
    Super Member valleyquiltermo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SunlitenSmiles View Post
    be sure to let us know and pictures......I am cheering for the black SINGER 221 as people I know who have both say the white ones have less power and do not sew heavier fabrics as well......but if piecing cotton either one will be great.
    This is true the black ones are built better and sew much thicker fabric then the white ones. Also the white ones aren't white they are either beigh or faintly green. I do have several of both and have decided I love my black ones best. Will be gifting the slightly green white ones to my DGD's and DGN's.
    http://www.skillpages.com/DonnaValleyquiltermo
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    and do what you can for others.

  23. #23
    Super Member Surfergirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shesews View Post
    I know that the white ones are more expensive, but I'd chose a black one because the bed extension is longer. Also, the black ones seem to be better made all the way around. For instance, look at the pretty gold emblem/badge on the front pillar on the black one. Then look at the White one...it looks like just a sticker; it looks cheaper to me.
    I agree. I have several white fw's and quite a few black ones...I would choose the black over the white anyday. Also, the black fw's power cords are removable...the white ones are not.
    Lynn

  24. #24
    Super Member Annaquilts's Avatar
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    That they work well and that the bobbin area is OK. I really like my white one to sew on over any of my FW black ones. They are smaller, lighter weight and have a nicer foot petal. they are not as fancy and the cord is not detachable. Which can be good if you tend to forget it. LOL Both are great. Enjoy!
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    Last edited by Annaquilts; 01-22-2013 at 02:15 PM.
    Anna Quilts

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