Wednesday, April 16, 2014

My New Featherweight

A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to come across a well loved Singer Featherweight 221. So I brought it home with me! I thought I'd share her with you and also document what I've done to bring her up to speed and resources I found.


The machine shows some wear but she is in good shape. Some of the gold painting on has been loved off and there are some small chips in the black paint. But all the parts are accounted for and in good working order.

Now, I knew nothing about Singer Featherweights except that they are pretty.

From what I've gleaned from the internets, this machine was manufactured in 1947. The post WWII machines are said to typically have stripes on the shiny side piece (AKA thingy), but some, mine included, still have the scroll work the pre-war machines have. (I say that but I can't find where I saw that, so I could be wrong!)


When I got her home, I was happy to find that she sewed well enough, but I knew she needed a bit of love before I took her on the open road of piecing.

I got a new toy recently... And she came with a case too, a tad oil stain case. #featherweight

For one, she needed oil and lube. The oil that came with it had obviously been spilled at some point and was packaged in a greasy, sandwich bad. I tossed that and bought some new oil and lube.


Oiling is a bit more of an intensive process than I thought, but it's fairly manageable.

I also gave her a good cleaning. She was linty.


I also replaced the felt drip pan (for freshness!) and installed a new marked throat plate [Edited to add: find it here] (don't worry, I kept the original.)

Old and new throat plate... I'll be needing those markings. #featherweight221
Is this my hand? Maybe I was washing dishes prior? 
Despite oiling, lubing, cleaning, and some new parts, when I sat down to work with her, the tension was way way too tight, even set at zero. So I had to walk away until I could figure out how to deal with the tension.

I'm happy and proud to say I figured out how to fix the tension! I disassembled and reassembled the tension unit; in doing so I adjusted the pin placement on the thumb nut (it was way off!). And now she sews happily!

Now stitching happily and beautifully at 4 (my comfort number) after I readjusted the tension. (Feeling proud!) #featherweight221

Next up... polishing.

Spare Parts: April 1930's Sewing Shoppe 
Helpful cleaning tutorials: here, here, and here.
Threading tutorial with pictures(!): here.
Aging/grading a featherweight: here and here.


  1. Where did you get that marked throat plate? I have been looking for one like that!

    1. Find it here.


  2. Nice! I have an early 1950s White Rotary 71 that I need to replace one or two parts before I can use him.

  3. Very pretty. I bought one last year but still need to get either a transformer or a new motor for it as it is an American model, so not very usable here in Switzerland in it's current state. That said it's almost pristine so I'm more than happy with it and it is good company for my 201k, another wonderful Singer I am proud to own.

  4. Impressive that you gave it a little servicing in your own home. She is beautiful!!

  5. Man, how great is that! I would love to own one of those.

  6. Oh, congratulations on getting a Featherweight! Such a sweet sewing machine. I was lucky enough to get one myself ~ it's a white (though it looks light green to me) one. Have lots of fun with it!

  7. I inherited a featherweight when we bought our new "OLD" home. I'll have to have her tuned up before I can use her, but she came in a cabinet and all! BEAUTIFUL!

  8. It looks gorgeous! I need to order a new electrical plug for my 201 before I can start fiddling with it.


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