Monday, August 5, 2013

Making friends with a featherweight

A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon a Singer featherweight machine in a neat antique and consignment shop I found in my new neighborhood. A typical afternoon Florida storm was about to roll in and I left the shop without the machine, not knowing whether or not it worked and aiming to head back at some point to check it out. I wound up going back the very next day, plugging the machine in, and bringing it home when I discovered that it was still functional. I had absolutely no need for another sewing machine, but I couldn't pass up the deal.

My featherweight, all tuned up and piecing

Fast forward a few weeks, and the machine sat in its' case in my sewing room closet, while I tried to unpack and get settled into the new house. I pulled the featherweight out of the closet yesterday, when I had a good friend over to sew. Olivia has a featherweight of her own and helped me tune the old girl up, give her a good oiling, fix the hand wheel, and get her into optimal running condition. Thanks to a tip from Katie, I looked up the serial to find out how old the machine is, and it looks like it was made in February of 1946, so she's going on 70! I did a bit of piecing on her yesterday, putting her through the motions and I was really pleased with how well it sewed.

Tearing apart the cord

That is, until my husband came home. He'd been away all day, and when he came home, I asked him to help me tape up a spot on the electrical cord that was uncovered. He put his foot down, and said the cord needed to be replaced, that tape was not an acceptable fix. Being the hands on guy he is, he attempted to fix the cord himself, but when he started to open up the cord to repair it, it disintegrated in his hands. He prescribed a new cord, and thanks to Ebay, one is now on its way to me.

The featherweight's blocks so far

I totally didn't need another sewing machine, but I have to say, this little sewing machine was just too cute to pass up. I love how quiet and smooth it sews, and I'm looking forward to getting it back up and running. In the meantime, I'll just admire the blocks I've put together with it so far - which are from one of the patterns I'm working on finishing up, Sew Positive. And turn on one of my other machines when I have some more time to sew ;). Have a great Monday!

19 comments:

  1. I have a1939 FW and had to replace the cord as well. And I have replaces the pad insise which catches dripping and was causing an musky odor. My FW's owner contacted a quilt shop to sell it, who told her to contact a guild...I got that guild email as I was President...and she is now mine! I was meant to have it.

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  2. What a great find! She is cute! Temptation is hard to resist~

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  3. Wow lucky you, a featherweight and it was still there when you went back. I too had to have a new cord.
    http://osagebluffquilter.blogspot.com/search?q=featherweight

    Yours is just 3 years older then mine.

    I'm now in the market for a 301 Singer, long bed. It's a little grown up from the featherweight and is a retro tweed suitcase. It can be mistaken for a typewriter case.

    Happy Sewing!

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  4. Good luck with your little find. I have also a Featherweight, in fact two, but I love most My Henrietta FW 221. She is so cute and Aunty Martha a Featherweight 222, she sews good too and she has a free arm.
    My girls are younger than yours. I have had them served before I started sewing on them, and the cables were replaced with new ones.

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  5. You totally didn't need another machine, but you totally deserved it!

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  6. I love those old machines, have one sitting in my basement and may attempt the same project-someday....
    for now I decided to learn how to tune up and repair a couple of vikings I recently purchased for a steal. I ordered the repair manual from ebay and cannot wait to try to work on them. I recently repaired the electric windows on a 1998 Buick Century-so am feeling I can tackle a sewing machine-LOL!

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  7. I have a featherweight that is the light green and it makes me so happy every time I sew on it! It is amazing how beautifully they stitch. Not many things have that kind of staying power. I am so glad you treated yourself. Enjoy!

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  8. I am so drooling....One day I will have one too...But it might be one day far off..

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  9. I, too, have a brand new Featherweight and I have been researching it a bit before I use mine. I have read that there is a lead tube inside the machine which keeps the wires protected from the gears. It your FW started shedding white flakes when your husband had it open, be sure to clean that up well. Enjoy!!!!

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  10. I have been daydreaming of a featherweight the last few days!

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  11. Reading about your "new" sewing machine has made me wish I still had my mom's Singer from the early 1950s. It would only sew forwards and backwards, but it had a knee control instead of a foot pedal, which I really liked.

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  12. Yup I have one too. So perfect in their simplicity. They are great!! Congrats! :)

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  13. Enjoy your new toy! Maybe don't let Mr DMCB play with it again though ;o)

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  14. Someday I am going to have one of those, lol!

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  15. I fell for a FW in 2000, when I saw it at an estate sale. I "won" it (was highest bidder), but it turns out that some thief at the sale had walked away with the bobbin case! Apparently they're highly desirable. After discussing with the estate sale manager, we split the cost of buying another repro bobbin case. Love that machine, though I don't use it often... unless I'm off for a sewing day. For piecing it's superb, but I don't recommend it for FMQing. I hope you enjoy yours.

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  16. When we were for holidays in Sweden I found a Singer 431g at something like a flea market. Only about 30 Dollar. I couldn't let it stay there either 'though it's not too silent. But I enjoyed the project I sewed on it. I also appreciate the new sewing machine I have more now. I also have an Elna from the 70s (maybe), I started sewing on the Elna. What is it that you don't need another sewing machine but cannot resist buying an old one?

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  17. Lucky you!! Our Featherweights are the same age. I love the sound - you don't get that with the new machines. The hardest part is going back & forth between machines. I keep threading the FW backwards. Enjoy your "new" baby.

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Thank you for leaving a comment for me! I appreciate each and every one of them and try to respond when time allows. Your comments totally brighten my day :)

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Welcome! I'm Elizabeth, mom to a very busy six year old boy and I sew for my sanity. Let's get to quilting, shall we?
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