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July 12

Featherweight Love

I’d never really heard about this lovely sewing machine until last summer.  It was about 1 week after I had passed one up at my local flea market and I’ve been kicking myself ever since.  I’ve seen them pop up on several blogs from time to time, but most frequently on Male Pattern Boldness’ site.

I happened to be browsing around on Craigslist today (briefly) to see if there were any estate sales worth checking out over the weekend.  I don’t go on the site very often but whenever I do, I always type in the word “sewing” to see if anything good pops up along with checking for estate sales with sewing/crafting items.  I didn’t get very far with looking for estate sales because as soon as I knew it I had found a gorgeous featherweight and was texting the owner.

This is the text from the Craigslist posting:

Check this sewing machine out. It is in absolute PERFECT condition. I have never seen anything this old look, and work, this amazing. It comes with the original case, foot pedal, owners manual, and a whole compartment of extras. The only thing it needs is a new light bulb.

Honestly, this is the best Singer I’ve ever seen. It is a 9/10. You just have to check this out.

Scroll Face

Serial number AE-081.186

Included in the extras:
In box Singer Motor Lubricant
In box Singer Edge Stitchers
Some extra spools
A bunch of different foots
A lot more!

This post was put up at 4:12pm and I just happened to be checking only minutes afterwards!  What are the odds of that?!  I’d hesitated texting but by the time I did, the owner had already gotten some responses to come check it out.  As soon as I got off work I hightailed it before I’d even realized what was happening.

As I was driving to the owner’s place, I got more and more nervous about the meetup.  Being a small gal, traveling solo to some guy’s place for a sewing machine… a 1936 bright & shiny featherweight just seemed too good to be true.  Usually if it sounds too good in Chicago, it’s a trick.  All of my nervousness quickly subsided when I was happily greeting by a younger-than-myself chap who was selling the machine for his mother, at his mother’s house no less.

I got so caught up in the whirlwind of all things Featherweight that it wasn’t until I had it in my hot little hands, and then in the back seat of my car did I squeal with delight.  I’d only made it about a block away before I had to pull the car over and text the good news to my husband and then I promptly made a twitter post since I couldn’t contain myself.

Okay, I’ll quit gabbing and show you the goodies!

There’s a compartment in the very top filled with the good stuff: Feet, hem gauge, lint brushes & what-have-you.

On the right side of the compartment:

With lots of feet in the left side of the compartment.

 

Ta Da!

These pics are a bit dark, but its still soo pretty!

The prettiest part is the side:

Ahhhmazing!

I’d never handled a featherweight before, but I was really surprised at how heavy it is.  Both of my sewing machines (the Pfaff and the JCPenny) are metal machines and are full sized, but they aren’t nearly as heavy as the Singer is.

Are you ready for the silliness?!

Hugs.

Hugs.

And more hugs.

I’m in love with my cute little machine… my bunnies should be jealous.

Is it silly that I feel like I’m in a little featherweight club….Mind you I’m not even sure who else has one of these guys.  Do any of you guys have a featherweight?  :)

I’m sure more fun posts will follow all about featherweight care and sewing with this little guy.  *hip hip*

  1. Ginger / Jul 12 2012

    Wow, congrats! I have to admit– these seem like the coolest!

    • Liz / Jul 12 2012

      Thanks Ginger! I haven’t officially sewed with it yet since I have to change out a part or two, but when I tested it out, it ran so quietly! I’m used to hearing *clunk clunk clunk* from my noisy pfaff.

  2. Vicki Kate / Jul 12 2012

    Aww, it was meant to be! I’m glad she’s all yours!

    • Liz / Jul 12 2012

      Thanks Vicki! I still can’t believe my good, random luck.

  3. Jane / Jul 12 2012

    Very pretty. I have an old Jones sewing machine that I love. I hope you have as much fun with your machine as I have had with mine

    • Liz / Jul 12 2012

      Thanks Jane! I’m excited to go home from work and look at it. :)

  4. Kerry / Jul 12 2012

    Wow, what a great find! I hadn’t heard of the Featherweight till Peter posted about them recently and now I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled for one.

    Have fun with your new machine!

    • Liz / Jul 12 2012

      Thanks Kerry! I need to buy it a new belt and lamp but otherwise I think it’s in full-working condition.

  5. Adwoa / Jul 12 2012

    Congratulations on your new Featherweight, Liz! I am relatively new to sewing, but since I have been collecting typewriters for a while, I am just as intrigued by vintage sewing machines as I am by the act of sewing/ making clothing.

    I loved reading this post – it brings back all the excitement I felt when I picked up my very own Featherweight (a 222K) two weeks ago. Like you, I barely exhaled until I had the machine safely in my house and even then I could hardly believe my good fortune! I give it hugs too, lol, and I spent lots of time admiring all the attachments it came with. Now I should learn to use them! I have yet to sew a full project on it, but it works well and I shall give my Bernina a break one of these days to use it.

    Here is my write-up on the Singer 222K (with pictures!): http://www.retrotechgeneva.com/2012/07/sewing-machine-sundays-singer.html

    • Liz / Jul 12 2012

      Thanks so much! I’m still quite jealous you have a 222 though. :)

  6. Qui Pardue / Jul 12 2012

    Congrats Liz, that is so exciting!!! I recently decided vintage machines aren’t for me, right now. Not for my primary workhorse machine anyway. I hope in a few years that I can add some vintage machines to my collection, and then I’ll join the club :D I have so much to learn about construction and fit right now, I didn’t want to add learning about a new old machine to the list. I look forward to hearing all about your featherweight!!!

    • Liz / Jul 12 2012

      Thanks Qui! I think it’s funny that I actually only have vintage machines, no new ones really. I’d love to get a Bernina at some future point, but after buying my featherweight the soonest I can rationalize that would be for Christmas. But that would be a BIG gift.

      I feel just the opposite, I don’t think featherweight is going to be too hard for me to learn but a new machine would take quite some time for me to learn. :)

  7. Katie / Jul 12 2012

    Congrats Liz!!! Yours looks to be in fantastic condition and with the gorgeous scrollwork faceplate as well. I just picked up a singer featherweight myself a month or so ago. It’s just a lovely little machine and SO freaking sturdy! It’s my first and only sewing machine. I found mine locally on craigslist as well and did a little dance once I got back in my car, hahaha. If your machine is bit smelly be sure to change the felt at the bottom that catches the excess oil, mine was pretty musky/oily/somethingwakadoodles smelling before I replaced it. Can’t wait to see what you make with it!

  8. Lauren / Jul 12 2012

    Yay, you got a Featherweight!! So exciting!! :D I am totally down to being in a Featherweight club… everyone will envy our beeeee-you-tiful machines hehe :) Although mine doesn’t have the scroll work since it’s a later model – so I’m jealous of yours haha.

    A word of advice – make sure you double-check the manual as far as threading the machine (if you didn’t get a manual with yours, send me & email & I’ll see if I can scan mine for you. It’s not very long!). It threads really weird! And the needle goes in with the flat side to the left (not the back). I did not know this & I thought my machine was broken when I tried to sew it ahaha.

    I think it’s funny that you found the machine heavy… because I was shocked at how light it felt! But my Pfaff is computerized, and definitely weighs more than a small child haha.

    • Liz / Jul 12 2012

      If we’re donna do this club right we need membership cards! heh

      I’m waaaay ahead of you like the nerd sewer that I am. hehhe I spend my commute time this morning reading my little handy manual.

      Lucky for me the threading looks quite similar to my 50’s JC Penny machine. I’ve just gotten to the section about the machine’s feet. I have a few in my new stash that I’m not sure what they do. I’m hoping the manual talks about those.

      And yes! The needle goes sideways! How wierd is that?!

      I don’t think I can officially start sewing on it… I think it needs a cleaning/oiling and a new belt.

  9. NewRibena / Jul 12 2012

    Wow, that’s a gorgeous machine!

    • Liz / Jul 12 2012

      Thanks so much! :)

  10. Carol S. / Jul 12 2012

    I have a newer (1954ish) but similar one. Same decals, but you have a prettier side plate. Look out on Ebay for a button hole attachment well worth having. So much easier than buttonholes on a newer machine as cams make them all automatically the same size I have also recently bought “The Sewing Machine Attachment Book” which I can recomend.

    • Liz / Jul 14 2012

      Thanks Carol! I totally have 2 singer buttonholers already! heheh When I see them at the flea I haaaave to buy them even though I didn’t have a singer at the time. I’m so happy I can use it now. :)

      Hmmmm Sewing Machine Attachment Book huh?! Do they show you how to use the attachments also? (I’m assuming they do, which would sound like a great reference book).

  11. Vicki / Jul 12 2012

    AAaaargh! I am visiting my parents right now, and my mother, in a fit of purging, GAVE AWAY HER FEATHERWEIGHT to the thrift shop! (when she told me she had a sewing machine to give me, I assumed it would be this one, but no, it was my great-grandmother’s treadle Singer. Which is great in it’s own way, but it’s huge and heavy and I have no way to get it back to Montreal. A Featherweight, on the other hand, would have fit nicely in my trunk.) Wah.

    • Liz / Jul 14 2012

      Oh no! I nearly died when you said that. Is there any hope to swing by the thift store to see if it’s still there?

      I’m saddened for you but it’s nice that you have the history of your great grandmother’s treadle. I wish I still had my g-ma’s treadle machine… My family gave it away since it was just sitting around and I wish I had it now. Something to be said to have all that family history in a piece of machinery.

      (But yes… I’m still sorry you don’t have the featherweight). :|

  12. Corinne / Jul 12 2012

    What a great little machine you have. I have had mine for a couple years and find it perfect for taking to quilting classes. Mine did not have many accessories, but since I use it for straight stitching, not a problem. I was at a shop today as a matter of fact and they have many old machines on display. There was a white Featherweight on a high shelf and they didn’t seem to know much about it. There was also a celadon green one made in the early fifties. That is the one I am looking for right now. Enjoy that little darling. I named mine Miss Feathers actually and she is the logo to my google account!

    • Liz / Jul 14 2012

      I need to figure out a name for my sewing machines. Now that I have three, I should be referring to them by their names instead of their brands. :) I like Miss Feathers!

      Ooooo a green one?! I think you need a second featherweight! heh (Yes… I’m a bad enabler.)

  13. Jody / Jul 12 2012

    I laughed out loud with delight for you! I’m also in the Chicago-land area so I understand your trepidation as you drove to the place to get the machine. I couldn’t be happier for you with your good luck, congrats!

    • Liz / Jul 14 2012

      Thanks so much Jody! I’m still reeling that I got one!

  14. Liz / Jul 12 2012

    What a wonderful machine – I can’t wait to see how it sews, I believe the older machines are a dream to sew with.

  15. Sew Little Time / Jul 13 2012

    wow – what a find! must have been your lucky day!

  16. MacStabby J. / Jul 13 2012

    Wow, that is absolutely GORJ. I totally clapped my hand over my mouth at its amazing beauty. What a great find! I’d be hugging it too, if I had one. Off to search craiglist! ;-D

    • Liz / Jul 14 2012

      Thanks so much! I always check Craigslist before I go on a trip to see if other cities where I go happen to have some good stuff on sale (Indy or Atlanta for Dressforms or Sewing machines). :)

  17. Margaret / Jul 16 2012

    I inherited my grandmother’s Featherweight. Mine’s a 1935 model — but my grandmother bought it secondhand in the 1950s. It’s a lot more beat-up than yours, but still gorgeous!

    I think mine works OK, but my grandmother hadn’t used it for at least a decade, so I don’t want to run it before someone knowledgeable has a look at it. I have yet to find someone I trust, so please let us know how your work goes!

  18. Meg / Jul 23 2012

    SQUEEEEEEEEEE!!!!! This is very VERY exciting!! You hug that machine, girlfriend, you have totally earned it :)

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